Why Everyone But The Artist And The Music Fan Is Doomed

By Jeff Price

(Updated Nov. 22nd – Please see the bottom of this article for sales information from TuneCore Artists in July 2011)

Every business built on gatekeepers eventually fails.  At some point some technology comes around, making the entire old school industry obsolete.

It’s a shortsighted model based on greed, ego and false perception of invulnerability.

Take the old school music industry: it was a ticking time bomb of self-destruction waiting to go off.  It began with the birth of recorded music. The “artist gatekeepers” with the infrastructure and access to place music on retail shelves decided they would not just charge a fee for the service, but would also require a transference of copyright from the creator to the gatekeeper.

For the “consumer gatekeepers,” they could have chosen to allow more music to be exposed, but they went down the same path as the artist gatekeepers.

It did not need to be this way; the artists could have been allowed to keep their copyrights, and music fans could have had access to discover more music.  Try as these two sets of gatekeepers might, their control would be broken. Their over-the-top, greedy mistakes were always on a path of tearing themselves down; it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when.

Along the way there were lies, theft, piles of money traded, and unnecessary filtering, but the artist and music fan would win.  It’s evolution.

The fall came hard and fast.  It used to be that as a musician, you had to go to the “artist gatekeeper,” the label, and be one of the anointed few that got the privilege of transferring ownership of what you created to the label so your CDs could end up on store shelves.

In order to get heard, and then hopefully have your music cause a reaction, you had to be one of the even luckier few chosen by the “consumer gatekeepers” to have your music played on commercial radio or MTV, or get written about in Rolling Stone.

Did they think, even a moment, that this control would ever be taken from them?

When eMusic, the first on-line digital store, launched in 1998, the boulder began to careen down the mountain.  Within ten years, the entire 80-year-old traditional gatekeeper model had been destroyed.

No longer did you need an A&R person deciding an artist was of “commercial value” to be let into the system.

No longer did you have a retail store buyer subjectively deciding which CDs had enough value to be placed on their shelves.

No longer did MTV have a lock on deciding which music videos got seen.

No longer did commercial radio limit what we all heard to the 15 to 20 songs that they decided to play.

No longer was the general population limited to reading what the editors of Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin and others decided to write about.

In the digital world, all artists can be on infinite digital shelves with infinite inventory waiting to be discovered, heard, shared and bought.  The general population of the world can decide what does and does not have value, and can share thoughts and preferences in scales never before thought imaginable, networking to one another globally, via social outlets like Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, and YouTube.

Digital radio stations now have millions of songs available to be programmed based on the listener’s preferences, likes and dislikes.

This entire old school system was based not on serving the artist, but on gatekeepers exploiting artists to let them in.  And when you are a gatekeeper, when you think you are the only one with the keys to the kingdom (and only you will ever have them), you do stupid things, immoral things, and create a business where you’re simply a necessary evil.

This mentality extended beyond labels, distributors, retailers, radio stations, MTV and print magazines.  It reached into every nook and cranny of the old industry, into entities like ASCAP: the gatekeepers for songwriters to get their money.

Just as it was in the old school industry, there was a time when these gatekeepers reigned supreme in what they did; they, and only they, had systems to track and collect money owed to songwriters for public performances. But then hubris crept in leading to their taking their songwriter members’ money to not only do the job they were hired to do, but also to pay the heads of these organizations exorbitant six and seven figure salaries, spend their members’ money on fleets of cars, expensive dinners, first class airplane tickets, luxury hotels, over the top decadent office space in the most expensive cities in the world (as well as many other travel and expense perks).

They were gatekeepers blocking songwriters from getting their money.  Just like the major labels, they were the only ones with the infrastructure to provide the service; if you wanted your songwriter money, you had to go to them.  They made their priority maintaining control, not serving.  Had they kept this focus, they would now not be in trouble, they would have adapted.

The digital age has made the digital part of what ASCAP and others do a thing of the past.  These organizations are not needed to track sales in iTunes or video streams in YouTube, and yet they are fighting and litigating to try to keep songwriters’ money going to themselves to stick in their pockets.  They do not really give a damn that 98% of the world’s songwriters don’t get their cut of the money owed to them. There are other entities out in the world now, like TuneCore, that can get songwriters more money, more quickly, with transparency and an audit trail, and yet they fight against this efficiency.

It’s foolish, dumb and wrong.

As a member of ASCAP, we called and asked them for a list of entities that ASCAP licenses to, as well as the rates we should expect to get paid.

They called us up with two lawyers on the phone­–lawyers that ASCAP is able to pay from the money it collects from songwriters – and said they could not tell us the rates or whom they were in deals with as it would “violate anti-trust laws”.  What I can’t understand is how they can state this while simultaneously issuing a press release about how they entered into a licensing agreement with Netflix.

Further, how can the people that hired them not get told what rates have been negotiated on their behalf?  How would anyone know if they were doing their job?

It’s frustrating, but I keep this in mind, the end is inevitable; technology has rendered these entities moot, a thing of the past.  The only thing keeping them propped up is that there are artists who do not understand how much money they are owed and where it is.  As this information gets out, these organizations will  use songwriters’ money in an attempt to sue, legislate and litigate, to stop these same songwriters from getting more of what they earned.

There should be no gatekeepers for musicians, or for anything.  It all comes down to serving the musician. This is as it should be. Then entities like TuneCore must create products or services that are of true value to artists or get the hell out of the way. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

UPDATE – November 22, 2011

(We apologize for the length of this article, but we wanted to provide more data. You can make comments down below.)

Many blog posters have been suggesting that artists not signed to major labels do not sell music or make money.  Below is a small swatch of sales information for TuneCore Artists only.  It shows what they sold and what they made in July 2011, just that ONE MONTH.  I have removed the artists’ names and release info out of respect for their privacy.

Over 99% of these artists are not “signed.”  Also note, these are sales from July, 2011, one of the slower music sales months of the year.

As you would expect, there are a small number of artists making hundreds of thousands of dollars each month and more artists earn less as you move down the list.  But for all those that may comment suggesting most are making less, my response is, you’ve got to be kidding me.

These artists, all of them, are outside of the traditional system.  Some are earning hundreds of thousands and some are earning $20.

And this is bad because…?

With the music industry democratized more artists are making more money than ever before.  All of this money you are seeing is going directly into these artists’ pockets; this is money they would have never ever seen before.

Now add the songwriter money on top of this money.

Someone needs to explain to me why an artist earning something vs. nothing is a bad thing, as I truly cannot understand that logic.  As far as TuneCore, as I have stated over and over, it’s your music that causes it to sell.  It’s up to you to decide if the services and fees TuneCore charges work for you.

No gimmicks, no games, transparency in the way we work.  Arm the artists with info and let them make their own decisions.

Here’s a sample of the data (click the link below to download the full doc):

VIEW FULL SALES REPORT

  • https://plus.google.com/107120449807229719531/posts David Abraham

    Absolutely

  • https://plus.google.com/107120449807229719531/posts David Abraham

    Absolutely

  • DaGo

    Thank you for spelling out so clearly what few music consumers really understand. We (non-artists) now have a much better appreciation of how badly the vast majority of artists have been treated. Moreover, it gives us a reason to cheer for the little guy (or girl) who has been ripped off by ruthless music companies for decades. I for one have not purchased a CD for many, many years, but instead prefer to purchase digital music where artists are treated more fairly. It’s the least we can do to help even to score.

    • Anonymous

      i love this comment

      jeff

      • Jamieaditya

        Heya Jeff,
        First of all I think what you guy’s are doing is awesome..Respect!Now for the questions…
        Was wondering if I choose to use Tunecore’s Publishing Services,do I no longer need to join Soundexchange?

        and does Tunecore help with licensing of song’s? Read some blog’s where people were complaining about Tunecore not being able to hand over royalties because the songwriter had not the paperwork to prove he had the right to license his song’s out.

         Also if we’re already registered as the publisher of our works do we have to change our publisher name to that of tunecore? what happens if we don’t renew with tuncore after the 1 year time period?Will Tunecore automatically revert the songs back to the original publisher’s name?As an Australian joining tunecore,do I need to first get an U.S. tax file number?Thanks a bunch Jeff!Jamie

        • Anonymous

          @Jamieaditya

          SoundExchange collects money for the entity that controls the recording (i.e. the “label”), for the lead performer of the songs and for musician unions for “non-interactive digital transmissions” (aka internet radio like Pandora)
          TuneCore collects money on behalf of the songwriter (not the label, performer or unions) – it collects all songwriter royalties from all sources. We are a full on global music publishing administrator . The nuance is, in regards to only digital public performances, TuneCore goes direct with the digital music services, eliminating the multiple middlemen (like ASCAP/BMI or their equivalent somewhere else in the world) thereby growing songwriter earnings by up to 25% and getting more money back to you more quickly with transparency and an audit trail.
          Any public performance that is not digital is still collected by ASCAP/BMI etc and we monitor and audit them on your behalf.

          different rights
          different money

          Yes, TuneCore helps with licensing of songs. The things you are reading are when an artist steals someone else’s song and does not pay the songwriter. The songwriter or publisher then goes after the artist and the artist that stole (for some reason) blames TuneCore.
          Jamie is President of TuneCore’s Songwriter Publishing Administration Service, I will ask him to provide the answer to the last part of your question…
          Jeff

    • Spa_7

      I totally love this comment. If only every other average Joe music consumer were this understanding of how the music world was and is now, independent musicians would be cranking out songs as good or better than the major label artists.
      Jeff I truly appreciate what you have and continue to do for today’s independent musicians. The happier the musician the better quality of song they pump out. I have ready every comment before mine and I think the people who disagree with your article just need to step it up business wise, quit crying and work harder to sell their music. Hmmmm, why aren’t you selling a crap load of songs now that you have the opportunity to do so? Maybe it’s because the writing sucks, the recording sucks, the message sucks or you haven’t worked hard enough to be persistent in working the still existing gatekeepers.
      Thanks Jeff.

  • Will

    Jeff these blogs are great and very helpful, its amazing how many industry people are still stuck in the old business model, love it, if you snooze you loose! Will Robinson . UK

  • Batzgml

    Hell yea! ✊ the revolution continues! @batisup2nogood salutes those tht fight for what is right!

  • Propagate

    I liked the industry better when there was a top status to achieve and there were corporate filters now we’re left with a sea of mediocrity. Sure now the artist has all the power but what can a broke artist do.

    • Anonymous

      @propagate

      98% of what the old industry released – the pre-filtered – failed

      The same mediocrity and excellence exists now as it did then

      jeff

      • Alias2u2

        99% of dot.coms fail and NEVER PAY for any music they give away for Free.

        • Donald

          69% of all statistics are simply made up on the spot.

          • http://www.news-portal-24.de Johann

            actually it’s 67%

          • Anonymous

            82% of what you say is true

          • http://twitter.com/mindbodythought Don Shetterly

            I have a research study that suggests, it is 71%

          • Debco_don

            If your right then your probably wrong. But thats ok, 69% sounds good to me.

      • molasses

        Jeff can we be in contact? I have a couple of questions for you.

        ~molasses
        molassesjones11@gmail.com
         347.850.4112

      • David

        More mediocrity, less excellence! I don’t know of even ONE contemporary major artist that I could call excellent,  I suppose the question to tentatively ask is; what do you refer to as exellence?  What is the criteria for excellence? Sales?
        Popularity? Visibility?  Those are poor markers for excellence, and will only create a business more suitable for children and imbeciles, like today.  The public in general are musically illiterate, tasteless, generally simpletons.  That’s an easy crowd to play to.  Again, what or who is excellent?  I see and hear no one in the “popular” idioms.  Just lots of monkey see, monkey doo doo

        • Jack

          Are you kidding me? There are some great bands out there….you just have to look. Like Sudden Verge, Steel Toe, and Vor. Just look for the good ones you’ll find them.

    • Cream Cheez

      Actually because of the Internet many new musicians can now get more publicity with out having to go thru corporate filters. The mediocrity of music today dwarfs anything in the past. Radio has become genre fragmented more than ever before, with much of being drivel passed out by the what is left of record companies to really promote those tracks as ringtones. Or have semi talented singer or even worse rappers (they really became unimportant when record companies swallowed them up destroying Hip Hop) humiliate them selves on TV to get a useless record contract to which they only release one album before withdrawing to obscurity and give back much of their advance. Today instead of being feed our music we actively seek it out. Being rewarding to both the artist and the listener. Now instead of looking for a label I look for listeners I cut out the middle man. And instead of being limited to the location that a track has been released, Musicians can now play for the world. 

      • RR

        ITs all about the almighty $$$$.  Put your money behind someone get in for the quick buck because people are TOLD this person is good…..then when they die of the vine because it was all smoke and mirrors anyway…..move on to the next “big thing” as determined by the money people & marketing depts. Its not about talent anymore…..cuz….isn’t everybody talented these days and shouldn’t they all be stars?  I am going to turn 60 yrs old this June and I am a product of the late fifties & and the 60’s when the music we heard WAS REAL ( mostly except for record execs putting together their own versions of things that were out there already) however….even  fabricated things like the Monkeys had some great songwriting as their basis.
          I try to like music these days….but for me its tough except for people like Adele or even Lady Gaga …but there is an awful lot of filler. RR

        • Mhorsphol

          It’s because of role modelling! We do not go inside and find the truth about our own individuality that stops us from expressing our real worth. We just look outside and see who’s making the money and who looks the coolest! Soon it will be all over, in the mean time try a meditation and tap into a universe of talent inside you.

        • Wryta

          Music is still “good” these days. Allow your ears and senses to “filter” the good ones. I’m in my late twenties and my dad always says that music back then was great. Yes, I believe him. Recently, he bought a 2011 BMW 7 series, and I asked him, “Dad, why didn’t you purchase a car that was made when you were born?”
          What am I saying here? Its a modern world. Things have changed. We’ve all grown to see and sometimes embrace the new era of things. Yes, I love old school music. I still listen to dad’s collections, and sometimes ‘steal’ his great collections :)
          I know there are stupid, senseless songs today – just as it was back then. They’re old school songs that are equally horrible. I’ve heard a few and the “old timers” confirm this!
          So, if the modern music SEEMS or SOUNDS different – its simply the sign of times. Ex: from 8 track, to cassette, to CD to MP3, and now CLOUD servers.

          In the future we might even have tiny music devices surgically buried in our arms or brains and it will connect to some server or network and all you have to do is whistle or hum your favorite song and it will start playing it directly to your ears and you’ll be the only person dancing to “some” music. (picture that scene)! *laughs*

          • dick

            So I guess Beethoven, et all is old school.   Face it kid, your music sucks or we need a need filter.  Take you pick.

          • Anonymous

            I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

            you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
            or download the spreadsheet here:
            http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
            Jeff

        • Bill_rhodes

          Its good to find someone else who have come from the heydays of the 50’s and 60’s.
          I just turned 65 in June of this year and feel I have a contribution to make when it comes to music. Back in the 1960’s, if you didn’t live in one of the major music cities, it was hard to get your music played. Even then, you had to have some cash for what was called payola. Back then, only a small handfull of songwriters and musicians were allowed in. It made no difference about how talented you were, if you were not in the click, too bad. I had the chance to meet Stevie Wonder when he toured thru Dallas,Tx at the Cotten Bowl back in the 1980’s. I asked him about his music writing. He told me, “I don’t write music thinking to myself, this is a hit. I write music, and let the people decide”. Today, I’m thankfull for sites like Tunecore. The door of access had been closed for so long, now, I have a chance to express my musical talents. Since I had the chance to play with many artist back in the day, there’s still a lot of unheard music to be persented. Diana Ross once said on a talk show, “If those who wrote and played the music back in the day start writing and playing again, the music you enjoyed back then, would return”. There are still some of us left. Tunecore and sites like it, have opened a door of possibilites. Stay tuned for some real “OLD SCHOOL”. 

          • Charles Wright

             I ‘m Charles Wright and I have stuck to my guns throughout the years, I insist on remaining current in the tradition of genuine OLD SCHOOL heartfelt Soul music. I  am also very proud of my newest project, it’s a CD which I call “That Funky Thang.” So those of you who are truly interested in the truth, feel free to  check it out on YouTube and practically any other place on the web.  

