Tunecore may well be the one-stop solution for new musicians wanting to get their music heard immediately without having to go through having to get signed by a major label or indie. They offer 360 services for artists wanting to get themselves out there and ensure their music is then seeed on Spotify, Deezer, iTunes and a whole host of other digital music stores.
It’s a great opportunity for young musicians to hone their craft and reach audiences they were previously unable to reach – it’s a move away from the traditional model of having to belong to a label to get your music on these services; it makes a good deal of sense as more often than not nowadays musicians don’t need to go to a studio to produce their own music with all of the great software and hardware to create a studio in your own bedroom.
We chatted to CEO Scott Ackerman about the services it offers to young artists, the value of content and the benefits it can bring:
What’s Tunecore all about?
“Tunecore is 8 years old. We originally started music distribution platform to distribute digital music for artists, today we have 180 digital stores that we distribute to as you know if you’re not signed by a label you can’t go to Spotify, Deezer, iTunes to get your music up – we provide that platform for artists. We don’t curate, artist play a flat fee whether it’s a ring tone single or album and we distribute these to digital stores. It’s a flat fee to start and then it’s a yearly renewal, which is great value for what you get from the service”.
What percentage do the artists see in terms of revenue?
“All the digital sales that an artist earns comes back to us from a digital store and we pay 100% of that back to the artist we don’t take a rev share. This year our artists are going to earn $150,000,000 and that money comes from the digital stores and goes to Tunecore and then the artists can come and withdraw their money at any time.”
The Boxer Rebellion
“At the end of 2008, with a great album ready to go but limited opportunity, Tunecore combined with iTunes provided us with the platform to properly get our music out there and firmly establish ourselves as successful independent artists. Tunecore has been fundamental to our career from that time.”
What else do you guys offer other than purely recorded music?
“The initial principle of Tunecore when it launched was to help musicians get their content out there, today it’s still the driving foundation of the business. We’re adding more digital stores on a monthly basis.
Our artists tell us this is the most important thing is they want their music heard worldwide not just in the UK and US but they want it being heard in South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia – so now anyone in the world can hear their music. We can make that a reality for them. We’ve always wanted to make Tunecore a one stop shop and that foundation of getting it distributed is really the first step, once then content is created we’re there to get is distributed.
3 years ago we added publishing administration, many of our artists are song writers so there’s a lot of extra money that songwriters are earning all over the world, many of our writers didn’t know it was available to them. We created an online publishing administration business there’s no contract you have to sign, it’s all online – no face to face meetings like the traditional publishing business. We set the business up to scale, today we have 40,000 plus songwriters that have enrolled, we’re collecting their royalties through P.R.O’s and societies all over the world. Our synch business is a part of this,we have a large catalogue that we pitch to music supervisors so our artists have the opportunity to get their music in mini-series, tv ads, films etc. Traditionally these people would be looking towards major labels and major artists and be paying top dollar for that – now, they’ve realised there’s a whole world of new content out there that can be accessed through Tunecore where they can obtain the highest quality content without having to go through a major label”.
“Whether it’s teachers, parents or A&R’s we’ve never been great at getting told what to do so when we went viral back in 2009 we knew we had to go independent fast. We asked around and quickly got told Tunecore would let us have our say but help us get our music across all the websites that we needed. We’re living in a digital age and if your music isn’t available on iTunes or spotify then unfortunately (for our audience) it doesn’t exist
The wizards at tunecore have ALWAYS met out last minute deadlines and if there’s ever been a single problem have been on the other end of the phone in a heartbeat… Even with the five hour time difference!!!”
In terms of YouTube and other monetising systems do Tunecore take advantage of that?
“Last year we launched our YouTube monetisation business for sound recording, so that our artists can get money through any music used on YouTube channels which don’t belong to the uploader. We launched an artist services portal, our core business is distribution but we want them to get all of the services at TuneCore.
Artists services portal – more tools and services – many artists go to many different platforms and we want to have everything on our service. Menu selection, a la carte of different services for different needs.
In April business was sold to Believe Digital, opportunity for us to partner with a company that offers different services to what Tunecore had. Completes requirements of artists from beginning to end including merchandise, a 360 offering to artists – there’s also an option for really succesful artists to be signed by Believe as a label service. Artists also retain all of their rights rather than the traditional label structure. Believe can help with promo, radio, physical and merchandise”.
Is it mostly indie bands that use Tunecore?
“Originally when we launched the goal was to become a great indie label, we have legacy artists such as Fleetwood Mac who used us for their last album, Joan Jett, Willy Nelson and an extremely long list of artists that have come off their label deals or as they’ve created new content they wanted to use Tunecore as well. The customer base is extremely diverse but the longtail is the indie artist who wants to create content, we don’t curate like traditional labels, we don’t decide who becomes successful or not, it’s how well the artist has marketed themselves or used Believe or Tunecore’s tools to achieve that to become successful”.
When do you guys launched in the UK?
“Tunecore.com is a place that’s available anywhere in the world – UK artists can use Tunecore.com, however 2 days ago we created Tunecore.Uk which enables artists to now get paid in pounds and receive royalties in pounds. More importantly the UK website will be made up of localised content – We’re going to build a more localised UK blog, there will be more UK artist services for the UK market which is why we’re excited to be partnering with musicroom.com to help musicians from the first step of picking up a guitar to marketing themselves to huge audiences”.
Check out what they’re up to over at www.tunecore.co.uk