Getting your music on Spotify and other streaming platforms is easier than ever before thanks to direct upload. In the past, artists needed to use an aggregator or distributor like CD Baby, TuneCore, DistroKid, etc. to get their songs online. But now both Spotify and Apple Music allow musicians to directly upload their music without a middleman.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to upload your songs directly to Spotify for free. We’ll cover eligibility requirements, tips for optimizing your metadata, and step-by-step instructions for getting your tracks live. Let’s dive in!
Eligibility Requirements for Direct Uploads to Spotify
Spotify opened up direct uploads to all artists in September 2020. Previously, only those with certain prerequisites could upload music without a distributor. Now the only requirement is having a Spotify for Artists account.
Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to directly upload:
- Spotify for Artists account – This is free to set up and gives you access to all the distribution tools. Make sure your profile is complete before uploading.
- Rights to the music – You must own or control the copyrights to any music you distribute via Spotify. This includes lyrics, compositions, recordings, artwork, etc.
- Master recordings – You’ll need high-quality master audio files for each track you plan to upload. Spotify supports WAV, AIFF, FLAC, or 320 kbps MP3 formats.
And that’s it! As long as you meet these basic requirements, you can deliver your music directly without a third-party distributor. Now let’s look at how to optimize your tracks for the best possible Spotify presence.
Optimizing Your Metadata for Spotify
The metadata – or data about your data – is one of the most important parts of your Spotify upload. This includes:
- Track Title
- Artist name
- Album name
- ISRC codes
- Release date
- Playlist submissions
Taking the time to thoroughly complete this metadata will make your release look more professional on Spotify++. Your tracks will be easier for fans to find and eligible for key playlists right from the start.
Here are some key tips for optimizing your Spotify metadata:
- Include primary genre(s) – Pick 1-5 accurate genres so fans can find your music. Overly niche or vague genres may limit your reach.
- Add songwriter/composer info – This makes you eligible for royalty collection societies like ASCAP and BMI.
- Submit to playlists – Choose relevant Spotify playlists to submit your tracks to for consideration.
- Complete release date – Use the date you intend to distribute your release. This keeps things orderly for listeners.
- Add ISRC codes – These unique identifiers help with royalty payments. You can get free codes at sites like Songcodes or Tunecode.
- Choose descriptive titles/descriptions – Include keywords fans would search for but avoid spammy repetition.
- Curate track order – Compellingly arrange songs, like frontloading hits or grouping by theme.
Taking the time to optimize all aspects of your metadata will give you the best chance at connecting with listeners on Spotify. Now let’s walk through the upload process step-by-step.
How to Upload Music to Spotify as an Artist for Free?
Ready to submit your tracks to Spotify? Here is a simple step-by-step guide to uploading your release:
Step 1: Log In to Your Spotify for Artists Account
Head to the Spotify for Artists homepage and log in using your artist credentials. Ways to Upload Music to Spotify Without Using a Distributor
Step 2: Navigate to the Upload Page
From your Spotify for Artists dashboard, click on “Upload music” in the left menu. This is where you’ll deliver your tracks.
Step 3: Set Up Your Release
Start by choosing “Single” or “Album” depending on what you are releasing. Then enter your release name, artist name, genre(s), artwork, ISRC codes, and release date.
Step 4: Upload Your Audio Files
Click “upload” then select the high-quality audio files for each song in your release. Make sure they are WAV, FLAC, AIFF, or 320 kbps MP3 formats.
Step 5: Enter Your Metadata
For each track, fill out the song title, songwriters, and composers, and choose the playlists you want to submit to. Add all other relevant metadata too.
Step 6: Preview and Submit
Double-check all the data to ensure its precision. Then click submit – your release will now get processed!
And that’s all it takes to deliver your tracks straight to Spotify as an independent artist. The review process can take a few days to a few weeks. Once approved, your songs will appear in searches and profiles just like any other release.
Best Practices for Direct Uploads
Here are some top tips for making the most of Spotify’s direct upload feature as an indie musician:
- Upload consistently – Add new tracks often rather than in big batches for more regular discovery.
- Promote your link – Share your Spotify artist profile and track links on your website and socials.
- Keep improving metadata – Enhance descriptions, genre tags, etc. over time as you learn more.
- Publish to other DSPs too – Get your music on multiple platforms like Apple Music and Amazon Music.
- Monetize with Songtrust or similar – These services collect and pay your streaming royalties globally.
Uploading directly lets artists control their distribution destiny. Avoiding aggregators means you keep more royalties and creative control. Just make sure to provide complete, polished metadata for each release. This will ensure your tracks get indexed properly and reach their full potential on Spotify.
FAQs About Uploading Music to Spotify
Here are answers to some common questions artists have about submitting their music directly to Spotify:
Do I need an aggregator to get on Spotify?
No, Spotify allows all artists to upload tracks without an aggregator or distributor if you have an active Spotify for Artists account.
What file formats can I upload in?
Spotify supports WAV, AIFF, FLAC, and 320 kbps MP3 file formats for direct uploads. Lossy formats like MP3 are converted to Ogg Vorbis on the platform.
How long does Spotify’s review process take?
The review usually takes 7-14 days but can be shorter or longer depending on volume. Tracks need to pass checks for technical quality, copyright, and metadata completeness.
Can I edit my metadata after uploading?
Yes, you can always log back into Spotify for Artists to make updates to descriptions, genre tags, images, and more – even after your release is live.
Does Spotify pay royalties on direct uploads?
Yes, Spotify pays royalties on all streams no matter if you used direct upload or an aggregator. However, collecting the royalties requires a publishing administrator.
Uploading music directly to Spotify is easier than ever for independent artists. With just a Spotify for Artists account and high-quality audio files, musicians can now control their distribution. While aggregators like CD Baby and TuneCore used to be mandatory, their services are no longer required. This allows artists to keep a bigger cut of royalties and maintain full creative control.
By following best practices for metadata optimization, promotion, and consistency, self-releasing on Spotify can help indie musicians find fans globally. Just make sure your files meet technical requirements and your metadata is polished before uploading. Then you’ll be ready to share your music on Spotify and other leading streaming platforms as an independent artist.