Don't Hide Your Head In The Sand

By George Howard & Jeff Price
(Follow George on Twitter)
(Follow TuneCore on Twitter)

TuneCore artists have sold over 400 million songs over the past two years, generating over $300 million in artist and songwriter revenue.

Based on this, the idea that you can’t create a sustainable career on your own terms, without the backing of a label (major or otherwise) is empirically ludicrous.  No, not everyone will be able to do it, but the point is it is possible without a traditional label.  Anyone that says otherwise is wrong.

So, what’s the hold up?  What’s the excuse?

While one can’t teach talent or motivation (you either got it or you don’t), these are not the things that we’ve seen as lacking from most artists over the twenty years or so of observing/working with musicians.

Rather, the glaring omission that we see from most musicians is a profound gap in knowledge with respect to how the business that they engage in operates.  In other words, they don’t understand how they make money off their songs and recordings.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this.  Some have societal implications, fallacies like “Creative types can’t be good business people,” while others are more political in nature: labels and others enforcing stereotypes that artists are unable to manage their own affairs, and, thus, require these peoples’ services.

For some period of time (roughly from the 1950s to the mid-to-late 1990s) the label system (and its related satellite elements: PROs, managers, agents, etc…) was divided between those who have knowledge and those who don’t.

It was the labels (et al.) who had this knowledge, and the artists who did not.  The artists are not blameless here; I’ve heard from far too many that they don’t want to understand how the business (their business) works, but would rather “just create.”  In taking this position, they lay themselves supine, and abdicate all of their power.  How in the world do you know if you are getting ripped off or cheated if you don’t know the rules!

This has to end.  If it doesn’t, the world won’t change, the artist will still get screwed.  “They” will still get your money and “you” will continue to pursue your dream in some vague shadow world of bullshit where people smile at you while they steal money out of your pockets.

If you want this to stop, get the knowledge!  Once you have the knowledge, you can spot the bullshit and scream about it.  As an artist, your voice gets heard louder than most.  The only thing stopping change is you.

So here is the hit list, the list of information you really need to make a change and/or know if someone is lying, stealing, cheating or misrepresenting things to you.

Learn what a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) is.

WHY:
Every single time your song, be it your recording or a cover version, sells, streams, is played on TV in a bar or anywhere else publicly, you are supposed to get paid. In 2009, the PROs collected over $10 Billion dollars owed to artists that wrote songs.  Did you get your share?  If not, they gave it to Warner Bros., EMI, Universal and Sony.

Learn what the bundle exclusive rights is that an artist automatically receives when he or she creates an original work, and fixes it in a tangible medium.

WHY:
Because knowing that whenever you create an original work and fix it in a tangible medium (write it down/record it), you get six exclusive rights that you, and only you, can utilize.  With this knowledge, you will be well on your way to understanding how to monetize your passion for music.

Those six rights are:

  1. right to reproduce
  2. right to distribute
  3. right to publicly perform
  4. right to display
  5. right to create derivative works
  6. right to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Each one of these copyrights has the potential to make you a LOT OF MONEY.  Here, read this, it will explain what they are.

Learn what music publishing is.

WHY:
Because as the creator of a song you get six legal copyrights.  Then you need to license these rights and/or collect the money owed to you.  You will need to hire someone to do this for you.  How the heck will you know if they are doing their job if you don’t know what they are supposed to do!

Learn what a mechanical license is.

WHY:
Because this license is what you will employ in order to make sure you get paid whenever someone wants to reproduce and distribute your song on a record or a download; this is true whether you perform the song, or if it’s being covered by another artist.

Learn what a controlled composition clause is.

WHY:
Because this clause — inserted into recording contracts, where the artist who is signed to the label also writes the songs that are on the record — can drastically cut into your income from…mechanical license fees (see above).

Learn what an “assignment” clause in a contract is.

WHY:
Because this clause allows for labels, managers, publishers, et al., to transfer ownership of the most important thing you created – a copyright – without your consent! Learn what they heck it is you are giving up before you give it up.

Learn what a royalty “point” is.

WHY:
Because that’s the language used in the industry to describe how you would get paid in return for transferring your rights.  Understand how it is actually being calculated. If it cannot be explained to you in a way you understand, walk the hell away from the deal.

Learn that there are two copyrights involved when a song is released on a CD or download.

WHY:
Because if you don’t know this, you don’t know the very basic underlying principle that drives money around every single piece of recorded music.  There are TWO copyrights for a recording: one for the person who wrote the song, and one for the entity that owns the recording of the song.

Learn how to clear a sample.

WHY:
Because if you don’t, and you use an uncleared sample, you could have your ass sued.  And if you find someone else using your music or song without getting the right from you, you can sue their ass.

Learn what a “synch” is.

WHY:
Because “synch” licenses can make you a LOT of money.  Understand what the heck you are licensing and WHY this license is needed.

Learn the difference between an interactive and non-interactive stream.

WHY:
Because the entire music industry is moving to streaming. This means people can listen to music without owning or downloading it.   The old industry paid you when the CD sold, the new industry pays you when the song is listened to.  You need to understand what the two different types of streams are in order to understand how much money is owed to you, where to get it and/or what rights must be granted to allow someone else to stream your song and recording of that song.

Learn the difference between copyright and a trademark.

WHY:
Because if you don’t you might be forced to change your band name after making 12 dozen t-shirts.

Learn what an intra-band agreement is (if you’re in a band).

WHY:
So you don’t kill each other or break up when you become successful

Learn what an LLC is.

WHY:
Because not doing so can set you (and your family) up for tremendous liability should something go wrong/you get sued, etc…

Learn what Harry Fox does.

WHY:
So you can stop laughing at their name and understand how they fit into this ridiculous world.

LEARN what SoundExchange does.

WHY:
So you can get money owed to you that’s just sitting there…really.  It’s just sitting there waiting for you to show up and get it. (go to Soundexchange.com and register.  It’s free. They pay you money).

It’s not just the artists who have to step up their games.  It’s completely ludicrous and absurd that the PROs are not more forthcoming and clear with respect to how they calculate payments.  We are rapidly approaching a time where streaming will represent more income to artists than will sales of downloads.  This means that public performance royalties will likely be the most material income that most artists have, and yet, how this income is calculated…income for the use of your exclusive song…is a dark science?  This has to end!

Similarly, the byzantine rate structure surrounding different uses (dominantly streaming) has to be made clearer and more visible by the copyright board.  It’s not fair for us to call out artists with respect to their lack of knowledge, when it’s virtually impossible to find out even the most basic rates that will be paid out to them when their music is used! Not to mention it’s time for congress and the copyright board to wake the hell up and start realizing the old music industry is dead and the new one needs different laws that protect artists, not just legacy labels and publishers.

Record labels, too (in whatever incarnation they continue to exist) can no longer write contracts in Latin or try to hide their deal terms in such dense and hard-to-understand language that one must hire someone else to translate it.  In an era where digital transactions essentially eliminate returns and packaging, we’re rapidly moving to a transaction that does not require clause after clause of language to account for things that are no longer relevant.   Do digital streams or downloads really need a packaging deduction?

Further, until they can line up a few people from the labels, and have them explain – in plain English – why there is a controlled composition clause in their agreements, get them the FUCK out of the agreements. While there may have been a time that there was some miniscule justification for these clauses, in an era of efficiencies due to technological innovation, they just don’t hold up any longer.

While they’re explaining things, please explain why movie theaters are exempt from paying public performance fees in the U.S., and why the U.S. (along with Syria and Iraq) continue to not pay public performance royalties to featured performers when their songs are broadcast on terrestrial radio.

OK,  we’re ranting.  And we have to guess that at least half of the readers don’t understand what we’re ranting about.  That’s the point.  These things, controlled composition, public performances from movie theaters, featured performers getting paid from AM/FM radio, etc… generate hundreds of millions of dollars.  People buy mansions off this money, send their kids to college from this, or just become incredibly wealthy, and most artists have not a clue what we’re talking about.  You can’t complain if you don’t know what you are complaining about.  And you can’t change things if you don’t have the knowledge about how it’s supposed to work.  “Sorry son, you’re not supposed to make any money when your music sells, that’s just the way it works” should no longer be acceptable.

Look, we’re at an inflection point.  The “old” business doesn’t work.  Really.  It doesn’t.  Remember what we said about going from downloads to streams?  This means that labels who were accustomed to making $11 each time a CD sold for $17.98 had to become accustomed to netting out at something like $7/album or $0.70/single.  And now they have to adjust again as they will soon be looking at $.000003 per stream. THEIR SYSTEM WILL NOT WORK.  So, we have an opportunity here to begin again, and put our heads together, and start a new system up (RIP R.E.M.).

This time we can do it in a manner where all parties involved are clear on the relationships (risks and benefits).  TRANSPARENCY in information and in money is the answer. This transparency and clarity will eliminate the ethical problems that have plagued this business we love since it began.  No more bitching about getting screwed, now you know what to expect.  In so doing, we level the playing field.  At that point, we don’t have the moral hazard of artists taking undue risks because they think the label will bail them out, and its reciprocal action of labels taking advantage of artists because they don’t trust the artists.

As Edith Wharton said of Baltimore, “there’s no there there” when it comes to the record business any more.  However, as with nature, business abhors a vacuum.  It’s up to us as to how we elect to fill the hole.  We vote for filling it with knowledgeable, empowered artists who are able to sustain their artistic careers on their own terms. You’ve got willing partners in entities like TuneCore, we just need you to know your rights and then use us as your megaphone to force the change.  All of you are a hell of a lot bigger than “them.”


George Howard is the former president of Rykodisc. He currently advises numerous entertainment and non-entertainment firms and individuals. Additionally, he is the Executive Editor of Artists House Music and is an Associate Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee.  He is most easily found on Twitter at: twitter.com/gah650

  • d cb

    Don’t want to sound negative but $300 million for 400 million songs means less than a dollar per song, no?

    • Anonymous

      that is correct

      even worse. An Artist is signed to a label. Their full length 12 song CD sells in Walmart for $17.98
      The artist royalty is $1.40 – but they don’t get it as they are un-recouped
      Versus they sell two songs on iTunes and make $1.40

      And on the per track level, that $17.98 full length CD with 12 songs is $0.11 a song
      Not sure I am following how the new industry is worse than the old one
      jeff

      • d cb

        Let me explain. This is the beginning of your article:

        “TuneCore artists have sold over 400 million songs over the past two
        years, generating over $300 million in artist and songwriter revenue.”

        If I understand correctly, your artists have composed 400 million songs, and the revenue generated was $300 million, right? That means that, if we take the iTunes $0.99/song as price reference, then, on average, your artists have sold roughly 1 copy of each song, right?

        So my question is: How is it profitable to compose songs when you only sell 1 copy of each and only get 1 dollar for each song composed?

