An Independent Artist’s Take on Spotify

Editor’s Note: We’ve been following Ron Pope’s career for a while.  A TuneCore Artist since 2008, he left his major label to work independently and his success has grown by leaps and bounds.  There’s been a lot of talk lately about Spotify and if it’s helping or hurting artists, and Pope took to the Huffington Post and weighed in on the discussion, talking about how it’s been an invaluable support in his career growth.  We’ve posted the piece below…

My name is Ron Pope. I’m an independent musician, producer, songwriter, and label owner. I read the recent post on the Guardian ‘Plugged In’ which questioned why no independent artists are standing up and cheering for Spotify. It seemed as if they were beseeching someone like me to respond.

I want to be clear that no one from Spotify has asked me to write this article and I’m not being paid for sharing my opinion. In the past, I’ve heard many people complain that no one wants to talk numbers when it comes to streaming revenue; well, here are mine. My music was added to Spotify in September of 2010; through the most recent report, which runs through November 2013, I’ve had over 57 million plays and they’ve paid me out $334,636 with over $200,000 of that coming in 2013. I’m getting over a million streams in Sweden alone most months. As a result of this, I was offered a very respectable guarantee to play at the Bråvalla festival there last summer, where singalongs like this happened during every song:

I have an extensive catalog; Spotify allows fans to take in all of my music so that they can become a fan of me as an artist, rather than directing them to one particular single. That’s why my Swedish fans are able to sing along to songs that are eight years old the same way they sing along to songs that are eight months old. With Spotify, it’s not about a single; the fans can pour over my entire catalog and follow my journey from my first album all the way through to today.

When I played in Norway in early 2012, I sold around 100 tickets; since then, my music has exploded on Spotify there. My upcoming show sold out at 450 tickets more than three months in advance. I’m seeing tangible effects from Spotify every day in my career. I can now sell hundreds of tickets in cities I’d never heard of just a few years ago. Last year, in countries where Spotify is popular, such as Norway and Sweden, I made eight times more per capital than I did in the United States. My three top countries in earnings for 2013 were the US, where there are about 317 million people, Sweden, where there are about 10 million people, and then Norway, where there are about five million people. Almost no one in Sweden and Norway are buying music; more than 97% of the revenue I’m generating in those countries comes from streaming.

I’m not going to argue about whether or not streaming cannibalizes sales; of course it does, and anyone who tries to convince you differently is selling snake oil and magic beans. Regardless of that fact, what I’m seeing is a marked increase in revenue because so much of my music is now being consumed by so many people. I’d argue that many of these people wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to listen to me in the first place if they didn’t have the option to check me out on Spotify without any initial monetary commitment. Until a few years ago, I was deriving 95% of my income from selling digital singles; if there’s anyone who should be afraid of streaming, it’s me. Instead, I’m watching my fanbase grow exponentially as my fans utilize social networking and streaming sites like Spotify to create an honest to goodness grassroots movement. These fans are consuming my entire catalog rather than one specific single.

At this point, standing at the gates of Spotify with an angry lynch mob waving pitchforks and torches is like people who threw up their hands eight years ago bemoaning the death of the CD. At this juncture in history, the music industry is like the Wild West; we’re all trying to figure out how to exist in a volatile new place that is constantly changing. Artists, label owners, producers, all of us have to look forward, not backward, and try to learn how to exist in a streaming world. I don’t know that Spotify will be the savior of the music industry and bring back the boom time 90’s bonanza that this business once enjoyed, but it has certainly worked wonders for my career. I felt it was only right for me to stand up and say so.

Follow Ron Pope on Twitter:

#TCVideoFridays – February 28th 2014

SXSW is just around the corner and 1/3 of the artists performing have distributed music through TuneCore!

Today’s video round-up features music videos from TuneCore Artists headed to Austin…

Starlight Girls, “7×3”

Opus Orange, “The Next World”

Papanegro, “No lo dudes”

Landlady, “Above My Ground”

G-Side, “Gettin It”

 Boyfrndz, “Moving Parts”

Amy Cook, “Hotel Lights”

Plastic Visions, “Kamikaze”

You Me & Apollo, “We Got a Roof”

Tei Shi, M&Ms

Do you have a video of a song you distributed through TuneCore?  Send a link to

Share Your SXSW Plans & Tips – Get Featured

Here’s an interesting fact:  1/3 of artists playing at SXSW have distributed music through TuneCore.

…and we think the world should know about it!

Are you a TuneCore Artist performing at SXSW?  Awesome.   We want to hear about your plans for Austin so we can feature you on our website and social channels during SXSW.  When are your shows?  What are you doing to get ready?

Here’s a tip from indie rockers Wiretree (pictured above):

“Bring only the necessities to your gig; make it as efficient as possible. The less gear, the less stress, and it will result in a better performance.”

So head on over here, fill out some info, attach an artist photo, and we’ll be good to go.

By the way, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@TuneCore) and ‘like’ us on Facebook so you can stay up to date with our SXSW plans…


New Music Tuesday: Feb. 25, 2014

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?


Curtain Call
Steed Lord




Flex Reality




Religion & My Ex
Rust Belt Lights


Another Generation of Slaves
Greg Ashley


Let’s Part in Style


Canon Logic


Mirrors & Medicine


I Stand Before Almighty God Alone: A People & Songs Simple Collection
Jennie Lee Riddle, Travis Ryan & Brandon Michael Collins


Another Long Night Out
Brian Culbertson

#TCVideoFridays – February 21st 2014

Start the weekend off right with some TuneCore Artists!

