VOTE: Should Musicians Leave Tunecore?

image from www.hypebot.comSince it’s inception, Tunecore has paid more than $300 million directly to indie and d.i.y. musicians. So it was big news when co-founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells abruptly exited the company. In the weeks that followed, there has been no explanation or statement of future plans from Tunecore. Yesterday, Wells was the first to break the silence with an exclusive Hypebot interview. What do you think of the changes? Should artists pull out of Tunecore? VOTE HERE:

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  1. I believe that when two founders including the CE0 exit abruptly and the company does not issue a statement and/or name new leadership, it’s cause for concern. Not panic… but real concern.

  2. I think Tunecore artists are in a tough spot. If they switch aggregators, all of their reviews & iTunes Genius data will be zero’d out and they’d be starting from scratch. So they’re a bit trapped and kinda HAVE to stay with Tunecore. This is why my heart just broke for Tunecore indie artists when Tunecore jacked up their prices so much: the artists couldn’t walk away and find a more competitive deal, because they’d lose any momentum that they had gained in the iTunes store. All of that iTunes Genius data that was collected and attached to their albums, that would result in other uses getting the “people who like ____ also liked __(tunecore artist)” message — gone.
    This is something that isn’t talked about enough: that if you switch aggregators, the lights get turned off on iTunes and then turned back on. And when they get turned back on, you’re at zero: it’s a clean slate. And it takes a lot of time to rebuild that extremely valuable Genius data and to accumulate reviews and ratings again.
    A great story idea would be “why can’t iTunes keep data attached to an album or artist account, independent of the aggregator that distributes it.” The concept is an easy one, but the iTunes ivory tower is a tough nut to crack.

  3. Because they don’t WANT to have to keep track of artists and labels jumping ship every time they move to a different label, or hire an aggregator, or switch aggregators when a better deal comes along, or replace aggregators when another one goes tits up, or ditch aggregators altogether and go direct. It’s a data integrity nightmare.

  4. A lot of them already are leaving TuneCore, you just don’t see it happening (as far as the press goes). The majority of them are going to ADEDistribution just because they have the best business model for independent artists right not.
    The CEO of ADEDistribution (Makell Bird) mentioned on his Twitter/FaceBook that he actually received a letter from Jeff Price (ousted CEO of TuneCore) congratulating him on ADEDistribution.
    As far as TuneCore’s marketing strategies a lot of people have been unhappy with them for a long time. Remember when they raised their prices? My point exactly. Go to just about any message board where they are talking about TuneCore and COUNT the number of unhappy people

  5. Point blank, if you aren’t an ALREADY established person in the distribution business and if you don’t have a huge catalog to distribute, it’s almost impossible to get an account like that with itunes. Even if you do that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a deal with any other stores.
    Have you checked out ADEDistribution yet?

  6. I dont like Tunecore but ADE distribution looks complete crap
    Have u not got better things to do than post under false names every time someone else is mentioned?
    Most companies have marketing budgets , i guess you dont

  7. ADE Distribution is a scam! Their owner Makell Bird is known for ripping off artists. His site even looks shady. Who would sign up for a service that’s using blogger?
    If you want service stick to Tunecore or go with RouteNote as they are way better than ADE Distribution.

  8. Larry are you kidding me? ADE looks like crap! Just judging by their site and owner (Makell Bird), this site is a definite scam!
    The site uses Blogger (which looks cheap and crappy). They also claim that they are cheaper than any other distributor but really they are just trying to scam artists of their hard work and money.
    People be smart and go with RouteNote, TuneCore, or CD Baby instead of ADE Distribution!

