Tunecore Founders Link Startup Audiam To DistroKid To Offer Cheaper Music Distribution

image from www.chartroommedia.comTunecore founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells have added deeply discounted digital music distribution to their recently launched YouTube monetization startup Audiam via Philip Kaplan's DistroKid. Price and Wells were forced out of Tunecore last year. The DistroKid partnership puts them in direct competition with the company they founded, along with offering a major validation of DistroKid's radical pricing model.

image from www.hypebot.comDistroKid distributes the first song free and then charges $19.99 per year for flat fee distribution of an unlimited number of tracks. Tunecore offers no unlimited pricing, and charges $29.99 for single album distribution in the first year rising to $49.99 each following year. 

 DistroKid outlets include iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, iTunes Match, Google Play and iTunes Radio. Like Tunecore, the artist maintains full control of their rights
while getting 100% of the revenue from the sale or use of their music.

Audium dashboard

Audiam has linked Distrokid to it's artist dashboard, offering near seamless integration. The partnership means that artists can retain 100% of the money from sales, songs streams, and YouTube views. Audiam artists also earn money
from views of other people's YouTube videos which use their music.

“This is why we exist – to get the artist access and
more money from the use of their music while allowing them to keep their
copyrights," says Price. "God bless Philip Kaplan,
founder of DistroKid, for understanding the right way to build a music company.  As the Founders of TuneCore, Peter Wells and
I can state with no hesitation this is simply the best model for artists to
distribute their music, keep their rights and get paid.”

Audium dashboard


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  1. It’s not, this is just DistroKid paying Audiam to promote his beyond terrible service and a way for Jeff & Peter to get back at Tunecore for throwing them overboard. Why would any artist that does not sell much even think to pay a yearly fee is beyond me.
    Both companies are being run by slimy, misleading business men who are just out to prey on uninformed independent artists, and take what little money they already make. It’s simply not true that artists retain 100% of the sales they make on YouTube. They have “forgotten” to mention what YouTube, Audiam, and DistroKid’s cut of the proceeds are. Typical from these guys.
    Sad, but true. Artists need to be more informed on the entire business side of things, or else they’ll continue to have their money taken by companies like this that offer ZERO TRANSPARENCY.

  2. Kevin, I know this is crazy complex, but artists need to know how it all works.
    YouTube sells ads on videos whenever they can. They split the ad revenue with whomever put up the video. When that video has music in it, money needs to go to whomever controls the sound recording (Master) and/or the song (Composition). YouTube knows this and has to pay them, but often don’t know to whom.
    Audiam was built to solve this problem. Anyone with a Master or Composition or both can tell us about it (free) and we’ll go to work finding videos all over YouTube that use even a tiny piece of their music. When we find it, we get YouTube to put ads on the video so the artist can get their fair share.
    This leaves two cases:
    1) We found videos using that music, but it’s the artists’s own music videos, on their own channel. In that case, we pass along 100% of whatever YouTube owes. Audiam takes 0%.
    2) We found videos using the music, but the artist didn’t put them up: strangers did, or friends, or just random people who found the song somewhere, or a band doing a cover, anything like that. In this case, we pass along 75% of whatever YouTube owes. Audiam takes a 25% fee.
    No matter what, the artist is going to see a report on their Audiam account showing every single video found with their music on it, including a link right to that video. Nothing could be more transparent. It’s all in our FAQ.
    As for distribution into iTunes, Spotify, AmazonMP3, and so on, provided by our partner DistroKid, it’s very simple:
    When iTunes (or any store) sells or streams a song, they take the money it earns and split it: the store keeps some, the rest goes to the artist. 100% of that artist share goes back to the artist: neither DistroKid nor Audiam takes a cut. That’s it, plain and simple.
    How does DistroKid make it’s money? $19.99 at a time, per year. Once. You might have two songs or two thousand, one album or one million, it’s still only $19.99 for a whole year. Artists will see reports of every single song sold/streamed and how much it earned. Couldn’t be more clear.
    Hope this helps.

