TuneCore Explains Major Price Hike, CD Baby Responds With Discount - hypebot

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Foster Hagey

It's funny how Jeff Price (who is always touting the number of transactions as Tunecore's key metric to sales success) has decided to bundle all of Tunecore's or most of tunecores services into one package. Funny considering that it is iTunes who is a driving force in the legal un-bundling of music products.

What Jeff is showing is that bundling is a key force to driving profits in the music business. Apparently you can't just sell a la carte distribution for $20/year/album. You also have to bundle a bunch of other stuff people didn't really want to pay for with the service as well.

Bundled is better for profits, but nn-bundled is better for customers.

Looks like a TuneCore sale might be on the horizon.

LP

Frankly, as a project manager and producer who has used Tunecore for the past year, $50 per album is a bargain. I would imagine their specific goal here was to weed out acts, not continue to service people who cannot justify $50 for the reach Tunecore buys you...

Mike Tsoh

Tunecore = bankers.

When Tunecore took VC money, well, they had to prepare for a sell or start making money.

Tunecore has no choice but to raise prices.

MadalynSklar

We see this over and over again. The artist friendly company gets their VC money then they're not so artist friendly anymore. The bottom line becomes more important. I've experienced this first hand with several unnamed companies who are reading this. Foster makes a great point, bundling is profitable to a business (even for the artist bundling their merch!). Non-bundled is better for customers, especially in this case and definitely in this economy. That is my personal opinion. But to go a step further and be fair to Tunecore, I will take a poll of my GoGirls community to see what they have to say about this subject. I find it very interesting.

K Sandvik

Tunecore seems to go against all the typical business models of web services where you spend time optimizing and saving money on the back-end and providing more services to the user.

HOLLYISCO

I wonder what the TuneCore "per user acquisition and retention" cost is, and whether that cost has increased since inception, or decreased? Does anybody know? I, too, also thought that maybe the higher distribution (bundling) fee was an attempt to "weed out" artists or acts that could not sustain the $50 per album premium, possibly in a further attempt to mainstream TuneCore as "the" Digital Distribution outlet; akin to the fact that if you study the Billboard and iTunes charts today, more than ever before the biggest sellers and stars are part of a half-dozen companies (labels, big management) who have a very tight grip on the music industry. Everyone thought that the net and digital music delivery was going to change all that, but the reality is they appear to have a tighter grip than ever before. The corporate structure has a stranglehold on all the profits and TuneCore appears to be falling in line. We know from a recent DMN post that the average TuneCore artist makes $178.57 per year. Not much and now even less. Kathleen Blackwell | HOLLYISCO.com | ROCKSTOCKxchge.com

david

i have a hard time seeing much to complain about. obviously, an artist selling any decent quantity of music is better off with a flat fee than a percentage, even if it's $50.

Chancius

Coming from someone who owns and operates their own small business I would definitely say that having to pay a percentage is better than paying a flat rate. Why? Because sales ebb & flow ALL the time, day to day, week to week. Having to pay a flat rate could really hurt if your sales are bad and trust me, I don't care who you are, sooner or later you're going to have poor sales. It's just how reality works. The other problem with paying flat rates is that it's justified because of the bundling. When you bundle, you're forcing your customers to pay for things they don't need or perhaps want and that's taking advantage. In fact, when you sell more than one thing to a person the right thing to do is to give them a DISCOUNT for buying more things! Not only are they helping you out for purchasing more, but you're also showing good ethics and giving them a deal will make them want to come back and purchase MORE from you! The seller appreciates the business AND the customer appreciates the business.

So comparing Tunecore to CDBaby (which about doing the same thing - distributing your music on the internet for sale) why would musicians (who are mostly a starving bunch) go with a company that automatically costs them more by making them pay for things they don't necessarily want or need (Tunecore) when you could go with the one that costs you less and isn't trying to take advantage of their customers (CDBaby)?

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

Photobucket

KB

I think the one thing that is always missing from this conversation is the idea of infinite shelf space on the internet. I think people tend to think about one album over the traditional life of the album. In that sense, $50 a year might now sound that much. The life of the album is about two years and then it's gone. That's the old school way of thinking.

With the internet, there is no reason why the entire artist catalog can't sit on the shelf forever. That's where the annual fee starts to really add up. As an artist builds a catalog of albums, it can start to cost hundreds of dollars just to make their catalog available for sale. I think artists should plan for the long tail as the days of making a pile of money right at the beginning of a release are slipping away. Music is about ongoing discovery and availability.

tippysdemise

Why would Price want to weed out acts? His business model is based on a shotgun approach. The quality of the content and actual sales of their artists are of no concern to Tunecore (the latter of which helps to explain why they add new stores so infrequently and service so few of them - and now that they aren't charging per store, they have about zero incentive to expand to additional retailers and markets).