        • Anonymous

          @d cb

          No, TuneCore Artists did not compose 400 million songs, they SOLD 400 million songs.
          And to your next question – do you think artists over the years have not been writing and recording songs? Guess what, before things went digital, they made NO money off their songs and had NO chance of getting distribution
          so your question of how is it better that artists make money now whereas before they did not? Now add to that, the artist now makes MORE money when their music sells then they did in the old model
          tell you what, please provide an analysis of the old model. It would provide a basis for conversation

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            Thanks for clarifying! So it’s not 400 million songs composed but SOLD. That’s great info! Can you make an estimation of how many songs the TuneCore artists have composed?

            Also, I see the big picture of the advantages of the new model over the old one, I only have some troubles with the details. So I’m just trying to get some things clear here, for it’s so easy to misunderstand, as you have seen in my previous post… :0

            Thanks!

          • Anonymous

            i have no idea how many songs have been composed or recorded around the world.
            forgive my “fire”, just passionate about this!

            jeff

          • d cb

            Hey Jeff, it’s perfectly normal to be passionate about things you care for, and besides, passion is kinda mandatory for artists, right? 🙂

            I would really appreciate if you can make at least a rough estimation of the number of songs composed by your artists. Me thinks, since you have the data about sales, it’s a fair guess that you also have the data about the number of the songs your artists have composed and uploaded using your web site services, yes?

            I need to figure out a few things and I seriously consider to become one of the your artists.

          • Anonymous

            I honestly have no idea how many songs artists write and/or record

            Jeff

          • d cb

            Ok, I get that. Please let me explain why I insisted.

            The number of songs have been downloaded is of course important, but just as important is how many songs have been UPLOADED. Otherwise, the meaning of that number is unclear.

            400,000,000 downloads in 2 years may look pretty impressive, but it’s a big difference if (A) it’s made out of 100 uploaded songs or (B) it’s made out of 100,000,000 uploaded songs. In case A you have an average of 4,000,000 downloads per uploaded song (WOW), while in case B you only have 4 downloads per uploaded song (meh). Since you don’t know, it is even possible that you have 400,000,000 uploaded songs, each of them generating 1 download (which could be the artist’s mom). See my point now? The number of the uploaded songs is crucial for measuring how those songs really sell: 1 sell per song, 4 sales per song, 4,000,000 sales per song?

            So the real question is: How many downloads per upload?

            In order to upload a song, I first need to record it. And I must ask myself: is it really worth it to record it? Recording a song professionally, that takes time and quite a bit of money, you know. So, it may look like little details for you, but for me those details are pretty important. I mean, in order to make an informed decision, I need to know these kind of details. How do these song sales. Is this internet distribution a real market, or is it a garage sale? If it’s more like a garage sale, I’ll plug my guitar and mic and just sing the song. If it’s more like a market, I will invest my money into a decent recording session, pay a drummer and few other musicians, a recording engineer, etc.

            Please don’t get me wrong, but the info about how many songs have been uploaded should be quite easy to find out for you, me thinks. As simple as asking the webmaster to read how many song have been uploaded on your web site.

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            im a bit lost here.

            Your argument appears to be it was better when artists recorded music and made no money vs. artists record music and make money.
            I gotta tell you, I am not following why you believe artists should not make money.
            I also do not follow your argument that artists record songs to upload them. Before the digital music industry there were tens of millions of songs recorded that were not uploaded nor ever distributed
            Finally, if you are doing a cost benefit analysis, you need to take into consideration all of the potential income streams for an artist or songwriter, not just one income type.
            for example, you could make a lot off of songwriter royalties but none off of master revenue
            jeff

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            I have an unreleased unrecorded song. I have several options:

            A) to spend 10 minutes and $0.00 to record it, voice+acoustic guitar, on my laptop, then pay the $10 upload fee;
            B) to go to a studio and pay about $150 to have a decent recording of the voice+guitar version, then the $10 upload fee;
            C) same thing plus a few pro musicians: drums, bass, keyboard, which will amount to maybe $500, plus the $10 upload fee;
            D) find an arranger to orchestrate my song and then make a midi mockup to make my song sound impressive, plus the drummer, bassist and keyboardist, plus the recording studio, plus sending the final mix to a mastering studio – that could easily go into the $1,500-2,000, plus the $10 upload fee.

            I have to choose among these options, I need to make a decision. And I want my decision to be informed by this info: how much downloads per upload should I expect? Hence my question to you: How many uploads on your web site? –

            If your answer is: ~100,000,000 uploads, that makes an average of 4 downloads per upload (~$4), so I will chose the A scenario.
            If your answer is: ~10,000,000 uploads, that makes an average of 40 downloads per upload (~$40), so I will chose the B scenario.
            If your answer is ~1,000,000 uploads, that makes an average of 400 downloads per upload (~$400), so I will choose the C scenario.
            If your answer is ~100,000 uploads, that makes an average of 4,000 downloads per upload (~$4,000), so I will choose the D scenario.

            Now you see why it’s important for me to know that little piece of info? Of course not all songs are equal and my song could be the next Yesterday, but, to be realistic and take the right decision, I need to know what really happens out there, on average.

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            What i see is a person that does not have the information he/she needs to make the decisions he/she would like to make
            That’s the point of this article. Its vital you get the info!

            For each recording there are two copyrights – one for the recording and one for the songwriter. You are foucused on one of six income streams from just the recording. You do not even take into consideration songwriter income.
            these are two separate and distinct income streams.

            Read this booklet – http://www.tunecore.com/copyright

            learn how the income works, who has it, why they have to pay you, how much they have to pay, what the income streams are
            here is a possible list – came from here – http://www.futureofmusicbook.com/2010/01/18/income-streams-for-musicians/
            • Publishing – this encompasses SIX separate copyrights. Learn them!
            • Mechanical royalties
            • Performance Royalties from ASCAP and BMI
            • Digital Performance Royalties from Sound Exchange
            • Synch rights TV, Commercials, Movies, Video Games
            • Digital sales – Individual or by combination
            • Music (studio & live) Album – Physical & Digital, Single – Digital, • Ringtone, Ringback, Podcasts • Instant Post Gig Live Recording via download, mobile streaming or flash drives
            • Video – Live, concept, personal, – Physical & Digital
            • Video and Internet Games featuring or about the artist
            • Photographs
            • Graphics and art work, screen savers, wall paper
            • Lyrics
            • Sheet music
            • Compilations
            • Merchandise – Clothes, USB packs, Posters, other things
            • Live Performances
            • Live Show – Gig
            • Live Show – After Party
            • Meet and Greet
            • Personal Appearance
            • Studio Session Work
            • Sponsorships, and endorsements
            • Advertising
            • Artist newsletter emails
            • Artist marketing and promotion materials
            • Blog/Website
            • Videos
            • Music Player
            • Fan Clubs
            • YouTube Subscription channel for more popular artists
            • Artist programmed internet radio station or specialty playlist.
            • Financial Contributions of Support – Tip Jar or direct donations, Sellaband or Kickstarter
            • Patronage Model – Artist Fan Exclusives – e.g. paying to sing on a song in studio or have artist write a song for you
            • Mobile Apps
            • Artist Specific Revenue Stream – unique streams customized to the specific artist, e.g Amanda Palmer
            • Music Teaching – Lessons and Workshops
            • Music Employment – orchestras, etc, choir directors, ministers of music, etc.
            • Music Production – Studio and Live
            • Any job available to survive and keep making music
            • Getting Help From Other Artists and Helping Them – Whatever goes around come around. – e.g. gig swapping, songwriting, marketing and promotion

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            Right, you see “a person that does not have the information,” and I see a person who does not want to give specific, real-life information. General information is fine, it’s good to know, and it’s easy to find on internet. But what is lacking (and would  really help) is to-the-point info.

            It was a simple question: how many uploads on TuneCore during the last 2 years. Since you know how many downloads from iTunes (400mil), then you surely know how many uploads on TuneCore. You just don’t want to say. Which is fine, but it just means that the info would be too embarrassing to tell, probably revealing the fact that on average an upload does not generate too many downloads, say, maybe a dozen would be a fair guess.

            Anyways, thanks for the list, I know money “could” come from several different places. What really interested me here was specific info, like how much money really DOES come from ONLY ONE place. Hence my question, which was focused on only one of these places, namely: uploading on TuneCore. Since you are unwilling to provide real-life, specific info, sorry but you are not really helping. Help is either specific to the need, or is more of a facade, just another opportunity for advertising.

            Thanks anyways.

            d

            P.S.
            Btw, I remember my mother said she once asked her doctor what a daily aspirin would
            do for her, and she (the doctor), instead of sending her to read 100 manuals on Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Anatomy, simply said something like: “it would reduce heart attack risk, but may cause internal bleeding.”

          • Anonymous

            @ dcb

            You are asking the wrong questions as you do not have the info

            What are your goals? Stop worrying about someone else’s goals. Define your vision and then learn the info needed to get there
            You are being given real life specific detailed info. You choose not to learn it. I cant make you read anything but implore you to do so as it will help you go down the path you need to go down to reach your goals.
            How much Led Zepplin or your neighbor spend on recording music, or if they record music, should have no impact on what you choose to do. If they choose to distribute it, make CDs from it, or just email it is really none of your business. You need to find your own way
            Michelle Shocked spent noting on her Texas Campfire Tapes and sold tens of thousands of albums. OThers spent tens of thousands, others spent $200. It all varies
            Some spent nothing on recording but had others cover their songs.

            WE have explained in specific detail how money is generated and calculated – start here tunecore.com/copyright
            read that

            Watch this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHqcNX11Tgs

            its part one of a three and half our seminar on how to get your money

            Go to SoundExchange.com, register, read the rates they charge

            Call your PRO, ask them for rate info

            Learn what a mechanical royalty rate is and how its calculated

            Learn about Public performances, derivatives, Public Display and digital transmissions

            You are asking the right questions but you are not willing to get the answers

            thats the point! You are on the right path. Asking another artist how many songs they write has nothing to do with you

            jeff

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            Practice what you preach. You say “TRANSPARENCY in information and in money is the
            answer.”

            How many uploads on Tunecore, Jeff?

            Transparency, Jeff, TRANSPARENCY.

          • Anonymous

            From time to time we have people come to the TuneCore blog with an agenda to harm us – they usually are not our customers and/or work for someone else
            here is a perfect example.

            I honestly dont get it, but it is what it is.

            d cb, if you truly are an artist, you need to stop worrying about what other people do and focus on your goals.
            What is your goal as an artist. Once you know that, you then get the info you need to determine how to get there. Learn your legal rights, learn how they make you money. Stop worrying about how many songs other artists write or record and/or how many songs they place on an album.
            As you know, we are flat rate, so be it two songs or 50 on an album, its the same $49.99 to distribute your music to unlimited stores. With this level of transparency and flat rate you now know exactly what distribution costs will be.
            You now have the first vital piece of information.

