Do independent labels get a fair share of slots on music streaming services’ playlists? It’s a complicated question, with the answer having varied, historically, depending on which playlists you’re talking about (all of them, or just the big ones?), how you define independent (do major-distributed tracks count?) and other factors.

The latest attempt to get to the bottom of this comes from the UK’s University of East Anglia, and it suggests that indies have cause for complaint. “Our research suggests that independent label artists are getting less than their fair share of access to the most popular playlists,” said co-author Professor Amelia Fletcher. “While the vast majority of playlists are curated by Spotify, the shares of the major labels’ own proprietary playlists may exacerbate the situation.”

You can read the Spotify-focused study here, and its methodology. One challenge that any research like this faces is the difficulty of analysing ‘algotorial’ playlists (e.g. Discover Weekly, Release Radar) where the tracks – and thus the split between majors and indies – are determined by the tastes of each individual listener.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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