  3. What I dislike the most with DistroKid is that they say on their homepage that the music uploaded goes live on iTunes in 2-4 hours.
    This is complete bullshit.
    As some people here may know, Apple has just strengthened their quality controls and rules (again), and it is becoming more and more challenging to deliver iTunes with reasonable timelines.

  4. Hey JTV,
    Mike from Audiam here.
    Found your comment interesting. If you you iTunes producer instead of iTunes transporter, it could be up there within a few minutes to a few hours

  5. Mike,
    Yes I agree, but for large volumes it is completely unrealistic…are you planning to manage everything manually then?!
    Also as you know Apple is controlling any incoming content, reaching iTunes does not mean the music will be made live immediately.
    And the more issues they’ll face with your content (or the one from any other distributor, it’s a generic “you”) the more penalties they will apply to your account, and the slowest your ingestions will be.
    I know it’s marketing / appealing to say “your music on iTunes within a few hours” but we have to be fair with people using our respective services.

  6. Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Peter, Jeff, and Phil on their sound announcement. A tie up like this shows competition and great demand for the space.
    In my opinion, It doesn’t matter whether a aggregator can promise artists content on iTunes within 1-2 hours, 24-48 hours, or 1-2 weeks. If DistroKid touts a super-speedy delivery time, awesome! If not, no sweat!
    The problem/challenge that DistroKid face is its business model. While it is by far considered the cheapest option, it is not in the slightest the most sustainable. In order for DistroKid to even become profitable, they would have to attain a user base 5x that of the size of TuneCore (which I believe is around 800k+ from what I’ve remembered) and that’s no easy task.
    There is a reason why all the retailers (distributors) operates on a percentage base model rather than a pure flat-fee because the longevity isn’t there.
    You’ll never see Amazon or iTunes give an aggregator a full 100% for $79.99 per year or $29.99 per album/per year for that matter. Instead they allow aggregators to sell unlimited content free of charge in exchange for revenue share because the percentage model is more sustainable.
    As an artist, many needs to understand that the cheapest may not always be the best option. What an artist should always take into accountability is how secure and sustainable is the service?
    Again, I tip my hat off to both Audiam + DistroKid for a sound partnership. However, I believe they should rethink their business model in a way that’s effective and sustainable.
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  7. Hi JTV Digital,
    I agree. The user-experience is a very good one + being over-simplified isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. I champion automation because that’s where the future is heading. While I do admit that certain information should be given an option (i.e. copyrights, label field, etc.), having a simple process couldn’t hurt neither. Nevertheless, an artist or label shouldn’t feel restricted on what information they can provide.
    Best of luck to both Audiam + DistroKid and again I congratulate them on a sound partnership!
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  8. Hi JTV,
    Yes. Distrokid figured out how to do it in a way where it scales, fully automatically
    Thats the genius of Distrokid.
    Your welcome to try it out. Toss us your first 1000 songs. Pay, $19.99 and we will have em up in a few hours.

  9. Well, I tried. With one song.
    3 days ago. Nothing on iTunes yet.
    Which is completely fine if you were not claiming doing this in a few hours.
    Also the notification email received says the following:
    “Now that stores have the album, here’s how long they usually take to make it live:
    iTunes: About 1 day, sometimes within hours. A small percentage of albums go through manual review at Apple, which takes an additional 16 business days.”

  10. Yes, you are completely, 100% correct! Just a marketing scheme that’s completely untrue. Apple is not letting ANY distributor simply bypass or rapidly skip through their strict quality control, thus an album or song is NOT and NEVER will be going up on iTunes within an hour from DistroKid.
    Once again, twisting words to benefit themselves and take advantage of poor indie musicians. The only “GENIUS” part is that he’s somehow pulled in the slimy Tunecore guys to promote his service. We all know why that is of course.
    Any time a company comes out and says they have created some new, shiny technology on top of something that already exists, you can almost guarantee you’re about to be screwed over in some fashion. DistroKid did not develop some automated technology to get your music on iTunes within an hour, just as Audiam did not develop some technology on YouTube to find out who’s using your music….it’s called CONTENT ID and GOOGLE CREATED IT! Give it a rest already.