            If you focus on what others do, as opposed to what you want to do, you will never get going
            But, as I can tell from your postings, this is not why you are at our blog. You are here to attempt to divert attention and try for some reason to harm our artists and TuneCore
            Well get in line with the rest of the major music companies, we are not going away and we are not going to stop fighting on behalf of the artists
            jeff

          • I am stunned that this is the first time I have visited your blog, but let me assure you it will not be my last. I have read everything you have written here and know that what you are saying is not only true, but absolutely vital for every artist to understand. Most people, unfortunately, are just not willing to do the work (true in any area of human endeavor). We still live in a culture that emphasizes and pays attention more to what is “wrong” than “what is possible.” It is my intention and my mission to be a part of the change of that culture and I am doing so in every interaction I have.

            Thank you for the passion of your voice. You have a new fan!
            Steven

          • Anonymous

            @steven

            thank you for taking the time to read the articles.

            without you, we would not have a job!

            jeff

          • d cb

            Blowing smoke, Jeff.

            1) I didn’t come here to harm anyone. I came here to find the answer to this question: How many uploads on Tunecore? And I have reasonably explained why I need that info, ’cause I need to plan my expenses.

            2) I’m not working for anyone but myself. Your accusation is just bollocks to cover up your own unwillingness to TRANSPARENCY.

            3) I’m not your “perfect example” of anything. I’m an artist. Artists can’t possibly be examples of anything, they’re unique. Time to learn a few little things about artists.

            4) And btw, your strawman technique is extremely poor, and you’re applying it to a person who’s not the sucker you think she is.

            5) I do know exactly what my goals are, so please stop assuming I don’t and stop pretending that you care about my goals.

            6) I am not “worrying about what other artists do.” I only asked how many uploads on Tunecore. Hope one day you’ll learn to see the difference between the two.

            7) I really do focus on what I want to do and not on what others do, and surely I don’t need you tell me what to focus on. And I appear to focus on other things, I focus on them because I focus on me. Makes sense to you?

            8) I am not on this blog to “divert attention and try to harm your artists.” It is actually YOU who are harming your artists, by hiding crucial info from them. Pointing fingers to me is just your excuse for you to Hide Other People’s Heads in the Sand. So, please do tell, why hiding crucial info, Jeff? For the sake of the TRANSPARENCY you falsely profess?

            9) I’ve seen that every time when someone rise some issues, you instantly treat them like your personal enemies, they’re automatically “working for someone else,” “came here to harm out artists” and other paranoiac bullshit like that. Whom do you think you’re fooling Jeff? Do you think people are so stupid to just eat that?

            10) No, I’m not gonna “get in line”, I’m an artist Jeff, not a machine, like you seem to have become. Real artists are free-thinking persons, far more intelligent and well informed than you seem to believe, Jeff. Maybe you are accustomed to “artists” that are not really artists but just sing/strum-guitar/play-beatz? ‘Cause those are the ones who actually make your fortune, and not the real artists, isn’t it Jeff? Be honest.

            But why do I have this strong impression that I’m talking to a machine? Maybe because you, Jeff, are behaving like one?

            So long, Jeff.

          • d cb

            “From time to time we have people come to the TuneCore blog with an agenda to harm us – they usually are not our customers and/or work for someone else
             here is a perfect example. … this is not why you are at our blog. You are here to attempt to divert attention and try for some reason to harm our artists and TuneCore”

            To paraphrase you, that’s absolutely, 100% incorrect and false, Jeff. And you know it. I did not come here “with an agenda to harm” anyone. I am not working for “someone else,” whomever this “someone else” might be in your mind. I am actually a free, freelance artist, and proud of my freedom. I am not here “to attempt to divert attention and try for some reason to harm our artists and TuneCore.” To paraphrase you again, that’s misinformation and spread propaganda. That’s a web of intentional lies. That’s blowing smoke, Jeff. Trying to discredit the person because she points at things that you want to remain hidden. The world is not flat, my dear prosecutor, it’s actually round and it turns ’round the sun and around itself, whether you like it or not. Also, guess what, turns out the devil is not that black as you like to depict it, it’s actually TRANSPARENT, and in fact it doesn’t even exist, you just invented it to promote yourself. Say what? Hush? What hush, everyone knows that, it’s a well known secret. Anyways, joke aside, here’s a modest attempt to untwist a few facts:

            1) I didn’t come here to harm anyone but to find the answer to this question: How many uploads on Tunecore in the last 2 years?

            2) I’m not working for anyone but myself. You just wanted to misrepresent me to distract people from your own unwillingness to TRANSPARENCY.

            3) I’m not your “perfect example” of anything, I’m an artist. Artists can’t possibly be examples of anything, they’re unique. In fact, each person is unique, therefore it is rude and insulting to refer to a person as “an example.” A fish is an example. A person is a person.

            4) Pointing fingers to me is the actual diversion, Jeff. For, in spite of your article’s title, you are actually attempting to Hide Other People’s Heads in the Sand. What? You’re not? You’re all for TRANSPARENCY? Well, please do tell then, why hiding the number of uploads on Tunecore, Jeff? For the sake of the TRANSPARENCY you falsely profess?

            5) I do know exactly what my goals are, so please stop assuming that I don’t. Thanks. Also stop pretending that you care about my, or any other artist’s, goals. That’s just populist propaganda. Practice what you preach: “Sell your services, not your soul.”

            6) I am not “worrying about what other artists do.” I have only asked “how many uploads on Tunecore.” Hope you see the difference between the two, it’s pretty big.

            7) I don’t need you tell me what to focus on. To think otherwise is presumptuous and completely preposterous. Stop playing the rabbi, you can’t educate anyone but yourself, Jeff.

            8) I’ve seen that every time when someone raises the smallest issue that seems inconvenient to you, you instantly treat them like your personal enemies, they’re suddenly “working for someone else,” “coming here to harm our artists,” and other paranoiac bullshit like that. Who do you think is gonna eat that? How about facing the issues, like a man, instead of cry wolf like a girl?

            To end on a positive note – it would be nice if you’d give up the strawman techniques, the smoke-blowing tactics, the diversion strategy, and the populist propaganda. All that really sucks. Focus instead on the upload service, you’re pretty good at that, but there’s still room for improvement in your customer service department, it’s a bit slow and some times vague, evasive, and confusing in their replies. Stop inventing “enemies coming here to harm our artists,” and forget “evil old labels.” Mind your own garden instead, there’s still some weed there to cut out, and you know weed, if you don’t keep an eye on it, it just keeps growing. And, most important, forget “caring about artists” in general. That’s just propaganda. Instead, pick ONE artist and actually promote him/her. You can’t possibly care for all. So do care for ONE artist. That will be appreciated more than your current agenda-driven self-promoting generalities.

            Hugs love and peace

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            here he goes again. as you do not pursue information that would be important and relevant to you but come to our blog multiple times and post comments that make things up, call us names and attack TuneCore its clear you are not interested in actually using the service, but more interested in hurting our company and our customers.
            if you are actually an artist, stop worrying about what others do, its important you focus on your goal. What is it you want to accomplish?

          • d cb

            1) I did not ask you to educate me, Jeff. I’ve only asked you a simple question. Just say “I don’t want to answer that” and spare me the guru rhetoric.

            2) It’s not your call to judge what’s relevant or irrelevant to me, let me be the judge of that.

            3) Mind your own garden, Jeff, and only do what you’re best at. Leave the populist propaganda where it belongs, in China. I have researched Tunecore a bit. Good uploading service but mediocre customer service, and really lousy populist propaganda that has no place in a business. Keep up the first, improve the second, and discard the third, for it really makes you look bad.

            Godspeed

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            you came to our blog and asked questions at an article about how to educate musicians
            if you dont want responses or information, its best not to ask questions
            if you want information on how to pursue your career as a musician, we can help
            outside of that, there is little we can do

            you must write the songs and pursue your dreams in the way you deem appropriate
            how other people do things is not relevant, what works for you is

            jeff

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            Let me be the judge of what works for me. It’s not your call to judge things for me. Nor is it to educate me.

            And btw, a good education doesn’t mean to patronize people, it means, among other things, that when you’re asked a direct question you answer it upfront, you don’t beat around the bushes.

            Respect

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            you hit the nail on the head

            these are your choices and your decisions.

            Define your goals, learn the information and armed with knowledge you can pursue your dream
            The information is out there if you want it.

            We have lots of links, articles and videos to help.

            It is a complex environment with a lot of information, I can understand how that feels intimidating.
            You can do it. Start with the knowledge. Dont worry about what others do or attacking entities you do not like, get the info so you can make informed decisions
            jeff

          • d cb

            Jeff,

            Let me be the judge of what works for me. It’s not your call to judge things for me. Nor is it to educate me.

            And btw, a good education doesn’t mean to patronize people, it means, among other things, that when you’re asked a direct question you answer it upfront, you don’t beat around the bushes.

            Respect

          • I struggle to find your point.

            Are you saying you need an upfront GUARANTEE to recoup your recording costs before you will distro (upload) via Tunecore?

            If so, you are thinking EXACTLY like a record label.

            Also, your assumed recording costs for just a guitar and vox for one track seem wildly inflated. If you can’t find good quality recording options for $75-85 an hour — meaning at least 5 tracks, probably more, putting the album upload option in play — well, I feel for you.

            Still, assume you are $250 in — that investment will not pay off in increased live bookings and general interest in your music? Telling a venue owner/booker that they can check you out on iTunes, sending them a link etc. is not value add? Reminding your audience that they can download your tracks doesn’t give you a little boost in the cred department, not to mention provides them with an easy way of sharing your music with their friends? 

            I get not wanting to get ripped off. I really do. But sometimes there are no guarantees and you just have to go for it.

            Best of luck in all that you do.

          • d cb

            Jeff (A. Taylor),

            1) No need to struggle, “my point” is a simple question: How many uploads on Tunecore? They don’t want answer it because that would reveal that, in this Digital Uploading Business, there’s just pennies for artists and millions$$$ for Tunecore. Granted, they provide good service for a fair fee. But come on, stop the rhetoric about “transparence” and “caring about the artist,” and other nonsense like that. Just collect your money and keep up the good service. And be honest and upfront with people, just say “I don’t want to answer that.” (not you Jeff, the other Jeff 🙂 )

            3) I don’t need any “guarantee,” you just made that up. I only *need* air water food and shelter. 🙂

            3) I am not “thinking EXACTLY as a record label.” You have no access to the way I think and no right to make public guesses about it. I find that a bit insulting, although that wasn’t your explicit intention, only implicit. 😉

            4) That price was not “wildly inflated,” I just considered 2h for that recording. Where I live good studios won’t take an 1h project and actually few will accept anything under 3h.