  9. Sorry for posting this in two threads 😉

    I respectfully challenge TuneCore, to counter the new competition coming soon from Music Spray, by waiving all annual fees for releases making under $500 annually. This would ensure Indies won’t pay more than 10% of their annual royalties in fees. In addition, this one small change, which should be fairly easy to implement, would accomplish the following 3 Things:
    1) Kindle more love and admiration from the “little guy”
    Let’s be frank, most Indies will not receive over $500 on one release, in one year, let alone year after year for the same release. By offering to waive the annual fee, on any release that doesn’t earn $500 in a calendar year says, “We Love You Indies!” I am no tax lawyer, but I believe TuneCore could possibly write off this magnanimous gesture as lost revenue, because they are waiving or forgiving a reoccurring yearly debt.
    2) Permanent Music Catalog for all
    Most small Indies enjoy telling their family and friends, they have their music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. How embarrassing it is for them to tell them later, their music is no longer on iTunes, because they couldn’t afford to pay the “rent” on their albums. More man hours are required to manually remove music from the stores, than to let it sit permanently on their infinite virtual shelves. If TuneCore waives all annual fees for releases making under $500 annually, they will by default create a Permanent Music Catalog, just like CD Baby. Imagine, a 70 year old grandfather, watching with pride in eyes, as his grandson “discovers” on Spotify, Grandpa’s old college band from 2012. Yes, TuneCore would lose a bit of money with this, but I believe they will make it up in volume and “good will”, as Indies flock to them as THE source to distribute their music. (No disrespect to CD Baby and the others, but I believe TuneCore has a rare opportunity here to really shake up the industry like CD Baby did back in the day).
    3) A seat at “The Table”
    With more Indies under one roof, and a Permanent Music Catalog, TuneCore could actually begin to have as much clout as any Major Label, when it comes to negotiating with the iTunes and Spotifys of the future. TuneCore could be seated at “The Table” as an equal, in the “First Round” of discussions instead of the second or third.
    I don’t know, am I crazy? Is this the clear direction TuneCore should be taking, in light of the new competition coming soon from Music Spray?
    Long Live Indies

  10. I’m glad I shopped around before choosing a digital distributor. Initially I was going to run with Tunecore but the pricing jumped from the time I was initially shopping until ready to use. I looked at RecordUnion and a few others before choosing OneRPM. So far, OneRPM has delivered as promised.
    However, I do believe iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, etc should allow independent artists and small labels to manage their own releases. The current model leaves much to be desired and leave many doors open for dishonest aggregators to shortchange artists. In iTunes case, c’mon, they’re a computer company, like they can’t manage a database and co-ordinate mass payments?
    At least Google Play is on the right track in that respect but then again, it’s Google and you’re subject to their terrible customer service and whims.
    I do believe Apple and iTunes have the market tied up due to proliferation of their software and devices which in turn creates the need for service such as Tunecore but nothing lasts forever in technology.

  11. Oktipus, I agree with you in theory, when you say, “I do believe iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, etc should allow independent artists and small labels to manage their own releases.”
    In a perfect world that would be the ideal situation, but in the world we currently occupy, it is more efficient and cost effective for Apple to deal with a few aggregators than to deal with thousands upon thousands of Indies.

  12. Tunecore’s business model is sound (executable, patronised and profitable) – so I can’t see any major changes that could come from Tunecore. I think the potential downsides of changing aggregators far out-weigh any possible tweaks that Tunecore may have planned.
    I wouldn’t go anywhere just yet – until we all know more.

  13. I used Ditto Music back in 2009; their communication was atrocious, their speed-to-market was, well, very slow (and I don’t think they ever got me into Amazon,) and despite friends having downloaded tracks from itunes (and showing me) they never reported any sales, so I stopped paying them their £2 monthly fee. I presume this means if there are any sales I won’t see a penny? (I would also like to know if/ how to now remove my tracks from itunes, if anyone can point me..)
    All these similar schemes are bullshit. Unless you’re a big artist, in which case you’re on a label. Why are we paying a fee to distribute our music. Why is it not on a back-end percentage?
    Got a free album distribution with imusician digital from Germany, and, despite paying them no one-off or ongoing fees, they got my album everywhere, quickly, have an easy to use site and I would happily pay the small one-off fee to distribute something in the future. (I thin it’s 10 euro for a single, can’t rememeber exactly, but cheap.)
    I cannot slag off Ditto Music enough. But I also think direct from your own site(s) is the only way to go. If only we were tech-heads as well as musicians..

