Sarah Brown, Clint Gee, Alexander Skidmore, Tommy Stalknecht
In today’s recording industry, musicians are always trying to find new ways to get their music out into consumers’ hands. Not everyone has a label with a distribution deal knocking at their door and that leaves this hugely important mission undone. But now, there are many services on the internet which make that task very simple. But as fees, time, and username/password combinations build up, that simple task of online distribution becomes tiring and tedious. Well, TuneCore is here to lighten the load. For a small annual fee, artists can load music onto TuneCore and breath easy while the burden is lifted as TuneCore delivers your tracks to website such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, MusicNet, eMusic, Amazon MP3, Zune Marketplace and other stores.
TuneCore, which is based in Brooklyn, New York, was started in 2005 by Jeff Price, Peter Wells and Gary Burke with a mission of allowing artists to make money doing what they love. And they’ve made it very simple. An annual fee is no more than $19.98 and as little as $9.99 – depending on how many songs are uploaded. And each store chosen costs only .99¢. Within four to six weeks, the music is live and available for purchase by consumers. TuneCore never asks for a percentage, which allows for the artist to pocket more of their return than they normally would with a major label. What’s even more appealing is how they will never ask for ownership of music. The artist keeps all ownership and control of their music! That’s major label opportunity with no strings. And all of these answers – along with countless others and TuneCore’s mission statement are easily available on their website.
Recently, TuneCore has entered into a partnership with Universal Music Group. This is a very big deal as unsigned artists can now pay or “sign themselves” to a major label who will provide services, such as marketing or distribution for a flat-fee. Artists still keep their rights and royalties – they just get a hand from a major label. This also benefits the label by allowing them to see what is popular and successful. And as Price said, “With this deal UMGD has truly changed the rules and the major label model by providing true choice for a musician.”
It is pretty clear to see how and why artists benefit from using TuneCore. Those just starting out can get their music out to a very wide audience for almost nothing, which is a big deal to unsigned musicians. Money can be and usually is an obstacle that stands in the way of artists getting started. With this service, a small fee gains access to many stores. Also in regard to money is payment. Because TuneCore takes nothing, once the fees are taken out by the store the artist gets all that remains which is more than an artist would make with a major label. Great opportunities can come from being a part of this network – such as being noticed and reached out to by a label within Universal Music Group. There’s a lot for an artist to do to get up and running and enlisting in the help of web services such as TuneCore is a no brainer. So much so that many well known and successful artists have used it, from their first customer, Pixies’ frontman, Frank Black to other artists such as Aretha Franklin, Nine Inch Nails, MGMT, Jay-Z, Keith Richards, Public Enemy, Moby, David Byrne and thousands of independent artists.
TuneCore is definitely a service to watch as this industry changes. It is safe to say that many other major artists will leave their major label home and begin to use TuneCore and other online distributors like it in days to come.