            5) True, being on iTunes is an advantage, but that’s a given that I was not contesting. I was contesting the hypocrisy of saying that “TRANSPARENCY in information and in money is the answer” and then failing to answer one simple question: how many songs uploaded on Tunecore. A honest statement would have been: “SECRECY in information and in money is the answer.” But that’s another discussion.

            All the best to you too!

          • Gregt

            d cb: Tunecore currently distributes between 150-250 releases a day (more music is released in one day via Tunecore than any major record label over a year). Do the math..
            Source: Universal Music Group (recently partnered with Tunecore)

          • d cb

            Thanks Gregt, I really appreciate your help! The world would be such a great place if everyone will just give a straight answer to a direct question!

            So, the maths says that a rate of 150 uploads per day would make 109,500 uploads in 2 years, generating $300mln. That would make an average of $1,370 per upload per year. Maybe a bit less if we factor out the NIN chunk. So it’s more like, on average, around 1K per upload per year.

            That’s all I wanted to know. Thanks again!

            Cheers,
            d

          • Gregt

            d cb: make sure you also factor out the jay z, drake, beck, aretha franklin, keith richards, public enemy, warren g, moby, ricky skaggs, bjork, cirque de soleil…………chunk.

          • d cb

            :O

            Great point man!

            So my $1K per upload per year was overoptimistic, and it’s more like ¢1K per upload per year, right?

          • Anonymous

            @ d CB

            watch this too

    • Fluidminds

      usually songs sell for 99 cents.  that’s less than a dollar.  

      300 out of 400 million is 75% to the artist.  25% seems to be the average cut that the distributor takes.  

      • Anonymous

        @fluidminds

        I support your decision to sign with a major label, transfer your rights and make less money
        In the meantime, I hope you dont mind if we continue to work to change the industry, cut out middlemen and put more money into artists pockets
        A distribution fee is the amount of money taken by the middleman that puts the music into the store, not the margin mark up a store makes.
        But I’m stunned – you read this article and your only comments are artists should go back to major labels so they make no money when their music sells?
        Get more info so you can make informed decisions!

        jeff

  • Tiziano

    That’s true only in a part.

    Publishing on Youtube, SoundCloud and many many others included: MySpace, Facebook, Google+: you don’t get A CENT, in terms of RIGHTS when people are listening your pieces.

    Primarily: to make concerts in order to be known apart the “pub” (that in Europe it’s really a no-solution system), you need many thousand euros that no one will pay for an unknown. If you want to share the Stage with somebody else, the costs are also shared, but instead of 20 000 euro you’ll pay 5 000 … and what you gain? 0!
    Secondly: if you want to be known, you need interview by networks. An interview of 5-6 minutes costs around 10-15 000 euro (in italy as well as in France etc)

    To be not forgot, you need that networks are passing your piece at least 3 times per day for 1 month.
    This operation, based on the network, can and it costs: a fortune!

    If I have that money: I will do something else 🙂

    All the rest of the things, to be famous only using web, making t-shirts, etc etc etc etc: are really craps! (my opinion!!) At leas in the “old continent”.

    1st Sending always email to people that only the 10 % will open that email and only the 10% of them are reading and few of them are really interested on it (all the rest of the people will delete that email)

    2nd nobody, or almost, spends money for an “unknown”
    —> The presence in the web serves only for the Majors!! And the reality, as far as I understood is: <—If they see that you are THE good looking they are looking for, interdependently from the music you are making: they will get you!If they see that you have some talent NOT in music itself BUT in understanding the taste of the listeners giving what they want to receive (commercial talent): they will get you! But you MUST be the "good looking" they are looking forIf they see that you are also capable to compose something or more: to SING as they like … they will get you!Only them can pay all the necessary stuff in order to make you famous, to give you concerts where the public is not only your parents, some relative and some friend (if you're lucky to have them).
    Only them can give you interviews, inventing your life and make you more interesting rather than you are really (public need s music but also the "gossip" around it)
    Only them can support you making you millionaire, IF AND ONLY IF you are rappresenting what they are looking for.That's my opinion … of an independent. Good luck

    • Anonymous

      @Tiziano

      You State:

      “Publishing on Youtube, SoundCloud and many many others included: MySpace, Facebook, Google+: you don’t get A CENT, in terms of RIGHTS when people are listening your pieces.”
      That’s absolutely, 100% incorrect and false. TuneCore is already collecting this money and getting it back to those signed up for its songwriter services
      In regards to your statement that no one buys from an “unknown”. Well, yes, because they are unknown
      But you are so so so wrong about the net. I dont know what your agenda is, why you would choose to come to our blog and make up things that are simply not true
      Every single second there are over 3 songs being bought from a TuneCore artist in iTunes. And every single second there are over 9 paid streams being listened to from a TuneCore Artist
      And that $300 million dollars you claim does not exist, went into the pockets of the artists that use TuneCore
      Dont hide your head in the sand. Dont believe the hype. This is how they keep you down.
      Jeff

      • d cb

        Jeff,
        Are you saying that TubeCore is collecting money from songs streamed on Youtube, SoundCloud, MySpace, Facebook, Google+? From all of them? Some of them? Which ones exactly?

        • Anonymous

          i am indeed

          TuneCore is providing a global songwriter publishing administration service on behalf of its customers
          and it collects all money owed to songwriters and gets it back to them
          ANy entity on the internet that publicly performs a song MUST have a public performance license to do so
          PLS PLS PLS take the time to learn more about this stuff

          you are hitting the nail on the head! that’s the point of this article
          You need to know where your money is! Who owes it to you! Why they owe it to you! What you need to do to get it!
          jeff

          • Mr.Murder

            You guys are now doing PRO functions in addition?

          • Anonymous

            all music publishers do PRO functions

            sometimes they outsource to ASCAP/BMI

            sometimes they dont

            and yes we do!

            jeff

          • Mr.Murder

            Registered BMI writer, was about to pay the publisher fee there as well. What of Tune Core pricing? PS, got to go and coach a kids foozball team, will read your reply this evening. Thanks for prompt reply on other items and for Tune Core support of U.ncle S.indey!

            Need to know the cost and extent of publishing, does it have include things on broadcast format, can it be written songs, scripts as well?

          • Anonymous

            Just landed so will be a bit

            Thank You

            Jeff Price

          • Anonymous

            @Mr Murder

            check out the six legal rights booklet that explains all this

            tunecore.com/copyright

            if you choose to hire us to get/claim your money, we will take care of all BMI things for you (including any costs)
            Jeff

          • Mr.Murder

            What are the prices? A fee or percentage? Is it a renewable fee or a lifetime item?

          • Anonymous

            @ mr mruder

            hit up songwriterinfo@tunecore.com and they will flag your account to see all the details, answer all questions etc

        • Anonymous

          i am indeed

          TuneCore is providing a global songwriter publishing administration service on behalf of its customers
          and it collects all money owed to songwriters and gets it back to them
          ANy entity on the internet that publicly performs a song MUST have a public performance license to do so
          PLS PLS PLS take the time to learn more about this stuff

          you are hitting the nail on the head! that’s the point of this article
          You need to know where your money is! Who owes it to you! Why they owe it to you! What you need to do to get it!
          jeff

        • Anonymous

          i am indeed

          TuneCore is providing a global songwriter publishing administration service on behalf of its customers
          and it collects all money owed to songwriters and gets it back to them
          ANy entity on the internet that publicly performs a song MUST have a public performance license to do so
          PLS PLS PLS take the time to learn more about this stuff

          you are hitting the nail on the head! that’s the point of this article
          You need to know where your money is! Who owes it to you! Why they owe it to you! What you need to do to get it!
          jeff

      • d cb

        Jeff,
        Are you saying that TubeCore is collecting money from songs streamed on Youtube, SoundCloud, MySpace, Facebook, Google+? From all of them? Some of them? Which ones exactly?

      • Errol Michael

        How come Tunecore is collecting money from Myspace, Facebook etc. when Soundexchange is supposed to be doing that?

        • Anonymous

          @errol

          Great question!

          All part of this article.

          These are different rights.

          Soundexchange collects money for the lead performer and entity that controls the recording for non-interactive digtial transmissions
          TuneCore collects money on behalf of the songwriter

          different rights
          different money

          jeff

    • Charles Marlowe

      well God, that is suck a dark way to look at things. I really hope that we are in a transitional age in the music industry and withing five or ten years everything will balance itself out. I am indi, and frustrated but in alot of ways it is very easy to reach your dreams on the internet machine.
      Lets just try to be optimistic. George Howard makes me depressed enough. lol/

      • certainly didn’t mean to make you depressed. the goal of this (and all) articles is to make you both feel empowered, and question the status quo.  what – imho – is depressing is waiting on some gatekeeper to anoint you, rather than taking control of your own destiny.

        Best,George

    • d cb

      So, what you’re basically saying is, promotions costs lots of money. Right? And that if you don’t have those money, you don’t stand one chance. Also, if you had that sort of money, you better use them for something else. Right?

      So it’s not necessarily about “the Majors” but about the advertising costs, about who’s gonna pay that, and whether it’s worth it or not. Correct? It’s either making it big or not making it at all. No middle ground. Is that what you’re saying?

      • Anonymous

        @d cb

        if it was only that easy

        Major labels spent hundreds of millions of dollars marketing and promoting failed 98% of the time
        So no, its not about having money to promote

        Its much more basic

        Its about creating art that causes reaction

        without that, you have nothing.

        the good news is, if you create that piece of art, you no longer have gatekeepers.

        jeff

      • Anonymous

        @d cb

        if it was only that easy

        Major labels spent hundreds of millions of dollars marketing and promoting failed 98% of the time
        So no, its not about having money to promote

        Its much more basic

        Its about creating art that causes reaction

        without that, you have nothing.

        the good news is, if you create that piece of art, you no longer have gatekeepers.

        jeff

      • Anonymous

        @d cb

        if it was only that easy

        Major labels spent hundreds of millions of dollars marketing and promoting failed 98% of the time
        So no, its not about having money to promote

        Its much more basic

        Its about creating art that causes reaction

        without that, you have nothing.

        the good news is, if you create that piece of art, you no longer have gatekeepers.

        jeff

      • Mfp0815

        who paid for all that in the past? a label!

        • Anonymous

          and failed 98% of the time

          its about your writing a song that causes reaction

          jeff

          • Mfp0815

            causes a reaction…what as in a “like” or a “RT”? Maybe even a stream?

