Last week Spotify announced plans to help artists raise funds and receive tips on their platform.

Naturally, it’s less about making more money for artists than a new opportunity for Spotify to seize market share for themselves from their livestreaming rivals.

“Artist Fundraising Pick” is a program that already exists on Spotify. Launched two years ago in the early weeks of the pandemic, AFP permitted artists to raise funds for charity or for themselves directly — and without Spotify taking a cut. Though Spotify claims more than 200,000 artists are using AFP, many are still unaware of its existence.

“Artist Fundraising Pick” is about to get a re-brand, and Spotify has found a place for it in its arsenal of weapons aimed at the company’s rivals. Under its new name, “Fan Support,” the program would appear to be a tacit admission that royalties alone will never be enough to keep artists participating enthusiastically on their platform. (Almost the only place where artists make a living from Spotify streaming royalties is in the company’s PR.)

But “Fan Support” isn’t about the artist so much as it’s about Amazon and Google. Those are the parent companies of Twitch and YouTube, and those are the platforms where music streaming gained a foothold during the pandemic and left Spotify behind. “Fan Support” isn’t meant to attract donations from random Spotify listeners, but “tips” during livestreams that Spotify hopes artists will relocate away from their rivals and to Spotify itself.

In tandem with the announcement about Fan Support, Spotify announced that video podcasts were now open to “all creators in select markets” and that the company was beta testing “intimate spaces” in which music (and podcasts) would be streamed using the company’s Spotify Live app (purchased by Spotify a year ago when it was known as “Locker Room,” and already rebranded once as “Spotify Greenroom.”)

So what appears to be a program benefiting artists is in reality another means for Spotify to seize more market share. With more market share in livestreaming, Spotify will have more control over labor and consumer pricing.

There does seem to be a carrot being dangled to artists here: Spotify currently doesn’t take a cut of money donated through “Artist Fundraising Pick” (it links with CashApp and other fintech platforms), though one wonders how long that will last should “Fan Support” be successful.