Kiven, “Hope & Smoke”

Hurray for the Riff Raff, “Look Out Mama”

The Jungle Giants, “I Am What You Want Me to Be”

Kabul Dreams, “Shahab”

Mann, “Sin Aliento”

Katie Herzig, “The Waking Sleep”

Mree, “Lift Me Up”

The Classic Crime, “What I’d Give Up”

Cinco Doce, “Mueve La Cintura”

Ariel Abshire, “No Great Pretender”

Do you have a video of a song you 
distributed through TuneCore
? Tag us on Twitter (@TuneCore) and use the hashtag #TCVideoFridays with a link to your video.

10 Reasons to Choose TuneCore Music Publishing Administration

You put a lot of work into writing songs.  And because these compositions form the foundation of your career, you want to make sure they’re being treated properly.  A Publishing Administrator will represent your compositions and make sure you get all of the royalties owed to you from the use of your music around the world.  By getting a publishing deal with TuneCore, you’ll get a top notch team on your side, fighting on your behalf and giving you opportunities to maximize your songwriter royalty collection.

Here’s how we’ll do it…

1. We collect all of your songwriter royalties from all over the world.

When your compositions are downloaded, streamed and used in other ways around the world, you generate worldwide royalties.  And just because your song was streamed by a fan in Estonia doesn’t mean you shouldn’t receive each penny you’re owed.  We’ll register your compositions with the societies and digital stores in over 60 countries and collect royalties for all revenue types relating to your compositions.

2. It’s easy as pie.

Royalty collection shouldn’t cause headaches.  It’s an easy online sign-up process to get started working with TuneCore for publishing.  We’ve also built the system so you can add as many compositions as you’d like, as often as you’d like, through your account. Plus, you can check on the registration status of your compositions and submit multiple new splits at the same time, once again, all through your TuneCore account.

3. A low price and fair terms.

Songwriters deserve a fair deal when it comes to music publishing, no question about that.  With our publishing service, songwriters pay a one-time setup fee of only $75. You can add compositions at any point, at no extra cost.  Also important to note, we charge a low commission of only 10% of the royalties we collect for you (or 20% of secured licensing placements pitched by our Creative team).

Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a multi-year agreement.  We know things change, and we’ve built our agreement to be year-to-year.

4. Your compositions, your rights.

You wrote the music, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have all of your rights.  If you’re a TuneCore Music Publishing customer, you’ll maintain 100% ownerships of your copyrights.

5. We’ve got proof you’re owed songwriter royalties.

If you work with TuneCore for both publishing and distribution, you’ve got a big advantage: a built-in audit trail.  Because we can see exactly how many times your music was downloaded and streamed, and exactly where these uses occurred, our Publishing Administration team knows exactly how much you’re owed, and they can prove it to the entities around the world who have your songwriter royalties.  There’s no fooling us.

6. Maximize your earnings from your music.

One more reason to partner with TuneCore for both distribution and publishing: all of your distribution sales revenue and publishing royalty information will go into one place, your TuneCore account, making it easier to manage your business.  And don’t forget, when you distribute your music so fans can download and stream it around the world, you’re generating more publishing royalties, which means you’re maximizing your earning potential.

7. Be part of the Sync & Master Licensing Database.

Synchronization Licensing can be an incredibly lucrative revenue stream for a songwriter.  Because of this, we want to give all TuneCore songwriters the opportunity to have their compositions considered for use in film, TV, commercials and more.  We’ve created the Sync & Master Licensing Database, available exclusively to Music Supervisors so they can search for music for their projects.  Our in-house licensing and creative team also actively pitches compositions to industry tastemakers to get your music more exposure.  If a Music Supervisor wants to use your music, our Creative team will negotiate all rights and fees on your behalf to make sure your composition is licensed legally, and at the most favorable terms.  We’ve got your back.

8. Make money from your music on YouTube.

You earn money every time people use your music in their YouTube videos and people watch videos of your music on your own YouTube channel.  And if you’re a TuneCore Music Publishing customer, we’ll get you the royalties your music generates.  That’s because a YouTube video is a type of synchronization use, and that’s covered in a TuneCore publishing deal.

We’ve partnered with INDMUSIC, YouTube’s largest independent music network and a YouTube Certified network, to help songwriters earn the most money from their YouTube views.  We offer the highest artist payout, maximize your royalty collection by administering both the composition and sound recording rights, and more.

9. We work with Performing Rights Organizations, no conflict here.

Songwriters often ask us if being affiliated with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) causes a conflict with our publishing service.  The answer? Nope! It’s important to have both a PRO and a Publishing Administrator working on your behalf.  We work together with SESAC, ASCAP, BMI, etc. to get you all of the songwriter royalties you’re owed.

10. We’ve got experience on our side.

You want a publishing administration you can trust.  One that knows how the industry works, and how to make sure you get all that you’re owed.  Our team has over 100 years of combined experience representing and servicing songwriters’ compositions worldwide.  If you work with us, you can be sure we’re doing all we can to fight on your behalf.

Lots of information to digest?  We agree.  When you’re ready, take a look at our site to learn more about how we support songwriters, and reach out to us for more info.