That said, Tunecore is the best deal out there for the vast majority of artists.

Also, somewhat related to all this - why does Itunes insist on wiping all reviews of albums that switch digital distributors? Seems like bad business for Itunes and great for distributors in the sense that they can use it to keep bands locked in.

NURREDIN

I can't believe there are people here complaining about Tunecore's $50.00 fee! Have you tried to get your indie release placed in Wal-Mart,or Best Buy or Target? You ain't getting anywhere with either of them. For struggling bands and small record companies,this is the best way to go try to get support for your release. if you don't have $50.00 to put your album up you might as well quit right now!

Peter Lawless

That is horrible advice. Don't quit just bc you don't have 50 bucks! Go to cdbaby.com!!!

David Brooke

Guys? Why go through either of them when you should go through Venzo Music? They'll get your music up on iTunes without any upfront fees + they give you access to upload to iTunes DIRECTLY!!!

Check this out! http://www.youtube.com/itunesdistribution

MadalynSklar

I don't see how anyone can justify an increase from $19.99 to $49.99 a year as reasonable for many indie artists. I think it's outrageous, especially in this economy. And as KB points out, $50 per album per year adds up. ReverbNation's $34.95/yr is a better alternative. Watching Brian's video is going to get people over to CD Baby too. I work with tons of indie artists who have put out more than one record. Some with large catalogs. I don't see them paying this much. I believe most would rather get their music online at an affordable rate vs pay extra for the "34 improvements" made at Tunecore.

TM101 Radio

ReverbNation is where my money would go..$34.95 and they don't take any percentage like CDBABY does..and for that price you get Distro in ALL the Major online retailers..so definitely the best option around IMO..I wish someone would do a comparison chart of the 3 services and maybe any other service out there to be a SOLID go to source for Indie musicians looking for online distro..

Nonsense

CD Baby is the first and the best distribution option for indies. The others are just trying to ride their coattails. I've been using CD Baby for more than 10 years now.

Altavozdistroco

While all of that is interesting if you want to have your products in these things called stores and be part of something we like to call the entertainment biz then consider IndependentEntertainmentDistribuiton.com

Not that we don't like online our company has been online since 1995 and our legal cloud (downloads/streams) will help you go from clicks to bricks.

We have to ask....Why not sell to both and considering that physical is still 70% of the money ~ it seems pretty silly to forgo it. btw name one download star with a Grammy.

TuneCore

@ Chancius

I hear what you are saying, and I respect it. I am in no way going to tell you that your needs, wants and opinions are wrong, they are yours, and therefore by default they are right.

On my side, I just have a fundamental different philosophy - due to technology, I do not think any artist should be denied access to distribution nor do I think they should have to give up any rights or revenue from the sale of their music to get it.

I understand that you disagree and believe it better for an artist to pay both an upfront fee, give up a % of what they sell and settle for a lower quality service in return for access to distribution, I just disagree.

TuneCore is simply the best in the world at what it does.

There is a reason why it is TuneCore customers that:

- appear more often in the iTunes charts,
- make more money;
- sell more music;
- get live faster;
- get more transparent and accurate accounting
- have more ways to get their money more quickly

I believe artists deserve the best, we should never ever sacrifice quality.

I also believe I should not take rights or any additional money from the sale of the music to be "motivated" to have TuneCore do its job of marketing and promoting artists.

And as the market changes, I will build the changes necessary to continue to be the best in the world at what we do.

The reason I believe what I do is based on my experiences running my label for about 20 years. I believed in every single of the 230+ releases and I artists I signed and released. I did not think for a second that any of them would not sell. But the reality is, most did not take off, my label had the same hit to miss ratio as all other indie labels. Yes, we released successes like The Pixies, Apples In Stereo, The Dears and Clem Snide, but we also released The Technical Jed, Apollo Sunshine, Kaito, Head Of Femur and many others that, sadly, despite all of our marketing efforts, very few people bought.

It's this experience that shaped my philosophy - I believe in what I released. I believed in the bands, I was not banking on failure, I was striving for success. I had the unrealistic expectation that each and every release and artist I worked with and released on my label deserved to be famous and would be. I strived for it and it upset me personally when I could not achieve the goal I set out to achieve for the artist.

I started TuneCore based with this deep fundamental philosophy and therefore I do not believe an artist should make decisions based on thinking they will fail.

I am also very sensitive to selling snake oil - that is, TuneCore is not going to make anyone a star, only the music can do that. And the truth is as you state, there are many more artists selling less than artists selling more.

