Distrokid Spotify Partnership: The Bitter Truth

Are you aware of the Distrokid Spotify partnership?

Amid recent rumors of a potential partnership and just in time for Spotify to begin beta testing it’s direct upload service for artists, the music streaming giant has formally announced a deal with digital distribution platform DistroKid.

Artist and industry reactions are mixed, and while the results of this deal will take time to materialize, there’s no denying that the path from artist to fan is about to go through a major change.

Distrokid Spotify Partnership: The Bitter Truth

How The Distrokid Spotify Partnership Impacts The State of Online Music

Before getting into the details, it’s important to remember that it was just 15 years ago that companies like TuneCore, CD Baby, Spotify and iTunes began blazing the trail into the realm of digital distribution and streaming. 

However, today digital distribution and streaming, account for the vast majority of daily listening, and there are plenty of options to get your music to the world via the web

While this is great for musicians, it also poses challenges if you plan to get your music onto as many streaming platforms as possible. 

On top of submitting music to each service, you also have to manage each account, track sales, views, and plays, post updates on each account, manage cover art, handle copyright issues, promote events and so much more.

DistroKid and other digital distribution services solve these problems by providing an all-in-one solution for getting music to popular streaming and sales channels while providing a degree of management and representation for each artist. 

Spotify is one of the biggest streaming services on the Internet, and until recently, the only way for an independent artist to get music onto the platform was by working with a digital distribution service. 

So, what’s the deal between DistroKid and Spotify, why is it important, and what does it change for artists, fans and digital distribution overall?

A Partnership and an Investment

The deal between the two companies essentially boils down to preferential treatment, both in the present and potentially in the future.

As mentioned, Spotify announced that it will begin allowing direct uploads from artists, but with the DistroKid deal, it may turn out that artists working with DistroKid will be able to get music to Spotify and other streaming services faster and at a reduced cost. 

It’s also important to note that, according to Reuters, Spotify also included a mention of a passive minority investment in DistroKid on top of the partnership.

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The real question for the industry is, whether or not this partnership marks a sign of things to come for streaming consolidation. It could be that Spotify is trying to bring in DistroKid in an attempt to keep the distribution network as close as possible. 

If it can offer incentives for people to use DistroKid in order to get music onto Spotify, there’s potential to take over a larger segment of the online music space overall. This could lead to tighter control over revenue sharing with artists.

Who Stands to Gain What?

For now, it works out that DistroKid gets an investment and industry clout, Spotify builds good will among the artist community while keeping DistroKid close, and the two can share some data and revenue.

This also gives DistroKid a bit of wiggle room if other streaming sites begin to remove distribution requirements for direct upload access as the company would already have a close relationship with Spotify through the partnership and investment. 

In a nutshell, this deal has the potential to further consolidate the online music space while reinforcing Spotify’s position toward the front of the streaming pack and forcing distribution services to pick a streaming partner.

Reactions Are a Mixed Bag

In terms of reaction across the music industry, it seems that artists are viewing this as a plus, but the tech crowd sees the potential for a more negative outcome. 

According to Digital Music News, Spotify’s competitors in the music streaming space may be forced to allow for direct uploads and revenue sharing in order to counter Spotify.

The problem with this is that it has the potential to lead to copyright issues, the distribution of illegal or offensive content and other issues that come from allowing the Internet to have unfettered access to content uploads. 

Others worry that allowing direct upload access further lowers standards in the music industry, allows for lower payouts to artists and overall compromises the integrity of music creation in the digital age where anyone and everyone with access to a computer can throw together some sounds and call it music.

Consider All Options While Waiting for the Dust to Settle

Once again, it remains to be seen what the fallout will be from the partnership, but for now, it would be a good idea for artists to consider all possibilities. 

Direct uploads without requiring distribution would be great, but it will also be time consuming and require a lot more effort to manage releases across dozens of streaming platforms and digital storefronts. 

Of course, direct upload access could also result in lower payouts and a more difficult time accessing spotlight features offered by Spotify to artists utilizing distribution services.

Likewise, artists may also need to take a moment to really analyze their data to get a better sense of where streaming revenue is coming from and focus on those platforms if it turns out that this deal leads to exclusivity in the future. 

Not saying that it will, but the potential is there, which should force everyone who shares a love of music to pause and consider who will be able to share their content and who will be able to profit from it.

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