Spotify has announced a new test service that it says will allow artistes and record labels to promote their music on the platform and have a say in how their music is discovered. As part of the plan, the company says musicians and producers will be able to identify music that’s a priority for them, and the service will add that information to the algorithm that determines personalized listening sessions.
The promoted songs might include “a song they’re particularly excited about, an album anniversary they’re celebrating, a viral cultural moment they’re experiencing, or other factors they care about”, said the company in an official blog post.
The tracks identified by the artistes will be part of the ‘Discovery Mode’ and will be initially applicable for Spotify’s Radio and Autoplay formats that allows users to discover new music. If it gains in popularity, it might also be expanded to other areas of the service in the future. However, the company says that user satisfaction will remain its number one priority, and the songs will be removed from the recommendations if they’re not resonating with users.
Spotify says that it would not charge anything upfront to make sure that the tool is accessible to all artistes at any stage of their careers. Instead, labels will have to agree to be payed a lower, “promotional recording royalty rate” if they want to make use of the service.
While the company is tight-lipped about how much lower the royalty payments would be, the plan is already creating a controversy among artistes and record labels, who seem to believe that this might be the first step towards an overall reduction in royalty payments. That being the case, it isn’t immediately clear as to how the industry will react to the change, so it will be interesting to see how this works out going forward.