But still, the idea that you go out and play a gig, sleep on a floor, eat ramen and someone sees you play and buys your music and you have to pay some other company % of the sale just seems so wrong to me. Like you are working for them. Or the same goes when you upload a video to YouTube and it takes off, or work your butt off friending people, or blogging etc. The idea that some third party gets a piece of each and every sale just is wrong to me.

I am by no means suggesting TuneCore is not a business, it is. And it does charge a flat fee for a service, but I feel I can look someone in the eye honestly when I do that, not when I take a piece of what they make when their music sells. In the digital world, I just don't believe I have a right to do that. I just think that's wrong.

Take the White Stripes as another example, they had a number of back catalog albums out via an indie label before they became international super stars. The idea that some third party company got to make an unlimited amount of money off the sale of the music on the old albums because V2 and the band worked their butts off is just plain wrong to me.

So I changed the model, I went flat fee and you get what you pay for with no hooks left in you in the event you succeed.

Sell your music not your soul.

That's the model I believe in and that's why I started TuneCore.

I don't believe in pre-assuming artists are going to fail, and I don't believe when you have success others should be able to claw away as much as they can because you bet wrong. I also dont believe any artist should settle for anything but the best. These are your songs, you deserve the best there is for them.

I just will not approach things wishing you success, but not more than x% off the back-end. And I will not sacrifice quality, these are your song, they deserve the best there is.

There is a reason TuneCore is the leader in music distribution, and I do understand that from time to time others will invest more in marketing campaigns then improvements to their system, that's just not how we work.

jeff price
TuneCore

Greg

I don't understand the price rise, The distributor I'm with, Valleyarm, only costs $20 a year.

Chancius

@ TuneCore

We all know that about 99% of independent artists who list new music on the Internet hardly make anything off of it. Being in the business as long as you have, then you especially know it. Their older albums will have the same percentage of sales, too. So yes, your service IS the more expensive one for indie artists to use.

Oh, and your reference to the White Stripes... so just because they were able to sign to a bigger label does that mean that their previous one didn't work hard for them? I would say yes since they were able to get signed to V2 which saw their success with the smaller one. I would go as far and say that that first label DID deserve to see some revenue from their continued success since they HELPED them get there in the first place.

Frankly, I think the reason my comment got such a lengthy, defensive response shows that you know what I'm saying makes too much sense and is really correct in it's assessment of the situation. TuneCore is without a doubt taking advantage of their customers.

Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

Danny

I think the VC angle is more the reason for the price increase, not weeding out the chaff. VC's don't just hand you money and let you go do your thing. They now run the show. Tunecore takes your money upfront. If your album is a dud as most will be regardless, they still make out. Its not like it costs them hundreds of dollars to maintain an act on the site, after charging you only $19.99. That said $50 is still a bargain. The only problem is, for those broke artists out there, the 250% increase will be a shocker. Its like gas prices.

jeff price

@Chancius

I understand that for some, quick "sound bites" of information is preferred.

That's just not the way TuneCore works. No matter how complex the information, we think its important that artists get it all. For example, all artists should understand the six legal rights they get the moment they create a song. It is these six rights that drive the entire music industry (more on that can be found on the TuneCore blog).

With this information you can choose to make decisions armed with knowledge.

For example, your framing of the White Stripes situation is not correct. That is, a label controls the copyright to the recording of the songs by the White Stripes. Compare this to a distributor that places a CD on a shelf, they are two different things.

I do not believe that any distributor that simply places a digital file on iTunes hard drive should make an unlimited amount of money from the sale of the music. I do believe the White Stripes and record label should as long as it follows the terms in the contract they have together.

I am not certain how to convince you to read the information but its absolutely vital that you understand the six legal copyrights. This way, if you do choose to give up money from the sale of your music for placing your song on Apple's hard drive, you can understand what rights and/or money you are giving up.

Artists should have the ability to keep all their rights, get every penny of the money from the sale of their music, have access to distribution and have the best possible team and system working for them. The days of only having access to distribution by working for someone else are over. There is now choice.

The insistence that artists should bet on failing is just not something I subscribe to.

Jeff


Hannah

I switched from Tunecore to Zimbalam a while ago! If your not happy then switch!

e

Why not ask Jeff Price about his more than shady accounting problems with his former company SpinArt? Why anyone trusts this guy to keep to his word or anything else is beyond me.

MadalynSklar

Well said. I agree with your philosophy about artist rights, revenue and distribution. I know you care about the indie artist, Jeff. But raising your annual fee by 150% was quite drastic. I know you feel you're doing the right thing, but many of us don't see it that way.

