Spotify is giving podcasters perks that will make independent artists very jealous

Three years ago, Spotify became a music distributor – announcing that it was to allow independent artists to upload music directly to its service, without the need for a third-party aggregator.

Next, Spotify acquired a minority stake in Distrokid (which it still owns), while opening up its distribution function so artists could upload to all the main streaming services, via the Spotify platform.

This surprise split from the music business middleman left some senior label and distribution executives uneasy. Independent artists, however, were generally delighted – and free to dream that a more direct relationship with fans on Spotify could lead to two particularly lavish benefits:

  • (1) Could artists soon download their fan base contact data, including a list of email addresses, directly from Spotify? ;
  • (2) Could artists soon charge their superfans a monthly subscription, directly to Spotify, to access their premium content?

Alas, none of these things happened. Spotify dropped plans to become a music distributor just ten months after announcing it.

Today (August 24), however, Spotify at launched these exact two perks for indie creators on its platform in the United States.

Unfortunately, they are not available for musical artists. They are only available to podcasters.

This was made possible because Spotify owns the distribution mechanism between podcast listeners and the podcasts themselves. The name of this distribution mechanism is Anchor, the podcasting download and services platform that SPOT acquired in the first quarter of 2019.

Starting today in the US, podcasters can use Anchor to bill fans directly for a subscription between $0.49 per month and $150 per month.

Spotify won’t take a grain of that subscription price (minus payment processing fees) until 2023, when the company announces it plans to implement a 5% commission on subscription revenue.

Announcing the launch of the new podcast subscription today on the Spotify blog, the company said: “We have long believed that creators should have a variety of options at their fingertips when deciding how to monetize their work.

“That’s why, as more creators publish their content on Spotify, we’ve begun rolling out tools that power those choices: from better advertising models to direct listener monetization.”

Spotify’s public launch of monetized subscription podcasts follows a beta test of the feature by the company on more than 100 podcasts earlier this year.

Spotify says this test has convincingly proven that podcasts “across genres and styles of content have a huge opportunity to build paid subscriber bases.”

Creators in the US can now mark podcast episodes as subscribers only in Anchor before publishing them on Spotify and other platforms.

These creators can choose from 20 different monthly pricing options.

What’s more, Spotify says – and this could cause the biggest leap of envy among independent music artists – Spotify has also rolled out the ability for podcast creators in the US to “upload a list of contact addresses for their subscribers so they can engage more with their subscriber bases and provide even more benefits”.

Spotify explained on its blog today: “We believe that providing subscriber-only content on Spotify, where it can be discovered by our user base of 365 million monthly listeners, will enable more of this content to win audiences and make real connections with them.

“It’s also why we provide creators with their subscriber contact information: we understand that creators want to own their relationships with listeners, and we intend to reinforce that.”

“That’s why we provide creators with their subscriber contact information: we understand that creators want to own their relationships with listeners, and we intend to reinforce that.”

Spotify Blog

Spotify says it plans to expand podcast subscriptions to creators in other countries outside the US “very soon”. Before that, from September 15, international listeners will be able to access (i.e. pay for) subscriber-only content.

Spotify generated total revenue of 2.33 billion euros in the second quarter (three months to the end of June), up 23% year-on-year.The music industry around the world