  14. TuneCore and CD Baby are running neck and neck right now. TuneCore could pull away from the pack, if they waived all annual fees for releases making under $500 annually. This would ensure “The Little Guy” won’t pay more than 10% of their annual royalties in fees.

  15. Having been on jeff price’s old label and dealt with him many times I can tell you that he was no different than any other label exec. That is he had his own interests at heart, not the artist. but that’s the music business. why should it be any different at tunecore? But to think that jeff was somehow different or cared about artists more than your usual label exec if ridiculous. Also my own personal observation is he tended to start arguments with people for no apparent reason. Ultimately that can’t be good for Tunecore or the artists they represent.

  16. Absolutely …it should be a illegal to take away an artists data. We work on building that. I remember when cell phone companies would take your number if you left them for another service and now they legally can NOT do that

  17. So, some of the artists who actually DO use our service have alerted me that people were mentioning us on this blog. I see a LOT of people talking bad about my company ADEDistribution. I’d like to thank those who have praised us.
    Now here’s the funny part. I’ve checked our artist logs and I can confirm that the people on here commenting about how ADEDistribution is “a scam” are actually NOT even artists who use our service. I’m talking about “subtheband”, “Ralph Norm”, and “Jordan Sinko”… I’m suspecting this is the same person posting under 3 different names and I suspect it is someone who works with RouteNote. Notice how they cleverly mention RouteNote right along with TuneCore and CDBaby.

  18. http://www.lebron-10.org Before you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, make a complete list of all of your assets. Any assets that are not listed in your bankruptcy case can be seized to pay for your debts. Your lawyer needs to see a list of every asset you own to properly advise you on which type of bankruptcy is best for your unique situation, as well as, to protect as many of your assets, as possible.

  19. You are so right when you add up the per single release and the monthly fee it cost more than tune core so for one album with ADE and One with Tunecore you pay less with tunecore and I tried ADE just to see how it works and give it the benefit of the doubt but the site is all over the place dont even know where to start

  20. lol you can tell its him he post youtube videos all around bashing other companies and giving wrong information to make him sound good if you are making money from people use it to get a better website.

  21. I dont work for any of them but i can tell you that I have tried your site and lets be serious its all over the place and you do stay bashing other companies when there not your competition your job as a distributor is to help artist get their music out their as easy as possible and to be as honest at it

  22. The site is all over the place because it is a SCAM! ADE Distribution is the biggest music scam site in the world!
    And no I do not work for RouteNote neither do I work for anyone else. I’m just a guy who can spot a scam artist/scam a mile away!
    Please stay clear from ADE Distribution if you are serious about your music. If you just want to get scammed and robbed of your royalties then ADE Distribution is the best place to be!

  23. I am getting really dissapointed with Cd baby and their treatment of musicians,a few of my collegues were warned against using their services for distributing music to itunes etc,in that they were not paying artists what they were due and were not listing sales and accounting correctly.Also, one collegue,found his music for sale on a retailer shop on amazon.com,saying that they ship music from cd baby,which was strange as my collegue never had physical Cd’s for sale.I wont use them for my music distribution in the future,something is not right with this company.Someone needs to look into this.

  24. I personally don’t believe the bogus numbers announced by TuneCore. They are a private company and can lie all they want. I’ve always gotten a slimy vibe from the company. Look at their shill Joe above who tosses out some unsubstantiated BS about CD Baby, which IS an ethical company. I think Tunecore will collapse on the sheer weight of its artist ripoff qualities. Long LIve Indies above is right on. Sorry, but what idiot would use Tunecore? With their nickel and dime annual fees? It is nuts. Shows how many dumb Americans there are – with inflated expections about the massive sales of their crappy CD’s.

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