News July 9, 2019

Have Spotify & Apple Music ushered in a golden age for indies?

Have Spotify & Apple Music ushered in a golden age for indies?

Indie labels and distributors believe that streaming services are helping to fuel a new golden age.

Curated playlists on streaming platforms are a big part of the reason why this is the case, with indies getting more than their share of exposure.

This is significant at a time when an artist’s release schedule is so heavily geared towards getting a spot on playlists like ’s New Music Friday or Apple Music’s New Music Mix.

Both platforms, and others, also curate indie-specific playlists.

With 100 million Spotify subscribers and another 50 million on Apple Music globally (as of April 2019), getting a track playlisted can be the difference between the success or failure of a single.

Cnet reports that indie representation in the US market has doubled 40% of the US market, but are DSPs in Australia helping indies to a similar age of prosperity?

In a blow to independent musicians worldwide, Spotify shut down its Spotify For Artists distribution platform last week.

But even without it, the barriers to distribution as an indie artist or indie label remain relatively low.

“If you have a computer, you can release music within a day. That’s empowering to any individual with artistic aspirations,” general manager Aden Mullens tells TMN.

The result of low-cost distribution means that artists are more likely to try and DIY their distribution or go with an indie rather than a major label.

“The elimination of any financial or distribution barrier, means more artists have the opportunity to stay independent,” says Mullens.

“That’s fundamentally why you have a growing market share made up of indie artists being represented across streaming services.”

Mullens says that DSPs have a mandate to be representative and diverse in what they offer their customers.

“The best streaming platforms will try to represent that breadth because it’s what music fans expect to see. If at any point that expectation isn’t met, the goodwill evaporates and they begin looking elsewhere.”

He also believes that Spotify Australia is also doing a great job in holding a mirror to local music media and culture.

“There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm from the domestic Spotify team to represent the best mix of today’s new music and culture.

“We see that in the week’s new releases. Whatever has been happening in music media, I see it represented in new releases and playlists each Friday.”

With Spotify moving away from playlist curation and relying more heavily on algorithms, it will be well worth watching the way this impacts indie representation on playlists.

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