            Thanks, 

            C.W.

      • Benyesk

        Incidently, one of the worst rappers around today is released through Tunecore. The gatekeepers may be dying out, but a real problem is that fans have been drowning in noise so long they have lost their sense of taste.

        • Mhorsphol

          There’s no point passing judgement unless you know you are perfect. All that is happening is that the barriers have been removed and everyone can begin to do what is inherent in them and that is to create. The fact that they try is to be applauded which is a beginning and everyone starts with their first step!

          • EVERFLY

            I agree with Mhorsphol. Artists should create and not worry about what anyone else thinks. As a listener or consumer If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it and move on.

        • http://entelleckt.com/exclusive-mp3 Entelleckt | Mike Wyatt

          Which rapper?

        • Anonymous

          LOL

          I can think of plenty of past rappers that I did not like that others did
          not certain whom you are thinking of, but if the music and rapping is causing reaction, and people are buying the music, then I have to suggest other may disagree
          jeff

    • http://www.indiebychoice.com IndieByChoice

      The quality is actually better when the artist have to compete more and control their own career. I do agree there is a sea of artist now that it is easier to get your music in front of listeners. This will just bring about more filtering services to deliver quality music geared towards your taste.

      • Vultcha

        “the quality is actually better when the artist have to compete more and control their own career” (IndieByChoice)

        Capitalism may promote competition, and there is something that competition brings out in an artist, but I don’t agree that it makes the quality of music better.  What makes the quality of music better is a more educated, dedicated and SKILLFUL musician – and that is something that these “late 90’s – 2000’s” musicians can never compete with.  Classical and “Old School” musicians from the past lacked the technology and the access to distributing their own music, but what they did in CRAFTSMANSHIP, HEART and THEORY makes up for their lack of technical savvy.  Everyone (anyone) can get DAW software today and some Soft-Sythns and bang out “hits” with the supposed best of them, but the soul, heart and depth of the music still remains shallow at best.  The only COMPETITION is within SELF.  And most modern day musicians do not enter that competition, they’d rather compete with the latest software, hardware, through use of plugin’s, videos and with who had the better STYLIST.  I’ll take some Beethoven or Queen over SOLDIER BOY or BRUNO MARS (or Kanye) any day of the week!

        http://www.reverbnation.com/vultcha

        • Anonymous

          I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

          you an now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
          or download the spreadsheet here:
          http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
          Jeff

        • T. Jayson

          But technology isn’t so simple either. Yes, it can be more easily used on a more basic level, but even in electronic music genres there is a huge difference in all artists, and composition is still a big part of that. In fact, technology has created a complexity in music that was unheard of before. I do agree that some artists are taking advantage of it to get extremely basic crap hits out, but at the same time, there is so much more power in the hands of someone who knows how to control the technology. It gives the person who may not be so great at performing or playing an instrument the same kind of power behind his keyboard and mouse as Jimi Hendrix has behind his guitar, if the person is indeed talented at composition and mixing. So It really goes both ways.

        • http://www.indiebychoice.com IndieByChoice

          I was more referring to independent artist. Most commercial artist don’t control their career or music. If I am an independent artist I will have to do more in order for my music to stand out. You won’t hear my music played over and over on the radio or video aired on BET. As an independent artist I will have to get your attention and keep it with quality rather than repetition. 

      • Anonymous

        I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

        you an now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
        or download the spreadsheet here:
        http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
        Jeff

    • Djsyewart2012

      Me, DJ and beat maker, i make more now then i did when i had a contract.. all from 1 company, which charges me only on what i sell. The way things are now, are better than before. And, im only 1 person.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alexandrews1981 Alex Andrews

      I think “corporate filters” could also be described as entitled pick-pockets. If it’s up to the market, then let the market decide! We don’t need analysts and consultants who mostly have no idea what they talk about telling us what we can and can’t do, and then taking our money, or our work, while they really do nothing but use their sit-n-spin all day, playing solitaire, then poke their keyboards and secretaries. I use TuneCore, and I make good money.  Radiohead also makes more now than they ever did, or could have with a label because they ditched that model. Anyone can learn to market themselves, schedule themselves. If people like it, it repeats. It not like you’re forced to buy bad music, and if people don’t make enough on a track to break even, I doubt they renew, therefore it’s only there for one year. Unless they are some entitled little idiot Rebecca Black, who has plenty of  money, but NO talent. 

  • gopalo

    Well said, Jeff. We need an organization, made up and funded by indie musicians, to lobby congress and sue all of the “organizations” for © infringement.

    • Anonymous

      @gopalo

      working on it…

      i am the megaphone, you all are the voice.

      jeff

      • Mhorsphol

        There has just been a survey completed in Germany and some other states of the EU and the question was should you have to pay to download music and a majority of 95 %!!! said NO!!! GOD help us!! That we have become this BAD!!

      • Mhorsphol

        There has just been a survey completed in Germany and some other states of the EU and the question was should you have to pay to download music and a majority of 95 %!!! said NO!!! GOD help us!! That we have become this BAD!!

      • William A Mcmillan

        Jeff,

        Why doesn’t Tuncore or Google, or someone create a website to allow popularity VOTING for songs in various Genres, allowing only only one vote per week (by country) per Email address.  The published voting results (by country) could be for only the last 7 days of voting.  This could overcome the mediocrity issue, and be a source (or at least one source) to identify music that might be considered to be of superior quality.
        ______
        Bill

        • Anonymous

          @William

          That more or less exists now in the sales reports

          That is, when a song costs $0.99 or lower, the barrier to buy it is very low.
          Therefore, the songs being most bought are the most popular

          I will be posting some info shortly that will show music sales by TuneCore Artists to show what I mean
          jeff

  • gopalo

    Well said, Jeff. We need an organization, made up and funded by indie musicians, to lobby congress and sue all of the “organizations” for © infringement.

  • http://twitter.com/dariusmileris Darius Mileris Nojus

    great article, thank you

  • Leeknowler177

    This is all true and I totally agree, but you have to bear in mind that most musicians (not all) don’t have the capacity, or the want, to learn about business. It’s a fact of life, if you want to sell something for financial gain then that is business. All they desire is to make songs to calm the inner self. It is a rare quality for a musician to be creative and have a business mind all at once. It’s easier to hand it over to someone who is equally creative in money making so the musician can get on with making audio bliss. The balance is wrong and unjust but only because the musician let’s it to be so. Come on musicians .. get a business degree … or get mum to get one .. that might be easier and she won’t rip you off.

  • Leeknowler177

    This is all true and I totally agree, but you have to bear in mind that most musicians (not all) don’t have the capacity, or the want, to learn about business. It’s a fact of life, if you want to sell something for financial gain then that is business. All they desire is to make songs to calm the inner self. It is a rare quality for a musician to be creative and have a business mind all at once. It’s easier to hand it over to someone who is equally creative in money making so the musician can get on with making audio bliss. The balance is wrong and unjust but only because the musician let’s it to be so. Come on musicians .. get a business degree … or get mum to get one .. that might be easier and she won’t rip you off.

    • Anonymous

      @leeknowler177

      I hear you but without the knowledge you dont know if you’re being screwed. You dont need a degree, but you do need to know the basics.
      Learn them, then hire others to do the work you dont want to do

      jeff

  • Mhorsphol

    Spot on Tunecore, you have the guts to say and do this! Profound!! The only thing is how do artists like myself who are way off centre and doing radical things with classical music, i.e. not performing but creating from the heart in a studio, how do we get the same chance to let the world hear our music. The whole industry seems to pivot on whether you are a performer or not and it’s irrelevant how good you can compose. I have had my music up on so many internet platforms for the last 5 years, I have tried in vain to secure license deals, I have won 3 nominations at HMMA in 3 years and still no work, I have spent up to $10,000 on promotions with so called Industry promoters. I get .03 cents a download through the record company that signed me up on a 40/60% deal. I just got a royalty cheque for the last 6months from APRA for $36.00 and I have 200 songs listed with 5 Licensing film & TV agencies that promised me big bucks!! It just goes on and on. Tune core you are great but can you help the ones like me who don’t fit the paradigm?

  • Jimbohardnox

    While we don’t distribute our music through you guys, this is a fantastic article!!

  • Chris Swicegood

    Hell yeah, about time someone of substance stood up and shouted from the rooftop how it is. Well put jeff. C

  • Bazz

    Awful article. The old gate keepers are replaced with the new: PR, advertising and radio producers. There are no DJ opinions left who people trust, and companies like tunecore that allow you to “put your music on a shelf in store”, don’t really filter any of the money down to the point where I’d rather someone download my song for free than to give money to iTunes to take it. All this has given us, is an open market for advertisers (and those who can afford to pay for it) to dictate what we hear on the radio, and in line with it, what consumers buy. At least there was some form of filtering of music before so when you got to a certain level it was based on quality in some form or other. I believe someone mentioned a sea of mediocrity.

    • Anonymous

      @Bazz

      you’re just dead wrong. I see it every single day – sales from artists you may have never heard of. Millions of songs sold for some, hundreds of thousands sold for others, tens of thousands, thousands, hundreds and in other cases, just a few copies sold
      you dont like something, thats fine, but you no longer get to limit me – or anyone else – to music you pre-judged as mediocre.
      that’s not your decision to make, its mine

      If the first A&R people that heard the Beatles had their way, they never would have been released
      Tell you what, can I make the decision as to what you are allowed to listen to? That’s how it used to be
      jeff

      • Bazz

         Nobody ever made a decision as to what you listen to. I agree that the internet makes music more available and covers a lot, but where do you start to look. Do you just google “music” and trawl through stuff all day? Radio and print used to be a form of recommendation by people whose views you learned to trust or not trust based on previous experience. Now every dj plays from the same playlist, largely paid for by the people who advertise on those stations and every magazine features the same people on a 6-month turnaround.

        My band have sold a couple of hundred songs on itunes – nothing big – but we’ve never made enough to cash anything out. Just enough to keep our songs on the website for another year. whoop-de-doo. I can do that on sound cloud, myspace, band camp, facebook, whatever without making any money too! And it’s just as hard to get your music played on radio or on tv cause you are dealing with people just like before.

        The old system was broken, but so is the new one. Nobody wins.

        That old Beatles argument is tired too. They probably weren’t good enough when the first A&R people heard them. I’m sure you’ve seen bands starting out. On top of that, they did get released after a lot of hard work and proving that they were good enough. In fact, the fact that there was a Beatles out of the old system almost disproves your point. Nobody since Radiohead has made an impact close to what the Beatles did and backed it up. They are going for 20 years now so that’s a long drought.

        • Anonymous

          @bazz

          yes, they did make a decision as to what you got to listen to. You could not have hear my band or millions of others.You only got to hear or buy the music they let in. It was not all there.
          The way I discover music now is via recommendations from friends, iTunes iMixes, Spotify playlists and algorithmic suggesting from Pandora, Slacker, LastFM etc
          Im not sure why a valid argument is “tired”

          I ran a label for 17 years called spinART. I got to release The Pixies, Echo & THe Bunnymen, The Eels, Clem Snide and 200 others. Some people liked, others people did not.
          I also passed on signing the Shins and Spoon.

          My mistake

          And thats the point, why should you (or anyone) be denied access to your music or anyone elses because some person in a room did not like what they heard
          jeff

          • Bazz

            Ok, I can’t really seeing this going anywhere cause we are in total disagreement. I see what you’re saying and I’m genuinely interested by it despite my opening line of the first reply. My point of view is that record companies never decided what people heard. They just decided, based on what they thought would sell, whether or not to put a lot of money behind something. Granted this can leave bands paying for it down the line, but if they do well out of it they get a platform to launch from where they no longer need the financial backing.

            If someone made a big enough hoolabaloo as independents, they would get signed anyway.
            You seem like a good guy so I don’t really want to continue down the road with this or I fear one or both of us getting angry but I just fail to see why the artist isn’t doomed with everyone else. i mean just because your music is readily available doesn’t mean people will hear it and any 10 year old can make an mp3 and put it online now so stuff is hard to find unless referred to by some form as you mentioned. Simon Cowell is one of the richest guys in “the music business”. Why do we even know his name? Watching karaoke has become more popular than watching musicians. I refuse to believe that this is because music is worse, so it has to be that better music is not getting through.

          • Anonymous

            @bazz

            i dont think the artist is doomed as they all now have the possibility to succeed whereas before only a small number of them had the possibility to succeed
            I by no means think all will be able to “make it”, but I do believe the music will be the reason as opposed to a gatekeeper or payola
            jeff

          • Bazz

            I admire your optimism and I look forward to recovering mine. Ages and ages: Alright you restless is the latest album I bought and it has wowwed me so in the spirit of letting good music prosper, there’s my recommendation and I’ll leave you with that. I have nothing to do with them so it is not a cheap plug btw.

            Cheers for humouring me!

            @Mongo Slade – I think that is a different tangent really. I don’t know anything at all about Steve Jobs other than that he recently died, and I was similarly lacking in any sort of computorial nous when Napster was having its hayday so I don’t really feel like i can respond to much of what you’ve said. Sorry.

        • http://twitter.com/Superflythug Mongo Slade

          @ Bazz if I may interject let me start by saying I feel ur pain dude however, this new system provides opportunities that the old system didn’t. For instance as fucked up as a lotta folk thought Napster was in the late 90’s (keep in mind we had no computer access in the hood then but via media I heard a lot about napster but had no idea wtf was goin on) I believe it helped set the stage for iTunes which would completely changed the game. In essenc the game got drastically changed by a crew of technology guys headed by a dude named Steve Jobs who had no music background.

          Steve and his crew were just computer guys who liked music like everybody else but because they had their antennas up they saw and opportunity to create a solution to a problem and as a result they capitalized in a huge way. iTunes is now the biggest distributor of music in the world and they weren’t music guys and the industry wasn’t happy about it. Soon people were trying to charge me $1,500 plus taking 50% which I found quite discouraging because these people offered me nothing else in return for all of that. Luckily Tunecore opened the door for indy guys to get on itunes in a reasonable way.  

          Back to Steve as many of us later learned he didn’t really invent any of those products at Apple but he was the visionary and driving force. He was the guy always ThinkingOutside Da Box. I say all that to that all of us come from different backgrounds and perspectives but as artists we’re supposed to be a little more creative than the average guy. IMO this technology can be overwhelming and the things and artist has to do today are very different than what an artist had to do a decade ago. 

          It is much more work to be an artist now but I say for every problem there is a solution and we can either choose to beef about those problems in a self defeating way or we can find a way to Think Outside Da Box and win! There will always be a sea of mediocrity no matter what era we live in neverthless, the cream always rises to the top.

          Get to the C.R.E.A.M – Cash Rules Everything Around Me! 

  • Wryta

    TUNECORE – thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m a song writer and musician and I really understand the situation here. I smile and get so happy when I hear that these so called “gate keepers” are getting frustrated because of your honest and transparent services. I wonder why it is so difficult for them to understand that the songwriter and musician has the right to be paid for his/her work. Its not an easy feat writing out a decent song. How about “THEY” go write their own song and perform it and get paid since its that “easy” to do?
    Thank you, TUNECORE!

  • 279121730

    This is a good article, however there is a flaw in one part of the argument. It is true that ASCAP is not needed to track sales in itunes.  They never were.  ASCAP tracks performance royalties, not sales.  On the other hand, Tuncore is not needed to track terrestrial radio play or TV music.  They are not in the same business as Tunecore.

