Tunecore CEO Jeff Price Takes On Soundscan

Jeff Price "In 1991, Soundscan launched and shook up the music industry by electronically tracking and reporting weekly music sales based on information reported to it from music retail stores across the country…"

"Labels, managers and artists used the data to leverage MTV, commercial radio, get more record into retail stores, justify marketing and tour budgets, get gigs, create other marketing opportunities or alternately decide that a record was dead."

"It's time to get a new system"

"…TuneCore Arists like Nevershoutnever, Boyce Avenue, Secondhand Serenade, Kelly, Harry & The Potters,  Jesus Culture, and Colt Ford literally sell hundreds of thousands of songs spread over multiple EPs, full length albums and singles.  Should a band that sells 500,000 songs in one month spread across multiple releases be thought of as less successful than a band that sells 50,000 copies of an album in one month?  What about gig and merchandise income?"

"And what about the arbitrary concept of looking at a weeks worth of sales, why not a days, or a months, or a years?  Things are moving much faster. More music is being recorded and released. Music buyers are moving faster too.  Seems to me that the age-old concept of weekly album sales has lost its relevancy."

"It’s time to get a new system that more accurately reflects the new 'IT' and this time, its important not to consolidate the power of the reporting into the hands of one company."

– Jeff Price on the Tunecore blog

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  1. As far as I’m concerned, independent sales numbers are private personal DATA and should be protected the way a bank protects customer information.
    DATA like that can and should be used by the artist and the artist only to make critical decisions. Obviously if you’re partnering with someone who will be investing with you that DATA may have to be shared….but this notion that we must all have that DATA published all the time is not only a violation of privacy but it is also, in the current weekly paradigm, IMMENSELY hurtful if you are trying to build something.

  2. You might have a solid moral point on the privacy issue but it’s not a right in this industry. I would say that’s the price of playing ball. Maybe an artist should have the right to “opt out” but I’d expect more of a negative long term impact than a positive one.
    Traction in an artist’s career is not always a crucial thing to demonstrate but it’s powerful information that can be leveraged. Should artists be able to hide the amount of daily plays they’re getting on myspace and other social network sites? Should iTunes be able to wihthold their sales reports? Maybe, but what’s the impact to the economy and industry in total?
    We have clients, especially in the Film and Advertising market, that expect us to deliver facts on an artist traction in the marketplace. If we can’t deliver that, the artist isn’t going to get their song licensed, no matter how good it is. Again, this is not always the case but happens more frequently then one might imagine.
    I say let the data be shared and lets find away to be more timely and accurate in compiling the information. Sound scan’s model of reporting is outdated and has the danger of skewing the facts. Perhaps Mr. Price is on to something here. We certainly know Tune Core has some detailed data they could report. Here’s to it!

  3. Hey Dummy (Jeff)
    Soundscan has this tool called “artist history” report when you click on a name of an artist after you do a lookup and see an accounting of sales YTD, overall and for each previous year for the artist and each indivu=idual title.
    Shut up about things you don’t understand and pay mechanicals and royalties to all the Spin Art artists you ripped off.

  4. Is it just me, or has Soundscan been a joke for a long time? They like pretending to have a monopoly on information, but there has always been tons of activity they can’t track — DTF at shows/on web, etc. Wheatus has a point about privacy, and the fact is, there’s no verifiable way to track all sales anyway. And then there are a lot of other issues anyway: is $15 for a CD equal to a pay-what-you-want sale? Do promotional downloads count as ‘sales’? How many ‘sales’ is a 2xLP/CD/MP3 boxset worth, or a T-shirt w/ ‘free’ digital EP?
    Jeff says, “Seems to me that the age-old concept of weekly album sales has lost its relevancy.” I’d take that a step further — the concept of using any sort of unit sales as an objective metric has become increasingly pointless.

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