SpotLister, a popular marketplace used to connect aspiring artists with Spotify playlist taste-makers has been shut down by the streaming giant. A message from the creators of the site greeted users on Friday, March 26th, stating they have tried to comply with Spotify’s Terms of Service and requests but still had their API key removed.
An API is an Application Programming Interface which allows creators to write programs and apps for certain platforms or to facilitate integration between programs. SpotLister used the Spotify API to help artists get their music heard, via curators of Spotify playlists. An artist or their agent can pay a given amount of money to get a song placed on influential or popular playlists, exposing the artist to a lot more consumers than would normally be possible.
Spotify directly opposes paying for accounts or playlists or paying for influence, which makes sense as the practice is like a modern version of Payola. Payola is the practice of paying a radio station to play music it wouldn’t normally play to get exposure. With online streaming music becoming the new radio, there are no laws currently prohibiting it in this specific format.
Users of SpotLister will be refunded any remaining balances on their accounts, and the site will remain closed. They attempted to rebrand to a new name JamLister, but no efforts proved worthy of Spotify’s approval. Spotify has been cracking down on many things affecting their revenue, not just things that violate terms of service. Just recently there was action taken against apps circumventing premium features, all in the wake of the news the streaming company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange soon.
It will be difficult for Spotify to stay on top of this, as there are other markets that do not use the Spotify API key which still connect tastemakers with artists. Short of banning all the accounts which must first be found, it will be an expensive problem to monitor.