            Or maybe an old fashioned reaction to songs from like pink floyd, the beatles, the rolling stones, led zeppelin, jimi hendrix, madonna, metallica, michael jackson, aerosmith, ac/dc, billy idol, nirvana, stone temple pilots, guns n roses, portishead, tricky, seal, prince, the kinks, van halen, kiss, motley crue, marilyn manson, ozzy osbourne, stevie nicks, stevie wonder, johnny cash, the temptations, BB King, muse, seether, puddle of mudd, the killers, avenged sevenfold……..? 

          • Anonymous

            @mfp0815

            If Smells Like Teen Spirit did not cause a reaction, it would not have mattered how many times you heard it
            Stop whining about how hard it is and start doing something about it. If you believe you have no talent, cant write a song then get out of the way, as others do have the talent
            jeff

          • Mfp0815

            Look at this news video, it is about the death of lime wire and please read a few pages of the comments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMTq_HhTK40

            THAT’S how hard it is. And yes I am crying a little bit (but I have sand in my eye).one comment: ‘m still using Limewire. Oh and yeah, FUCK THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!kaega2 1 month ago

          • Jaxonmuse

            Hell yes, The hard truth is, in life you either 1) lead, 2) follow, or 3) get the fuck out of the way. Sad but truly this is the nature of things. But if, through music, you are fortunate to get to a better place in life, you must turn around and bring someone worthy. But for now, people, people, people, stop all the BS whining about how you can’t and celebrate how you can. The time is nye. I like what I hear from the tunecore guys. Success has never been easy otherwise everyone would be successful. the one thing you can control is the songs you write. If they have legs then you have a shot at some success. How you go about orchestrating your finacial and career success is what Tunecore proports to be able to help you with. That’s how I see it.  I have not commited to TuneCore yet but I am seriously considering it. Presently I am with ASCAP. All the best.

    • you have some misunderstandings here, and Jeff has addressed most of them.

      one fundamental thing you need to remember is that you must build emotional connections with your constituents offline (i.e. by playing live), and then amplify these connections online.

      you can’t create community; you can just provide organization.

      Best,George

    • Mfp0815

      You pretty much NAILED it. Except: nobody, or almost, spends money for ANY music.

      • Anonymous

        well thats a load of crap

        music sales are UP by unit, not down

        hell, even the RIAA and Neilsen say so. Over 1.7 BILLION units of music were bought via paid download in the last 12 months
        TuneCore Artists earned over $300 million in revenue

        EVERY SECOND – TuneCore Artists sell over 3 songs on iTunes
        EVERY SECOND – TuneCore artists sell over 9 songs via paid streams

        Why do you come to this blog and just make up things that are simply not true
        For the first time in the history of this industry MORE artists are making MORE money than at any time in the history of this industry.
        Why do you want hurt artists?

        jeff

  • Amandarhunt

    This was FANTASTIC!!
    Thank you.

  • Charles Marlowe

    George,

    I believe you are right. Artist need to have knowledge of this business. Who wouldn’t agree. The sad thing is usually we artist can only become somewhat more aware of whats really going on rather than having thorough understanding of all the laws and such.
    But keep educating us please. I watch your classes online and have been following you for a while. Thank you for the advice and information. 

    • you can become as aware as you want to be.

      thanks for the comment, and for moving the ball forward.

      Best,George

  • Steven Cravis

    George and Jeff, this is one of the best music articles I’ve ever read. A great service that not everyone knows about yet is Tunecore Publishing that I recently joined. I’m particularly impressed by Tunecore Publishing’s support and guidance which has been helping get me and my music properly integrated with all the concepts mentioned in this article. I was even inspired to recently make my own site to position my music better for TV and Film licensing. http://www.MusicLicenseCalculator.com/example2.html

  • Steven Cravis

    George and Jeff, this is one of the best music articles I’ve ever read. A great service that not everyone knows about yet is Tunecore Publishing that I recently joined. I’m particularly impressed by Tunecore Publishing’s support and guidance which has been helping get me and my music properly integrated with all the concepts mentioned in this article. I was even inspired to recently make my own site to position my music better for TV and Film licensing. http://www.MusicLicenseCalculator.com/example2.html

  • Steven Cravis

    George and Jeff, this is one of the best music articles I’ve ever read. A great service that not everyone knows about yet is Tunecore Publishing that I recently joined. I’m particularly impressed by Tunecore Publishing’s support and guidance which has been helping get me and my music properly integrated with all the concepts mentioned in this article. I was even inspired to recently make my own site to position my music better for TV and Film licensing. http://www.MusicLicenseCalculator.com/example2.html

  • Lionel Cartwright

    We need an organization(s) that will confront the $0.000003 royalty rate on streams.  Who came up with this rate (I think I already know).  I’m not looking to become a millionaire with my music, but I do believe “the laborer is worthy of his wages.”  $0.000003 is not a fair wage.  Let’s challenge it.

    • Anonymous

      @lionel

      damn straight. Get involved. learn your rights. have a voice on capital hill
      Join Future Of Music Coalition! http://futureofmusic.org/

      jeff

      • d cb

        Jeff,

        I have a software that scans and analyzes messages to detect machine-generated replies, and it says that there are 84% chances that your replies are machine-generated. Could that be true, Jeff?

        • Anonymous

          @d cd

          Honestly, you really need to stop worrying about what other people do, foucs in on your own goals and learn the info needed to accomplish them.

          In the meantime, I need to go and read Dave’s lips. Seems he wants to take out my power supply.

          Jeff

          • d cb

            😀

            Looks like my software was as wrong as yours, Jeff.

            But, honestly, you really need to stop worrying about what other people do and focus on your own issues. For example, honestly, you really need to stop to cry wolf every time you don’t like what someone else is saying. You’re ridiculously predictable, Jeff, every time someone’s questioning your mantras, suddenly they’re “trying to discredit our company and devalue our customers,” “working for someone else,” “coming here to attempt to divert attention and to harm our dear artists,” etc. And then you reiterate your populist mantras all over again and again: “you need this,” “you don’t need that,” “learn this,” “forget that,” “do this,” “stop that,” etc. It’s getting old after a while, Jeff, it really does sound like a machine mindlessly spouting out the same canned stuff over and over. Quite unimaginative, isn’t it, Jeff?

            Send my regards to Hal, along with my congrats for his newly acquired lips.

            Dave

  • First, thank you. Second, thank you.

    Now. Back to square one, live performance. What to make of live venues which – as a matter of policy – declare that NO “copyrighted material” may be performed there?

    We all understand what that is a rejection of – the PROs and their fee structure. I think that is short-sighted and a mistake, but it is absolutely true that some venue owners balk at even the thought of paying even $200 a month in licensing fees.

    So. Such venues exist in many, many cities. And some acts DO willingly play them, figuring the exposure, the experience, and maybe a small door cut is worth it.

    But what about Tunecore acts that ARE NOT registered/signed with PRO? Are they not still – by virtue of their Tunecore distro package – authors of copyrighted material? In other words, there seems to be a disconnect between playing one of these “no copyright” venues and telling everyone in the joint to go download your songs on iTunes.

    Thanks for any info. The times they are a changin’ – and full of grey areas.

    • Anonymous

      @jeff

      these are the right questions!

      check out the six legal rights you get when you create a song – it helps explain all this
      http://www.tunecore.com/copyright

      jeff

  • I wholeheartedly agree that artists must proactively seek a definition of “what viability means”. 

    But practically speaking, the business side of your brain and the creative side of your brain _must_necessarily_ be in constant opposition, to be good at either.  At true 50% load of your native processing or productive power, one side annihilates the other. 

    So the reality is that you have to commit to a side, either creative or business, and watch the other part of your business suffer until you can hire someone you trust to take the other role.

    There is a reason for roles.  Real roles cannot be virtualized.  That is the problem now with society.  The masses are so preoccupied with how “women are men” and “men are women” that the heterosexual family–the basic unit of society–became a casualty.

    That’s my $0.00000033 cents.

    –Schlagameista

    • Anonymous

      But learn the rules so you can delegate and know when someone is not doing their job
      Jeff

    • I’m a believer in the “middle brain” – between left and right. while some people tilt more towards one direction or the other, i think it’s stereotypes that get beaten into us that make us feel incapable of certain things (artists can’t be good business people; business people can’t be artists; girls can’t do math; boys can’t paint).  all of this is, of course, crazy – most of the best business people i know are creative, and many of the most creative people i know are good business people.

      Best,George

      • What I was referring to was the issue of what essentially is an artist and what essentially is a businessman with respect to the business of art.

        As an artist, your objective is to convey a message in the most persuasive way possible to yourself. You cannot be tethered by issues of cost, logistics, etc. , in order to pursue this vision. In the end, you are practicing or expressing yourself to medicate yourself—it is all about you.

        As a businessman, you have to be concerned with how this vision—this catharsis—is to be practically meaningful to someone else.

        I am sorry, but these two roles, “artist” and “businessman”, are not reconcilable within one person. A true artist does not capitulate to another’s expectations. Why? He is too busy medicating himself. It is not about making money. The pursuit of the Art is about _healing_. Making money is only incidental to that healing. The achievement of “viability” is a welcome serendipitous event—to be sure, but it is not what profoundly motivates an artist to create.

        Do you really think Amy Winehouse sang for money? If you cannot understand, then you have _never_ been an artist.

        Why do you think poor people spend a preponderant fraction of their “leisure” time practicing art? Why do you think that particularly black people are so associated with music. They need to heal. They are not doing it to get a record deal. It is not because they have been given some kind of natural ability to sing and dance. Do you actually think black males want to rap? These people are practicing art because with no other opportunities, they _have_ to do it to remain “functional.”

        Just as with drug addiction and alcohol abuse, the practice of art helps to augment endorphin levels, so people can cope with their stark realities.

        You just don’t get it. There is nothing trivial about this issue. If you were such a great businessman, you wouldn’t need to be an artist to medicate yourself.

        The practice of Art is catharsis. Period.

        To illustrate, I posit that were the continent of Africa not colonized by Europe in the late 1800s and people were allowed to develop naturally, there would not be this obscene identification of black people with music that we see today.

        This is sadly about stereotypes based on reality. You just don’t get it.

        -Schlagameista

  • Byron King the Consortium

    for some of you,who think you get something for nothing well good luck to you,I want to thank Tunecore and all the other distribution net works,that honor there agreement to distribute,independent artist,I just wish,they had a way to help promote music as well as distribute it

    • Anonymous

      Nothing of value comes easy.

      And we do market and promote (look at the screen shots on our blog that we post end of each month of feature placements)
      But we can’t write the songs that cause reaction. That’s what you do

      Jeff

  • Milwaukeecounty414

    Tune core continues to exite me every time I get a new emailm there are artists in this industry who are just completely bewilldered by the true concept of the INDUSTRY and the buisness there of. I applaud your efforts to keep the older and emerging artists abreast of this information it is critical to the further cultivation of their careers.

