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Spotify Now Hosts 70 Million Songs. But It Can’t Keep That Up Forever

Hosting millions of additional tracks from DIY artists each year isn’t free for the money-losing Spotify — and as it chases profitability, something’s gotta give

Hosting millions of additional tracks from DIY artists each year isn’t free for the money-losing Spotify — and as it chases profitability, something’s gotta give

2. Pull up the quality drawbridgeBack when Pandora was a digital radio network, rather than a Spotify-like interactive platform, it didn’t just accept any old artist uploading via a DIY distributor: Musicians had to be approved by Pandora’s own quality control regimen.

This was the bane of many indie artist’s lives. But perhaps Pandora was ahead of its time. Looking at SoundCloud’s ridiculously large track database (again, 250 million!) suggests that, at some point, streaming services may have to consider deploying a filter system to sift the sublime songs from the shlock. This — the power of scarcity, and the embrace of the role of gatekeeper — could become a winning marketing angle for Spotify in a sea of music streaming sameness.

That said, it might also be a major risk.Over in China, a market so often ahead of the curve on streaming music trends (tipping, online karaoke etc.), independent artists have never been treated with more respect than they are today — and for good reason. Tencent Music is giving the best DIY acts

to put their music exclusively on its platform. Clearly, Tencent sees this as a potential route to market dominance that doesn’t upset anti-competitive watchdogs. Spotify may not want to pass up a similar opportunity.3. Roll out fees for hosting the music itself

One route to Spotify gaining a financial slice of the multi-billion-dollar DIY artist market — without re-visiting the idea of becoming a distributor itself — may lie in its relationship with Google. As mentioned, Spotify has to pay Google Cloud significant hosting fees each year for holding its ever-expanding music library. Late last year, Spotify ran the

largest Google Dataflow job everfor its Wrapped 2019 campaign.Presumably, Spotify is paying Google millions more dollars every year because its own music library keeps expanding – and keeps expanding, in the main, because of independent artists. So why doesn’t Spotify pass on the cost of hosting this data to independent acts and their distributors? Could it make song-hosting a service (just like “Discovery Mode”) for which artists are expected to pay?

The answer to that question, naturally, will be rooted in customer satisfaction. But while Apple, Google-owned YouTube, and Amazon are profitable enough in other arenas that they probably won’t ever have to charge for song-hosting, Spotify — with its lack of other businesses to bolster — might see it as the only option left on the table.

What do you think?

Written by The Editor

warrior dedicated to the cause of fighting the takeover of our culture.


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