Spotify has been making an honest attempt at helping artists get their music to the masses. The streaming service has already acquired and partnered with various distributors and even an online recording studio. Today, it's joining the music production game by acquiring SoundBetter, a platform that allows music professionals to network and hire each other for various recording gigs.
SoundBetter is a mix of LinkedIn and TaskRabbit for musicians. Producers, writers, mixers, mastering engineers, and session performers can form online networks with a free account. People who pay for a monthly subscription can access job boards and take a proactive approach, rather than hoping to be discovered in search listings. Musicians who are actively working on a project can search for colleagues or post open gigs to attract collaborators. This system helps a musician who doesn't play drums, for example, find a vetted percussionist online who can help complete a song or album.
As part of the Spotify for Artists ecosystem, the SoundBetter acquisition is the latest step in CEO Daniel Ek's mission to turn Spotify into a "two-sided marketplace." Ek envisions a unified service where musicians can produce content and consumers can listen to music. This sounds a lot like vertical integration, but several services that are part of Spotify for Artists help musicians publish their work outside of the platform. The streaming service isn't just helping musicians get their content out; Spotify purchased Anchor earlier in the year, which helps podcasters develop, publish and monetize their shows.
Spotify often faces criticism for paying artists too little (the artists' labels keep the vast majority of the streaming royalties -- when they pay out at all). By adding platforms like SoundBetter to their offerings, the platform is arguably pushing back on those assertions and helping artists (especially ones that aren't go-to names in the industry) make money while creating content.