  11. “Apple is not letting ANY distributor simply bypass or rapidly skip through their strict quality control”.
    Ehm, not quite true. CD Baby has been audited multiple times by iTunes, and due to our high internal QC standards have been certified “direct live” status, where all our submissions are live on iTunes within 2-3 hours.

  12. You’re completely right, Artists do need to be more informed. Sadly, many, too many chose ignorance or myth (or both) to guide them in their business.

  13. Try clicking on it, it says “not available”.
    Since the “$19.99 per year for flat fee distribution of an unlimited number of tracks” offer is completely unsustainable financially (or do they bet on the fact that indie artists don’t have a lot of content to deliver?;-)), what can we say about the $79 for unlimited label releases?
    Unless this company has 0 costs (0 system costs, 0 hosting costs, 0 human resource costs…etc).

  14. I’d like to trust you Tony, but, with all due respect, even major labels can’t reach iTunes that fast using their high-end supply chain systems.

  15. Its simple command and conquer tactics. New label wants in here … Starts up and offers most to all benefits the others do however its cheaper. The aim is to aquire big numbers from the competition directly to simply hurt the bottom line of your competitor no matter the intial blow. The loss if any for distrokid will be well prepared for. One day the masses will wake up.
    We probably should be asking why have we been charged thrugh the arse to share our tunes for all these years by the other guys?

  16. Hi Clifton,
    I can happy answer that for you. One of the reasons we currently only offer iTunes is because it is the largest retailer + still the largest revenue source for artists. Secondly, unlike other services out there that only have a one-level certification with the retailers (i.e. they only focus on getting certified by the retailer in terms of content delivery), we have a two-level certification.
    This means that not only do we have to be certified with the retailer, but the retailer have to be certified with our advanced distribution technology. We’ve been testing great features with iTunes and as a result, we’ve invented incredible technologies/breakthroughs to help better your music. For us, we’re not just here to get your music on iTunes. We’re here to provide you with an incredible experience.
    Heres an example of why we take our time:
    Why you may not be aware but the majority of distribution services out there doesn’t offer artists iTunes Analytics, which is a very crucial element when selling artist content on the iTunes Store. While the ones that do offer iTunes Analytics (Tunecore, CD Baby, ReverbNation, Catapult, etc.) provides this service with great ability, they cannot give you an exact precise time on when you can expect to view your reports.
    With Venzo, not only do you get free iTunes Analytics, but I can even tell you the exact time on when you can expect them to be made available. I can also tell you the exactly time and day on when your iTunes Financial reports are made available and when you can expect to get paid. This is because our technology platform (what we call INTRANET) is the world’s most advanced distribution technology out there.
    With this platform, you can set your own pricing, upload .PDF digital booklets, release Pre-Orders (and now with Instant Tracks), choose which country you want your music to be made available, sell Ringtones, and the list goes on.
    Fortunately, we do have plans to offer our other digital retailers come next year when we launch the new Venzo brand. This will allow you to have a complete mastery of all your music contents through our direct agreements with our retailers.
    As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to visit our site at: http://www.venzodigital.com and drop us a line through our “Contact Us” form.
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  17. Mostly, an Artist needs not to get entangled in these paradigms. The bullsh*t auto-tune conundrum began with similar rhetoric and before you knew it, in all the mustered panic, people felt they, “didn’t have a choice”.
    Now there is mass corruption, as no distinction is made such as, “and the best auto-tuned album of the year award goes to…” — Anyhow.
    So really, what the f*ck are any of you on about?
    There is a value in these items that is unspoken, or merely germinating for those who wish to ‘Improve Culture’.
    But these services as well chase dollars sans filters.
    There will always be that person who says, “big f*cking deal sh*t-holder”.
    I will not be.
    Who will you be?
    Are we, “Free”?

  18. If im selling a beat on an online store is it fair I distribute it to an interactive audio platform also?

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