    • Anonymous

      @279121730

      think you have some things mixed up. Outside of the US a download requires a public performance license as well as a mechanical royalty payment. IN all parts of the world a stream of a song requires the songwriter to be paid a public performance royalty
      As an example, if you sell a song in Japan, the UK, anywhere in the EU etc, you are owed payments for both the reproduction of your song AND a payment for the public performance
      So lets say your song sells via download (or stream) in Japan. The public performance royalty is paid to the local organization in Japan called JASRAC. JASRAC takes a % of your money (they wont tell you exactly how much but its between 13 – 20%) puts it in its pocket and then sits on it for 9 months before kicking it back to the counter organization in another country (lets say ASCAP in the US)
      ASCAP takes ANOTHER 3.5% of your money, sits on it for another 6 to 9 months before they (might?) report it back to the songwriter/publisher
      And no one knows the rate to begin with

      jeff

  • http://deltadreams.com Quang Ly

    Google Music is the next step in getting artist to submit their music DIRECTLY to a vetted and legitimate store WITHOUT need of a distributor. I’m excited about that!

    • Anonymous

      as you should be!

      jeff

  • e-man

    Such a good piece. Nicely stated.

  • David Greenald

    Great stuff Jeff, keep it coming! 

  • Hickspeter

    I am glad I am riding in the TuneCore bus!  You guys keep kicking ass and thanks for giving us the underbelly in plain language.  Very helpful.  How can I, as a little drop in the vast ocean do my part? Thanks Jeff!

    • Anonymous

      @hickspeter

      keep me honest! Make us earn the right to work for you. Your voice is one of millions which together is louder than all others
      We only get the right to represent you and succeed by earning the right to serve you, not exploit you
      jeff

  • Graypb

    Good article, the same argument could be made in  other fields, such as academic publishing, where peer review = A&R man and CD=journal article. Except academics can’t resort to busking….

  • Chris

    This article is almost laughable. I re-read the whole thing in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent and it was awesome.

    This sounds like a little kid ranting. Jeff, do you know anything about the music business?  Why attack ASCAP? They are a PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION who’s main responsibility is to get songwriters paid from performance royalties… so again… wtf?

    I agree that musicians are far better off because of the digital revolution. Also I am a huge proponent of independent distribution. But write better blogs.

    • Anonymous

      @Chris

      do it in whatever accent you want – you want to know why I attack ASCAP and other Preforming Rights organizations?
      Read this – http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/tunecore-ceo-jeff-price-on-new-songwriter-services-interview.html
      Watch this – http://www.tunecore.com/copyright

      Get the information so you can learn how much is being taken from you and what you are not getting.
      it boils down to them taking your money, not disclosing how much they take, not telling you the rates they charge, in some cases literally stealing your money (read this – http://www.thereader.es/local-business-a-finance/6752-spains-performing-rights-organisation-sgae-raided-by-anticorruption-police.html ) and in other cases taking your money when they know its not theirs, taking 15 – 20% of it, sticking it in their pocket and then giving the rest to Universal, EMI, Sony, Warner and others based on market share
      You want to attack me personally, fine, but Im biting my tongue here. I have to remind myself that you have not been given the proper information and knowledge to understand how these entities you hired to work for you take your money, provide no transparency and in some cases steal from you
      Jeff

      • Anonymous

        Jeff–

        If you ever want to start a “BMI horror stories mini-blog” I have a litany I can share–from many perspectives, as a composer and as a business owner and college administrator.   The ability to be transparent and track all performance for the little guy exists, and BMI/ASCAP completely ignore this fact to pay for all their star parties and offices in NYC, LA, Nashville, etc.   It’s a horrible racket built to serve the organizations themselves and the stars they like to associate with. 

        Phil

        • Anonymous

          i very much want to start a Performing Rights Organization min-blog

          people need to understand what these organizations are doing vs. what they should be doing
          They are not trying to intimidate TuneCore, the only recourse I have is to educate all of you as to what is going on. We have strength in numbers
          jeff

  • http://twitter.com/Superflythug Mongo Slade

    Great article Jeff like most of your articles although every now in then you lose me with some way out there mumble jumble and I’m like WTF is he talking about? However speaking of mumble jummble you are 100%correct about these new entities and mumble jumble like IRSC CODES for Youtube streams. My videos kept getting denied for monetization because I kept bypassing that part of the application process mainly (and stupidly) because I didnt know what the heck IRSC codes were so I would leave that part blank.

    Recently I googled the term IRSC CODE and presto I was in the know and back on track.Glad there are services like Tunecore but as you’ve said before artists can’t afford to be lazy and ignorant. They must become more business savvy and surround themselves with more knowledgeable people. There are indeed exciting new opportunities for artists and music entrepreneurs however one can only go so far running with the homies all day especially if the homies don’t know wtf is going on and refuse to learn.

    Quick question, I am in the process of deciding which PRO to join and given the things pointed out in this article what would you suggest as the best organization to join in 2011? 

    • Anonymous

      I would use BMI. The writer affriliation is free and very user friendly to affiliate online. Also their reporting is more consistant and contains much more detail. 

      • http://twitter.com/Superflythug Mongo Slade

        Thank you, does tunecore have PRO for artists to sign up with?

        • Anonymous

          Yes we are affiliated with all 3 US based PRO’s.  We will automatically represent you under one of them if you are not affiliated as a publisher. 

        • Anonymous

          @Mongo

          The TuneCore songwriter publishing administration service collects all songwriter royalties from all sources. The nuance is, in regards to only digital public performances, TuneCore goes direct with the digital music services, eliminating the PRO middlemen (like ASCAP, BMI, JASRAC, SOCAN, GEMA, APRA etc or their equivalent somewhere else in the world) thereby growing songwriter earnings by up to 25% and getting more money back to them more quickly with transparency and an audit trail.
          Any public performance that is not digital is still collected by the traditional PROs and we monitor, audit and collect directly from them on the songwriter’s behalf.
          I know this is a pile of complex information, and I am sorry about that
          You can learn more here: tunecore.com/songwriter and here tunecore.com/copyright
          jeff

  • Wryta

    Hello, Jeff. I have a question. I’ve always been told (and its always been said) that its “necessary” to register or somehow “connect” your written songs to ASCAP to legally protect it or get paid if somebody reproduced it.
    Now, I want to know – if I become a member of TuneCore and have my songs distributed and sold through TuneCore – do I still need to further send my songs to be registered with ASCAP, or do you do replace ASCAP and do the same kind of work that they do?

    • Anonymous

      @wryta

      ASCAP/BMI are organizations you hire to represent the Public Performance Right – one slice of the copyright you get when you write a song – of your song
      The TuneCore songwriter publishing administration service collects all songwriter royalties from all sources. The nuance is, in regards to only digital public performances, TuneCore goes direct with the digital music services, eliminating the PRO middlemen (like ASCAP, BMI, JASRAC, SOCAN, GEMA, APRA etc or their equivalent somewhere else in the world) thereby growing songwriter earnings by up to 25% and getting more money back to them more quickly with transparency and an audit trail.
      Any public performance that is not digital is still collected by the traditional PROs and we monitor, audit and collect directly from them on the songwriter’s behalf.
      I know this is a pile of complex information, and I am sorry about that
      You can learn more here – tunecore.com/copyright

      jeff

  • Crazy Guy

    Most of what you said I agree with but what you failed to acknowledge is that we traded ‘media gatekeepers’ for ‘blog & tack savvy aka hackers gatekeepers’.

    This might be a better time for the average joe to put out music but it is also just as hard to be noticed as a musician in this over-saturated market where technology has made it easy for anyone to claim to be an artist!

    • Crazy Guy

      I meant ‘Tech Savvy’

    • Anonymous

      @Crazy Guy

      I dont agree. How does your music sitting on Apple’s hard drive to be discovered if searched for stop Radiohead from selling?
      jeff

      • just another recording artist

        EMI records broke Radiohead years ago… and that’s a fact. Don’t kid yourself. 

        • Anonymous

          answer this: how does your music being on Apple’s hard drive stop Radiohead from selling?
          That’s your point

          (on a side note, Its the art that causes music to sell, not EMI’s name on the CD. If Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana was not a song that caused reaction, it would not have mattered how many times you heard it or saw the video. This is why 98% of what the majors release fail)
          jeff

          • just another recording artist

            Your right… its the art that causes music to sell BUT only if people know about it.
            I didn’t say music sells because EMI’s name is on the CD… Are you trying to imagine that these bands became successful on their own ? I happen to know the promo guys who worked both Radiohead and Nirvana…both bands on major labels at the time. The labels spent large money promoting them.
            Not to take anyone’s talent away regarding their art… if it weren’t for the major labels support you would have probably never even known of the bands you mention … any band really. Music is like any other product… you have to get it out to the masses in order for it to have a chance. Of course the internet is an avenue to put yourself out there but getting noticed is another ball game. When we had our hits it was due to a ton of promo….flying to every major city visiting radio stations. We visited over 200 stations in 2 months performing our (hopefully) hit… acoustic live versions of our song. The point I’m trying to make… do you have any idea how much it costs to do that?  Add on the costs of making a video (which is obviously cheaper to make these days) …add on the costs of touring. All monies fronted by the big bad record companies… of which the artists have to pay back. Its a business. Like any other business. It takes great experienced people and large cash to bring some awareness to an artist.  Wow… I’m starting to sound like a label head lol.  I’ve been signed to major labels since the late 70’s and have had many ups and downs. A few # 1’s on billboard and 7 to 8 top 10 hits. Toured the world many times. Its not as easy as people think. I wish it were as simple as we all would like it to be. But its not ! Somehow I think you know that. Nonetheless I think the service you’re providing is great. It gives an artist a venue to sell their music without having to win over an A&R guy. With regard to Radiohead… I don’t know why everyone thinks they broke on the internet.. it’s simply not true. No question ..they have done well on their own since leaving their label. But EMI broke them originally.
            That’s all I’m saying bro…. I wish it was easier…

          • Anonymous

            i disagree

            the bands I know now in the new music industry are not part of the majors.
            Chase Coy
            Ron Pope
            Medic Droid
            Kelly
            Boyce Avenue
            Civil Wars
            and on and on

            all “discovered” and shared by the music fans directly

            Boyce Avenue has sold over 3 million songs. Yes, they got picked up by Republic after selling over a million, then dropped six weeks later. On their own, they sold another 1.8 million songs
            The major machine failed them, their own machine, the one of the fan is what worked
            its a new world

            But it is not easy. Never ever suggested it would be. Most will not be stars, but the ones that are are able to do it without majors..
            jeff

          • http://www.GreatWhiteCaps.com Rathi – the Great White Caps

            What percentage of Tunecore’s artists have earned more than $10,000 through Tunecore? I would be willing to bet less than 1%. Why? No investment in marketing. It’s not enough to just record a set of songs, you need marketing money and marketing infrastructure (i.e. at least one person with some semblance of a so called “gatekeeper” network . Without this you’ve got art but not a living.

            Also, other than Civil Wars, I’ve never heard of the artists you’ve mentioned.  IF you choose to contrast Tunecore with the establishment, it’s fair to highlight a lack of mainstream success. While Boyce Avenue’s numbers are indeed impressive, the bulk of their success is due to piggybacking on establishment artists (i.e. musicians like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars who had major label backing). I’m also certain there was a fair amount of investment in the band’s marketing efforts (either outside investors or family money).

            Tunecore’s business model does not need the artist to succeed. It needs a never ending stream of wannabes with stars in their eyes.That being said, as an investor in a band that is making a go of it independantly, Tunecoreworks for us.

          • Anonymous

            @Rathi

            What % of the worlds artists made back the money they spent on guitars and strings
            The point here is to earn the right to having someone hire you. Provide a fee for service. Do what you say, make it transparent, provide value. Then each of you can decide if its worth paying for
            And by the way – I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments
            you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
            or download the spreadsheet here:
            http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
            Jeff

          • Patrick

            Who??? Maybe those artists sold alot music, but i’ve never heard of ’em, never seen ’em, never read about ’em, never heard that they were appearing at this venue in my area. Remember when record companies did their job? Discover, invest & promote their artists? Producers did magical things as well – like Eddie Kramer or Tom Dowd or a whole bunch of them i won’t bother to list here. But their salaries were paid by the label…Of course we all know about the bad side of the music biz- that’s coz not all artists break, no matter how much the label did for them! Some artists signed poor deals, sometimes their A&R guy was fired/quit…Sometimes the timing of all biz wasn’t right- L.A. Metal died a quick death after “Grunge” became the new in-thing…(and that was a good thing!) But the labels always make the same mistakes- Ex. 1) an artist/band of a particular sound & vibe breaks huge, and all the other labels sign artists similar to that artist , like throwing paint on the wall to see what sticks. It’s a silly, predictable result, and the monies are spent on the promotion, the travel, – the label does the work, but band gets zippo coz it didn’t sell… 2) The labels ignored the new technology! They were like deer caught in the headlights with the whole selling-it-online idea, and i’ll never understand why…For instance ,Sony could have set up sonyartists.com, and sold music by the artists on their label- what would have been so difficult about that? They obviously dropped the ball, CD’s will be a thing of the past, and bands have to sell their music 100% on their own…Its not easy at all for a young artist/band to be the recording studio, the PR firm, the booking agent, the radio promoter and the publisher…it takes $$$$ to do all this, which is why the labels existed in the first place! 

          • Akwadawesoa

            Even if YOU never heard of them, there are 100,000 fans who have. This is less than 1% of this country’s listening population but do you think they as artists feel unsuccessful? They have an audience who is moved by and supports their music and in the end that is really what matters

          • Anonymous

            I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

            you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
            or download the spreadsheet here:
            http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
            Jeff

          • Anonymous

            @Patrick

            here you go – tell these artist they dont matter

            I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

            you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
            or download the spreadsheet here:
            http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
            Jeff

          • dick

            And Weird Al’s version is better than the original.  

  • Asian4089

    I hope its JB or SELENA GOMEZ

  • Henry, L.A.

    Jeff, you have it completely right. I am developing a business model which reflects your analysis and seeks to serve musicians in the most efficient way possible. I would love to discuss it with you. One additional thought I had is that editorial in the music business is more critical than ever. There is a difference between ‘gatekeeping’ editorial and editorial based on merit and the latter is to be encouraged.

    • Anonymous

      i agree

      good editorial – like from a trusted friend – is a good thing

      jeff

    • -D-

      musicians royalty would be pretty efficient. Germany and England have it, they’re doing best.

  • Erik Rico c/o LifeNotes music

    GOOOOO Tunecore and ROAR ON transparency on EVERY level !!!!

    Blessings
    Erik Rico

  • Jhollafla

    The game has changed though the labels control the major outlets like the Viacoms, Radio, and etc. At the end of the day 98% of artist do not have the budget to run national add campaigns for their project if regionally but the internet has leveled the playing field. Sites like Tuncore has put the power back in the indies hand if you put out content/music that a consumer wants to buy you win plain and simple specially if your doing shows doing with out the labels that money is all you and your label/company DIY expect the big 3 to come offer you some money or a 360 deal. Labels are just marketing firms in my opinion with models like TunCore if you have the team, relationships, work ethic and budget the moon is the limit… 

    Great Food For Thought Mr. Price  you on point with this one!

  • just another recording artist

    Unfortunately its not that simple… As a successful songwriter and artist myself (signed to a major label for years) I’m not a huge fan of labels either… getting paid royalties is always a struggle…but without their muscle… you’ll never get on commercial radio across the board. No major radio support equals no hit song.. which equals not enough exposure for an artist to actually sell their music. The old system had its problems for sure…. but if you think you can give up your day job and become a recording artist relying on Facebook, internet radio,  Itunes etc etc…. You’re Dreaming !!  Its now become a bigger lottery than it ever was. Labels are (or were)  just risk takers investing in music/artists that they believed would have a shot at becoming successful. Some would and most wouldn’t. Without huge financial backing from somewhere You don’t have a chance…
    Good Luck !  

    • Anonymous

      its hard to “make it”, agreed

      You are 100% dead wrong when you state: ” Without huge financial backing from somewhere You don’t have a chance…”
      Thats simply not true. What is true, is without music that causes reaction you do not stand a chance
      Dont believe me? Ask Boyce Avenue, Blood On The DanceFloor, Liam Sullivan, Colt Ford, Ron Pope, Chase Coy, Nice Peter, JJ Heller, Dave Days and on and on and on and on and on
      I see it every single month – its stunning

      jeff

      • strife Steven

        “Chase Coy” has put out some great music, but is by no means an example of a career artist who did indeed “make it,” shitty example from the rep./staff member of a professional distribution company of Tunecore… same goes for Blood on the Dancefloor, ((awful music that they make, aside the point, they are not musicians who “made it”

    • http://reverbnation.com/vultcha Vultcha

      I agree an disagree…LOL.  What’s being understated is what the band’s and singers of yesterday did: THEY WENT OUT AND PLAYED GIGS AND GOT NOTICED WITH GREAT SONGS AND PERFORMANCES!

      PERIOD.  No rebuttals needed.

      This techno-landscape only offers a synthetic substitution of that experience.  Seeing live music in concert spreads word of mouth like WILDFIRE!

      And to the noobs, GO LOCAL before you try to go GLOBAL!  If they don’t know you around the corner from your house, why should they give a damn about you on the west coast.

      *food for thought

      “Occupy Your Street”…with your music, become the HOMETOWN HERO not the Obnoxious-Twitterverse Zero!

      • dick

        Do you know how many great bands are local?   Guess how many will never make it?   Concerts are what happens after people like and listen to you, not concert then fan support.  

      • Patrick

        I agree with ya on that  – bands/artists worth their salt gotta prove with a stage & a microphone…the unfortunate thing in my geographical area is that the $$$ is disappearing even playing live. Clubs we used to play (in a different band, but same scene) would pay us between $800-$1000.00 a show…these days if we get $400.00 its a good night. We take that money and reinvest it into the band, but its like a handful of change…

    • dick

      The truth is above.   We need a fllter and advertising.   Maybe some one will create an internet radio station that goes big time.   That model will be the future.   The internet is a the greatest marketing tool, but going beyond supply and demand, we have over saturation.   It is the best of times and the worst of times. 

  • http://www.thelastpiano.com The Wild Child

    Jeff,

    While I agree with many of your articles, I find the brunt of them slanted in a very TuneCore-centric direction. I applaud the building of your business, but it seems every article ends with an advertisement for TuneCore services. Such great articles are cheapened when they are ads in disguise. I love the informative writing of both you and your staff, and as an indie TuneCore Artist, I often use this knowledge to help advance my career in music. I agree that we are now approaching the “wild west” of music, and the cowboys with a business sense and creative talent will prosper. My point is this: your company will be recognized simply by publishing great articles; I don’t believe it’s necessary to hit us readers with so many TuneCore praises.

    Now to play devil’s advocate: Gatekeepers are necessary. Somewhere along the way, they became jaded, but there was a time when the gatekeeper was the very reason behind our access to great new music. Someone with a sense of what was good music and what was bad music decided to speak up and help get recordings out to the general public. People agreed with their decisions and decided to trust the source with their money. There was a tipping point, and money & politics broke the system, as they do most systems.

    Without gatekeepers, we’re all sifting around the muck of the internet alone, trying to discern what’s good and bad. We do this easily, because we know what we like. But what fun is there in doing any of this alone? Music is best enjoyed with as many people as possible. The reason that Elvis & The Beatles were so cool; The world was watching. Major Labels helped with that arms’ reach, at a very high cost. These days, we have to operate in more-or-less a local market when we are independents, because we don’t have millions to spend working our way around the world. Slim chances of making a decent salary in pop music, especially in my Canadian Market, where competing for grant money with Major Label artists.

    We need a new gatekeeper.

  • StayGold

    Tunecore is a gatekeeper. Do you think as a musician i am stupid enough to believe that you are fighting for my money with the likes of “greedy” ascap
    You are trying to make money by perpetuating scaremongering and really BAD advice
    You put music on iTunes, get over yourselves

    • Anonymous

      @StayGold

      As TuneCore does not own copyrights, the only way it stays in business is by providing a service to musicians that has value with transparency.
      If that goes away, TuneCore longer have a business.

      You now have a choiche, pay a simple flat fee and get what you pay for as well as 100% of the money from the sale of your music or you can transfer copyrights, make less or no money
      In regards to accusation of scaremongering, please provide me something that was stated that is not simply true.
      Not sure why you are so angry….

      Jeff

      • Mhorsphol

        I’m with you on that Tunecore, do you remember CD Baby, well the guy who created that started off with the pure love & compassion syndrome for the struggling artist, then he made 6 million and sold up! Oh well his choice! In truth he got burn out!
        As far as scaremongering goes, we all have to be exposed to some truth or we all get flushed down the sewer. Thanks to Wikileaks and Tunecore doing their bit to get some love going and try to re-instate  dignity and nobility to a profession that’s had a bad trip!

    • dick

      As passionate as you are, tunecore is not a gatekeeper, 
      Rock On.

  • guestttttt

    i agree! fuck the new music industry!
    nowadays you can be a great artist but with no money you can’t do anything ’cause you need promotion to get it out there and NO!!.. myspace and facebook are not enough promotion!!!
    and you can be mediocre be rich and promote yourself and get your music promoted everywhere…
    but back in the day you could be fucking poor and a record label would sign you if they believed in you and  they had the money to take the risk and promote you if they believed in your talent… now they are afraid of even taking on any artists at all ’cause no one buys cd’s and you either choose spotify or youtube to listen to stuff!!!!
    it suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!!!!!!!
    also, i’m getting tired of music as a listener as well cuz back in the days i would listen to music that was maybe not my sort of things but at least always professionlly executed whenever i turned on the tv or the radio… nowadays there is just so much boring uninspired bullshit… no talent but 100,000 likes and someone lookign for fame sitting behind the computer screen adding and adding and adding people…
    and bang! i get that music in my face!

    • Peteberwick

      Yup, gotta gree with you to a point. Everone and their dog is a “star” now. I call them ‘internet wanna-bes.” Good points.

    • Akwadawesoa

      You can choose not to click on it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.sauter Christopher Sauter

    Awesome

  • Colin

    Jeff,
    You are amazing man!  I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles like this and it helps me out so much by giving me a lot of information that is needed.  You always have answers for people’s questions and arguments along with always having facts to back up what you say.  In regards to the article, I completely agree with you.  I’m a musician/songwriter and I have never found interest in going through someone like ASCAP.  I’ve always wanted to keep ALL of the rights to my songs.  Along with that, when I write a song and create an album, I just want to get it out there and on iTunes or other online music stores without having to go through a complex process with paper work and contracts.  That’s exactly what Tunecore does and they also provide me with information needed to help me as an artist.  So Thank You for what you do!

    • Anonymous

      @colin

      thank you for the kind words.

      jeff

  • http://twitter.com/Superflythug Mongo Slade

    THIS LINK DOES NOT WORK!  tunecore.com/songwriter Tunecore tech support where are you?

  • http://twitter.com/vhprecords Vhp Records Aus

    First of all great article but I think it is misguided in a number of areas.
    For a start independent labels have flourished and have always been abound. Shortsightedness and greed amongst artists is the only reason why labels dominated.

    If artists had been savvy enough to establish co-operatives, they would have been able to do what Motown did. But back then artists did not approach music as a business. Many of the gatekeepers wanted artists to be artists and not business people.

    However, there have always been people who bucked the trend and if it could be done once, it could be done again and again. UK group Five Star were signed to their own label. They did a deal with RCA/Sony for marketing and distribution but they controlled their own destiny. Had they existed a few years later they could have done distribution with Pinnacle (an independent distributor) or with Total/BMG who were a pay as you go label. A bit like Tunecore.

    In face Tunecore let me give you one big piece of advice. SET UP A PAY AS YOU GO LABEL. Where artists can pay for promotion (scaleable), marketing as well as distribution (which they can now). Do this and you effectively kill the majors but you need to play hard ball with promoters and pluggers.

    This article is so right that even I have moved away from the label model into a more artist centric structure where the artist (ME) is the focus. I have the infrastructure as in production and marketing inhouse and also have not a lot of money to burn so in the same boat as any artist today.

    Is there a way forward? YES there is. Can we do it? Yes we can. Will we do it? Yes we will.

    For what it is worth, I think that Tunecore is in a position to really clean up here. You have the artist base, you have clout but you are constantly bashing the system without providing an alternative.

    If you want to discuss how you can make a difference, by all means contact me.

    But basically it works like this.

    Set up a radio station (internet station or terrestrial. Does not matter as they will converge anyway).
    On this radio station play chart hits (to bring in the fans) and indie new releases ONLY.

    Set up a TV station (internet with strategic terrestrial stations). Do likewise, a chart rundown and indie new releases ONLY.

    Set up an online magazine and do the same. New release and chart rundown.

    Tunecore users and other indies can pay to be on all the above BUT at a rate less than what they receive back in royalties. No point charging 1c a view or play (Jango & Youtube please stand up), but enough to cover the costs of licensing.

    This is a collective approach and guess what, will people listen? Of course they will.

    • Anonymous

      @Vhp Records

      Just to provide context on my answers, I ran an indie label called spinART for 17 years (Pixies, Apples In Stereo, Bis, Clem Snide, Eels etc)
      The challenge is, as indies gained market share, the distribution component became part of the majors. That is, Warner created the “indie” distributor ADA, Universal created the “indie” distributor” Wasabi and then Fontana, EMI created the “indie” distributor Caroline, Sony created the “indie” distributor RED…
      All of a sudden the “indies” market share was now part of the majors market share. And therefore they were able to expand control of the distribution pipeline.
      Of course there are always exception to the rule – but in the old industry they were far few and in-between. In regards to the your suggestion of other services TuneCore could offer, I don’t believe in offering them as they, to me, are snake oil
      That is, I dont like charging people for the possibility of something. I ran spinART for two decades, and I marketed and promoted every release with all my heart and soul and yet most did not take. It was not because I did not promote them well, it was because the music did not cause reaction with the media gatekeepers and/or consumers.
      The way to sell music is to create art that reacts, and that is up to all of the artists, the ones with the talent. I dont have it.
      Im not going to sell the possibility of a dream as a way to make money.
      jeff

      • http://twitter.com/vhprecords Vhp Records Aus

        @tunecore:disqus Jeff you are charging people to get on iTunes and you are also promoting Jango who are doing exactly what I am suggesting but at a rate that is ridiculously too high. Sure don’t charge them i don’t care if you do or not. Create the infrastructure because artists need it. They can’t do it all themselves it would be like using a wooden spoon to break a door down.
        Without promotion growth will stagnate. You also need to get the fans onboard in a sustainable manner and they need chart music for that I think.
        By the way you won’t be charging for the possibility of something. You would be using the advertising model like Facebook is using or Jango whom you promote.

        • Anonymous

          @Vhp

          TuneCore provides a service for a fee. Distribution is one of those services. It also provides a suite of other services from marketing and promotion your releases (recent features can be seen here – http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/11/tunecore-artists-featured-in-digital-stores-november-2011.html ) as well as storing your media files (recordings, art, metadata), accounting, business development, copyright enforcer etc
          It is your global infrastructure working for you – to chase up stores when they dont pay, to make changes to releases once they are distributed etc.
          This is what we do, this is what we are the best in the world at. This is what our focus is.
          The role of others transferring rights to another entity is not what TuneCore does. There is nothing wrong with that model if equitable.
          This is more of what you do. That’s why we both exist – different services.
          On a side note, I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments
          you an now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
          or download the spreadsheet here:
          http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
          I dont see stagnation

          Jeff

  • Marnie

    Gatekeepers are disappearing and doomed?  huh?  Have you tried getting decent press or reviews or blog write ups without a connected publicist at 1,500 per month?  How about trying to get some good shows on some good bills so that fans will actually “see/hear” and ultimately appreciate the artist and their music.  Yes, as far as it seems there are gatekeepers everywhere, and that side of the biz is all who ya know and whether or not you’re kissing their ass and/or out partying with them.  That has never changed.  Kind of a joke, as it still has little to do with the music.  The real deal talent is at home not playing “that game” and bombarding everyone with posts/tweets and hype.  They are hoping their music will do the talking.  Unfortunately, you need “someone” doing some talking for you, because the mediocre talent are in everyone’s grill 24/7.  I guess on line it’s a little different, but on the real pro circuit it’s straight up who ya know and politics as usual blurring everyone’s vision…  thus we have what we have today.  A sad and chaotic music scene with some great talent getting lost and overlooked everyday… tick tock.. let me know how/when that changes and you’ll have a healthy marketplace for business again.  Tunecore is a great step in the right direction as far as online sales and actually seeing any $.  Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      @Marnie

      You hit the nail on the head in regards to exposure, but here’s the nuance
      Yes, MTV and Rolling Stone have been disinter-mediated

      This is what social networking is about. The power for mass communication by the individual
      Thats all music marketing is – letting someone else listen to or read about your music or letting the see a video
      That’s it

      Thats all the old school media outlets did – let people hear or discover something so they could tell others and buy it
      I dont know about you, but over 90% of the music I own I discovered via my friends, not some commercial radio station…
      Jeff

  • http://twitter.com/clarkrecords Clark Records

    Like others in this comment thread, all these new tools are great but at the end of the day, good new artists with good material still need excellent promotion and radio airplay is still the best tool for getting the word out to potential new fans.  Just one radio station in the Philly market, for example, has one or 1.5 MM unique listeners a month–multiply that by a few large markets and you can see why even a video with 100MM views (remember each view is only one person and probably not nearly as many unique viewers) is not as powerful as a song getting 8 spins a day in a few major markets . . .  promotion and marketing and airplay is the final frontier

    As an aside, I’ve found that for whatever reason the hip hop stations seem much more open to playing new and local artists than any other genre, not sure why but I would be interested in any thoughts

    • Anonymous

      @Clark

      not sure i agree with you. I think a recommendation from a friend has a much higher impact on influencing me than a random spin on one commercial radio station.
      However, I do agree that major labels have a stranglehold on commercial radio and commercial radio can sell music
      But ask yourself this, why is it that 98% of what was played on commercial radio over the past three decades failed and consumers did not buy it
      The power is not in commercial radio, the power is in the art.

      As an example, Liam Sullivan uploads a video to YouTube for a song called “Shoes” and gets more views of it than the number of people that watched the super bowl.
      Same with Boyce Avenue

      And the list goes on and on

      jeff

      • http://twitter.com/vhprecords Vhp Records Aus

        Jeff I have to say you are a very brave man. Radio is the biggest MYTH when it comes to marketing music. Radio is NOT a promotional avenue but is a licensing partner and should be treated as such. Radio plays music to suit itself not to stimulate sales.

        The fact that for a billion plays you get on radio you can only expect to sell less than 500,000 shows radio as being very poor as a reason to buy for the listeners. To stimulate sales you need to create urgency and there is NO urgency when it comes to radio. In fact TV performs a lot better than radio when it comes to converting to sales for music.

        For example there are a plethora of radio stations playing 80s music here in Australia yet if you look at the top 40 you don’t see these. But Glee which essentially is TV driven is all over the charts. Says it all really.

      • Alienxfb14

        Just looked up the song “Shoes” by Liam Sullivan on Youtube because I was curious due to your above posting. While that’s the only song I’ve heard from him, and while he might have some content in other styles and genres….if he calls himself a musician, then I am ashamed to call myself one as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/crunchysteve Steve Jay

    Propagate, that’s an elitist myth spread by the middlemen. Look at the shite coming out og “big music” autotuned into metallic, ear-rasping oblivion. Young hip-hoppers enslaved by a contract that owes them nothing but binds them to a lifetime of few rights over their works. That’s where the mediocrity is. The real artists are the ones self publishing AND making a living from it. If you sell your own product it has to be damned good, ask any tradesman, and musicians not only have to sell good product when they manage themselves, it has to inspire as well, or they starve (or worse, go back to the day job.) The unsigned independent who makes a living has created a buzz with their music that is its own viral publicity. No label could ever fake that and get away with it.

  • BFG

    Having dealt with a major ( we now release via tune core) I know exactly how it works. The wonderful Xfactor (sic) is the inevitable end to this immoral “business”….Like the inbreds, eventually “nature catches up” example….Girls allowed win “X Factor type show” now member of Girls aloud “judges” on X Factor what is good, what is bad….POOP WILL EAT IT’S SELF.

    We are lucky, BFG  have a solid following from the “Dark Wave” Goth scene, we played the majors at their own game, they are going down the pan, we selling more than ever. “Good WIll Out” and “Shit has Gravity”. Those statements sum it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/g.south.m.petties Pharoah Petties

    Every Artist, Producer, Engeneer, whatever your musical gift, needs to read this information, ASAP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000493353065 Antonio Smith

    As a consultant to independent artists and 15 year vet, I’m all old school. I have to agree with Propagate, the industry of today is full of broke artist starving to get into an industry that really want let them in until they prove number worthy. However, the mediocrity of an influx of artists who think just because they can sing or rap, that its easy to get into the industry. I commend services like TuneCore for given artists that opportunity to do so, however, putting the key in the hands of “artists gatekeepers” has created a new industry where great product isn’t common place anymore. And there goes your A&R, monitoring what is industry worthy or industry standard. Yet again, having artists to control their destiny without fully understanding the dynamics of the overall functions of the industry. Granted, there are many services that allows an independent artists opportunity to be heard, however, what good is it if they don’t understand how to reach their consumer to get their numbers up to be known. There are a thousand plus artist online, of all which are striving to be noticed by the “consumer gatekeeper”. With the keys now in the hand of the “artists gatekeeper” the “consumer gatekeeper” is finding it hard to discover the unknown “artists gatekeeper” due to the lack of the leverage from a major. Not saying it cant be done, but again, as Propagate mentioned “what can a broke artist do”, little of nothing even with a TuneCore subscription, Facebook fans, and everything in between. As a consultant, I’ve spoken to so many artists who have released their own CD’s and have touched their market, but cant expand due to lack of money.

    • Anonymous

      You are so so so so wrong

      Im sorry, and I dont mean to be disrespectful, but I ran a label for 20 years. I have a deep intimate understanding of the old school industry.
      I have access to data and information you do not – I see what sells by our customers. every single second more than four songs by a TuneCore artist sells on iTunes.
      Every second, there are over 10 songs being streamed by a TuneCore artist on a paid streaming service.
      The majors missed the mark 98% of the time and spent billions in marketing. Artists got chewed up and spit out as failures and that was the end of the line. On top of it, they lost their copyrights
      If you are right, then why is it TuneCore Artists are all over the iTunes charts?
      jeff

    • http://reverbnation.com/vultcha Vultcha

      “And there goes your A&R, monitoring what is industry worthy or industry standard.”
      Spoken like a true Gate Keeper!  LOL.

      That’s exactly the problem of the old industry, always trying to TELL PEOPLE what’s GOOD FOR THEM!  Thereby, aborting the artist baby before it ever gives birth to a hit, and even DISCOURAGING it from trying to grow.

      I had so many meetings with A$$ & RECTUMS over the years…excuse me, “A” and “R” people, and most of them never tell you they are actually just listening for a new great sound they can COPY AND PASTE onto an already signed artist, or that if you’re a good artist (not great), they are going to sign your for a lesser deal and shelve you so that you don’t get picked up from a rival label.

      The music industry lost it’s prowess when it took on the cold, calculated, lack of creativity that  CORPORATE AMERICA pats itself on the back for.

      B.S. by any other name still finds it’s way into the toilet…FLUSH REPEATEDLY TILL CLEAN!

  • Bobbyzapp

    freedom is the only tool an artist needs, freedom to create. artists have been shackled so long they dont realize the gate is now removed and its all up to them to create that destiny .the oppressor never gives up oppressing willingly //freedom must be   taken back /the government of the USA should be run by tune core ,the first step tune core would make  .abolish the federal reserve bank and the economy would change quickly  just as the labels are discovering greed always ends /  peace …bobbyzapp@msn.com

  • http://www.indiebychoice.com IndieByChoice

    Good read. I think there will still be a need for the various titles in the music industry just under a different role. It takes a team and lot of work to make a name for your self online.

    • Anonymous

      it does take team and the relationship should be them working for you

      The sad part is, it used to be you working for them

      jeff

  • Anonymous

    You have to seriously question the True intentions of any Agency that wont tell you how much they are paying you. This is why I’ve never Joined a PRO like ASCAP OR BMI . The Industry has made some great breakthroughs with the distribution of independant music- however the main disadvantage that indie artists still face is actually getting their music played by radio stations,promoted via media, and having the funds and means to make and distribute professional music videos to Music Video networks like VH1 and MuchMusic. Everyone knows that Music videos pretty much drive music sales and promote artists faster and more efficiently that just having your song sit in apples online store. So I think much can be done yet by way of ensuring every artist has the means to not only make a music video- but have it distributed and played on the major music video networks. I personally believe this should be the indie industries “Next Primary Goal”.

  • Anonymous

    You have to seriously question the True intentions of any Agency that wont tell you how much they are paying you. This is why I’ve never Joined a PRO like ASCAP OR BMI . The Industry has made some great breakthroughs with the distribution of independant music- however the main disadvantage that indie artists still face is actually getting their music played by radio stations,promoted via media, and having the funds and means to make and distribute professional music videos to Music Video networks like VH1 and MuchMusic. Everyone knows that Music videos pretty much drive music sales and promote artists faster and more efficiently that just having your song sit in apples online store. So I think much can be done yet by way of ensuring every artist has the means to not only make a music video- but have it distributed and played on the major music video networks. I personally believe this should be the indie industries “Next Primary Goal”.

  • Anonymous

    You have to seriously question the True intentions of any Agency that wont tell you how much they are paying you. This is why I’ve never Joined a PRO like ASCAP OR BMI . The Industry has made some great breakthroughs with the distribution of independant music- however the main disadvantage that indie artists still face is actually getting their music played by radio stations,promoted via media, and having the funds and means to make and distribute professional music videos to Music Video networks like VH1 and MuchMusic. Everyone knows that Music videos pretty much drive music sales and promote artists faster and more efficiently that just having your song sit in apples online store. So I think much can be done yet by way of ensuring every artist has the means to not only make a music video- but have it distributed and played on the major music video networks. I personally believe this should be the indie industries “Next Primary Goal”.

  • Ace

    man that was gangser and put so eloquently

  • Ace

    man that was gangser and put so eloquently

  • Ace

    man that was gangser and put so eloquently

  • Arun Shenoy

    This article does not take into account the fact that the vast majority of consumers are unwilling to pay for content in this digital era and expect it for “free” as a sense of entitlement. Also the fact that anyone can create and publish music now has created a sea of mediocrity and genuine artists are having a tough time being heard. A lot of the music from the past is still considered classics and popular today in part due to the fact that artists had to work a lot harder and put in their 100% and make the best possible music to achieve the coveted top status in the business. This implies being picked up by record labels, MTV, tour deals etc. Today that does not exist. Most serious artists are struggling to be heard above a sea of mediocrity..aka. self published amateur music. So whether the music is on iTunes or Tunecore, the questions that would constantly play in the artist’s mind are – who is going to find my music and who among these will actually be willing to pay for the content.

    • DaGo

      Arun I agree with you to a point.

      Sadly, there are some who feel entitled to music without charge, but they are usually young, broke, or without ethics. The good news is that the baby boom generation not only likes music, they purchase music, and lots of it. Perhaps today’s artists might want to consider marketing to the one group that not only can pay for music, but will.

      To the point about mediocrity in the music scene, YES, there is a lot of (what I consider) bad music out there, but, there is also some excellent new music that I would rate as good as anything I have ever heard over my 55 years. 

      The real problem is finding it, but I believe a new medium will fill that void, and I think they will be called Music Discovery Sites. I also think they will be available soon, so finding great new music will be as easy as dropping in to a website that covers a genre you prefer, and presto, new music recommended for you. 

      Things will not always be as they are, and soon life for artists, and consumers, will get better.

    • DaGo

      Arun I agree with you to a point.

      Sadly, there are some who feel entitled to music without charge, but they are usually young, broke, or without ethics. The good news is that the baby boom generation not only likes music, they purchase music, and lots of it. Perhaps today’s artists might want to consider marketing to the one group that not only can pay for music, but will.

      To the point about mediocrity in the music scene, YES, there is a lot of (what I consider) bad music out there, but, there is also some excellent new music that I would rate as good as anything I have ever heard over my 55 years. 

      The real problem is finding it, but I believe a new medium will fill that void, and I think they will be called Music Discovery Sites. I also think they will be available soon, so finding great new music will be as easy as dropping in to a website that covers a genre you prefer, and presto, new music recommended for you. 

      Things will not always be as they are, and soon life for artists, and consumers, will get better.

    • DaGo

      Arun I agree with you to a point.

      Sadly, there are some who feel entitled to music without charge, but they are usually young, broke, or without ethics. The good news is that the baby boom generation not only likes music, they purchase music, and lots of it. Perhaps today’s artists might want to consider marketing to the one group that not only can pay for music, but will.

      To the point about mediocrity in the music scene, YES, there is a lot of (what I consider) bad music out there, but, there is also some excellent new music that I would rate as good as anything I have ever heard over my 55 years. 

      The real problem is finding it, but I believe a new medium will fill that void, and I think they will be called Music Discovery Sites. I also think they will be available soon, so finding great new music will be as easy as dropping in to a website that covers a genre you prefer, and presto, new music recommended for you. 

      Things will not always be as they are, and soon life for artists, and consumers, will get better.

    • Anonymous

      @arun

      again, not so sure i agree.

      in the old days a limited number of the US population bought some CDs. the high end buyers bought between 3 – 5 CDs a year
      these days TuneCore Artists reach over 100 million individuals that buy music
      As tech makes it easier to consumer music, and as the price to buy it drops, more is being bought and consumed by more people
      with the middlemen removed, despite music being cheaper, artists make more money
      and as you move forward in time, and the cost of music gets built into hardware (like Nokia and or Cricket Mobile’s Muve Music) even more will be “bought”
      jeff

  • DaGo

    As a baby boomer and self-admitted music junkie, I have purchased many thousands of dollars of music, and spent thousands of dollars on concerts over a period of five decades. I would still be spending money, even more in fact, if I had something to listen to. I feel cheated that no one is marketing music to me or my generation anymore. Why they gave up on me I don’t know, because I have money, I am looking to purchase music, and I am an avid, regular consumer. 

    So, after being stifled for about fifteen years by record companies that turned their back on me, I gave up waiting for them. The problem though, was that I had enough of listening to my favorite artists I grew up listening to, the artists from the late 60’s through the nineties. “What about me”.I thought, “why have I been abandoned as a consumer”. I needed new music!  I decided to do something about it on my own.

    Here’s the good news. I began scouring the internet for new music (at least new to me). And now I want to report to all of you that in the past five months I have discovered over forty new artists who’s music really turns me on, and, have spent over $500 dollars purchasing their music. I have also figured out how to find new artists, and how to listen to their music, simply and quickly. If I like what I hear, I buy, if not, I move on. The great part is that not only am I reinvigorated with today’s music scene, but young people are now asking me what they should be listening to, or they ask if I can recommend any new artists to them. 

    I am once again a consumer of music, and I expect, many more thousands of dollars will once again transfer from my pocket in exchange for said music. Fortunately, the artist will receive their fair share of the money this time.

    And still the record companies don’t get it, or my generation…  

    • Richard

      I was wondering whether there were so-called boomers like myself, who felt abandoned. I really was dependent, on the radio for sourcing music, in the 70’s. I actually was in the music business as a talent manager. That was certainly a thankless task. I have some worthwhile stories involving the likes of Neil Bogart, Clive Davis, and Al Cooper. I’m now creating music that hopefully will appeal to our generation. It is melodic-centric and is recorded with an orchestra. I’m just in the final mixing stage.

      Best

      Richard  

      • tunecore

        you’re absolutely right. I completely understand where you are coming from. Things have changed so radically so quickly it can take your breath away and leave you feeling dazed and confused
        jeff

  • LEJ-N-KYS MUSIC COMPANY

    I am near 60 years old and have not been able to pursue my recording career until now. Finally the technology has reached the point where it is not cost prohibitive nor is the red tape for releasing and distributing ever been easier than now. I keep my rights, I keep my money. My distributers get what they deserve for marketing my music. I am in heaven!

    • strife Steven

      I’m sorry. I can’t take you seriously. If you had anything in your heart and in your talent to contribute to music it damn well would have been done already. Name me one artist who built a music career at 60 years old. What the fuck.

      • James

        The cool thing about the technology today is that LEJ-N-KYS could possibly be the first. People who think they can, can… people who think they can’t won’t. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Nesser/1109019625 Mark Nesser

    There’s pros and cons to both the old music industry system and the new music industry system.
    The market today is over saturated with too many choices and copycats, but there’s also some other unique artists that would have never been heard or seen the light of day in the old “gatekeeper” system. Unfortunately the mentality of the public is still somewhat the same. The mainstream public still doesn’t like buy anything that isn’t force-fed to them through the media and promotion. I still say Yes to the independent artist, but I would never turn down a helping hand from a music professional!

  • Highercenter

    The problem is that money is so evil, it’s a virus that is about to kill it’s host (our world).

    I give away my music as I don’t make it for money reasons. An Indian some 1000 years ago on the coast of Australia didn’t need to be enslaved (having a job or company or business model) to have a ‘great’ life. The food was better, you could just pick a piece of ground to build your house, if you wanted to make music you simply did that! Until the robbers came about. After they stole entire continents, they started to sell ‘their’ property for rediculous money. This was the start of real poverty and enslavement. And I believe we are still very much in their game. Most people mistakenly think that great art, technology and welfare result from money and our rulers, while in reality the latter are the main obstacles for evolution in any way.

    So I don’t believe in any online shop. Music should be free for download as well as many many other things in life should be free and actually CAN be free! So, in my opinion the discussion should not be about how we can get money from making music, but how can we get rid of making music for money. I hope you can imagine
    what improvement that would only have on the music we hear every day!

    If all musicians would give away their music, (which wouldn’t make much of a difference because 95% of the artists already doesn’t make a dime), this whole music industry would simply collapse and we could then have a rating system based on the total downloads per artist/track. As a financial transition, people/listeners could donate to the artists they appreciate.

    Tunecore can help to make the transition from payed to free music as it cancels out a part of the establishment. That is good. But to be really effective it should be connected to a free and transparent download service with artist/track ratings.

    Great artists can reach the harts of so many people. If they could openly abandon the money and show that to the world, it could make the difference. One big finger against this disgusting capitalistic society we live in, that’s what I expect from true artists!

  • Highercenter

    The problem is that money is so evil, it’s a virus that is about to kill it’s host (our world).

    I give away my music as I don’t make it for money reasons. An Indian some 1000 years ago on the coast of Australia didn’t need to be enslaved (having a job or company or business model) to have a ‘great’ life. The food was better, you could just pick a piece of ground to build your house, if you wanted to make music you simply did that! Until the robbers came about. After they stole entire continents, they started to sell ‘their’ property for rediculous money. This was the start of real poverty and enslavement. And I believe we are still very much in their game. Most people mistakenly think that great art, technology and welfare result from money and our rulers, while in reality the latter are the main obstacles for evolution in any way.

    So I don’t believe in any online shop. Music should be free for download as well as many many other things in life should be free and actually CAN be free! So, in my opinion the discussion should not be about how we can get money from making music, but how can we get rid of making music for money. I hope you can imagine
    what improvement that would only have on the music we hear every day!

    If all musicians would give away their music, (which wouldn’t make much of a difference because 95% of the artists already doesn’t make a dime), this whole music industry would simply collapse and we could then have a rating system based on the total downloads per artist/track. As a financial transition, people/listeners could donate to the artists they appreciate.

    Tunecore can help to make the transition from payed to free music as it cancels out a part of the establishment. That is good. But to be really effective it should be connected to a free and transparent download service with artist/track ratings.

    Great artists can reach the harts of so many people. If they could openly abandon the money and show that to the world, it could make the difference. One big finger against this disgusting capitalistic society we live in, that’s what I expect from true artists!

  • Guest

    Great article. Sounds like a bit of freedom rallying, but fun to read. Reading all the negative replies you can easily see a very simple theme – “Please spoon feed me!!!” Could it be that consumers actually have to think for themselves for a change? What a concept. When you go to the grocery store, do you read labels or find our where your food comes from or just buy food based on commercials?

    In the grand scheme of things the flood gates have only just blown open; the “gatekeepers” only just vanquished. Tunecore is only one of the endless companies that will arise to profit from striking (hopefully) honest deals with musicians. Maybe now is not the best time to be an artist (although it’s better than before); maybe that time is in five or ten years when the infrastructure exists to pitch your music to a new (again hopefully, if temporarily honest) group of venture capitalists who wish to form a company and invest their money in a few artists and market the hell out of them in hopes of returning a profit. Yes, for now we are alone, but not for much longer. But when we are not alone we will still have the choice; the choice that if we strike a bad deal with someone who sits on their hands and doesn’t work for us, we can easily pull out of the deal and find someone else to partner with, all the while promoting ourselves independently until that new partnership is formed.

    This is not the only industry to have gatekeepers. Maybe there is an industry that has benefited because of gatekeepers, but I can’t think of one. Power corrupts and being a gatekeeper means having a lot of power, just as this article points out.

    • Henrylincoln

      Do you know what you are saying because i sure in the hell don’t.

    • Anonymous

      I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

      you an now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
      or download the spreadsheet here:
      http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
      Jeff

  • Henrylincoln

    Hank
    Jeff i would like to know why is it so hard for me to get a truthful answer to where
    my money went for my sales since sometime in 2008 i think.I can see all of my
    transactions,but i can’t download my individual files maybe i need a different software
    to get them but no one will tell me from Tunecore support.My question’s to support
    how can it be that I’ve only made $5.25 in all this time.Did they take my sales money
    for renewal fees.Also do you have a particular department to promote your artist pages,
    providing the artist can’t for a fee.If there is or were $5.25 in my account i never have
    withdrawn any money.I signed up for the new songwriter agreement for you to collect
    my money in September and i haven’t heard yet.Have you been able to collect any
    monies for the writers yet.I’m in touch with Julie about this.You are the Publisher of
    my songs i thought when you signed a publisher deal that I’m supposed to get an
    advance check .Is it different because this an administrator deal.

    • Anonymous

      @Henrylincoln

      Not sure I am understanding all your questions, I will make certain someone from Aritst Support follows up with you
      In regards to sales, you get 100% of whatever the stores pay out.

      In regards to publishing administration, if you want an advance,you would need to negotiate that with the entity that wants your rights
      TuneCore does not give advances as it does not own copyrights, nor does it want to
      jeff

  • http://www.memeshift.com/about Morgan Sully

    YES.

  • Wild-at-heart

    how wonderful, that someone is concerned about the artists!!! but now they have found more ways to fuck you over!!! now it’s the promoters ripping off the bands! especially, the ones starting out. and they make sure to only let the ones in on certain circuts, that are controled again by the few doorkeepers left. it’s become almost impossible to tour, because they expect you to play for free, or next to nothing! why don’t the bands get together and go on strike? imagine all bands of the world stoping to perform for just two weeks! i’m sure, that would change the situation fast! only problem is, that now millions of people wanna be stars (not artists!!) and would gladly pay to claim on a stage to have their ego stroked! so what has really changed???i think it is worse than ever!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

      you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
      or download the spreadsheet here:
      http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
      Jeff

      • strife Steven

        no disrespect but i do not understand how this spreadsheet helps explain how artists/bands like “chase coy” and “blood on the dancefloor” are “making it.” This spreadsheet does not say the names of bands but rather random numbers from high to even very low, why are any sums under 1grand even listed? my band “Under Everyone” sold +$300 i believe in July of 2011 on tune-core, this means we’re on the list? Well we are far far away from “making it” I feel even a grand in digital sales is not really significant. You still are not “making it.” That’s not covering your gas, health/car insurance, busing for tour, food, and living rent.

        • Anonymous

          @strife

          random? this is actually sales and payment data. How is it random?

          This what artists are actually making – in just one Month, July, 2011

          Of course i pulled out the artist name, I do not think it is my place to reveal to the public how much an individual makes
          “making it” is subjective

          not every artist will hit their goals, fewer will be superstars

          however, as you can see, uneducated claims state no artists are selling music. Further, others claim artists can only sell music if they are signed to a major.
          With all due respect, artists are selling music and making money. And when they were signed to a major, over 98% of artists failed and made NO money from music sales as they did not recoup the advance given to them to record the music they then had to assign ownership of to the label.
          Do you think for a second getting signed meant you could pay your rent for the next year.
          you may turn your nose up at $10 in sales, or $50 in sales or $10,000 in sales, thats fine.
          But you need to help me understand how making some money better than making no money
          jeff

  • dick

    You got most of it right.  However, free music hurt, or free porn, hurts the distribution arm, and thus the artist.  The only gatekeeper was the ability to pay the radio stations “payola”.   It all boils down to advertising.  What has changed is distribution, ie the internet.   What we will see in the future is and a glut of crap, as well as people with enough money to get their “art” out there.   The record companies should have adapted to the internet.   They did not.   Again, the problem will be, where will the filter be to find good art?  No one has the time to listen to it all or watch it all.   Where will the filter be?   How many Led Zepplins, Micheal Jacksons, etc will not be discovered?   Not be promoted, and never heard?

  • Jus

    Don’t forget that TuneCore et al are also gatekeepers of sorts. Music is unfortunatly currently devalued by being everywhere and no matter what you may say, think about the music that is played to you throughout your day in coffee shops, shopping malls, TV, etc etc. Do you actually want to listen to anything you hear or are you finding that you are being repeatedly played the same mediocre nonsence? I expect that this music is chosen for it’s ability to “help” us shop therefore reducing music to commerce which seems to be a common theme in this discussion too. Let’s be honest and say that musicians want to be paid for what they do, some would like to make lots of cash but most would probably like to just be able to live comfortably enough to make more music as it is music which drives, us not money.  

    • Anonymous

      @Jus

      no, TuneCore is not a gatekeeper. It is a service that must earn the right to have you choose to hire it.
      All are welcome, not just a few

      I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

      you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
      or download the spreadsheet here:
      http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
      Jeff

  • Fmstudiokent

    Bravo, Tunecore. I have a huge pile of “rejection” letters dating back to the 1960’s from companies saying my music is to all intents and purposes ‘not quite good enough’. Now it’s out there and being bought. Incidentally, I have a small amount of money which is held in Universal’s vaults for 20 years which they won’t release as it’s below the amount they will pay out and not reached the pay out level. The song now will never sell enough to reach that level. Add up all the thousands of small amounts form myriad artists….!

  • Ameh martins

    I m so glad of the life.so happy of the earth,so great of the living that things alright,with of tune core team.
     what we can do now is life and understanding with them.

  • Leo Mccormack

    Hi, all very interesting! I would like to say that as a 59 yr old who has played in schools and churches all his life and lately got into songwriting I have actually got a song on Itunes through Tunecore and I think it is brilliant. Previously my work has had to be placed on youtube for which you gain nothing financially until you reach 3000 hits – which my ‘Christmas Boogie’ has and get some advertising revenue. For the average songwriter who just wants to get his songs out there this is actually a dream come true to be placed alongside all the ‘established acts. Just for note ‘Bobbing Along’ is the first school song on itunes and  extremely popular – who cares what genre it is – if it is popular and catchy it is good! 

  • Emmanuel Florac

    In France, if you’re a registered SACEM (equivalent to ASCAP) member, you can’t even distribute your music for free on your website – unless it’s clearly limited, for instance promotional. This is madness, but as soon as you’ve delegated right managements to the SACEM, you must comply to its customs, which is that any public performance (even singing “happy birthday to you” in a classroom may infringe; did you know “happy birthday to you” is NOT public domain?) must generate a payment.

    • Anonymous

      may i suggest you terminate your agreement with SACEM (when you are able) then re-affiliate with a US PRO and/or use TuneCore to do that for you
      jeff

  • Archtone

    Tune Core does offer useful unique services that allow songwriters to get paid if their music is played.  Some of the valid criticism involves “snow” the artist and writers getting buried in a mountain of it.  How do you “stand out” is the question.  Just as Tune Core offers services, so do independent evolving record labels whose architecture complements the artist, writer, and Tune Core.  There can be a successful relationship between all.  Independent record labels, structured to accommodate modern technology, can spend time developing new strategies that assist the artist to “stand out” in the crowd, and maintain key marketing relationships to help their artists and thereby song writers too.  The relationship between Tune Core and Independent Record Labels does not have to be based upon fear, or stereotyping, but can be mutually beneficial. My new Label pays the songwriter and artist first, pays the artist more than traditional fees, has no recording or marketing fees, no recoupment, and is still profitable.  The Label uses the services of Tune Core to benefit the songwriter, artist, and Label.  The Label and Tune Core are beneficial to each other and the Label is better equipped to help the artist succeed because of the promotional  “relationships” it develops that are not practical for the individual artist or song writer to develop.  Good song writers openly “offer” to split the copyright ownership of their songs with us just to get them recorded by world class artists, sell cd’s, and get airplay.  So despite Jeff’s marketing strategy both Independent Record Labels and Tune Core can be mutually beneficial to all concerned. 

  • Archtone

    Tune Core does offer useful unique services that allow songwriters to get paid if their music is played.  Some of the valid criticism involves “snow” the artist and writers getting buried in a mountain of it.  How do you “stand out” is the question.  Just as Tune Core offers services, so do independent evolving record labels whose architecture complements the artist, writer, and Tune Core.  There can be a successful relationship between all.  Independent record labels, structured to accommodate modern technology, can spend time developing new strategies that assist the artist to “stand out” in the crowd, and maintain key marketing relationships to help their artists and thereby song writers too.  The relationship between Tune Core and Independent Record Labels does not have to be based upon fear, or stereotyping, but can be mutually beneficial. My new Label pays the songwriter and artist first, pays the artist more than traditional fees, has no recording or marketing fees, no recoupment, and is still profitable.  The Label uses the services of Tune Core to benefit the songwriter, artist, and Label.  The Label and Tune Core are beneficial to each other and the Label is better equipped to help the artist succeed because of the promotional  “relationships” it develops that are not practical for the individual artist or song writer to develop.  Good song writers openly “offer” to split the copyright ownership of their songs with us just to get them recorded by world class artists, sell cd’s, and get airplay.  So despite Jeff’s marketing strategy both Independent Record Labels and Tune Core can be mutually beneficial to all concerned. 

  • http://www.wix.com/eliasraven/black-orchid-ritual Raven Elias

    Thank God for bringing the business back from the one who stole it.
    POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

    Raven Elias of BLACK ORCHID RITUAL

  • Bkjsweden

    80 years is a long time for any industry to go with no revolutionary changes. It was time…
    But hasn’t it been a similar model with professional sports in the USA? Gatekeepers, Agents, Owners etc controlling the industry and taking the lion share of profits. But with sports like, let’s say NFL Football, the Union actually has been interested in saving the players and focusing on player interests. The game adapted and evolved due to the union’s efforts… Not so with music.

    • Anonymous

      i do agree with you.

      the article was originally going to be about all industries that had gatekeepers to distribution (i.e. news, film, tv, music etc)
      At some point, technology just makes them moot

      jeff

  • http://twitter.com/Venomtheonly1 Venom

    I really don’t want to sound like an ignorant person as I hate ignorance; however I am woman enough to speak the truth and perception of others means nothing to me, as I speak FACTS. I am a musician, a song writer, a rapper, a poet, an artist, a real one. I use TuneCore combined with another distributor. Thus far as copy rights are concerned, I use BMI.. None the less, the speak of money causes me to raise my eyebrows.  Most of the money I have seen comes from doing collaborations. I have many messages and a fan base of over 16K, (via internet), however I am still considered a local. I have spent more money than I have made, and I find it frustrating. I questioned the purpose of TuneCore as I have NOT seen a dime from it, Nor did I see a dime with CD Baby. 

    This is not an issue of old school versus new school.. It is an issue of an unfair ratio, between what’s spent,and  what’s collected. Music is given away for free and I, the artist, have yet to receive or see much from it. With the aid of the internet, we as artist do get publicity. We do get the fans, however where is the money? We are paying for sites such as Jango and other internet radio sites, however we aren’t getting paid each time the song(s) are played, I know I don’t. Yet we continue striving as song writers, rappers, poets,artists, musicians, producers/engineers.. We may have all of the power and the publicity, however we must eat too! Where is the bread? Where is the equivalency, at minimum to what we have paid in order to be on such internet sites? We sure aren’t getting the services and/or exposure for free. 

    I take pride in my music as it comes from the soul. I have no specified genre of music as I enjoy it all, and I intend to do it all. I don’t want my control taken away. “This is MY career”.. I don’t want to be told what I can write or can’t write. I don’t want a made up image, as I am who I am and feel that the world needs to be reintroduced to realness and real music. Much of the music today has been engulfed and drowned with so many fakes, because real artists have allowed it. Many of today’s have done nothing but taken a character from the old school, attempted to spice it up a lil, when they really just watered it down by allowing the wrong persons to control it, they signed over their lives… and I am not going to do that. If that’s the reason I am not seeing the money as I should, then I will be a broke artist as long as I continue feeding the fans and lovers of music from my inner woman and soul.. Peace, Venom.

    • Anonymous

      @Venom

      I agree with you. You should question if TuneCore etc is the right fit for you
      We must strive to create something of value to you, if we don’t, then we dont have a business
      Jeff

  • Unconvinced

    “Every business built on gatekeepers eventually fails.” Yes it does. Eventually. And so does every other business. Eventually.

    “It’s a shortsighted model based on greed, ego and false perception of invulnerability.” This seems to me to leave out important aspects. In particular, successful gatekeeper businesses offer both their upstream partner (e.g., artists) and their downstream partners (e.g., record buyers) something they could not otherwise achieve, or could only achieve with disproportionate effort. That’s usually why and how they can start their gatekeeper business in the first place.

    Modern examples include Google and iTunes. In the case of iTunes, their offer is so attractive that they can even compete successfully with free (BitTorrent etc.).

    So instead of condemning gatekeeper business models outright (possibly in the face of observable facts), it would be more useful to ask what they offer, whether they are worth it, and – where not – how their added value can be otherwise achieved.

    The less one understands about the world, the less control one has about ones way through it.

    • Anonymous

      i would suggest that gatekeeper should think of themselves as service providers that constantly have to innovate to stay relevant
      then they win

      jeff

  • Pete Berwick

    I agree, but you lost me when you rip on the PROs, i.e  ASCAP, BMI. I have been a BMI
    member for decades.
    Sure, they may not be needed as far as collecting on the artists behalf from digital online
    radio play, but online radio play is nickles and dimes anyway. I have been paid thousands
    from BMI over the years from songs I have placed in movies and television, and continue to,
    and for the rest of my life will walk to my mailbox and collect these checks. Before the PROs
    a songwriter didn’t have a pot to piss in. He or she would trade their songs for a bottle of
    booze or sell them for $50 so they could eat for ther next week. Blasting BMI is blasting the
    best tool and friend a songwriter could have. Other than that, I share your joy at the demise
    of the gatekeepers, the major labels. However, turn on the damn car radio and the gatekeepers
    still have a tight grip on the non-sattellite terrestrial airwaves. When will that pathetic gate
    come crashing down?

    • Anonymous

      @Pete

      I could not disagree more.

      The PROs work for you. Call them, ask them what the rates are they charge. They will not tell you. Why? As them what % of your money they are taking. They will not tell you specifically. Why?
      How do you know they are giving you all your money if you do not know the rates and % they take?
      Here’s an extreme of what happens in these organizations – http://www.thereader.es/local-business-a-finance/6752-spains-performing-rights-organisation-sgae-raided-by-anticorruption-police.html
      In the digital world, they are not needed. In the non-digital they are
      Let them do the non-digital, but get out of the way on the digital

      jeff

  • Pete Berwick

    Much great music was also accompanied by a great story to back the band, such as the legend and the dues paid. There did happen to be a time when artists worked hard, slept in their cars, sacrificed family and ralationships and health and creature comforts of home to live on the road and live the hard life that resulted in great music, and in books worth writing and reading about them. Bob Dylan didn’t have the luxury of sitting on his ass in some cozy house, uploading his songs and then waiting for fame and fortune. He battled away night after night in damp and dingy basement clubs, playing for virtually nothing until his star took off. Today everyone and their mom uploads their computer- made songs online and the world is suppose to beat a path to it. Doesn’t work that way. What will be the legend we can tell about tommorows internet-star of the future? “Man, he paid such dues! Dude uploaded his songs for over three months until he made it big!” Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to see the gatekeeprs fall and the independent artist, such as myself, not have to crawl to them anymore. However, I still believe in the olds chool way. It really ain’t rock n roll if it comes too easy. Paying dues used to be a good way to filter the posers from the real-deals.  

  • Gaetano

    I see a lot of arguments here from various sides that are all very viable.  I think it’s impossible to make it as cut and dried as “there are no gatekeepers” should there be? I’m not sure, but it would be ridiculous to say that over every demographic, over every style, genre and market in this industry, there are none. Each of these sets have their own rules and trends and guidelines (which many times are in constant flux), and artists should be aware of this and educate themselves accordingly when it comes to their market strategy. 

    If we were to use Malcolm Gladwell’s language, you have connectors, mavens and salesmen. Tunecore lies somewhere between all of these as it enables all of them to function together on a larger scale, in turn perpetuating and informing the discovery/consumption process. 

    Personally, if this is truly an argument about gatekeepers and transparency, I’d like to see Tunecore’s back end numbers and books, show me the flowcharts and the graphs. I don’t need names, but I’d like samples of genre, geographic demos etc. Show me who are the 99% and who are the 1%, when, how much and where, then we can take a closer look and decide why. Let me dig into the dates, cross reference sales with their youtube traffic etc. Let me figure out what tact could work best for me. 

    If we are in the wild west, this is the info we need to see in order to make the most educated decision before entering the market, or enhancing current market stature. 

    • Anonymous

      @Gaetano

      The article is about how at some point a business model based on gatekeeping gets corrupt and will eventually be disinter-mediated
      Artists should have complete access to everything. Then entities like TuneCore have to provide a service that artists find of value. This service must be transparent and do what it says. Then the artist can make a decision if the service is worth the cost.
      Its that simple.

      jeff

      • Gaetano

        Appreciated, 

        I just don’t ever see gatekeeping ever going away, it will shapeshift and transmorgrify, but I think it’s naive to believe that we’ll at some point be a world of completely free thinkers (at least in my lifetime).  We’re a nation (and a world really) that consumes, in many different ways via market. These markets are prodded and pushed by trends, which in many cases are tracked and catalyzed by marketing, R&D, cool hunters and trend seekers who’s job it is to perpetuate that paradigm. 

        In my opinion, for every gatekeeper that goes corrupt and eventually get’s disinter-mediated, there is another doe eyed seemingly honest one waiting in the wings, rinse repeat.   Right now, I feel that the industry is figuring out new ways to monetize, whether it be content or product. In turn we’re seeing other new tertiary revenue creating systems that feed back in and factor in a big way. 

        Case in point, Pitchfork Media that started as a quaint little blog in 1995 is now worth $12.9 million. Is this relevant? Well, someone continues to see value in it since it’s revenue is mostly ad based, and many of those ads are for music. 

        At some point soon, people can decide it’s too bloated to trust (like many of the older mags turned online), or in cahoots with certain brands and perhaps we’ll see a trend elsewhere.  I guess it all remains to be seen..

        Some new things I see popping up like Getonic use fans as “partners”, literally cutting them into the profits they help generate. This is where things can get weird/interesting as your fans could potentially start monetizing their social networks via your brand. 

        I’m interested in all of it, in the end, anything that actually gets people engaged and empowered (both artists and fans) is great, Tunecore is obviously one of those things. 

        • Anonymous

          I updated the blog posting – at the bottom before the comments

          you can now see the actual sales and earnings by a small portion of TuneCore Artists in July, 2011
          or download the spreadsheet here:
          http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/july_sales_2011.xlsx
          Jeff

          • Gaetano

            This is interesting….especially where the zero’s, and numbers in the double digits pop up. 

            We’re seeing three examples within the top ten that are selling under 50 albums, we’re seeing one that has 0% streaming. 

            #2 in sales, has sold 28 albums, it’s streaming numbers are are about a quarter of what the #1 seller did while it’s sales numbers are about 7k behind #1.

            What would make this all the more interesting (and useful)? A lil more info on each artist’s their demos. I wanna see the when and the where. Honestly, I want to see all of it! who are these people, to compare how they did it!!

            Maybe that’s an obsessive tendency that wants to connect the dots, but to me it’s valuable marketing/pr data. 

            Granted, this is privileged info, but it would make for a more colorful discussion. 

            Thanks so much for this Jeff, very interesting all around. 

          • Gaetano

            My bad, I did the numbers too quickly in my head, 

            There are 2 in the top ten with under 50 and the streaming for #2 is let’s just say, 25 times lower than #1.

            Still cool, gonna chew on this some more….

          • Anonymous

            and there is five and half more years of data on top of this

            most interesting of late, watching income go up for streams via Spotify
            jeff

          • Gaetano

            I’m still not totally on board with Spotify….at least not for everyone. 

            If you can show me if those numbers are mutually exclusive of each other, or fed into other revenue streams I’ll have a better idea of how it could really work. 

            I still think it’s a hail mary pass into the endzone for the Majors…

          • Anonymous

            i gotta tell you, i’m itching to release more info

            but i have to stop at this as its not my info to release – but i see it every day and it provides me a perspective that shapes what i say and why i say it
            i want others to have it as well to know where im coming from…

            jeff

          • Gaetano

            From all the feedback I’m seeing here, I think it would behoove Tunecore to add some type of companion service that covers some basic marketing, pr and strategy.  The numbers show success stories, unfortunately, they only make sense to you in the end because you can see the big picture. 

            What I’m thinking though, is if you can show the DNA of those success stories, one at a time.  Multiple client profiles within different genres and demographics could show different uses of the distro you provide, and how it worked for them. Who was a product of phenomenon and who was a slow burn, how they handled their revenue generated, reinvested and the like. 

            This is all invaluable information, that I would imagine your major movers would be open to sharing some of their info, and the majority of the clientele would be open to read about it. 

            There will always be your fatalists, and your naive pipe dreamers. They will come and go. This industry isn’t for everyone, never was, and especially not now.  Tunecore is like an open source operating system, and everyone using it is writing their own code for it.  

            Basically, you brought these artists to water, and they’re drinking. But now you have to teach them how to fish….

            Might work out for everyone in the end, I mean, our friends over at topspin are giving it a go…

  • Archtone

    Jeff, why was my comment from archtone records censored.  Although it was somewhat at odds with your opinions, it was also supportive overall of Tune Core.  Archtone is a member of
    Tune Core.  If there is not freedom of speech here then say so. 

    • Anonymous

      i was not aware that it was – help me find it?

      what was taken out?

      i dont censor (unless someone is just calling someone names)

      jeff

      • Archtone

        I found it Jeff.  Sorry.  BTW, our 2012 release schedule will include quite a few releases and at this time it is our intent to use Tune Core for each new release.  Additionally, my partner, who is a well known world class guitarist stands a significant chance of acquiring the right to a huge body of copyrights and we will likely use Tune Core to administer those as well.  You are on the right track but I would encourage you to be more positive in promoting your own vision and less so in demonizing record labels.  There are some Indies that operate in both a forward looking and forthright manner with artists and songwriters.  Properly done the two can coexist quite well and be profitable for all. 

        • Anonymous

          @archtone

          As I guy that ran his own label for 20 years I hear you and I agree

          labels need to provide the services artists require and in exchange artists need to have reasonably expectations
          this comes with education and transparency

          jeff

    • Archtone

      Disregard the above comment.  After additional searching I found the comment. 

      • Anonymous

        phew

        im glad to hear that!

        jeff

  • http://twitter.com/liveunsigned liveunsigned

    It is a process of evolution, what we are moving to is a time of many artists having a small audience rather than there being a small amount of artists having a large audience.

    One of the problems with the middle people disappearing is that a lot of skills are being lost. So for example it is possible to make an album on your lap top but will it sound as good as an album recorded by a pro studio using the very best mics with great mic technique?

    Artists will need to invest in their own careers if they want to build an audience in the same way that a label used to. The best way is to bring in industry professionals as required, hiring your own PR people and booking agent for example.

    You really need to be an entrepreneur to make all this work and how many artists really have this attitude?

    So things are better for some artists but not everyone. At least you get to have more control now. 

  • http://www.coilmusic.co.uk coil

    Even certain online music distribution companies such as yourself have become the gatekeepers. Not wishing to name names, but one company promises the earth, takes your dough and does nothing it says it will. Ditto……………..oops (slipped out). I’ve got stuff on there and as yet (7 months) not even an email in return. Paid for label registration………not heard, paid for various streaming sites..not heard if they are streaming our stuff, makes me wonder if anything has changed in this X factor shite industry ! 

    • Anonymous

      @coil

      i hear you. Digital distribution is complicated and difficult. In one sense, my heart goes out to them, I am certain that they didn’t mean to screw anyone, they just dont have the knowledge and resources to do the job.
      Jeff

  • Stefano Boscutti

    The really weird thing is the gatekeepers are still standing guard outside the gates (with lawyers either side) without realizing the walls have collapsed. Artists and fans are meeting each other over the crumbling stones without having to go anywhere near the gates.

    We’ll trip, we’ll stumble. We’ll even scrape our knees. But we ain’t going to be building those walls ever again.

  • Thejonesatwork

    Too much music reduces the value of each indvidual peice.  Music is less meaningfull than ever to people, and the quality of the art reflects it.  Record company, Tunecore, or independant doesn’t matter.  Too many cooks in the kitchen is bringing this industry to its knees.

    • Anonymous

      All this music already existed. Only difference is it can now be found if searched for.
      Thank You

      Jeff Price
      http://www.TuneCore.com

  • http://www.ConcertArtShows.com ConcertArtShows

    IT’S ALL ABOUT DEVELOPING YOUR OWN FAN BASE…
    That’s right. we deal with about 100 artists per year. Many are not gifted in the ways of marketing their art. That being the case, even the best gifted performing artists that we encounter, can not fill an adequate quantity of audience seats. Nor can most sell an adequate amount of music to be self supported. If an artist is NOT making self supported $$$… the artists should consider learning the system of developing their own fan base…. fan by fan. Fans are the ones that buy your music. There is no easy road! There are usually no free lunches without a hitch. There are many so called starving artists out there.

  • molasses jones

    So excited I spelled it wrong… oops!

  • http://www.TobesMusic.com Toby Charlwood

    Really interesting article and statistics.
     
    However, what concerns me here is that I’m not sure whether you guys at Tunecore have fully grasped that you too are now existing as ‘Gatekeepers’ for Apple as your primary function remains getting artists’ songs onto the very proprietary iTunes, and only because they refuse to deal with artists directly.
     
    Apple feel very much like the new ‘major’. They carefully built market dominance with the iPod to make sure that iTunes was the only choice of music software that worked with it and then carefully made it harder for less tech-savy users to buy their music from anywhere other than iTunes. So iTunes now dictate terms, like its circa 30% margin. This too is surely doomed to fail in the long run for the same reasons as outlined in the article.
     
    We have generated more sales from Bandcamp than iTunes. Bandcamp takes the logic of this article to another level. In comparison with the iTunes model:
     
    No upfront distribution fee vs. whatever Tunecore, CDBaby etc need to charge;
    15% commission (max) vs. circa 30% from iTunes etc;
    Variable pricing option vs fixed (we have set a minimum Bandcamp price of 30p (UK) but found average revenue to be over three times this);
    Sales reported/paid directly via Paypal vs circa 45 days delay;
    One sales point in the USA, therefore only one license required for selling covers;
    Full mailing list of all customers vs. nothing from iTunes.
     
    I expect many artists believe that by getting their songs on iTunes etc this will promote sales. But then they discover they are missing the ‘old school’ six figure marketing budgets of a major label so set about building an internet profile. The problem here in the UK is that 90% of internet downloads are illegal and free but this mindset sits much easier with the Bandcamp minimum price model which we’ve found encourages artist support and therefore deters the illegal download mentality. This 90% will look at iTunes and think “No thank you, why should I?” but more of them seem to think, “hmmm, 30p, OK” and then others think, “What is it worth to me? I’ll pay £1 (or more)”.
     
    So perhaps Tunecore needs to continue to evolve, maybe by bolting on its own direct sell option like the Bandcamp model, or even offering a Bandcamp or ReverbNation type of distribution as part of the package? Personally I would welcome this.
     
    I hope this helps.
     
    Best wishes

    • Anonymous

      @toby

      sorry, you’re wrong.

      There should be no gatekeepers for artists, and at some point there will not be. And every business model built on making money by being a gatekeeper will go down with the rise of the new entities.
      TuneCore is a service. it must earn the right to have musicians use it by providing services a musician finds valuable.
      If we dont, then we dont have a business

      Thats the point of the article, build a business on serving the artist, adapt to what they need, be transparent, do what you say they way you say you will do it. educate and allow choiche
      That’s as it should be

      jeff

      • http://www.TobesMusic.com Toby Charlwood

        Thanks Jeff,

        Indeed, I agree you are providing a good service and I am a loyal customer. But do you really think Tunecore would be in business if iTunes opted to deal with artists directly? I doubt it. Apple are currently dictating terms in the way the majors used to. Surely Tunecore is literally the gateway to iTunes for many of your customers, like me.

        The strategic threat here is that by being market dominent and dictating terms history shows that the iTunes model won’t last in the long term, which is why I feel much warmer towards Bandcamp right now. They feel more communal and less gate!

        Anyway, please don’t take these comments as criticism of Tunecore. My point is that I believe you need to look beyond the current proprietary nature of Apple/iTunes as this feels unhealthy to me.

        Best wishes,
        Toby

        • Anonymous

          @toby

          TuneCore would not have been in business if iTunes etc allowed all artists to go direct
          But TuneCore’s business model should NOT be predicated on that. It should be predicated on SERVING the artist
          It must adapt and evolve and never forget its core mission – to serve the artist. To be useful to them. It should not build a business on assuming the gatekeepers will exist
          and thats the point of the article.

          For TuneCore to be of value, it must provide artists the services they want and need, no matter what they are.
          jeff

          • http://www.TobesMusic.com Toby Charlwood

            Thanks Jeff,

            That’s good. You are indeed serving artists well in my view and I continue to recommend Tunecore to others. But my strong message is that this approach is already replicating some elements of the ‘bad old days’ as it depends on Apple essentially replacing the ‘majors’ and Tunecore being one of a very fews ways to reach them. In a way Tunecore is a gatekeeper at the end of the Apple driveway. Bandcamp are moving around $250,000 a month to artists too and this is a much more direct and immediate model, and one that appears to be growing in popularity with artists including the ones I work with, for all the reasons I stated above.

            So when reading your article slating the ‘old model’ I was more than struck by the fact that, to some extent at least, Tunecore currently depends on a modern version of those exact same unhealthy principles. I believe you could change that by evolving a direct sell model alongside the existing intermediary one or working with people like Bandcamp.

            Regards,

          • Anonymous

            @Toby

            I agree with you. I decided the next thing TuneCore would focus on is getting its customers their money (its songwriters earned another $70 million or so that they did not get).
            Provide this as a service.

            Then when thats done move onto the next thing

            Just a matter or priorities, resources time

            In regards to direct sales, I dont think TuneCore needs to build that out, I think it should partner with someone (like a BandCamp) – Im certain at some point we will
            Jeff

          • http://www.TobesMusic.com Toby Charlwood

            All excellent news, thank you!
            Regards,
            Toby

          • Mgcounty

             I agree and disagree, meaning I have a 5 song pop album and stand up comedy live peace that has not been able to take off after my “old” Director was push out of the US. So what can I do now with no time and my 5 song pop album with comedy spot attached. I mean I have a family and am looking at the real futture. Yet would love for someone to run with my stuff! 

          • Mgcounty

            test from me

          • Anonymous

            roger that

  • James

    The 5 million comments are really interesting… Yeah, I read ’em all. 

    My conclusion; there are a lot of frustrated musicians out there not willing to take responsibility for there careers. I believe this is due to the shift that took place during the digital revolution. They are stuck in an old model. Waiting for a record label to save them, But this is nothing new. Shifts in industry have been taking place since the dawn of industry. Every industry for that matter and it will continue to shift. Surfers know when a wave stops propelling them towards the shore to paddle out to find the next huge wave (and they are excited about the thrill that lays ahead). When snowboarding became popular ski manufacturers who were savvy began manufacturing snowboards… and increased their revenue while others complained about “those darn kids ruining the art of skiing” while their profit margins plummeted. Every problem has a solution. I’ve learned that successful people have a different mindset than non-successful people. They look at problems as opportunities. Life is going to hand all of us curve balls, the way we look at them and react to them will determine our outcome. Life is change, growth is optional.
    If you are happy with the results you are getting then keep doing what you are doing. If you want different results CHANGE your actions… Don’t wait for someone else to change. Don’t blame artist who “suck’ for your lack of momentum, lack of research, lack of willingness to get a plan and execute it… and persist. Don’t blame artists who believe in themselves for the fact that your belief may be wavering or gone.  

    We can reminisce about the good old days (that weren’t as good as we’d like to admit) or we can move forward by creating a plan and ACTING on it. EVERYTHING is up to YOU the artist to make your career succesful or NOT. You can BLAME anyone you want but that will not get you anywhere in your career. I know it’s tough out here BUT… Building a team, putting out good music and being appreciative of what you DO have not what you DON’T have will get you moving in the right direction. Write down your obstacles and then write next to them solutions as if they were already completed. Do at least one action step toward your goals daily. Change your attitude. No one wants to be around someone who doesn’t believe he will be on top one day. Stars have an attitude of gratitude. Write your plan with the most colorful dramatic detail possible. You’ll be excited if you write from your heart. That’s what we do anyways right? That’s what we’re best at! Write your life story in plan form. YOU are the author of your life make it have a happy ending. Cheers!

  • http://www.patrickcornell.com Patrick Cornell

    Oh please, Jeff, would you guys stop trying to make us musicians feel better? Your argument that musicians making something is better than nothing is true, I suppose, but me making $20 as opposed to $0 really doesn’t change my life in the slightest. Me making a million dollars as opposed to $0, now were talking, but we all know those days are over.

    For 12 years in Los Angeles I’ve toured the world and played gigs (bass guitar) with many successful people: Dave Navarro, Matt Sorum, Billy Duffy, Mark McGrath, Robbie Robertson, was the bassist in Circus Diablo (still am), was the assistant engineer on the Blues Brothers album Belushi/Aykroyd–Have Love Will Travel, and even played bass in Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen’s band for six months and everyone who comes along with that crowd. I only list these credits to give some weight to my argument–I’ve been around. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to agrees that the chances of making life changing money in music for new artists and bands is slim to none, unless you’re a sixteen year old kid who gets picked by Disney. 

    Music is nothing more than a hobby for most now–a secondary income at best, or just a fun thing to do. Even the band Cake talked about this and I read it right here on the Tunecore blog.

    And why is it this way now? Because no one pays for music. How can an artist make money when their product is free. Tunecore has provided an amazing service for those who want to pay for music. The problem, though, is that Tunecore’s competitors are offering a better deal, free music.

    Tunecore is awesome. I joined in 2006 and have loved it ever since and recommended it to everyone I know and those artists are now using it as well. I’ve released two EP’s and one Album through Tunecore and my experience has been fabulous. However, we’re not making life changing money because of it. Sure, you could argue that maybe our music is no good, but I would argue that the reason the vast majority of musicians don’t make much money anymore is because many people don’t buy music anymore. 

    I think it’s great that the ‘gatekeepers’ you talk about in this blog are gone, but there are new ‘gatekeepers,’ the general public. And their verdict is in–music should be free. And so it is.  

    Jeff, I love your voice and am on your side, but, I truly believe that this fight is like the war on drugs, it cannot be won–even the DEA admits they’ve lost. People want drugs. Well, they want free music as well, and they’re getting it, by the hard drive full.

    In my opinion, the only way for musicians to really make money again is to convince the general public that not paying for music is stealing–no different than filling up your cart at the grocery store and walking out without paying. Good luck with that.

    Patrick Cornell
    patrickcornell.com  

    • Anonymous

      @Patrick

      I appreciate the kind words. Truly do!

      It’s not my place to make you feel anything. Its my place to provide you information and services and then you get to make your own decisions.
      I cannot make you a star, I cannot make you money, you have the hard part, you need to create the music that causes that reaction.
      I do not have musical talent, I tried. You have it. So I built a company to serve, not exploit. Any asshole that gets in the way and says you dont matter, I will kick down, any immoral entity that insists on taking a pound of your flesh to provide you the possibility of something I will fight against.
      Level the playing field, serve the musician, provide the information, then its up to you.
      jeff

      • http://www.patrickcornell.com Patrick Cornell

        I know, you do a lot for us and I think we all appreciate it. I’m with you and Tunecore for the long haul. I’m thankful that I actually got to make a little money along the road–just wish that more people considered 99 cents a small price to pay for something they get to enjoy forever. Such is life… Please keep it up, Jeff, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

        Patrick

    • Anonymous

      @Patrick

      I appreciate the kind words. Truly do!

      It’s not my place to make you feel anything. Its my place to provide you information and services and then you get to make your own decisions.
      I cannot make you a star, I cannot make you money, you have the hard part, you need to create the music that causes that reaction.
      I do not have musical talent, I tried. You have it. So I built a company to serve, not exploit. Any asshole that gets in the way and says you dont matter, I will kick down, any immoral entity that insists on taking a pound of your flesh to provide you the possibility of something I will fight against.
      Level the playing field, serve the musician, provide the information, then its up to you.
      jeff

    • http://twitter.com/daveowensmusic Dave Owens

      Patrick, you’ve been around long enough to know that most artists don’t make money off album sales…that’s never been the primary source of income for most artists, especially ones newly signed to a label. The money’s out there on the road and in establishing long term “investments” by writing songs and getting them licensed to projects that will be around for awhile.

      Just for the sake of weight in the argument, I’ve been with two labels and as a full time independent artist, I just signed deals with Discovery Network, MTV, VH1, E!, and Oxygen. Among those wanting to use my album’s music are some of the highest rated shows on those networks.

      Many artists (and I’m not saying you’re one of them bc clearly you are not) don’t realize that you can’t make a living as a performing artist and stick around your hometown. There are a few exceptions such as people who perform in orchestras or regular shows (and I don’t mean bar gigs) but they’re few and far between. I’m always scratching my head when I roll into a town and talk to other musicians who are whining about how there’s no where to play…then I ask them if they’re touring regionally and they give me the deer in the headlights look. Every performing artist should be working at least a 3 hr radius if they’re serious about it…

      Whew, I’ve been in a chatty mood today and have been posting all over TuneCore!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/donultra2009 M.U.

    This is an very interesting article…

    I’ve been up on this new revolution for quite sometime,I wanna be successful in this music business,it’s not an easy journey however this trip is very fun to me….

    M.U. – Stay On Point

    ALIVE & WELL
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/alb

    M.U. – The Reunion (Feat. K-dot & Young Blue)
    http://snd.sc/sYcRZJ

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/donultra2009 M.U.

    I’m an inspiring independent artist,I love what I do…
    I encourage anybody that’s out there working on their own music to continue doing what they love best..
    I’m not the first one  that disowned the major industry practices, truly I feel like the industry is tainted with watered down material & fake artistes…
    My new album just dropped on ITUNES & AMAZON thru Tunecore… “ALIVE & WELL”
    I love the service that tunecore provides,they give musicians like me a fair chance & that’s all I’m asking for..
    I will continue to make music & produce new albums,my journey has just begun,I have a long way to go but I’m moving at a steady pace fa sho…

    Everybody be smooth & I hope things work out for all of you out there that’s independent & passionate about your craft…..

    ALIVE & WELL
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/alb

    M.U. – Political(Official Video)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/donultra2009 M.U.

    I’m an inspiring independent artist,I love what I do…
    I encourage anybody that’s out there working on their own music to continue doing what they love best..
    I’m not the first one  that disowned the major industry practices, truly I feel like the industry is tainted with watered down material & fake artistes…
    My new album just dropped on ITUNES & AMAZON thru Tunecore… “ALIVE & WELL”
    I love the service that tunecore provides,they give musicians like me a fair chance & that’s all I’m asking for..
    I will continue to make music & produce new albums,my journey has just begun,I have a long way to go but I’m moving at a steady pace fa sho…

    Everybody be smooth & I hope things work out for all of you out there that’s independent & passionate about your craft…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726313546 David Holland

    This is very cool….musicians and writers, this is for you.

  • Matt

    Now the gatekeepers are American Idol and Reality TV. Nice transformation.

  • DROWSER

    FUCK TUNECORE! these cock suckers burned me for 20 bucks. they took my payment but gave me no credits at all. i still cant destribute shit. i used a mastercard debit card to pay. n there was an “error” well these lying 2face dirty bitches still havent fixed the error. they still havent paid me back or distrubuted my album. fuck these fools n fuck their site. get the shit right. or make a vicious enemy. u putos cant fuck with me. n u will regret not fixing this. 

    -Drowser

  • http://www.facebook.com/monty.singleton Monty Singleton

    This really proves “The Myth Of The Long Tail”

    http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/11/08/the-myth-of-the-long-tail/

    Thanks for sharing the sales numbers! It’s very interesting. I’m sure NIN is at the top of that list.

    Monty
    http://destroytheevidence.com

    • Anonymous

      @monty

      actually, they are not. thats whats so cool about it

  • http://www.anima13.com.br/ Amigotto

    Food for thought: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

  • Willeandthebandits

    music should be at his most developed form now with the access of so much world music and  dance music which was unaccessable back in the day. and now with the ability to have a great sounding record for cheap everyone has the opportunity… however the problem is production anyone can sound good now and be marked whereas your live sound was your recorded sound in say the 60,70’s so because of this the music had soul and the real players shone through….its all about live and sifting through the tripe trown at us by the media and listening to the heart of the music the message and the creativity behind it because what most people seem to forget is for and formost MUSIC IS ART… and should be written to be creative not to market.

  • Abc

    What Tunecore is discussing is absolutely true. The gatekeepers of old made it difficult for artists to enter into the music scene because of their greed. Now because of modern technology artists are experiencing levels of success once reserved for “signed” artists. “Unsigned” artists now have the ability to sell singles, have their music debuted on MTV, BET, etc, and win awards for their craft. Its funny the majors who once scoffed at many artists trying to make it are now pleading with many unsigned acts to sign with them.

  • mkay

    new era, change is definate. there must be an upward movement , that is what nature demands.

  • http://zillamontoute.com/ Zilla Montoute

    zillouise
    I am so confused about this new system and believe me I am attempting to understand it and give it a chance.  When I was with ASCAP I made at least a few hundred dollars within one year with one musical piece.  Now I have two instrumental pieces and with this new system, in one year and two months I have made $2.86 cents.  I am reading articles until I am blue in the face, and paying through my teeth with every turn where I am challenged by these agencies that is making some money from all the music.  Here is another broke artist praying for something to get busy soon.

  • Ameh martins

    This is nice to love,when things going good in read.i can see tunecore is true and surely made in relationship with business and friend.although i have some send and upload for them possible or not.for i heard from god said don,t being commited in ignorant annoyers.try to know what u surpose to.and i do.
          amtins mama child.
           859705872043.

  • dogloverfolks

    A friend of mine who knew I had been in the music business since the late 60’s asked me, “Why is todays musics so bad?” It’s simple really. It’s technology. Anyone who wants to make an album can. And, they do. Too many folks are crying about they’re stuff not selling. Well, welcome to the real world. There was a reason record companies didn’t sign so many artist. No hits. If you ever make a hit recording don’t worry, it will find it’s way to the top. They always do. Anyone can write a SONG. But write a HIT song. Thats a whole other ball game. To many wanabe artist today want money and fame overnight. We live in an era of instant gratification. We don’t like paying dues and learning our craft. Very few make it quickly and the ones that do usually don’t last. There are a handful of exceptions. Quit making excuses and blaming other situations. Having lived and worked in Nashville for 20 years they have a saying, “The Cream Always Rises To The Top”. And one more thing, a studio or other recording gear is nothing but a tool. It can’t do it for you. Do you have something to say that appeals to a wide audience and not something your friends and your mom likes. That doesn’t count. LEARN THE CRAFT and quit whining. Tunecore is a great outlet. If I’m not successful it’s not Tunecore fault. I just didn’t write something that would break through the ocean of other songs.

  • dogloverfolks

    A friend of mine who knew I had been in the music business since the late 60’s asked me, “Why is todays musics so bad?” It’s simple really. It’s technology. Anyone who wants to make an album can. And, they do. Too many folks are crying about they’re stuff not selling. Well, welcome to the real world. There was a reason record companies didn’t sign so many artist. No hits. If you ever make a hit recording don’t worry, it will find it’s way to the top. They always do. Anyone can write a SONG. But write a HIT song. Thats a whole other ball game. To many wanabe artist today want money and fame overnight. We live in an era of instant gratification. We don’t like paying dues and learning our craft. Very few make it quickly and the ones that do usually don’t last. There are a handful of exceptions. Quit making excuses and blaming other situations. Having lived and worked in Nashville for 20 years they have a saying, “The Cream Always Rises To The Top”. And one more thing, a studio or other recording gear is nothing but a tool. It can’t do it for you. Do you have something to say that appeals to a wide audience and not something your friends and your mom likes. That doesn’t count. LEARN THE CRAFT and quit whining. Tunecore is a great outlet. If I’m not successful it’s not Tunecore fault. I just didn’t write something that would break through the ocean of other songs.

  • HaikenCountTuten

    Ummmm..so I just joined Tunecore today and have read this entire comment stream with fascination. My most immediate response is aimed at the dude who made fun of the 60 year old who is excited that technology has now enabled him to make and record music. My response is as follows:

    “fuck you, mang!”

    Not everyone who has a passion for creating “art” is a high-school-drop-out-acid-head who has been playing in thrash punk bands since they were 6. Maybe the dude was too busy trying to feed his kids to be playing in subway stations for cigarette butts. And look up Charles Ives. He worked for an insurance company until his 60’s when he became recognized as on of America’s most celebrated contemporary composers. Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of Ive’s music. Too weird.

    I think the concept behind TuneCore generally is a “good thing”. As far as I’m concerned “gatekeepers” are the same as “middlemen” in a capitalist society. Unless that is, they have divine right for being so privileged as to choose what the masses should hear, kind of like the really, really old days… Think Mozart and dukes and shit. But unless these middlemen invite me to live in their palaces and fuck their wives and write dirty operas, I have no use for them. Pooce outz.

  • David

    Little has changed what ever the reality.  Music as an industry is a failed and boring as ever.
    Where are the GREAT new artists and music of this new, important era of musical freedom?
    Where are the meaningful or relevant music videos?  I hear more meaningless drivel now than I did 20 years ago.  Until the focus of the business and artists is to make great, meaningful or innovative music, the current miasma will continue.  The whole focus is all wrong.
    Prior to the music explosion of the 60’s and 70’s, The industry drove the car, and we got vocal groups.  Lots of great music and artists were produced, but lots of commercial drivel as well.
    The folk and singer songwriter movement in the early 60’s helped to refocus the public and the industry on the importance of GREAT songs and writing.  This focus continued through the 60’s into the 70’s where it got lost again as greed returned to drive all things.  Hasn’t been a hiccup since!  You now have lot’s of greedy, superficial producers, musicians, songwriters, video producers. And lots of music I won’t listen to.  I don’t miss the crooks in the recording biz, but I do miss great music and artists.  Hope they come back in my lifetime