    • thanks, and, agreed, we need more conversations – thank you for being part of this one.

      Best,George

  • Tonytspencer

    that is true bro look am a copyrights from in the 1980 i am a member wit the prs in the uk from 1980 use to pay me royalties 3 time a year but now da dont pay me no more the us have royalties for me when i go to to the offric a bout my money da tell me day have no right to get it from us i dont no what happen membersship @prsformusic.com i am a member long long time i want to

  • Racymusic

    Great and lucid article!
    As a songwriter I have had my songs recorded by major artists and some of those songs have been at the top of the Billboard charts. The major labels have stopped paying mechanicals on those cuts. They have licensed those songs out for compilations and I have never seen royalties from those compilation’s labels.This is very disheartening and makes you wonder how they can get away with it, but they do.
    Hiring a lawyer to handle it is very expensive and most of the good ones are in bed with the labels.
    The only royalties that I do get are from BMI.
    I own all the rights to my songs and though I often see them performed on TV I am not contacted for a synch. They just use it without authorization. This is mainly on spanish network television.

    The business can really knock the wind out of your sails since there doesn’t seem to be anything one can do.
    I am all for these changes to a transparent system and hope that the change will come but it’s hard to find the time to chase after all of these companies that are not paying me the money they owe me.
    What can be done? Thanks for the tip on soundexchange. I will check them out.

    • Anonymous

      @Racymusic

      here is what can be done

      First, know the info

      Second, opt in for services like the TuneCOre songwriter service that will get you more money from public performances more quickly with transparency and an audit trails
      Third, climb up BMI and ASCAP’s nether regions about your money! Use services like TuneSat to track your public performances so you can assure you are getting your rightful share of money
      Fourth, join Future Of Music Coalition and have a voice on Capital Hill
      jeff

    • wind in your sails comes from feeling your making progress towards your goals. it’s more possible to do that now than ever.

      Best,George

    • Mfp0815

      What can be done? Globally functioning Anti Piracy laws.

      • Anonymous

        what can be done is for you to learn your rights and how they make money
        you cant just complain without information. By doing so, you propagate lies and myths
        YES – people are stealing music

        but did you know MORE people are buying music now than ever before

        did you know MORE units of music are selling

        did you know MORE artists are making money

        LEARN YOUR RIGHTS, GET YOUR MONEY. Stop just sticking your head in the sand and complaining!
        jeff

  • peter law(lawlor)

    Dear Tunecore,
    Am suprised, to say the least; re your  ‘message to artists/musicians’  seems to infer, that some of the gentlest people in the world,  should have a  concept of ‘business’; and I write these from the bottom of my Heart…

    • Anonymous

      @peter law

      yes, we are stating you should know your rights so other people can no longer steal from you.
      Once you have this info, you can hire others to work for you and know if they are doing their job
      jeff

      • peter law(lawlor)

        Dear Jeff,
        Please excuse remark made by me, to Tunecore, re  ‘inference that some of the gentlest people’ etc;   I do need to learn a lot more, and thank you, and Tunecore for your kind reminder…mea culpa… 

        • Anonymous

          @peter

          no need to retract your response

          You are right!

          All the more reason why I want you to have the info. Im tired of people taking advantage of artists and I need your help to take them on
          jeff

    • you can be a gentle, humble business person. may i recommend you read “good to great” by Jim Collins.

      Best,George

  • Where 

  • I’ve seen you guys say a few things about your Songwriter Service (the one that collects royalties from social networking sites). That sounds like a great idea, if (as I am led to believe) artists can actually earn money from all these Facebook/YouTube streams. I cannot find any information about it on TuneCore.com, or any place to sign up for it, however. Can you clear this up? Is it a US-only thing? 

  • Mfp0815

    RIGHTS? COPYRIGHTS? Newsflash: music is free (right now) and that generated an unbelievable quantity of artists/music that consequently killed quality. Painting a pretty picture based on millions of releases of people who make nothing, BUT do generate millions for the only ones making music in the industry right now; and those people making money are not (indie) musicians. They run internet sites. It is such a creative time; like never before? Just because everyone can “release” music. Please. Punch in “winning” on iTunes…..So much revenue? Who, major artists? I personally don’t know anyone that makes “so much” revenue with music….I know tons of true talented musicians that quit though. And I pity the poor labels (yes I do). They got down and trash talked and destroyed when- regardless of anything- they generated decade lasting global careers for numerous acts. Hey: Art meets business; business will exploit art yet art has a chance to thrive. You think Linkin Park is still on WB because WB are mean to them?? Also, labels were a filter. Now, there is no filter. Good or bad? (This only a non rhetoric question to non-musicians….) Everyone has an album, a site, a video, uses the same audio&video, software, lingo, platform……AND it’s all free (It’s a nice effort to suggest all these marketing ideas to indies, but seriously if everyone does not even PAY for their favorite artists, you think they’re gonna buy a CD- sorry download of an unknown act? Yes you can have your music up on a gazillion websites and profiles but who is gonna find it? What’s the payoff exactly? More importantly: what came out of all this? Countless reunions of old bands but nothing new that one could even remotely compare to the real thing on the horizon. The unfortunate thing is that it’s not that there’s nothing great out there anymore but how in the world are you going to find it in the bottomless data pit? How are they going to rise up? Music is worthless right now! The solution for the complete devaluation of anything downloadable? Anti Piracy laws. It’s happening..slowly. As for quantity….I much rather have ONE record and actually LISTEN to it as opposed to a billion of songs somewhere online. And IF I should for some strange reason find an artist,….I can get all the music on the internet for free. Tunecore gives everyone (me included) the possibility to release music; they do it well and are nice people. But they really don’t replace a label (some people tend to think Tunecore is a label or an old fashioned distributor such as Universal). It also does not solve what happened to music/art within the last decade or so. What we (artists) really need are globally functioning anti piracy laws (an dthat IS tricky). In the meantime: don’t give your music away for free unless you already made it; no one really wants/appreciates it in the sense that it would be helpful to you in any way.

    • Anonymous

      @mfp0815

      sorry, but you must must get the info on how this all works

      what you write is not correct. every single time a song is streamed, downloaded or publicly performed via LastFM, Slacker, Pandora, YouTube, MySpace Music, Spotify, iTunes, commercial radio stations, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, retail stores and more YOU GET PAID
      In regards to TuneCore Arists that made nothing – I dont know why you chose to come to our blog and make up things that are simply not true.
      Civil Wars – over 2,000,000 songs sold
      Lerea – over 1,500,000 songs sold
      Kelly – over 3,000,000 songs sold
      Ron Pope – over 500,000 songs sold
      Boyce Avenue – over 2,500,000 songs sold
      Colt Ford – over 1,500,000 songs sold

      i can just keep going and going

      NONE of these artists are “signed”

      Not everyone makes it, but more do now than ever before

      So learn your rights, learn how to make money, collect what is yours. If you dont, others will take it.
      Jeff

      • Mfp0815

        Good for them. First up, I have heard of Linkin Park, but I haven’t heard of any of the artists you mentioned.

        Here what I found:-Lerea…nothing much comes up in iTunes or yahoo.
        -Kelly..the hip hop? iTunes says “not enough ratings to display an average for this album”-Ron Pope…..Pope received the benefit of nationwide television exposure as a musical guest on MTV’s TRL and through multiple placements on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Following one such placement, two of his albums exploded onto the iTunes top album chart at the same time, a feat that is very rarely accomplished by any artist, let alone one who isn’t a household name.-Boyce Avenue…Most recently[when?] the band signed with Universal Republic[4]  They ARE signed. A label? Oh why would they?? I wonder when it was that they sold all those songs, prior or post the signing.

        • Anonymous

          @mfp0815

          forgive me, but once again you have no idea what you are talking about
          Ron Pope – he used TuneCore BEFORE he was signed to anyone and sold over 300,000 songs all his own. Yes, BEFORE any of the things you mention. Off a 10 song demo when he was still at NYU busking on the street.
          Kelly – no, not the hip hop artist. Kelly wrote a song called Shoes and uploaded it to YouTube
          Did it ever occur to you that these artists achieved success BEFORE some major tried to work with them?
          This year, TuneCore Aritists are projected to earn around $100 million dollars just from the sale of their recordings
          And then there are all the other income streams.

          You cant win this argument as you are just dead wrong.

          You can claim it isn’t happening, but it is. You can claim doom and gloom and say Civil Wars did not sell 2 million songs without a label, but they did. You can claim Steven Cravis does not make a living with his music but he does. You can discount these artists as much as you want in an attempt to try to discourage or force them to give up rights to an antiquated system that takes their rights and money, but they wont do it.
          The truth is, they key to success is about writing song that causes reaction
          Get your head out of the sand, stop believing the spoon fed crap the old industry feeds you in an attempt to keep you down.
          I cant blame you too much a you do not have access to the data I do, but honestly, you are wrong.
          jeff

      • Mfp0815

        “what you write is not correct. every single time a song is streamed, downloaded or publicly performed via LastFM, Slacker, Pandora, YouTube, MySpace Music, Spotify, iTunes, commercial radio stations, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, retail stores and more YOU GET PAID” 
        Talking about streaming…0,0085 per stream (according to my Tunecore sales report)? Hey I can have 2MIO songs streamed…what does 2MIO times 0,0085 come out to exactly? $17,037. 

        Why didn’t you mention JANGO Radio (&!%$), you promote them?

        • Anonymous

          @mefp0815

          You come to our blog and promote major record labels – the ones that steal your rights and take you money – and spread propaganda and misinformation based on no fact. You make things up and then discredit artists and hurt them. Why is beyond me.
          And yes, artists and songwriters make money off of Jango airplay as well. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. For every Jango, Slacker, LastFM, 8Tracks, Pandora etc non-ineractive stream there are THREE payments being made
          One to the songwriter
          One to the lead performer
          One to the entity that controls the master recording

          Don’t know what I’m talking about, learn the information! Its vital

          You’re right – its another income stream

          read this http://www.tunecore.com/copyright

          learn how it all works

          jeff

          • Mfp0815

            Jeff, first up, thanks for the communication. I don’t discredit artists. Success is great for them, I am happy for them. I just would hope they would be more successful; hence the comparison with LP. Promote major labels? Hell, why not, they pretty much promoted all the music that is sitting on my CD shelf; thus I purchased it? Point is, any band being successful on their own still signs with a label. Hey Arctic Monkeys did it.

