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Old 26th February 2012
Lives for gear
oudplayer's Avatar
My experience with Tunecore -

They got my music into iTunes promptly, and paid promptly. I had my music up there for about 3 years, and sales were roughly proportional to the amount of effort I expended in promoting the album. That said, despite some sales I did not make a lot of revenue from iTunes. You need to understand that Tunecore does no promotion for you. Also, you need to know your potential buying public and where they find their music - the audience for my music is more likely to buy CDs or LPs than lossy digital downloads. Electronic dance music consumers are more likely to buy through Beatport. Google Music might work for you if you simply need a way to allow people to buy your music.

All of Tunecore's sign-up materials suggested a standard pricing scheme where the content-owner paid around $20/yr to get an album into the five iTunes regional stores. Their prices suddenly increased to $50/yr, but it was not clear if as a Tunecore customer I would be able to choose to not have my music in some of the additional services that they listed (which was important to me). I bailed on Tunecore, since I no longer trust that they will 1) maintain pricing levels and 2) allow their customers flexibility in deciding which online retailers to use. Since their entire revenue stream comes from independent artists and labels, if their cost of operations increases and artists stop using their services, the budget shortfall will be passed on to continuing customers, meaning that $50 will only go up. I wouldn't call it a scam - Tunecore does deliver on their promise to make your music available through a variety of services - but you need to be acutely aware of their business model and revenue stream, and what that will mean to you long-term.

Also, regarding making $ off of a single (and your first one at that), I wish you luck. I and many other independent artists I know, if we make money from digital distribution or licensing, make it from having a very large back-catalog and a lot of licensable/saleable material. As such, the ideal financial model is to pay a fixed, one-time fee to get material available for paid download and make the maximum amount of content available.