What Spotify Direct Distribution Deals Mean For Independent Artists
In the current musical climate, the sought after distribution deal to get your releases into the stores and ears of your audience has now become a familiar and accessible avenue. Aggregators such as Ditto, Tunecore, and CDBaby have for a long time cornered the market of the independent release. These have offered tools to distribute music on a budget and the positioning to be a part of the over-arching sales bracket. This alone changed a considerable part of the way the industry operated for a long time with labels being the former sole proprietor. Due to this avenue, many outlets are brainstorming and experimenting with new methods of capitalizing on the zeitgeist of independently released music. Spotify is no different in that it has recently opened the avenue of distributing directly through its network.
Words from Spotify on the new venture:
We’re not trying to be a label, and we’re not trying to compete with the labels. We have what I would describe as a co-dependent relationship, there are three labels who own most of the marketplace, and they have oligopoly power, and we can’t be successful without them as partners […] It’s important for both of us that we never allow the relationship to become a zero-sum game.
But what does this mean for artists? Essentially these saturated options taken to get music heard, Spotify wants to present the ability to share directly with a streaming service taking out the middleman. These licensing deals are to cement a relationship of support your go-to streaming service and distributor. Doing this will also mean to do so without third-party fees and potential for curated attention from a powerhouse like Spotify. It radically ups the ante against Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon, and much more. With the power of handling your independent career with the tools available, the evolution of the industry has been sped up to an extreme degree; everyone wants to figure out how to be the sought after avenue. With that mindset, it changes direct licensing deals through Spotify which are currently happening.
What this implies in the longer term is that very slowly, and in a fragmented manner, the power will be back in your hands. These powerhouses are looking to cater to YOU and your needs to make the next steps of your career. All of this is positive! The beauty of it is that there isn’t an impetus for exclusivity. You get to reap the benefits of these avenues and have a significant potential to experience the exposure your work deserves. Does Spotify’s new option change the game? Perhaps a little, and only for its competitors. Although, you still have so many strategies at your fingertips, and the best advice is to take advantage of everything at your disposal. Later, see what ends up working best for you and keep creating.