            I am only trying to find some hope in all of this, as I keep hearing how wonderful it all is nowadays and I wish it to be true but I just don’t quite see it yet.
            JANGO. I tried Jango….uhm everyone that know how Jango works trying it as an artist? I even wrote ASCAP since I’m a writer & publisher there about Jango asking if it is true what with getting paid for plays there and the man (not a dummy mind you) had no idea of what and how things Jango and if I would get anything. And yes I had lots of plays on JANGO as long as I bought those prickly credits- I got NOTHING.Pandora I tried as well, now go ahead and find an unknown artist on Pandora. Oh you punch in someone famous and it gives you suggestions? Yes, other famous people. I honestly believe that Tunecore (which I am quite happy with) along with Reverbnation (their free widgets and services rule) is one of the few things out there actually making sense, as they are offering decent services, but it doesn’t change the matter of fact that a lot of bands trying it out there and knowing their rights are still lost in a tsunami of never ending releases and people not buying their music because it’s all still free. If all the bands would sell as much as described (as opposed to finding their music on various sites for free or making 0,00085/ stream or however much) I wouldn’t be whining, I’d be on tour!

            New times are good, people are more educated, all digital….now if only anti piracy laws would finally function and the streaming be figured out, then all that would actually make some sense. Not only for revenue but for the sake of the VALUE of what artists do. 

          • Anonymous

            I think a good starting point would be for you to get the money you are owed from Jango, Pandora etc
            Make certain to register with SoundExchange

            Also, ask your PRO what the rates are for these services and demand know why they have not paid you
            armed with that info, we can build off of it to create a system that gets you more of your money
            I truly suspect there is money out there for you that is not making it to you!
            jeff

    • Lena Santana

      Absolutely true what you’re saying. I’d like to know more about you , your work as an artist.You can write me to llenasantana @gmail.com. Cheers!…

    • Elgallodechiapas

      Me gusto

    • Jbrianballard

      There are no unknown acts. Somebody knows them.

  • CR

    Showbiz IS about getting screwed. At least in the olden showbiz people got screwed while making it big…..

    • Anonymous

      damn straight

      but it should NOT be that way

      things should be transparent

      and you should know your rights to be able to identify when someone is screwing you
      jeff

      • CR

        Again: At least in the olden showbiz people got screwed while making it big…..

    • does it have to always be about that?

      • Mfp0815

        I think so, but it’s all relative!

        Because artists are ‘useless dandies’ (I’m one) 🙂 And I like being a useless dandy because only through my dandyism I am crazy enough to dedicate my entire life to music and the development of my musical skills instead of getting a “real job”. So someone comes along and sees something in you. They help you accomplish whatever it is and yes they will ask for a LOT in return. So what, without them you’d be nowhere. Hey Van Halen came back from their first tour and found out that they owed a lot of money and some albums to WB and that the “gift” of the platinum VH necklaces from their manager came out of their own pocket, yet…….well the rest is history. They had a pretty decent run I’d say? Yes they were smoking without a label but they wouldn’t have been the mighty VH without the WB. Go and contradict THAT.

        I don’t think Ozzy Osbourne, Nikki Sixx, etc etc etc are hurting from -getting screwed by the industry- sitting in their houses in Beverly Hills. Hey look Lady Gaga’s on Interscope..

        But Marilyn Manson might be hurting ever since he had to go back to a small indie label from a big major label due to no record sales (hey maybe it is that no one acquired them legally?) And then suddenly appears on no name talent shows overseas as a judge..EXCEPTION: I think Ani DiFranco is quite happy but she was the first one and did it at a time when people still bought music.Muse, The Killers, Avenged Sevenfold -> They all still made it HUGE with the old model on a label (look up when they started). Give me new acts like this and I might revise my opinions. 

        People are educated and things changed now and labels can’t screw artists like they did but no DIY can ever replace the muscle of a label. 

        And now, we’re all online, and aren’t we getting screwed (submission fees, fees fees fees…) by all that too…but with nothing in return?

  • I’m in perfect emphasis with all the WHY? and all the good teachings hereHowever I wouldn’t over-emphasize the fact that artists SHOULD go alone and avoid the middle men, “All of you are a hell of a lot bigger than “them.”, blablabla. This business is about trust, a good team supporting the artist (including the fans) is essential. What I see here is that Tunecore IS one of the middlemen (and that’s fine really). So who are “them”, Tunecore competitors? I personally run a LABEL and the contracts I use to engage with my artists are clear and the result of mindful discussions with them. We define where we go, how we do it and then we operate, in a proper DIY / no bullshit style. Then we get on some RELEASE and EXPOSURE, activating a network that serves the purpose of our artists and ours as a label.It takes a pile of talents and efforts for one to emerge, thanks to support and network connections. Network teaches you, network supports you, network is everything in that business. A label can be part of that essential network. The so-called “selfmade” artists we all hear about these days do have some extented network connections backing them up, because they are AWESOME and people believe in them. You can learn how to be smart, but to be AWESOME, is a bit more complicated: you need believers (fans in some ways). That’s where signing on some labels, getting management or a booking agent, and getting introduced to some networks can really help your latent AWESOMENESS to be recognized as such, because THEY got the network YOU need.

    So yes, be knowledgeable about your business, but most importantly, get talented / connected people to work for you.

    • completely agree – it’s about trust.

      you can’t have trust without understanding, transparency, and empathy.

      once we have those things, we have ethical fiber. once we have ethical fiber, transaction costs go down, and we all win.

      Best,George

    • Anonymous

      @m3t4

      Hell yes were a middleman – we were started to stop people taking rights and revenue from the sale of your music.
      And hell yes, know your rights so you can build a team and make educated decisions and choices
      So much cynicism its mind blowing

      LEARN YOUR RIGHTS THEN NO ONE CAN SCREW WITH YOU!

      jeff

  • In this new era the meaning of a label and being signed to a label means something totally different altogether. These days labels will be the protectors of artist. The label becomes the lawyer in a sense. For instance, you’d sign with Loced-Out Recordz because you know they’re going to let you run your own career and if have any problems doing it, tell whoever’s giving you a problem that you’re a part of Loced-Out Recordz. It’s like the mob. There’s Bosses and there’s soldiers. Your position is earned based on loyalty to your family. Your word is your bond.

    • if your label is your “lawyer”/”protector” you have set yourself up in a situation with massive conflicts of interest. same thing if the label is also the “manager.”

      George

    • Anonymous

      and know your rights so you can know if they are doing their job and/or stealing from you
      jeff

  • The sub-discussion is that this is really about, once again, OPPORTUNITY vs. ENTITLEMENT. Yes, to learn about this stuff sucks, in my opinion. I half understand it; Soundcloud requires you to give them your Social Security Number, so I didn’t register a few years ago because of that. I’m in ASCAP and they are difficult to understand, to me. So I try, try, try but that is the point exactly. TO TRY. Every year I learn a little more.

    For years I went around saying “I hate the music BUSINESS, but I’m a musician who loves to write, sing, play, and record songs.” Then one day it dawned on me that no matter what anyone says, I am the music business. Do I love myself or hate myself? Now I say I love the music business, even if I don’t understand it and will never “make” it beyond a few downloads a month. Which, by the way, thrills me. Some strangers download my songs every month. My average is like 5 iTunes downloads since being on Tunecore. This seems like nothing to many, but it is validation on a level I’ve never known before in my musical life.

    Why have such big dreams? Why not start with being happy with the opportunity that exists today around me, and the small fruits that it yields? This is my choice, and for me this gets my creative engines going more than being sad, sad, sad all the time about the “music business”.

    Artistically, I’ve learned always put out your best product–it’s that simple. People respond to quality. Again, I just do my best with the various studios and musicians around me. I cut corners where I can, and don’t skimp on things I care about.

    Anyway, I just printed all this and already I have a headache reading it, but maybe one little thing will stick and I’ll have learned something today. Thanks, Jeff.

    Lori Malvey
    music from a Christian soul
    http://www.lorimalvey.com

    • Anonymous

      thank you for a thoughtful comment

      jeff

  • Spinguin Music

    Yes!  Thank you for writing this.

  • Spinguin Music

    Yes!  Thank you for writing this.  I think the public should be educated too.  They need to learn how they can vote for music with their spending.  Especially parents who run household finances, they feel they have no power to influence what the music industry brings them and their children.

  • Hutt6
    • Anonymous

      @hutt6

      its a good article, a drop misleading as it does not take songwriter revenue into consideration
      jeff

      • Spinguin Music

        And it omits the point of this blog here that musicians should expect more.  They should expect and demand a radical rearrangement of the system.  Musicans should facilitate this by taking all the measures they can to be connected to their work.  They should demand an honest assesment of how music is really used — all entities that profit from the use of music must be identified and compensate musicians appropriately. 

      • Andy

        Hi there, 
        I wrote the article that Hutt6 linked to on Gizmodo and it’s not misleading at all because we have never earned a single cent of songwriting revenue! Our article was written for our fans to allow them to decide how best to support us. Since we have never managed to get a penny out of PRS for Music, or Soundscan for that matter, it didn’t seem necessary to mention them as revenue sources.

        So we are actually a good example of an artist not knowing their rights, or knowing some or most of them but not being able to get their money! 

        I don’t consider myself as being particularly clever but songwriting copyright, its associated revenues and how to claim them makes me feel rather dumb!!!

        Great article Jeff, if we ever manage to get some of that money, we’ll add it to our article!

        Thanks,

        Andy
        Uniform Motion

        • Anonymous

          @andy

          That is AWESOME! I love that article!

          Yes, you are not getting the money owed to you as required by law. Every interactive stream requires a mechanical royalty payment. Outside of the US, your money is given to third party mechanical royalty collection agencies or PROs – it sits there unless you register with them and then claim it.
          If you dont, they give it to others based on market share (called Black Box Money)
          yes, a legal system to steal your money

          IN the US, on each interactive stream, the services are required to pay you directly. If they have not, they are not following the law.
          We can get your money for you via the songwriter publishing administration service we launched
          just email us at songwriterinfo@tunecore.com with the email address associated with your TuneCore account in the body and we can flag your account to allow the option to appear
          jeff

  • Kawarimi

    This article has been a major help, I truly appreciate it! I’ve spent at least 60 hours this week researching and such, but the biggest problem was figuring out what it was that I needed to learn. This has saved me so much time and now I know what direction I want to go in. I’m ready to set up companies, but I don’t know all the ins and outs yet. My music is done, but this business has to be taken care of now. Once I get everything legalized, I will definitely be selling through TuneCore!!!

    • great to hear.

      glad it was of value for you.

      Best,George

  • @Twerkgod

    This Article is fucking awesome ! Very helpful . I am a rap artist from Richmond , VA and i refused to be used by any label. I’ve been studying the ends and outs of the business for quite some time now and this article has been the most informing piece imfortation I’ve ran across. S/o to Tunecore !!!!  Oh yea ,and I am a member !

  • d cb

    George,

    First, thanks, that was a good read, thought provoking. Now, let’s consider the following premises from your article:

    A.
    “TuneCore artists have sold over 400 million songs over the past two years, generating over $300 million in artist and songwriter revenue.”

