R.I.P. Spotify’s upload program.

Less than a year after starting beta-testing on a direct upload feature, the streaming giant is pulling the plug. All content delivered through that direct submission portal will be removed from Spotify by month’s end, July 30.

That’s a shame, but it’s not the end of days for DIY and indie artists, just a return to the olden days of using a third-party aggregator.

Spotify’s upload feature empowered a few hundred artists willing to do the work, and it promised to save them money. The tool, announced last September, was completely free via the Spotify For Artists platform, and came with the simple caveat that the muso uploading tunes must own the copyright in the recordings.

The reasons behind the decision to quit digital distribution aren’t crystal clear and Spotify didn’t share any outcomes of their beta. No surprises there. What we do know is aggregation is an arduous, competitive game with wafer-thin margins.

That’s not what Spotify does best. And at the end of the month, it’ll stop accepting any new uploads through Spotify for Artists, at which point artists will need to move their already-released content to another provider, reads a blog post.

“The best way for us to serve artists and labels is to focus our resources on developing tools in areas where Spotify can uniquely benefit them — like Spotify for Artists,” which boasts more than 300,000 creators, and also its playlist submission tool, which has been used by more than 36,000 artists for the very first time since it launched a year ago the Spotify statement continues. “We have a lot more planned here in the coming months.”

The logo for music streaming service Spotify, whose CEO has addressed their "Hateful Content" policy
Spotify

So, what next? It’s a minefield out there with a handful of leaders and many others in the fringes keen to handle your music account for a cut. Spotify identifies a triumvirate of distributors who “meet our highest standards,” namely CD Baby, Emuband and Distrokid (which is part-owned by Spotify).

All three operate off a model where you pay a fee and keep all your royalties, and for their end of the bargain they distribute your works to the plethora of digital music services out there.

So what do we know? Competition is good. Do some desktop research, speak to others and chose the best option. For Spotify, which tried something “artist-friendly” and made a U-turn, its Upload Beta Program for indie and DIY artists is now dragged into the bin of decent ideas. Spotify has decided it’s not a distributor and a key element of business is knowing when to buy, sell and when to get out.

For more, read MBW’s take on the development.