The music industry has always been cut-throat, and on-going internet fragmentation only complicates matters. Musicians have to be their own promoters, tour managers, bookers and a million other things just to get off the ground.
If nothing else, Spotify’s new Co.Lab event series is a potentially useful attempt to help new and emerging artists make sense of it all. The programming launches in the middle of next month, providing a number of different workshops aimed at shedding light on topics like touring, merchandising and revenue streams.
That last one no doubt hits close to home for Spotify. The streaming service’s payment models have long been accused of making life even more difficult for working musicians. Earlier this month, however, the company launched a new initiative that lets independent artists upload music directly. The feature is a direct shot at record labels, which like Spotify itself, have had a complex relationship with the artists they distribute.
On some small scale, perhaps, the new series could help fill in the void left behind with the quiet shuttling of the CMJ Music Marathon, which used to occur every year right around this time. Sign-ups are open to verified Spotify artists and those with 1,000 or more followers are prioritized — which sounds like it could be a lesson plan in and of itself.