Spotify has announced today the acquisition of SoundBetter, an audio and music production collaboration marketplace where artists, singers, songwriters, producers, engineers and more can match with each other to work on music. The acquisition was for an undisclosed sum. What does this mean and how can this help you?
SoundBetter will still operate as usual according to Spotify, so existing users will not see their work interrupted. SoundBetter already has 180,000 registered users in 176 countries and 14,000 cities across the globe, so you would be able to work with talent around the globe at the click of a button.
SoundBetter will now operate under the auspices of Spotify For Artists, so it will be an additional feature for artists on the streaming service.
"As we build out our tools for creators, we want to give them the resources they need to thrive. SoundBetter has the same vision,” said Beckwith Kloss, VP Product, Creator at Spotify in a statement. “We're excited that creators can generate income through SoundBetter, as well as benefit from its network of top professionals - from instrumentalists to songwriters to producers - as they perfect their tracks.”
So why are they doing this and what does this mean for artists?
Spotify has been trying to beef up their back end support for artists using their size as a way to promote new products. They recently tried to do direct distribution onto the service, but stopped after it never made it out of Beta in July. They have invested in Distrokid.
As Spotify, among others like Amazon and Pandora appeal the CRB to keep songwriter rates down and protect bottom lines, writers need to find ways to make money for their art. Artists have long lamented how little they get paid from streaming, which has supplanted digital downloads as the source of recorded music income (physical music is slowly rising). Spotify says it has paid out over $14 billion to rights holders since launch, though that gets divvied up between labels, publishers and more middlemen before the artist or songwriter or producer sees a cut. Despite this and label deals increasingly favoring Spotify, the service is still operating at a loss, so don’t expect payments to rise much as a publicly traded company losing money.
Spotify is looking to be more than just a music streaming service and want to offer more for artists who likely aren't getting rich on the service (unless you are Drake, Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran). They put on events, are making a big push into podcasts and now want to be a place where artists can collaborate.
Spotify doesn’t have the exact details of the integration yet, but one would assume or hope that it would allow users to easily sign up to SoundBetter through Spotify For Artists and then easily access the various tools from SoundBetter. This would mean easily reaching out to other musicians and collaborating with the click of a button. Payments could work through either SoundBetter or Spotify. It isn't clear how the percentage SoundBetter takes from each interaction would change, if at all.
There are currently 180,000 SoundBetter users and according to Spotify, 400,000 Spotify for Artists users. If they were to combine, this would create a large global community of artists looking to collaborate. Working together in a studio is great, but this acquisition be huge for artists in countries without a large music infrastructure or don’t have the means for expensive studio time.