How to Not Get Blocked by Stores for Formatting Errors

By Jacqueline Rosokoff, Editor

The best part about distributing your music is seeing it go live in the digital stores, right? So there’s nothing worse than completing distribution, only to find that the stores didn’t accept your music because of some text formatting issues.

To make this process go smoothly and avoid distribution hiccups, we’ve put together some requirements to follow when it comes to formatting your artist name, release title, and track titles. Though some may seem like a drag, these requirements exist to help your music get to the stores as quickly as possible.  Smooth and easy distribution? NOT such a drag.

Let’s get started.

To Each His Own (Line)
If you’re distributing a track (be it on an album, or a single or ringtone) and that track has multiple artists on it, it’s crucial that you enter each artist on a SEPARATE line next to each track.

In the box labeled “Artist” make sure you only write the primary artist name, not “Artist name (featuring Artist name).”  To add more artists to that track, click Add Multiple Artists. Then you can add featuring artists or additional primary artists.

 

 

Once you add all the artists on the track, make sure to check the “Preview of Title” box, which is there to show you how your image will appear in stores.

Keep It Simple
It’s really important to keep the artist name as simple as possible.

I’m in a family band. I’m also a bass player.  While I think this is great, the stores don’t want this included in my artist information.  So if I put my name as “Jacqueline R (Bass Player)” or “Jacqueline R (of Doctor Uke & Daughters),” there’s a good chance my music won’t be accepted by the digital stores.

It’s the same deal when it comes to track titles. Just include the title. No need to add producer or composer in there—the stores won’t accept that information.   Or if you’re putting out a single that will be on an upcoming album, don’t write that in the track title!

It’s possible that releases with incorrect formatting will go live in stores, but they may be removed by the store at a later date.

Remember, adding information beyond your artist name, album title, or track title may cause a distribution hold up.

Let’s Talk Caps.  
The TuneCore system auto-corrects album titles, track titles, and artist names, as stores often don’t accept ALL CAPS or creative capitalization.

Examples of ‘creative capitalization’ the stores won’t dig:

  • “FrIeNdS FoReVeR”
  • FRIENDS FOREVER

If your artist or track name has some unconventional capitalization that the TuneCore system won’t allow, you can contact our TuneCore support team BEFORE you distribute, and we can turn off the auto-correct setting for you.  BUT, just keep in mind, even if we do adjust the setting for you, we can’t guarantee that stores will accept your formatting.

Run For Cover
If you want to distribute a cover song, and you have taken care of securing the necessary permissions or licenses, there are requirements for how you need to enter in the track title.

You may want to give credit to the artist who originally performed the song in the song title, but that’s not gonna fly with the stores.

Here’s what I mean:

DON’T do this:
“Hungry Heart (Cover of Bruce Springsteen)”
“Hungry Heart (Originally Performed by Bruce Springsteen).”

DO this:
“Hungry Heart”

Remember, just keep it simple!

Did You Hit SpellCheck?
One final (and REALLY important) note: Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!

The single wasn’t supposed to be called “A Song Fr You?” Catch that mistake before it reaches stores!

If you stumble at all while entering your release information during the distribution process, check out our help section, or let us know so we can help you BEFORE you click distribute.  (We can’t guarantee stores will accept changes following initial distribution.)

 [Editor’s note: Now that you know all about proper formatting, go ahead and sell your music online.]

  • http://twitter.com/S_BLING_records rahsaan benjamin

    we got beats at s bling records http://soundcloud.com/sblingrecords

  • terri

    Great and common sense info. Thanx for the article.

  • magictool

    fuck off music buissness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Leon russell

    I’ve followed the protocol and shrunk my track to the required format but when I press upload nothing happens.i was able to send you my track via email!

  • Mda restauracion

    I sent the new artwork, but nothing happens, what should i do?

  • Sean Leary

    My issue is that Tunecore won’t let me put up my song until I take out
    the producer credit from the track title, but a producer credit is a
    requirement of my Unlimited license agreement for the beat that I
    purchased and recorded a song over it. So I don’t know what to do if I
    can’t put “Prod. by ___” anywhere. Help

    • tunecore

      Hi Sean,
      Due to the store policies, (iTunes included) producer credits cannot be written on the tracks or album titles and unfortunately stores do not have a method of displaying producer credits.

      Please feel free to reach out to our artist support team if you have more questions about this: http://help.tunecore.com/app/ask

      • Sean Leary

        Thanks. I ended up contacting the producer, and they said it’s fine if I don’t credit them on iTunes since I credited them on YouTube and SoundCloud already. Thanks again for the quick response

  • Marcel Pieraerts

    Will my “release” release if I only have the main artist and no featured artist?

    • tunecore

      Hi Marcel,

      Yup, you can distribute a release that only has a primary artist and no featured artist!

  • SFD

    Can I pay Tunecore to do a “release” check for such issues?

    • tunecore

      We have a content review team that looks at releases and reaches out to customers if the releases aren’t up to spec!

      • SFD

        THANKS A MILLION ON THE ANSWER-TUNECORE IS THE NEW Ahmet Ertegün-

  • Almark

    Also another thing they really hate is when you outside chars, such as -ATD- they finally let me in on my last album but it took about 2 months. But this was for Distrokid.

  • Mbah Marshal

    Hey. i. am. an. Artist. with. Tunecore. On. Youtube/mbah. Marshal, you. gonna. see. War. music. Video. and. Inamilan. Music. Video, and. What. The. Police. want. and. Onenightstand. Music. and. more by. Mbah. Marshal. Watch. and. Share

  • DETHWICH

    Thanks for the info. I’m looking forward to uploading my album / tracks with no formatting problems. One of my songs is titled: Cash$Money – would THAT be an example of a title that would have problems with regard to stores accepting the formatting?

  • Keith

    I have featured artist that has “&” in their artist name.Tunecore emailed me about featured artist errors and I’m pretty sure the “&” is why I’m having the issues. My first album with tunecore allowed the feature credit for this particular artist but I’m guessing things have changed? please help thanks

  • jclaude66

    Is it okay for me to use Chinese/Japanese letters if I use them for design purposes?

    • tunecore

      Hi Jclaude –

      Our apologies, it looks like this never got responded to! We hope you’ve gone ahead and worked everything out, but yes, you should be fine as long as the symbols are not used in track or release titles.

  • http://montanajose.com/ Montana Jose

    I wish this was a warning posted at the top of the upload songs page. Thanks

    • tunecore

      Hey Montana,

      Hope everything is going OK with your release. Thanks for your input, it really is valuable to us. We’re always looking for ways to make this info readily available to artists, and your suggestion is a good one!

  • Robb

    Hey great info.
    I am releasing a single. Do I include in the ‘album section’ the name of the album or is this a no no? What about the genre information etc? Can I put all relevant information into the relevant allocated spaces?

    • tunecore

      Hey Robb –

      You’ll want to make sure you’re selecting “Add a New Single” – that way when you begin to create it, you’ll enter the “Song Title” instead of the “Album Title”. You’ll be able to select genres, a language, featured artists (if applicable) and a release date. See the screen shot attached.

      Hope that helps! If you’re having any issues releasing your single or have any other questions, feel free to hit up our Artist Support Team – they’re experts! http://help.tunecore.com/app/ask

  • Patricia Hammond

    This is not helpful to those who do classical music. Totally different formatting concerns when dealing with composers, pianists, singers, song titles, operas from which the songs came…I think I chose the wrong platform to make my music available.