VenzoMusic

Although I am more in favor of the percentage model, I think this issue was a bold, yet unprecedented move on TuneCore.

While I strongly agree with Jeff that no artist should be denied access to distribution, I have to disagree with his comments in regards to a percentage based model.

Don't get me wrong, I think what Jeff and Peter did with TuneCore is truly a masterpiece. They, like myself and CD Baby have really brought real innovation to the industry. I also would say that I do respect Jeff's opinions, viewpoint and his philosophies. That being said, I honestly don't see why artist should pay any flat fees in exchange to have their music on iTunes.

Base on recent study that an average TuneCore user only makes $178 a year, it is apparent that flat flee models may prove to be more expensive short term & long term than a percentage model. Many reasons could be due to high maintenance cost in hosting the albums on their servers, implementation and deployment on features (as this was practically the case), and of course maintaining the systems.


There are many reasons why I believe a straight-forward percentage based model works is the following:

1.) Its sustainable long-term.
2.) Provides investments to both the artist and the distributor
3.) Sales can be use to re-invest in distribution systems based on customer feedback (i.e. What do the customer really want? And how do we give it to them?).
4.) No increase in prices. Everything remains the same.
5.) Customers don't have to worry about using their credit cards to pay a distributor for renewal fees. Everything is already taken out. The artists are paid, distributors are paid, everyone stays happy.

Now here is where things gets juicy. Lets say for example an artist made $50,000 in a year with 50 albums. It is clear to say that through a flat fee distributor (charging $49.99 per year) they only have to pay $2,500 out of the deal as oppose to $10,000 (from a distributor taking 20% out of the back-end). Seems like a lot of cash right?

Now ask yourself this question: Would it be easier to give a distributor $10,000 to ensure that they are in business long-term? In which they could utilize the funding to not only improve their systems but also their marketing efforts?

OR

Would it be easier to pay $2,500 and hoping that other users are paying the same amount to keep them in business long-term?

Now lets be more realistic. Say an average artist makes $178 a year off of one album. A flat fee company would take $50 while a percentage base company would only take $35.60 (20% taken out).

Overall, I would say that the core function of a business is to make money. Whether or not the model will work in anyone's favor is his or hers own opinion.

Kevin Rivers
CEO, Venzo Music (VMG)
Twitter: @kevin_rivers
http://www.youtube.com/itunesdistribution

Free Music Exposure

Out of curiosity I ran some numbers in a spreadsheet to compare 1st and 2nd year costs for Tunecore and CDBaby. Just a basic breakdown - I recognize there's other costs to account for too and there's more to it - but here you go:

Assuming you sell an album for $15
And first and second year sales of 200 copies each year

Year 1
Volume: 200 copies
Revenue: $3,000.00

CDBaby Cost: $309.00
Profit w/ CDBaby: $2,691.00

TuneCore Cost: $49.99
Profit w/ TuneCore: $2,950.01

Year 2
Volume: 200 copies
Revenue: $3,000.00

CDBaby Cost: $270.00
Profit w/ CDBaby: $2,730

TuneCore Cost: $49.99
Profit w/ TuneCore: $2,950.01

Once you're selling more than a handful of albums a year TuneCore's costs are more competitive. BUT, both companies offer different features so you have to decide if the services you get from CDBaby are worth the higher cost to you.

I think Jeff Price has a point about the % of sales model. Its like a credit card finance charge attached to your music. HOWEVER, I also don't think you can look at it strictly based on cost.

JP

Tunecore should have an "EP rate" in between singles and albums.

And maybe a yearly fee option (similar to Songcast) so new artists can release multiple EPs and singles without accruing a ton of yearly fees in their first few "startup" years of business.

It's certainly been debatable whether the full-length album will be around for much longer, and this years "Music from the cloud" options from Google, Amazon, and soon Apple will shake up the music industry even more. Tunecore's new pricing plan digs it's heels into the old music distribution model (the yearly full-length album release) and will prevent fledgling Tunecore artists from experimenting with new music strategies such as releasing tracks and EPs with more frequency versus waiting a whole year to release tracks. I understand the need to stay profitable given the large amount of artists using Tunecore resources, but a "one size fits all" pricing plan leaves something to be desired...

Brian Hazard

I don't understand all this "bet on failing" stuff. CD Baby and TuneCore simply have different pricing models. It's hard for me to attach a moral judgment to that, but Jeff apparently found a way to frame the argument that works for him. Personally, I don't see any difference between the two services in terms of ethics, rights, or access.

