Artists from around the globe put their songs on the Internet every day. Sites like YouTube and Soundcloud provide a breeding ground for new, young talent to present their music to a wide audience. Whether or not their music is actually heard is another story.
According to FortuneLords, some 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. With more than one billion active YouTube users a month, it’s easy for a no-name musician to fly under the radar.
Similar to YouTube, Soundcloud exists so independent artists can upload their music. A free account gives a user up to three hours of uploads, a pro account gives them six hours, and a pro unlimited is, well, unlimited uploads. Even still, anyone can get an account and post whatever they so choose.
Sites like iTunes and Spotify are more exclusive, which makes musicians with access that much more valuable. There’s a process to submitting music, but, if accepted, the payoff can be worth it. Spotify is going to be the focus here, as iTunes is owned by Apple and not an independently successful entity.
Services like Cdbaby and Tunecore will get no-name artists’ songs on Spotify for them. Cdbaby charges $9.95 to distribute a single and $49 to distribute an album, but that’s just their standard service. For $34.95 per single and $89 per album, they’ll distribute and publish your music. They also take 9% of the net income paid to them by their partners. It gets more complicated when it comes to selling music on a musician’s site, selling CDs/vinyl, mastering songs, or making a website in the first place. These are all added expenses that can be tacked onto a preexisting plan.
Musicians receive small payments from Spotify based on the number of plays they get, but each play is less than a penny. With lots of costs to get distribution help, why not just go right to the source: Spotify.
Well, Spotify for Artists will direct the user right back to Cdbaby, or one of these other distribution sites. Once you get someone to distribute, Spotify for Artists helps you setup your profile.
The site mentions profile verification, which is represented by a blue check mark on the artist’s page. While Spotify says an artist previously needed 250 followers to be verified, now anyone can obtain verification after the site confirms who they are. That’s a nice perk for a new artist, as the blue check gives them a professional edge over unverified users. Verification also allows artists to change their profile picture whenever they want, add user playlists, and an “artist’s pick”, which appears at the top of their page.
Spotify also works with sites like Ticketmaster, to show listeners where the artist is touring, and Merchbar, to sell things like vinyls and t-shirts.
Once an artist is verified, it seems that the floodgates are open to opportunites. The distributors are going to take some (if not a lot) of the money, so there will be an initial loss. However, Spotify will help spread the word about an artist’s music as best they can. If the music is good, it’s up to the masses from there.