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Recent reports on Spotify’s moves in to signing direct licensing deals with some artists have drawn criticism from major labels, but the independent community is also mulling what it all means.

US trade body A2IM’s CEO Richard Burgess made his thoughts known this week. “The problem is that Spotify has data that we don’t have. They can see data before our labels can see it, so they have the opportunity to jump and make an investment on an artist that’s not a guess or based on gut, the way everyone here in this room has to work – it’s based on hard knowledge and facts,” he said at the Indie Week conference in New York, according to Billboard.

“But we think that’s our data too, and we should have equal access to that data. Otherwise, it distorts the playing field in a very unhealthy way. We’re obviously having a lot of conversations with the DSPs right now about that.”

There are sensitivities here, in terms of Spotify sharing data with any given label on artists who aren’t signed to that label.

That said, there are a group of analytics startups trying to fulfil this role of helping labels mine Spotify and other streaming platforms: if their pricing can work for independent budgets, it could be a tool to help these labels compete with Spotify on the A&R front. If, indeed, competition is how they view this situation.

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