    B.
    “TRANSPARENCY in information and in money is the answer. This transparency and clarity will eliminate the ethical problems that have plagued this business we love since it began.”

    C.”you can’t have trust without understanding, transparency, and empathy. once we have those things, we have ethical fiber. once we have ethical fiber, transaction costs go down, and we all win.”

    Now, the main idea that you seemingly try to convey from these premises is that “Based on this, the idea that you can’t create a sustainable career on your own terms, without the backing of a label (major or otherwise) is empirically ludicrous.  No, not everyone will be able to do it, but the point is it is possible without a traditional label.  Anyone that says otherwise is wrong.”

    So, in 2 years, TuneCore artists have generated $300,000,000. Now, there are TuneCore artists that are signed (or previously signed), and there TuneCore artists that are unsigned. In the first category there’s artists like: Nine Inch Nails, Jay Z, Drake, Beck, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards, Public Enemy, Warren G, Moby, Ricky Skaggs, Bjork, Cirque du Soleil, etc. In the second category there are the artists that you are addressing in this article, and I am one of those artists. Now, since you want to help artists like me, and since the old ways of secrecy are no good, while your new ways of TRANSPARENCY are, as you say, “the answer,” please answer these two simple questions:

    1.
    What would be the ratio between the revenues generated by the (formerly) signed artists and the revenues generated by the unsigned TuneCore artists? 100:1? 1,000:1? 1,000,000:1? Just a rough estimation would be appreciated.

    2.
    What would be the ratio between the number of the (formerly) signed artists and the number of the unsigned artists? 1:100? 1:1,000? 1:1,000,000? Again, just a rough estimation would prove your good intentions.

    I hope you will answer them, and not just find rationalizations for eschewing them them while beating around the bushes like your colleague Jeff did. If you don’t answer them, that would mean that (a) your idea that “the idea that you can’t create a sustainable career on
    your own terms, without the backing of a label (major or otherwise)” is NOT as
    “empirically ludicrous” as you want us to believe, (b) your concern for us unsigned artists is just a facade and you only care for our $10 upload fee, (c) your professed TRANSPARENCY is, in Billy Joel’s terms, “such a lonely word,” and your are no different than the old school label’s practice of misleading artists for the sake of their (now your) own profits, (d) you have no intention to “eliminate the ethical problems that have plagued this business we love since it began.”

    In the name of transparency, clarity, and ethics that seem so dear to you, I hope you’ll take the right decision and give the straight answers to my direct questions.

    d

    • Anonymous

      @d cb

      As a suggestion, spend less time running math equations and more on your songwriting, Twitter account, blog etc. Your obsession with others is the wrong path to follow. You need to define your goals, learn the information and then create a path towards success.
      Will it work? It may or may not. But it absolutely will not if you don’t try. The decision to try or not is in your hands.
      Learn your six legal copyrights, with this knowledge you can make informed decisions, learn how money is generated and how to get it.
      The path to success as an artist is not running math equations.

      For example, if you put two artists in a room that both sold 100 copies of their songs and made $0.70 per song the average amount made per artist is $70.
      Now, if you add Blood On The Dancefloor to the mix, they have sold over 700,000 songs, the average goes up.
      Now if you add in the songwriter revenue (meaning someone else covered your song), the revenue goes up
      Now if you add in merch sales, the revenue goes up

      Now if you add in ad revenue, the revenue goes up

      Now if you add in gig income, the revenue goes up

      Now if you add in Public Performance income, the revenue goes up

      Now if you add in synch or master licensing, the revenue goes up.

      The correlation between the above math and whether or not your music will cause a reaction is zero.

      Each song and artist must stand on their own. Comparing yourself to the number of units selling as a way to determine if your music will or will not sell, or if music fans will like your music or live performance makes no sense.

      Im not certain how to communicate this with you in a way you understand.

      In regards to TuneCore, its clear we are not a fit for you. This is fine, there are others you may choose to work with. In the event you would like to use our service at some point in the future, it will still be here.

      And with that said, I am certain George will have his own response.

      jeff

      • d cb

        You know Jeff, the problem with your replies is that you are “answering” questions that I did not ask, while failing to answer the questions that I did ask. I hope George will do the opposite. That’s why I asked him and not you.

        • Anonymous

          @d cb

          You indicated you are an artist trying to figure out how to follow a path toward your goals.
          The questions you are asking have nothing to do with that.

          If you are looking to do research to run math problems that have no correlation to if your music, or anyone else’s, will sell, this is not the place to ask it.
          Its best to look for irrelevant and useless information in other places, but not at the TuneCore blog.
          Jeff

          • d cb

            Jeff, I did not ask for your opinions on paths, maths, etc. I didn’t ask you anything. I was talking to George. Please be so kind and stop replying. Thanks.

            George? …

          • Anonymous

            @d cb

            this is the TuneCore blog. By posting questions here you are asking them of TuneCore.
            you can contact george directly via his Twitter handle or blog

            http://twitter.com/#!/gah650

            http://www.9giantsteps.com/

            Jeff

    • D,

      Thanks for the dialog, and I apologize for the delayed response. Let me try to answer/address your specific questions:

      Both questions appear to be about ratio of revenue earned when comparing artists who either are or were signed to a label compared to artists who either are not or were never signed to a label, but rather distribute via TC. Do I have that right?

      Assuming I’m close, and please correct me if I don’t, here’s my response:

      Certainly, given the fact that TuneCore has been in business for ~8 years and the recording industry has been releasing music for ~80 years the ratio of revenue earned will be higher for signed artists. Over time, I’m confident that the ratio will come close to parity, and then will tilt in favor of the individual artist who uses TC.  

      Beyond the time discrepancy, I’d like to also like to point out that you’re looking for “revenue” numbers. I’m far, far more concerned with “net income.”  If you look at income, while hard to discern on an exact basis, we CAN see from the overall lack of health/profitability of the labels, that while they may generate “revenue,” they also have massive costs that leaves them w/ negative net income (look at the balance sheets – such as they’re presented – of any of the public labels to see what i mean).  To this end, we get back to sustainability; which is what I’m looking for. I don’t care if an artist generates $1mm in rev, if doing so, they (or the co who releases the record) spends $2mm.  Beyond the obvious problems of cash flow, it speaks to issues of control. As you, I’m sure know, the labels that generate the rev (and the net losses) tend to determine how to spend your money; i.e. they strip the artist of power/control/autonomy.  I firmly believe that part of the value proposition of TuneCore is that it gives the artist the opportunity to have autonomy. it can’t guarantee success, but part of success is autonomy.

      Again, I appreciate the discourse. Please respond with further questions. I want to try to do as I say/write, and really listen with empathy so that I can understand where you’re coming from, as I know you are doing/have done via reading my words.

      Best,George

      • d cb

        George,

        Thanks for your reply. What you’re saying makes perfect sense, and I appreciate your taking the time to explain. But what I’m interested in is something else, and I’ll try to make it clearer, so let me rephrase it:

        Let’s call this large category of artists who are using the TuneCore uploading services, let’s call them all: the Tunecore Artists. Now, within this big category there are two sub-categories of artists: [A] the Unsigned Tunecore Artists and [B] the Signed Tunecore Artists (which we can further subdivide into (a) currently-signed artists and (b) formerly-signed artists, but let’s just leave it at that for now). We know that the Tunecore Artists, all of them, signed and unsigned together, have generated $300mln during the last two years. Now, here come my two questions:

        1.
        What would be a rough estimation of the ratio between the number of the Signed Tunecore Artists and the number of the Unsigned Tunecore Artists? 1:100? 1:1,000? 1:1,000,000?

        2.
        What would be a rough estimation of the ratio between the revenues generated by the Signed Tunecore Artists and the revenues generated by the Unsigned Tunecore Artists? 100:1? 1,000:1? 1,000,000:1?

        I really appreciate that you were not making any assumptions/presumptions/judgments on why I’m asking, what I need this information for, how relevant is that info and for what, what should I do instead of asking questions, how should I spend my time, etc.

        Kind regards,
        d

        • Anonymous

          @d cb

          This is the TuneCore blog. Your questions, accusation and statements crossed a line some time ago into inappropriate.
          Despite the inflammatory comments, name calling and accusations you have made, as a courtesy to you, I have allowed you to continue to post here. At this point, I need to cut it off as this conversation does not have value to our customers.
          There are other blogs you can go to and reports you can buy from third party entities that will be more suited to the yet to be revealed end you are going for.
          This is not the place to get them

          Jeff

        • D,

          I’m sorry, but I have no idea what the ratio is of artists who are “signed” v those who are unsigned.  frankly, the definition of “signed” is sort of in flux; it used to be easy: if you were on one of the majors or one of the relatively few indies, you were “signed.” if you were not, you weren’t “signed.” today, the entire definition of what being signed is; the definition of a label is equally hard to define.  for me, a label has the following elements:

          1. ability to promote
          2. ability to distribute
          3. some equity in the (c) of the master

          given this, that can be sony and/or the bedroom artist.

          so, not trying to dodge your question, just can’t answer it.

          this relates to your second question as well. if i can’t answer (not “won’t answer,” but “can’t answer”), because I can’t define what signed is, I can’t speculate as to revenue.

          i will make the point again, however, that – not to be presumptious – but i think you might be viewing this in a way that’s not terribly helpful when you look to “revenue.” As I said in my last response, we KNOW that the majors at least have negative net profits, and therefore there revenue isn’t a terribly important factor (as I said, if I made 1mm, but spent 2mm…).

          Individual artists – call them signed or not – who have taken control over their destiny, must worry about different types of financials than revenues. What I always suggest is a “bottoms up” accounting method: i.e. if it cost you $5k to make the record and $5k to market the record, and you NET $10/record sold, you must sell 1k records in order to have positive cash flow, and stay in the game.

          this is consistent with MY definition of success: making enough money from your music so that you can keep doing it, ON YOUR OWN TERMS.

          I believe  with all my heart that TC facilitates this.

          George

  • Jbrianballard

    I sent “Take Me As I Am” out to 10 labels in 1995. Blige released it in 2005. The Clutch esp, Keri Hilson kiped it and of course we lost our lawsuit because of money. In the depo they claimed none of my music was stolen. So, I threw out Kim’s lyrics, wrote some new lyrics and call the song “MANIPULATION” I shouldn’t have a problem with my song anymore. I DON’T TRUST ANY LABEL BUT MY OWN. Thank you very muchy…

  • Mebeachaudio

    Finally I can see an end to the “Salesmen,Cheats&Liars” (Lowest Of The Low)  I have never seen a more clear and transparent company that is in the music Biz. Thank you for the education on the BS surrounding the legal crap put in place which allows Record Company’s  to rip off artists.