I've been with CD Baby since it launched and have never seen any reason to switch, even under TuneCore's previous pricing scheme. With 10 albums in digital distribution, TuneCore would now cost me $500 a year. I'd have to sell $5600 to match that fee at CD Baby's 9%. Looking back, I may have even hit that mark some years, but I still prefer the percentage model because:

1. I can take a year off, or even call it quits, and my albums will continue to be distributed on current and future services without my lifting a finger or paying a penny.

2. No bills to pay! A $500 annual payment would be painful and force some tough decisions with my early material. With CD Baby, I simply don't have to worry about it. I paid my one-time $35 fee, so there's no reason not to leave the material up (beyond simple embarrassment ;).

3. Security. CD Baby's 9% has never changed, and it's been around the longest. They've never pulled a shocker like this 150% price increase, and I doubt they ever will.

Brian Hazard

Free Music Exposure, your math is off, beginning with your opening assumption. Albums are sold at $10, not $15. The artist doesn't receive 100% of that though. iTunes pays 70%. With that in mind, following through on your 200 sales for two years:

Year 1
Volume: 200 copies
Revenue: $1400

CD Baby Cost: $156
Profit w/CD Baby: $1244

TuneCore Cost: $50
Profit w/TuneCore: $1350

Year 2
Volume: 200 copies
Revenue: $1400

CD Baby Cost: $126
Profit w/CD Baby: $1274

TuneCore Cost: $50
Profit w/TuneCore: $1250

Realistically though, you're going to sell a lot less the second year, and hopefully more the first.

From year two on, the fees match at around 80 albums at $7. In other words, if you're selling more than 80 albums, TuneCore is less expensive. Less than 80 albums, CD Baby is less expensive. If you calculate the fees over 5 or 10 years, it's a no-brainer.

Brian Hazard

Oops, the 2nd year profit with TuneCore is $1350. Let's call that a "typo."

Charles Alexander

Yeah, TuneCore can do whatever the market and their customers can or want to support. CDBaby is still a legit option. BuT I think I'm gonna check out what DittoMusic has to offer as well. They're now right here in Nash.

MadalynSklar

Great points, Brian! Makes perfect sense.

p

There's always Valleyarm. iTunes only singles from AU$1 with annual fees of just AU$20. www.valleyarm.com.

Dick Rodgers

Venzo Music is by far the BEST service around! No upfront fees and I keep 80% of my sales on iTunes!

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/itunesdistribution

Metaform

Major point you make here. We get locked in with the service who delivers us. I just spoke to CD Baby about their 'switch' offer, they too have to 're-deliver' the music which means all comments/reviews are lost, this is a major bug in the system.

Metaform

Jeff,
You should have notified us first, sent out an announcement, as any honest and decent company would do. A price hike should be transparent, not hidden. We members of the new music biz have come to expect honesty from the new gatekeepers, not the same tactics as the old. $50/year is a small drop in the bucket for many of us, but this price hike was a betrayal of trust, which for any man of his word is simply not acceptable.

TuneCore

@Metaform

I absolutely agree with you.

I wanted to assure TuneCore customers know about these changes; we updated our homepage, put the pricing on each release page, put up a blog posting and sent out multiple direct one to one emails to TuneCore customers about the changes. We thought this would be the best way to communicate the upgrades and changes. If you did not notified, we should have done better. Please make sure to contact us directly as its important to us that you have all the information you should.

Jeff

Anonymous

Artists who can't sell enough music to make more money using TuneCore's model than they can using CD Baby's model should re-think their career choice.

Ron

Unfortunately I think I'm one of the artists who will be weeded out by this 150% price jump. 58% of my sales on TuneCore are through Amazon anyway, and Amazon lets artists sell direct through their site now for per-transaction fees, if I remember reading correctly. I'm not interested in the bundled "extras" Tunecore is adding to try and justify the cost. When I started with Tunecore there wasn't many other options but it sounds like things have opened up since then. Companies like Venzo sound like a better option for keeping my stuff on iTunes. I just wish I wasn't losing my reviews and ratings on iTunes, that's a serious bummer.

Mark

I was wondering when it went to $50/year. I just saw that a couple days ago on the sidebar, and my first thought was "What the heck?!?"

My after thoughts are these:

I just released my second album with Tunecore, while my first album is still with CD Baby.

If you are a touring band, like myself, Tunecore is still a better deal than CD Baby in the short term. As long as you sell $500/year digitally, you come out ahead. That said, it's generally your most recent release that you sell the most, and even being optimistic, I don't expect my second album to make over $500 for more than 5 years from now.

I do much prefer Tunecore to CD Baby as far as interface and information go, and the Trend Reports are extremely helpful for knowing how different marketing avenues are working or not working.

