Spotify’s New Deal Ensures Continued Indie Artist Access

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Headphones are seen in front of a logo of online music streaming service Spotify in this illustration picture taken in Strasbourg, February 18, 2014. Spotify is recruiting a U.S. financial reporting specialist, adding to speculation that the Swedish start-up is preparing for a share listing, which one banker said could value the firm at as much as $8 billion. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT LOGO) - RTX1914U

Music streaming service Spotify recently renewed a nine-year-old licensing deal with indie digital agency Merlin that has ensured users access to independent music, even as the service itself becomes more mainstream.

Merlin currently represents over 20,000 independent record labels in 51 countries,  making it Spotify’s fourth largest partner after major labels, the company said.

The agreement came weeks after Spotify reached a licensing deal with Universal that could make the streaming platform more attractive to its top-selling artists by allowing them to release albums solely to paying users.

Spotify is still the world’s top music streaming platform. Just last month, the number of paying subscribers climbed to 50 million. To give you an idea of what that means with emerging platforms like Tidal and Apple Music; Apple music counted only 20 million paying subscribers as of December 2016.

Spotify’s unique partnership with wireless providers means that for consumers under agreements with Fido or Rogers, their subscription is tied into their wireless phone plan.

Spotify’s roster includes Mad Decent, a U.S. label which has distributed everything from African and Brazilian funk, to artists like Outkast. It’s a go-to for music discovery, with location-based playlists that keep you in the know regardless of whether or not your local artists are signed to a major. It’s certainly been instrumental in bringing Toronto artists like Roy Woods, Jahkoy, Jimmy B, and more to the mainstream. Discover other Toronto artists here: