What The RIAA Won’t Tell You – TuneCore’s Response to the NY Times Op-Ed by RIAA CEO Cary H. Sherman

By Jeff Price

It’s difficult for me to write a response to the CEO of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) Mr. Sherman’s NY Times Op-Ed piece “What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You” that is not emotional. What should be a black and white conversation about respecting copyright is mired in the fact that the RIAA’s credibility has eroded as quickly as its control of the music industry.

Or said another way, the RIAA has become part of the problem of protecting copyright due to its occasional less than honest approach to things.  You just can’t take what the RIAA says at face value as their agenda is not clear—is it to protect copyright or is it to protect the interests of its label members at any cost?

After all, this is the same organization that had the RIAA employee Mitch Glazer attempt to sneak language into a bill on Capitol Hill changing the definition of “work for hire,” depriving artists of their rights (there’s a great article about this in the Austin Chronicle).

Now add to this that as the RIAA demands that its label members’ copyrights be respected and properly compensated, its members have knowingly taken hundreds of millions of dollars of other peoples’ songwriter royalties over the past few years.  Knowingly taking money generated from the copyrights of others—aka “Black Box Money”—sounds eerily like stealing.

The RIAA used to be the singular voice of the music industry but no longer.  The majority of music being distributed, bought, sold, shared and streamed is coming from outside the traditional industry.  Case in point, TuneCore distributes more music into digital music stores in one month than all the major labels do combined in 100 years. TuneCore artists have sold over 500,000,000 units of music in the last few years and generated over a quarter billion dollars.  Now add in other music services like TuneCore from around the globe and the numbers get even higher.  Over 70% of all new music being bought is from artists not tied into the old industry.

The RIAA and its members are the voice of what the industry was, and an ever-shrinking part of what is.  Stop fighting it and find a way to work with it before you are the odd man out.

As the Deputy Director of Future Of Music Coalition Casey Rae Hunter said more eloquently than I ever could:

“Artists have every right to be wary when powerful entertainment conglomerates push for policies that could undermine free expression, all the while claiming to speak for creators.”

There is no argument that the person or entity that control the copyright (be it an artist or a label), and only the person or entity that controls it, should have the right to do with it what they want.

However, if the original SOPA and PIPA bills were passed years ago, TuneCore most likely would not have existed, and power would still be concentrated with the old regime; they would have found a way to slow the market shift away from them. In the guise of “protecting copyright” the original SOPA bill would have provided the RIAA unilateral and almost unchecked power to kill the new emerging industry.

All the RIAA would have had to do is claim that music distributed by TuneCore was infringing on its label members’ copyrights. With limited to no due process, TuneCore could have been shut down just like Dajaz1.

And I can assure you, from time to time TuneCore gets illegitimate and wrongful claims of infringement by the RIAA (and some of its label members).

(On a side note, we have also had run-ins with the RIAA in regards to matters unrelated to copyright.  These have been less than pleasant as they used a variety of techniques to try to get TuneCore to do some things they wanted).

I would love for there to be a “voice” that we could all get behind to protect and represent all those who control copyright.  Unfortunately, the institution that could have played this role is the one that destroyed its own credibility with rather questionable moral moves (side note, if you have to resort to slight of hand and half truths to maintain power, its too late).

So could you please at least own up to your agenda—maintaining the pre-existing power structure.  Although we may disagree, we can at least have an honest conversation.

And with that said, I will now wait for the phone call from the RIAA threatening to sue TuneCore for posting this blog article.

-Jeff

Related to this article: The 4-Letter Acronym That Could Kill The New Music Industry

  • Don Shetterly

    I’m glad you (Tunecore) and I are on the same side!  The points you make are legit and of course those in power never like to show the inside of the dark boardrooms because someone out there might just learn a little more than they are supposed to see!  Thank you Jeff, Peter and your entire team for being on the side of the independent musician / artist.  

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      thanks for the kind words. I’m proud to be part of the team that i know does fight for indie artists.

      Best,George

      • Terryking10

         ryte on george    psulterryking.com

        • http://www.facebook.com/DJFEMMIE Donna M Jackson

          7 of my albums have been blocked the artists want the music out to the people when Gucci went to jail the label blocked the albums cause he was not earning them $s – Warner Brothers should support the artists right to distribute the music to who they want to distribute it to I do not earn a dime out of the promotional music I drop I have over 100 albums and over 40,000 downloads. 

          Artists should say bye bye to these labels and do their own thing – and DJs should be paid for our efforts without the DJs moving the music to the streets there is no artist and smart artists know it – some people will not download for free and some fans will only listen for free you have to make everyone happy or your music is dead in the water DJ Femmie the QUEEN OF MIXTAPES

          • littlebullstudios@gmail.com

            I am an Australian who owns and runs a small studio in Japan. My studio is called Little Bull Studios. Without companies like TuneCore, 99% of my clients would never be heard. The latest band to come through here was a band called The Country Big Band. How many country bands would get a foot in the door in Japan? They tour and tour and have a great falling in Asia. But major labels just wont even look at them. We put them through Tunecore. They now have an EP released on all good digital outlets around the world. They don’t owe anyone anything, any money made is almost 100% theirs. The variety of music I see recorded and released independently now days is  amazing compared to when I started back in the 80s. For those of us who remember the 70s and 80s….this is like heaven. Good luck to all indi artists who work hard and now have a voice !

          • Bill Wren

             very well said

      • Terryking10

         ryte on george    psulterryking.com

  • Jcharpentier1

     RIAA….the people that were sue-crazy and trying to make an example of what would happen to people with mp3 downloads on their computers. Yeah I trust them NOT

  • http://www.twitter.com/dayshabass Daysha

    Amazing post. Big thanks, Jeff.

  • Anonymous

    Enjoyed your piece. Recently read this essay in response to the Cary op-ed http://hubski.com/pub?id=16738 enjoy.

  • http://gplus.to/FaustsHausUK Dale P

    Your blog has become my favourite music blog, keep it up.

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      Music to our ears.

      Thanks,George

  • http://twitter.com/NZN Enzion Xavier
    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      wow. what a great piece. thanks for sharing that. please chime in here. we need voices like yours.

      Best,George

  • http://www.abstract-yourself.com Lowestofthekeys

    In the immortal words of Lucas from Empire Records…”Damn the man!”

    And in the non-immortal and somewhat anxiety-ridden clarification from me…” The RIAA is the ‘man’ in this 90s cinema reference.”

    • http://www.9giantsteps.com George Howard

      agreed.

  • Steven Cravis

    Starting a Music Licensing pinterest page 
    http://pinterest.com/stevencravis/music-licensing/

  • Thezootranger

    BRAVO “JEFF”

  • Peter Lawlor / petelaw44

    Thank you Jeff, and all the team at Tunecore, for your constant support.
    Isn’t it a ‘little strange’ , how some of the financially poorest people on the planet; ie-artists, musicians , and creative ones of all kinds, bear such a high financial price for the tools needed for their trade/life…

  • Cornelius

    Good God, when will this dinosaur die?  This is the same beast that created Soundexchange, a monster that operates on the assumption that music ownership lies with labels, not artists, which is more and more outdated as many artists *license* their music to labels, rather than given ownership.  Hell yes, they’re concerned with labels more than music.

  • Cornelius

    Good God, when will this dinosaur die?  This is the same beast that created Soundexchange, a monster that operates on the assumption that music ownership lies with labels, not artists, which is more and more outdated as many artists *license* their music to labels, rather than given ownership.  Hell yes, they’re concerned with labels more than music.

  • Steve Lester

    well said, Jeff.

  • Steve Lester

    well said, Jeff.

  • Bigbear3

    It used to be thsat bat least once in an article the acromyn would be explained. I am not from here and feel I am being RIAA’d into oblivian. What exactly does it stand for?

  • Bigbear3

    It used to be thsat bat least once in an article the acromyn would be explained. I am not from here and feel I am being RIAA’d into oblivian. What exactly does it stand for?

    • Anonymous

      Sorry for the confusion! RIAA stands for: Recording Industry Association of America

  • Mario Savioni

    This seems to be the same thing that is going on in the patent world, where manufactures take over rights and the inventor loses them as implied in the proposed — “Awarding patent rights to the ‘first inventor to file’ a patent application, as opposed to the current system that awards patent rights to the first person to invent.” (See: http://www.innovation-america.org/proposed-patent-law-reform-unconstitutional) The process of submitting a patent is expensive and thus exclusionary. In the end, a measure is what happens to the originator of the work. How have they been compensated? 

  • Anonymous

    Freedom of Speech Jeff…and what you stated is entirely accurate..The RIAA has been what Most consider to be the Music mafia trying to keep a monopoly on the industry at any cost by conspiring with the Major Record Labels. They want to bring back the old days where they held a monopoly on the industry and want to beat down any form of competitition by buying off politicians to push their own agendas and laws that will return that monopoly to them and make it almost impossible for anyone else to do business. You only need to google “Riaa” to find the host of frivilous lawsuits they’ve launched against individuals in the past…Music fans yet !!!..This is hardly productive Good public relations on their part and will only serve to help people see what this organization has been responsible for its own bad reputation in the publics view.

    • Anonymous

      @vulcun1

      i could not agree more

      remember the 80’s when the RIAA actually ran a campaign, Music More Vale For Your Money
      and promoted the value of music!
      http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/01/how-the-artist-became-the-enemy-of-the-music-industry.html
      jeff

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I most Certainly do,that was a public relations nightmare..even Major Label artists were pissed and questioning their actions…Music fans spread the word very quickly when they start to get sued..I heard in one case they even even tried to sued someone who was long deceased…lol. I’m sure the RIAA however has a different view and feel they were only protecting their labels artists…while most would agree that free file sharing undoubtably hurt both labels,artists and songwriters bank accounts….I think anyone would agree that suing individual Music fans was not the proper legal corporate response on their part and greatly tarnished their image. In the end they spent more money paying their attorneys legal fees than they ever re-couped through these frivilous lawsuits anyway. I’m sure the labels and their artists were deeply impressed by that financial loss..lol.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could respond to some of the comments on the Times article but they are closed. A lot of people on there question whether being independent makes artists money. I am by no means getting rich or even making a huge amount of sales, but the money I’ve made off releasing a mere 7 songs on my own (through TuneCore and Bandcamp) has already eclipsed most of the artists I’ve worked for or known on a major label. This is with almost no promotion or help of any kind from anyone but my dear fans. I am the sort of artist the industry despises on many levels, just the fact that I’m a 35 year old woman makes me ineligible for signing and, having worked at a major label, I know better than to hand them any of my rights. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of advertising in music anyway, as much as the labels would like to think they are the only ones with the power to promote. I feel terrible for all my former colleagues who have lost their jobs but the destruction of the traditional industry is actually the best thing that has ever happened for music. 
    The RIAA certainly does not represent me or any artist at all. People with real talent will prevail regardless of any law. Sure, some of my music is probably being stolen but education is far more effective than law against that. Evidence? One of my fans paid $100 for a single song of mine on Bandcamp (where customers can choose to pay more than the minimum price if they want) and, when I thanked him, told me that he wanted to express his love of the song as well as support my next recording. That’s just one anecdote, I could fill the page with them. People want music and when they know the artist is getting the majority of the money they are more willing to open their wallets, especially when we take the time to educate them on the realities of music and money instead of living behind the veil of the old industry. I can’t express my gratitude enough to TuneCore and a few other sites for giving me the opportunity to pursue a career that I think actually matters without having to sell my soul to the “devil” to be heard. Keep fighting the good fight, Jeff!

    • Andyp5594@yahoo.com

      Craftlass, steer us to your iTunes site so we can show the majors how much a Tunecore artist can make!

    • Andyp5594@yahoo.com

      Craftlass, steer us to your iTunes site so we can show the majors how much a Tunecore artist can make!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for that request! You made me go and create a real profile on Disqus with my information, something I should have done long ago… lol. My iTunes site is 
        http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/craftlass/id342864907 and I’m on pretty much all sites TuneCore distributes too as well under CraftLass. :)

    • steven

       yeah i wanna hear your music too craftlass

    • http://www.facebook.com/hollyfigueroa Holly Figueroa O’Reilly

       I have had such a parallel experience. I have turned down major label offers and stayed as indie as possible by choice in my 15 year, 10 record career in music. The money I have made as a musician was made by working like a dog at first…performing 250 dates a year internationally and making a record a year for 4 years straight. When I had my second child, I stopped touring, but kept performing locally, making fan funded (pre order driven) records, and relying on my fan base: their word of mouth, college radio airplay, and most recently, tv/movie music directors who have found my music and paid me for licensing. The money I made from licensing one song (the fee I was paid in addition to the download and CD sales) was more than I made in total the year before. I know that my songs are being downloaded for free. Hell, someone made a Youtube fan video for a cover I did that was on a TV show that has been listened to 15,000 times…not all of those people ran over to iTunes to buy the song, but over half did. That’s 7500+ people who hadn’t heard of my music before from one song…and once they got there, they didn’t just buy the single. It is a great time to be an indie artist. People are never going to stop looking for good music. 

    • Richard Allen

      Must admit, It is great to see an individual that takes a company solely on the premise of going out of their way to protect the rights of the artiste and songwriters by them using Tunecore as their Digital Media Distribution outlet. with technology, gone are the days of being dictated to by major labels and major organisations who will always protect their own interests and that of investors. That said, there is nothing wrong with a company that puts money into anything to reap a reward, thats simply business. But it is so rare the operating premise has the interests of their artistes.

      I am myself an engineer and have been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the most amazing talent in music. But still love to work with local and new up and coming talent. I started a radio programme called Magazine that went bezerk when bands found out I would play virtually everything I received, same thing, corporates then wanted to milk the programme so I pulled the plug. I am in the throws of getting it back on air as I would interview major companies, producers, bands, anything that was informative. Hopefully even Jeff would want to talk about Tunecore on the new show.

      So onwards, with great marketing and a little noggins heads up and congrats go out whole heartedly to Jeff and the entire team of Tunecore for having the foresight, passion and drive to take artistes new music to a global audience and look after their interests. Please, Please, Please Jeff, never sell out to the corporates! We love you because your part of the solution and not part of the problem in today’s industry!

      Richard Allen

      • Anonymous

        @richard

        thank you for the kind words – I hear you on the mission statement, and I agree.
        The only way TuneCore wins is by getting artists more money, more quickly with more transparency without owning copyright.
        We do that, everyone wins!

        jeff

  • Clintonslurvey

    They are indeed STEALING as is BMI & ASCAP when they hand out ‘blanket licenses’. I’ve been played many times on radio and never once been paid for it.

  • AD

    & how about getting more quality Songs into American Films without so much LITIGATION???

  • Guest

    So tired of the FUD from both sides. At the end of the day, piracy is a legitimate issue. If the argument is that piracy is ok as long as the the entity being stolen from is an unpopular one, then no sale. 

    • StS

      That’s not the argument at all. Did you read the article?

  • Up2chast

    TMT = Too Much Truth.

  • https://housemusicchannel.net/ Membership

    This is great! I’m in the middle of doing a research paper for school and this article is covers one of my research questions. Thanks for posting this! Wow.. You went talking about the “Black Box” fund. A lot of people don’t know about that as well as how it was organized!

  • flexmaster

    nice work jeff, thx for this article!

  • Roger Meltzer

    As in most debates, there are additional sides to this argument. Labels often advance the entire costs of production, mastering, manufacture, marketing and promotion of content for the artists, writers/publishers and producers thereof. For this, they get the right to put their content up for sale by digital distributors like iTunes and Amazon.com who take 34 cents off the top from a download which retails for 99 cents. Out of the remaining 65 cents, they must pay mechanical royalties of 9.1 cents for the copyright plus a royalty of say 10 % to the artist and another 4-6% to the producers if these are not work for hire. Labels are lucky to clear 45 cents a download. That takes a ton of downloads to get out of the red. In the meantime, commercial radio stations who use recorded music to attract a listening audience so they can charge advertisers for access to it, are exempt from paying performance rights royalties for the use of those sound recordings owned by the labels, as well as exempt from royalty payments to the artists and producers of the content. Only the writers and publishers receive any remuneration, provided stations bother to log their airplay and it gets picked up on a quarterly audit by BMI, ASCAP or some affiliated PRS.
    The majors did a lot of stupid and short-sighted things to damage their standing and bottom line, and given their long history of dishonesty in dealing with creative people, are an unsympathetic lot — but it’s just too easy to make them the scapegoat for every abuse that still plagues the industry.  And most of what hurts the majors today are the same forces that cripple the growth of the indies. 

    • Oz

      Now let’s look this over.

      First off, yes, there usually are advances. But the cost of many album productions these days is a tiny fraction of what it was, particularly as super high-end studios aren’t used as a standard very much. Many artists have themselves and a few friends doing professional (for today’s standards) work. That advance might be little more than a token, or food money. 

      And yes, something like 10% is a traditional royalty paid to artists. But remember, this is AFTER the label has been paid back for ALL expenses. And the artist traditionally has had little or no say as to what the label spent, nor how effective such expenditures are. And, factually, it is quite well known that “creative accounting” resulted in massive amounts being added to the artist’s “bill”, resulting in just about nothing to many artists until they were many albums into their contract – if ever. Even a huge hit album might do little financially for the artist other than act as a bargaining chip to renegotiate.

      So out of that 99 cents, you really are unlikely to ever pay the artist at all any of that 10%, and thus, just chalk it up to the label’s take. Oh, and very often that 10% is AFTER other types of payouts, so isn’t 10% of gross sales at all – it is usually from net sales, and the very definition of “net” is left quite open (which is where the creative accounting came in).

      You note other ways in which artists are denied royalties. You’re right about plays going uncounted by performance rights organizations. One acquaintance of mine knew of literally thousands of plays of some of his library music on a particular TV show, as it was used daily in multiple spots of the show for years. It was *never* counted, despite his giving full info to his PRS. And despite the TV usage even being logged by the broadcaster. I do not see that anybody is making them a “scapegoat”. Perhaps you need to see what that word means: “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.”

      They is no “others” for whom they are suffering. Their own policies and practices (and malpractices) and futile bucking of the massive change in the real industry of music is what is doing them in, and rightfully causing them to shrink at this rapid rate. And they are hardly blamed for every “abuse that still plagues the industry”. They are blamed rightfully for their own failings. There are other abuses, not dissimilar to theirs, which one sees in the “new” industry as well, particularly from iTunes (and Apple in general is very rough in creatives).If by “what hurts the majors today are the same forces that cripple the growth of the indies” you mean illegal distribution, sure, that hurts everybody, But I haven’t heard that ascribed to the majors. In fact, I’ve heard the rather BS-ish argument that people get their music for free because they believe the artist has “made enough money” (yes, I’ve really heard that a number of times). The industry originally resisted CDs because it was possible to make perfect copies. They never much cared if you made a few cassette copies for friends, because the quality was so reduced. And with downloads, perfect copies are seconds away, and they were rightly concerned. But they try to stand in the way of progress rather than leverage it, or at least work with it. 

      In the end, it may be impossible to be a huge conglomerate music corporation and still exist. The reduced margins simply won’t support the massive overhead.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right about the advances (both advance cash and expenses), but as Oz points out, those are subject to some very creative accounting. You have to pay back every 1000th of a penny to the label before seeing anything as an artist (and few make 10%, you have to be powerful to get that sort of deal). You get no say over how much money is spent on your music or how it is spent. You have to pay them back for even the potato chips you might eat in a meeting. It’s not entirely unfair, as all that money is essentially a loan and it makes sense that you have to pay it back, it’s just that you have so little control of what and how money is spent or accounted for. Very few artists ever make that money back. At the label I was at back in 2000, 10% of artists recouped. I hear it’s even worse now. While I think that shows what a risk labels take in signing anyone it’s also indicative that they often spend very foolishly and the artist pays for all of it out of their teensy percentage. Honestly, it works for people who can’t promote or, in some cases, even create, music themselves, but it’s a hard pill to swallow for acts that find themselves with minimal support from their label other than financial. So many signed artists today find themselves solely responsible for promotion even though they are giving up lots of rights in order to have this big machine behind them.
      Labels are far from the only problem in the music industry, for sure, it’s just that they are the ones who are so vocal about this particular legislation, along with the film studios. Hence, they open themselves up to even more criticism than other parts of the business. They are the face of the entire industry to the general public, who probably have never heard of Harry Fox and think ASCAP is just initials put after a copyright notice. If labels want the public to support them maybe they should encourage their trade organization to not insult the public openly, as in the Times piece, but rather use their giant platform to educate people on their point of view in a positive manner.

    • Alexander Anywho

      Great article Tune Core and great response Roger Meltzer.

      I have been in this business for 30 years and have seen some shady things done by labels AND artist. 
      I dont blame the labels for getting rich off the backs of artist they finance because that is what they do. I also dont blame the banks for offering a client a ARM product and they foreclose because you couldnt pay the note. Read the fine print!!

      I know several artist that had major deals and screwed them up because of being terrible business people.They have now written books and are damning the business. But what they arent telling you is how they partied so much that time caught up with them and they couldnt deliver. I have seen a check written to an artist for 5 Million Dollars and the artist SCREWED it up because of drugs, alcohol and parties. Would come to shows late and give half a_s performances and the label lost money. I understand both sides because I have been there. 

      Decide what you want to do and do it. If you want a deal, even at the age of 35, 40 or 50, it can be done IF you have what a label is looking for. Labels are investment bankers. If they can make money off you, they will. But if you are a 60 year old woman coming dressed up in a Ga Ga outfit, ah ………. If you want to stay indie and make a living at it, do the math. People lie, numbers dont!

      Now go out there and make something happen. As the Ojays said: I Love MUSIC!!!!!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JEKVOEIZBM4TMM7NH2VW5QBUQ4 Clickey

        So how much did you make honest?

      • http://twitter.com/BrotherFalldown Mike McGee

        As a CPA I tell you without hesitation that “numbers” say what you want them to!   ROFLMAO

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JEKVOEIZBM4TMM7NH2VW5QBUQ4 Clickey

    All i hear on here with all of these comments.Politics and music are the biggest bullshit scams
    that i ever seen or heard.I get all of this information but i never see any money.I guess i’m one
    of the people that’s super talent and can’t get paid along with a lot of other artist.Everybody can’t
    get paid and when you know  that your music is good is when the major artist take your music and
    get paid both of you has your music posted on the same site.So i’m told all that can be done is to
    take this major artist down’which don’t make no difference because they already made a shit load
    of money.Then i think why my music is not selling is it because of the fact that the company here
    is not pushing and promoting my music they spend all of their time promoting the major artist
    and my music get shelve in the back the songs are to much alike.So how do you stop this do
    you continue to release other songs and take a chance to have the same thing happen.I ask
    Tunecore where is my money and is this all the money i’ve made since 2008.What happen to
    some of the other stores that i signed with to sell my music almost 4 years and i’m told if they
    haven’t reported there’s nothing to be done about it.What i’m saying is take care of your own
    do the right thing before talking about RIAA and everybody else.

  • Andyp5594@yahoo.com

    Hey Jeff, I am sure we have a few Tunecore lawyers out there that could maybe do some pro-bono work for you if the need be? :-) keep fighting the good fight. It’s a shame, back in 1991 riaa were the good guys. The times they are a changin!

  • Dukeandfina

    to hell with the old system!

  • Promisemarks

    Thank you for writing this blog as a singer/songwriter copyrights mean a lot to me and thus making it crucial for me to stay in the “know” specially the things that they hope you’ll miss or not pay attention too.  I’m releasing 2 new singles tomorrow and I’m excited that tunecore is who I chose to distribute my products.  In today’s music game I’m proud to say I’m an Independent Artist! 

  • Sales

    Words can not explain how much i agree with this article! It clearly shows that the RIAA are trying to be the gate keepers of the music industry. However, in some fashion along with the major labels are maintaing it by locking up the major radio stations from airing independent music alongside their music. And in order to reach the stardum that every artist seek you have to be signed or affiliated with a major label.

  • Sales

    Words can not explain how much i agree with this article! It clearly shows that the RIAA are trying to be the gate keepers of the music industry. However, in some fashion along with the major labels are maintaing it by locking up the major radio stations from airing independent music alongside their music. And in order to reach the stardum that every artist seek you have to be signed or affiliated with a major label.

  • Traejayssick
  • Prettytony

    This is malarkey we need to protect our intellectual property after all some of us spend thousands creating only to be robbed for our efforts

  • http://www.bigbeeofthewhitetree.com/ Bigbeeofthewt

    how about a label that is run like a co-op? where the artists run the label?……………I do believe that a cool hip label can be a good thing for the consumer. The consumer needs to be guided, and a label helps do that………bands and artists need a team around them for support and growth………..relationships are a key factor in growing anything, if bands/artist are all independent, I think that is limited. If labels become more geographical and look at promoting local music………kind of like the eat local food movement…..No one is an island…..I think we still need labels, in fact we need a lot more of them…..it just might be time for the artists to be in charge of the label! 

    BigBee of the Whitetree

  • http://www.bigbeeofthewhitetree.com/ Bigbeeofthewt

    how about a label that is run like a co-op? where the artists run the label?……………I do believe that a cool hip label can be a good thing for the consumer. The consumer needs to be guided, and a label helps do that………bands and artists need a team around them for support and growth………..relationships are a key factor in growing anything, if bands/artist are all independent, I think that is limited. If labels become more geographical and look at promoting local music………kind of like the eat local food movement…..No one is an island…..I think we still need labels, in fact we need a lot more of them…..it just might be time for the artists to be in charge of the label! 

    BigBee of the Whitetree

  • Subculturesly

    That is awesome. Keep it up, guys! Y’all are a beacon in the darkness that has become this industry. I started psychoagogorecords.com to defy what major labels stand for. Not surprising that I was drawn to TuneCore. Thank you for doing what you do…

  • Tyler

    The article mentions that Tuncore “artists” has generated billions on sales-but was that amount collected? No. I bet haldf that money went back into the pockets of the digitial stream music provider or “pro” agent such as BMI or ASCAP as unless your selling thousands of copies none of the agents in place to collect and distribute money are going to bother assisting anyone. and so the small change accumulates and then the total of that amount goe back into the pocket of many services in plce to supposedly colllect on your behalf.

  • Tyler

    The article mentions that Tuncore “artists” has generated billions of sales-but was that amount collected? No. I bet half that money went back into the pockets of the digitial stream music provider or “pro” agent such as BMI or ASCAP as unless your selling thousands of copies none of the agents in place to collect and distribute money are going to bother assisting anyone. and so the small change accumulates and then the total of that amount goe back into the pocket of many services in place to supposedly collect on your behalf.

  • Quamon Moneymail

    i want my money as long as i get paid it dont matter but if someone else get my checks then it does matter to me and my lawyers

  • Davey Ralph

    I contacted Amazon.co. uk and asked why people can’t download my album”Time Stealer” .Their reply was “It’s available on Amazon.com ” . Great for sales isn’t it !!!!!
    Davey Ralph

  • Dmikedale

    There are many sharks in the water, and that includes Tunecore, as bad as the RIAA may or may not be, Tunecore is not the answer either.

    • Bill Wren

      As a retired businessman and music composer. I totally disagree with 
      anonymous above and you Dmikedale. To me it’s a very simple and logical proposition,  Tunecore provides a service I pay them their fee, in return I receive a service. I have been with them for 2 or 3 years now and I have always received good service and they always perform as advertised. To me I don’t care how or why they do it,  they could have little green men running their business functions I wouldn’t give a rats ..a. Bottom line I get what I pay for.  No need for me to kiss up to Jeff or Tunecore I’m just saying it like I see it..       

           There is also a whole lot of crap emails being sent out, but when I see one from Tunecore I always take the time to check it out because it’s always outstanding and  informative and doesn’t cost a extra dime .  
      Bill Wren          

  • Enuffcrap

    Tunecore has no A & R you pay money you are an artist – everybody and their dog is an artist these days, no need for music lesson’s just get some loops and a computer and away we go. a lot of you complining about the major labels stifling music would be there if you could. Lady Ga Ga, Justin Beiber et al are terrible but then some of you indie artist are even worst. Tunecore wants to keep up this belly aching so they can make money, good bad or awful they turn no one away…

    • Anonymous

      @enuffcrap

      agreed, we let all in.

      So tell us, who gets to decide what we get access to? Who gets to the be the gatekeeper?
      Jeff

      • Thomas

         Jeff.  For one, I commend you on both your business models in the industry, and your transparency.  I feel like watching you is seeing myself in the future…. which leads me to ask 2 questions, what was the shining moment you got royally fucked by the industry that fueled you to get as privy to as much information as possible, but that’s what fuels my search for knowledge and 2).  I co-wrote an album in a band I started between 2003-2006.  I (now… and finally) have acquired both written and video proof of this.  That album went on to sell about a million copies, and get plenty of sync deals.  The problem?  I quit the band before it signed to virgin… about 6 months before actually, because the singer was a violent alcoholic.  I was never credited for my writing, nor have I ever made one penny.  They got HUGE checks (the first pub check advance was for 750k), and have already spent the money by now on weed, piece of shit walmart dvd players, and toys.  Could life be as simple as me signing up for your songwriter service and you saving my life?  Probably not, but god damn do you seem like a savior.  If for some reason you feel in anyway compelled to help, I’ll give you more than my 10% and 50 bucks.

  • FerdtheSnurd

    I am just an “old-timer,” but here’s my opinion. I first sang for a live audience Christmas Eve 1950 – age 4. I’ve been writing, recording, performing live and navigating the treacherous shoals and eddies of the music business for over 60 years. Call the RIAA what it WAS and still probably IS – a selfish, litigious, corporate front that camouflagues a waning Mafia control of the American music industry. The Mafia first gained control of the Jukebox industry. Thus, if an artist refused to let the mob “wet it’s beak,” the artist’s records never got put in the “box!” NEVER! But the “box” kept count of the number of plays an artist’s record got – which is the origin of the Top Ten List. AM Radio gave “Indies” their first real avenue into the music marketplace, but in recent years mafia/corporate influenced Federal legislation saw the radio industry sold off to a few large media conglomerates (most likely mafia controlled – they have lawyers too!). Once again, the only way new artists can reach large audiences is via a medium the Mafia currently has little control over – the Internet. Still internet-based music distributors need to develop new, unintrusive and effective “anti-piracy” tools so that perhaps as the 21st century rolls on, “artists” can truly retain full control of, and reap a “lion’s-share” of the profit from, the fruit of their creativity. Only one artist in ten-thousand reaches star status, but writing and recording music and performing it for a live audience is still a monsterous KICK and a great way to earn an “honest” living. Lastly, remember that “opinions are like ass-holes, everybody’s got one,” including me! FERD Lives!!! P.S. I have a $0.09 royalty check from Napster I STILL haven’t cashed. LMAO!!!

    • FerdtheSnurd

      P.P.S. FERD here! Here’s a link to my one and only iTunes post – in case anyone gives a damn about artists anyway. LMAO A-Gain!!!!
      http://www.tunecore.com/music/ferdthesnurd

    • http://www.facebook.com/MVG1983 Matt Gutierrez

      this is my favorite response so far. :) I’ve only been recording and performing for 5 years so I guess I’m a baby in all this.  But this article is why I have no desire to sign a label deal, as I own my own LLC.  I am interested on how the publishing side works, which is still a mystery to so many of us.  How to get your foot in the door for co-publishing opportunities etc. We’ve all seen and understood why the major labels are and always have been the problem but are still having trouble presenting viable artist movements that can combat their control and prove they’re arent the end-all-be-all.

  • Sillyrabbit

    Is that a half billion units for $250MM retail?  That’s a rough model for artists.

  • Janis Ian

    Thank you thank you thank you. 

  • Anonymous

    Is this really helping anyone? I haven’t seen any blogs with actual information on this site, just weekly rants. Yes, i pay $50 to have Tunecore distribute my music, but that is all it is.
    I have publishers, bookers, managers who are all working day in day out to push our music in the industry. I hardly rely on you for any of this. You are just a website.

    A company who’s sole purpose is putting content onto another content system is in no place to talk about the old music industry or claim to speak for artists that distribute through them.
    This is one of the services that i use, and i am not a “tunecore” artist. 
    You do not get to claim ownership of me and you do not get to use my sales, which teams of people have worked hard on, to make your company look like it was all down to you.

    As for being “sued” by RIAA. I am just going to presume that call didn’t happen because face it, they aren’t bothered.
    So thank you for the lesson in writing so called ‘edgy’ blogs to get attention, how about writing something with actual substance next time?

    And i love having the “join Tunecore” button under your signature. It really shows where your incentive lay in writing this article

    • Anonymous

      @anonymous

      First, are you an artist that uses TuneCore? If so, what is the name of your band?
      I would not want to own you if you offered it, this is what the old industry did. And you are more than welcome to choose not to use this service and assign your copyrights and revenue to a label if you can get them to sign you.
      What we have created is a choiche that did not previously existed.

      if you dont like the choiche, dont use the service.

      Second, yes, these articles do help

      Third, TuneCore is not a website, it is a service. When you choose to use it you have hired TuneCore to distribute your music into the largest music stores around the globe, assure that your music is available to buy with all the correct information next to it and then have TuneCore get all the money you are owed from the sale of your music.
      On the songwriter front, you are hiring TuneCore to go around the world and collect all the money you are owed for the use of your copyrights
      It is our job to audit the stores and chase them up to get payments of all your royalties.
      In regards to suggesting I made up the story by the RIAA – how about I bet. If I can provide a legal bill from the law firm of O’Melveny and Myers that I hired to deal with the threatened litigation and provide an email from our litigator that summarized his call with the RIAA representative, you will publicly apologize and reimburse TuneCore for the costs it incurred.
      How about it?

      jeff

      • Richard Allen

        It’s kinda simple really, objective, rational, and results speaker louder than any words that is simple talk…. Jeff, If the music industry globally was run with as many individuals with your thinking. There would be more, music, more new emerging artistes, Happier artistes, more money with less industry bureaucrats and artistes, producers, writers and all associated with a production would be paid on the dot!

        Personally, I think more of the industry should take a leaf out of Jeff’s business acumen. It’s a great philosophy, open, honest and for the individuals protection of their copyright and to GET THEIR DUES OWED.

        I have been lucky to work with some of biggest names in rock n roll and have setup so many tune core accounts for them. some are making money they never thought possible. So go figure!

        Richard

  • 33bowls

    Good on you Jeff! Thanks for writing this.

  • Bill Wren

    Very well said Jeff. I’m being taking to the cleaners by ASCAP on my radio writer and publishing royalties.  My co-writer and pardner in our publishing Co is doing much better than I,  he’s  with BMI and has 1/3 of the writers ownership. Don’t get it?????

  • Bill Madison

    HERE! HERE! It will be a fight to the finish, I’m sure! If we all stand together, we all shall persevere!

  • Brunerman

    We should all get paid if we were the creators of the music and lyrics, PERIOD!

  • Keith

    At last someone telling it how it is, but you will need to
    watch your back because they will come for you. They intend to hold on to what
    they have had for so long. It about maintaining control so that they can
    continue to steal what they have not contributed to. Michael Spoke up about it
    and soon after he was dead. They want to be able to pass this on to their
    grandchildren and to their children. You have my maximum respect for being upfront
    and telling it like it is. 

  • Brosef007

    Don’t you guys make enough money with all the shit that’s released and NOT sold already? I can’t stand all the mass ads everywhere anymore either..

    • Anonymous

      @brosef007

      what does that have to do with artists getting all their royalties and having a voice that is not the RIAA representing them?
      (on a side note, clear your cookies in browser and banner ads will stop showing up)
      As every band sells nothing when they first start, who exactly are you calling “shit”?
      Jeff

  • Mosesavalon1

    <<>>

    My god Jeff, have you lost it on this one. How in the world would SOPA stop TuneCore? The Bill applies ONLY to foreign sites.

    Read the Bill more carefully. http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/112%20HR%203261.pdf

    • Anonymous

      @Mosesavalon1

      Under the original SOPA and PIPA bills, If TuneCore is found to have distributed a track that “infringed” into a music service it could be targeted
      As an example, we have TuneCore Canada and are about to open a second TuneCore domain outside of the US.
      This is on top of the US based domain/site

      There are other nuances to this as well.

      Jeff

      • Mosesavalon1

        You need a new lawyer, if your lawyer told you that. The defintion of “rouge site” in SOPA would not aply to you even if tou were distrbuting ONLY infinging works. You aree a US based website. Read the Bill again. And I have no idead what you mean by “original SOPA Bill.” There was only one version being debated.

        • Anonymous

          @mosesavalon1

          I appreciate your thoughts/input, but simply disagree with your interpretation.
          In addition, as per my last reply – there is also TuneCore Canada and second non-US based TuneCore domain starting shortly
          In regards to the “original Sops” bill – there was a bill introduced called SOPA. There were amendments and modifications suggested to this bill. Therefore, when I talk about SOPA, I am talking about the original bill prior to any suggested modifications to it.
          It is moot to me that they modified bill did not make it to the floor. What is important is that the original version of the bill prior to any suggested changes was not well written legislation that would have hurt musicians, artists and the new emerging industry.
          The below is a cut and paste from an email I received from the Deputy Director of Future Of Music that lays some things out more clearly
          Note this point as well: “in the end, it’s still American companies burdened with de-listing, cutting off, and hiding all the sites they receive orders for.”
          ——————————

          A couple things to keep in mind…

          SOPA had some changes made during markup. PIPA was never “fixed” in any way, shape or form.
          PROTECT-IP:
          http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.968:

          SOPA managers amendment:

          http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/HR%203261%20Managers%20Amendment.pdf

          Some terrible things were removed from SOPA. But not nearly enough…
          Here’s my last analysis, before it was pulled:

          1. definition of site “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property” narrowed:

          One of the biggest overreaches of SOPA was its inclusion in the list of bad guys anyone who took “active steps” to “avoid confirmation of a high probability” that there was infringement on the site. This is the language that led to the (then-correct) assessments that SOPA could apply to nearly any site that allowed comments or link posting.

          Another way in which the definition of the “bad guys” has been narrowed is that, for both the private action and the attorney general parts, “facilitating” or “enabling or facilitating” are taken out. This prevents some of the “infringement-at-two removes” problems that
          old SOPA caused. It should be noted, though, that this doesn’t mean “indirect” infringers aren’t caught up in the net. Existing law already means that user-generated content sites can fall within even these narrower definitions; it’s just not quite as broad.

          Also worth noting: PIPA retains the “enable or facilitate” language—in this aspect, it’s worse than new SOPA.

          2. Removal of “notice-and-defund” mechanism

          Old SOPA let private rightsholders get a site defunded with just a notice and without going to court. New SOPA has the private action parallel the Attorney General provision a little more, meaning that private actors will have to file suit before getting those court orders. It’s still granting exciting new powers to private litigants to get injunctions against third parties who aren’t actually acting in concert with the alleged infringer, though.

          3. Fewer domestic sites included

          • Mosesavalon1

            Okay. I see your point now. Your entier artilce and its concerns are for the “original SOPA” which no longer exists. Okay. How about the one that is current? Do you still feel that TuneCore is in its sites even though “new SOPA” only aplys to foreign sites and Rouge sites, neither of which would aply to TuneCore (even TuneCore Canada, as the nexus is in the US)??

    • Anonymous

      @Mosesavalon1

      Under the original SOPA and PIPA bills, If TuneCore is found to have distributed a track that “infringed” into a music service it could be targeted
      As an example, we have TuneCore Canada and are about to open a second TuneCore domain outside of the US.
      This is on top of the US based domain/site

      There are other nuances to this as well.

      Jeff

  • Novakayn

    Go Tunecore!

  • Brian Shell

    Great article and comments Jeff… as an eBook author who just released my full length music CD “Renegade Recordings” via TuneCore and joined BMI as a writer and your SongWriter Service too, I’ve read a lot of rants on your blogs about piracy… so what if you started offering DRM “digital rights management” just like eBooks?

    Essentially, when I self-publish an eBook via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, they ask me if I want DRM… and what that does is allow people to share my work for about 2 weeks… at which point, the borrowed source material becomes digitally scrambled if they didn’t pay for it.

    Myself, I believe its (piracy) is a blessing and a curse…. the latter, because you don’t get paid for a download of your song… the former, because people are listening and perhaps spreading word of mouth for you… so somewhere down the line, the artist makes money.  The example I quote often is the Grateful Dead allowing recordings… and then making it up on merchandising and lots of fans coming to shows because their friends turned them onto their music while “bonding.”

    Anyways, just some food for thought as this new digital age puts the power of distribution into the hands of the artist… whose job then becomes to market just as creatively as they were when they made the music/wrote the book in the first place.

    Best regards,
    Brian Shell
    http://www.PassionHero.com
    Be a Passion Hero… at times, use words.

  • Anton

    Jeff, Tunecore, you rule. Period. Thank you!

  • Anton

    Jeff, Tunecore, you rule. Period. Thank you!