Tunecore, here is a thought for you:

Taper off the annual fees as time goes on. Maybe $50 a year at first, then 45, 40, 35... etc down to 5 or free. By that time you will have made hundreds off of each album that surely must cover your admin costs and keep your VC happy, but it won't be sticking it to me in 2035 when I have 20 CDs in your catalog making me maybe $100/year. Just a thought.

Or better yet, have a $50/year per album, OR a $100/year unlimited upkeep or something of the sort.

And thanks for the free trend reports.

tippysdemise

Excellent post, Brian.

Tunecore appears to be doubling down on the moral judgment argument:

http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/05/a-love-letter-from-the-back-end-model.html

Lucy Kalantari

Jeff,

I'm extremely disappointed with the TuneCore pricing changes. While these changes will work just fine for your top sellers--like Trent Reznor, NIN, The Beastie Boys and some of your other awesome artists now on TuneCore--this will be very difficult to sustain for those of us who have a catalog that sells just enough to make back existing TuneCore fees.

It's hard to reconcile the price hike knowing how many independent artists are signed up and it seems as if you wanted to weed out the TuneCore catalog. Maybe having too many stagnant albums hurt more than you're leading to us to believe. Maybe this is supposed to be a motivator for the artists. Or maybe, your new business model is to rid the smaller acts, and fill your roster with more successful and bigger artists.

What is it exactly that TuneCore is offering here? Where is this marketing & promotion that's promised? And will TuneCore still do "marketing & promotion" for each and every one of those old albums? If I'm paying the same price for the old titles as I am for new ones, I would sure expect nothing less.

Yes, the price is still less than the total of having 1000 CD's made and I don't have to store them in my apartment. Honestly, that's what made me fall in love with TuneCure back at the beginning. I told all of my friends about it! "Save space! Go digital!" But now…"don't release more than 2 albums unless you know for sure you can sell enough to at least break even!"

TuneCore had instilled a sense of INDEPENDENT ARTIST POWER! It didn't matter whether I sold 10 albums one year or 1000. TuneCore still made their money by taking my yearly fees--in manageable microtransactions-- and I was ok with it, because spending $7.98, $9.99 or, hell, even $19.99 was worth it!

But now you've shifted into a price paradigm where at every renewal I will have to stop and think whether or not it's worth doing again. It's at that questionable price where it's not quite "inexpensive" anymore.

So yes, I'm disappointed. And I will have to take my albums down one by one as they expire, like sad, dying flies ready for the winter.

-Luciar (TuneCore member since January, 2006)

Scott

From my own experience, I don't agree that a percentage is best. According to what I have read in these posts, I am like most TuneCore customers, selling just a couple hundred downloads a month. But to my surprise, when two songs from a recent release went crazy with over 6,000 downloads in two months, I was very happy to see 100% of that revenue! Now if I could just figure out what went so right, and do it again... :)

Not to mention the huge improvements in sales tracking and accounting that TuneCore has provided recently. While I agree that the percentage of the price increase is quite high, I do feel they provide a great value!

KINGJULEUS

It’s not that tunecore offers a bad service(infact Tunecore
is GREAT), it’s how these executives sit around a
table and say how can we make more money from this model.
They increased the price 150%, and 99% of the artists
do not benefit by the New things they have added.
I understand $50.00 is not really a lot of
money(that’s not the point)
it’s communication and professionalism that the
customers of tunecore are looking for.
WHY DIDN”T YOU LET US KNOW?

KINGJULEUS

Jordan

I Agree. Technology, through all its benefits, has made the quality of music available to the public suffer and artist development all but disappear. Itunes was an advocate of quality until Tunecore opened the backdoor. Im thinking its more politics than greed.

Justin Boland

I had no idea iTunes was doing that, thank you for the heads-up.

Justin Boland

This is great advice. Two twenties and a ten, real simple bet that you can sell at least a dozen copies of your album -- if you won't put money on that, well...you can't quit cuz you never started.

sameasfyou

Tunecore is a ripoff totally. I love the CDBaby model. Tunecore is revealed as the ripoff joke it is. I have been railing about this for some time. Tunecore is for suckers and they are a bunch of greedy wall street banking money changers.

sameasfyou

Every pro-Tunecore comment is ghost written by Tunecore employee clowns and sycophants trying to confuse the issue.

Tunecore's model is to rip off people in the front end, and have them drop out down the line as prices go up. I wrote a comment a couple of months ago which referred to Tunecore's Terms of Service which allowed annual fees to rise at their discretion. See what you suckers who signed up for Tunecore got for your money? Nothing!

Tunecore = TOTAL RIPOFF

BOYCOTT THIS RIPOFF COMPANY!

I continue to be a fan of CDBaby and their transparency. They are good people to deal with. Tunecore is made up of greedy New Jersey/New York banker types - cousins of the Wall Street community that ripped off the country and pays politicians not to prosecute them. Let's support a good company like CD Baby! (no I have no affiliation except I'm a happy customer who saw Tunecore's ripoff potential right away. Luckily, I have not given one nickel to TuneCORPS.)

Justin Boland

Not really...since they don't have a career.

Justin Boland

No, they're just not. Tunecore ==> Guitar Center ==> Bain Captial.

Bet you didn't even know Mitt Romney was involved, huh?

CD Baby is owned by Disc Makers, which actually IS owned by New Jersey/New York banker types, but you obvious didn't know that either. It's all good, it's the internet, right? Just type some shit.

Chris

Jeff I currently use tunecore. But will not be anymore, And I'll tell you why. I believe the fair thing to do is to pay a one time only fee for digital distribution. No yearly, No percentange per sell. Nothing more. Can you please explain why do you charge a yearly fee. Because one's you place the music with the digital retailer is done. Thats it your job is basically done. What is it that you have to do all over again every year, that I should repay for you to renew it. It makes no sence. It sounds like a fucking scam. And Im pissed.

TuneCore

@chris

our job is to serve you - to that end:

- store your music and art,
- make certain you are getting you money and accounting (and chase up anyone who is not paying - and believe me wer have to for some stores)
- do a daily manual ingest of iTunes trending reports to compile and the have them go into each account,
- review every release going through our system to assure no one else is stealing your songs and/or recording of your song (we have a whole team whose soul job it is is to protect your copyrights)
- negotiate with and set the technology and infrastructure up with new stores so you can have your music delivered to them
- deal with the stores that are shutting down (it can be messy and we want to make certain you get your money
- re-deliver your songs and music to the stores you are already being distributed to as they change what they need
- add new opt ins within TuneCore to accommodate the stores new features,
- modify/update the art creation tool (we provide free album and full CD art)
- modify and update the streaming media players
- modify and update the accounting system and display of your info
- set up streams and information collection on the streams through the TuneCore media player,
- answer any questions you have via email or phone and now Twitter
- make any changes to your metadata (i.e. album title, song title, artwork etc),
- set up requested Artist Ping pages or any new types of things that the stores launch in the future,
- hire staff and create a system and process to send out weekly marketing and promotion tip sheets in an attempt to get TuneCore artists places and features,
- reach out to customers with the marketing opportunities and pre-clear songs for inclusion on free download albums
- and a lot more

for example, we recently closed a deal wit YouTube that will allow you to make money off the advertising if your recording or song is any YouTube video

We now have to build a new customer experience to collect and provide the information YouTube would like as well as create a FAQ and educate the artist support staff on all the nuances so we can answer all questions

We also have to build tech to tie into their API so we can pull out marketing info and then build a way for that display for you within your TuneCore account

Next up I am suspecting will be Apple/iTunes - the rumor mills are out there as to a possible streaming model

If this happens, we then need to see what changes will be made to the accounting side - that is, we need an automated way to ingest and display the accounting and if they make any changes to the way they report we need to build or modify existing systems to allow this to happen

Then there are the incremental staff hires - for example, the new Executive Vice President Of Brand & Business Development we hired (your can read more on him here - http://www.shorefire.com) - his sole purpose at TuneCore is to get our artists deals with brands.

Then there are the new technical style guides from the digital stores - some are changing how they want information sent to them which means we need to change the way things are delivered - rebuild what we already built as they changed they way they want to do business.

This list can go on and on - but that's the gist.

TuneCore

@lucy

just to make certain you have the correct info

We tried to lower prices for the first year and added the new features

no more $7.98 extra a month for weekly iTunes trend reports (moving to daily shortly)

no more $1.98 per month for additional TuneCore media players (get 25 for free now)

no more $1.98 for al-la-carte trend reports

no more charges per song or per store when initially distributing your release

no additional charge for marketing and promotion

Lower prices on pre-buys of 5 and up (discounts of up to 14%)

On year two and forward, keep all the new things free, and change the price by a total of $2.50 a month

everything else stays the same.

Ron

What if we don't want any of those things? If I'm not using and not interested in all the trend reports and media players, then why should I pay 150% higher prices for exactly the same product as I was getting before? I just wanted a reliable digital distributor to put my stuff on iTunes, Amazon and some of the other stores you offered. I was very happy with the "old" Tunecore pricing and setup. Staying with Tunecore now when other companies charge the old price for doing the same thing no longer makes sense to me.

To be honest I'm still holding on to the hope that you'll offer a different tier of pricing plan for those who are doing this as an enjoyable and marginally profitable hobby and not expecting to become the next NIN or White Stripes. At least then I could keep my iTunes ratings and reviews by staying with your company.

TuneCore

@ron


We view as our job to work for you and your music.  Not only be the be the best in the world at what we do, but also constantly improve the system based on what is occurring in the market.  


To that end, not only should you have the best most reliable system in the world with the most accurate accounting and fastest live times, but the TuneCore team is your staff, we work for you.  To that end we also:

-  store your music and art

- make certain you are getting you money and accounting (and chase up anyone who is not paying - and believe me wer have to for some stores)

-  do a daily manual ingest of iTunes trending reports to compile and the have them go into each account

- review every release going through our system to assure no one else is stealing your songs and/or recording of your song (we have a whole team whose soul job it is is to protect your copyrights)

- negotiate with and set the technology and infrastructure up with new stores so you can have your music delivered to them

- deal with the stores that are shutting down  (it can be messy and we want to make certain you get your money)

- re-deliver your songs and music to the stores you are already being distributed to as they change what they need

- add new opt ins within TuneCore to accommodate the stores new features

- modify/update the art creation tool (we provide free album and full CD art)

- modify and update the streaming media players

- modify and update the accounting system and display of your info

- set up streams and information collection on the streams through the TuneCore media player

- answer any questions you have via email or phone and now Twitter

- make any changes to your metadata (i.e. album title, song title, artwork etc)

- set up requested Artist Ping pages or any new types of things that the stores launch in the future

- hire staff and create a system and process to send out weekly marketing and promotion tip sheets in an attempt to get TuneCore artists places and features

- reach out to customers with the marketing opportunities and pre-clear songs for inclusion on free download albums
- and a lot more

for example, we recently closed a deal wit YouTube that will allow you to make money off the advertising if your recording or song is in any YouTube video

We now have to build a new arrtist experience to collect and provide the information YouTube would like as well as create a FAQ and educate the artist support staff on all the nuances so we can answer all questions

We also have to build tech to tie into their API so we can pull out marketing info and then build a way for that display for you within your TuneCore account

Next up I am suspecting will be Apple/iTunes - the rumor mills are out there as to a possible streaming model

If this happens, we then need to see what changes will be made to the accounting side - that is, we need an automated way to ingest and display the accounting and if they make any changes to the way they report we need to build or modify existing systems to allow this to happen

Then there are the incremental staff hires - for example, the new Executive Vice President Of Brand & Business Development we hired (your can read more on him here - http://www.shorefire.com/index.php?a=pressrelease&o=4990) - his sole purpose at TuneCore is to get our artists deals with brands.

Then there are the new technical style guides from the digital stores - some are changing how they want information sent to them which means we need to change the way things are delivered - rebuild what we already built as they changed they way they want to do business.  

This list goes on but thats the gist.


In other words, we are a team that exists solely to work for you - I do understand we have to be a fit for you.  I truly hope we can earn that right.


jeff

TuneCore

Hey Chris,


Can you send us an email from the email address on your TuneCore account to either support@tunecore.com or @tunecoresupport (our twitter account) so we look into this for you?

Thank you

Jah Mike

Long tail fails to account for the huge amount of new music being released every week. I see more than 2300 new releases every week. The long tails is buried under layers of new music and more coming out each week. The proliferation of new music pushes the long tail revenues far below any chance of sustainability.

Long tail theory works only if you do not account for new music flooding the market.

Tom

I appreciate what you are doing, Jeff. Thank you.

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t is the combination of these two simultaneous disruptions that have provoked the growth of hard-discount stores. It is also these disruptions that blinded their competitors and delayed their reaction.

Nathan Shirley

The issue I have with Tunecore is they bait-and-switch, at least they did back when I signed up. They said nothing of an annual fee so when comparing to CDBaby, it would seem Tunecore was the way to go (unless you wanted to sell a physical CD, in which case CDBaby would be the way to go). I signing up for CDbaby for physical sales and Tunecore for digital. But then after you plug in all your info and upload all your tracks, which is very time consuming (Tunecore's servers suck for this and customer support is almost non-existent), they then tell you that, oh, by the way, they will also charge $20 every year. And now it's $50 every year.

If you have nice strong sales, you will still come out ahead using Tunecore (depending on how strong those sales are). But I don't trust a fairly young company using bait-and-switch tactics AND THEN raising rates so drastically.

In the end it isn't a matter of value, it's a matter of trust. Tunecore reminds me of a credit card company...

Nathan Shirley

Correction- I paid $50 to sign up with Tunecore, not $20.

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