May News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

You can finally put away your winter coat and grab your shades, because summer is upon us and a lot of exciting things are going on with our digital store partners.

  • Rhapsody launches virtual reality streaming of exclusive live performances.
  • Spotify updates their subscription plan to compete with Apple Music and Google Play.
  • Guvera launches 3.0, making their app an immersive music and entertainment hub for users around the world.
  • Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book sets new records, Apple Music’s exclusivity reigns supreme.

Keep Reading!

Rhapsody VR changes the game for live concert streaming


Rhapsody just took a huge leap into the world of virtual reality with their new streaming service, Rhapsody VR. The service is the first of its kind, designed specifically for music and concentrating on exclusive, 360º coverage of live concerts.

While other streaming services are offering similar live concertrhapsody928 footage on their platforms, Rhapsody VR is unique in its interactive 360º coverage. Shot onstage, right beside the performers, the viewer can choose their own concert experience. And while the service is most compatible with Google Cardboard viewers, you can also watch on iOS or Android devices directly through the Rhapsody VR app. You can even sample the VR service on YouTube with TuneCore artist Talib Kweli’s “Get By”.

Rhapsody is excited about the future of VR, and expects that it will become increasingly popular in the music scene in years to come. “Music lovers around the world can experience a live concert for free from anywhere — the comfort of their home, their local watering hole, or wherever they have a cellular or WiFi connection,” Rhapsody shared in a statement from May 19th. “Musicians can share live performances with more fans… expanding their base of listeners and sharing more music with the world.”

With Rhapsody’s plan to release new content monthly, it will be exciting to see how VR influences the concert-going experience in the future.

Spotify goes head-to-head with Apple Music and Google Play with new family pricing model


Spotify has decided to give Apple Music and Google Play a run for their money when they announced their new Family Subscription Plan on May 23rd.

spotify300The pricing models for all three services are now identical, with individual accounts priced at $9.99/mo. and $14.99/mo. for up to six users. This is a big change from Spotify’s old pricing model, which could cost up to $29.99 for five users.

In the wake of millions of users subscribing to Apple Music and TiDAL for their exclusive content, matching the pricing models of these streaming services will be crucial to Spotify’s success.

The new family plan covers up to six users across the world, and existing accounts will remain intact and separate, keeping user content personal. Spotify is partnering this deal with an individual new-customer offer of $9.99 for 3 months of premium service.

It’s already looking like the new pricing will entice some fresh subscribers, and more subscribers may result in a higher per stream payout for independent artists.

Guvera launches their new platform, providing a comprehensive music experience for their users.


Guvera’s commitment has always been to connect brands and consumers through music and entertainment, and they took this mission one step further this month by introducing Guvera 3.0.

The re-launch of their service is marketed as a “new immersive music and entertainment platform” where brands can connect with consumers through Music Channels and Guvera’s new Social features.

The streaming service offers genre and mood-specific channels, as guvera1well as an opportunity for brands to offer exclusive content on their own channels. Channels can feature customized content including video, photos, blog content, and even competitions hosted by the brands themselves.

Guvera Social will offer brands an opportunity to connect with consumers through targeted updates, exclusive offers, and content sharing. With this service, brands can even make music recommendations to their consumers.

In their May 14th announcement, Guvera Head of Product, Robb Snell, is quoted, “…it’s all about discovery; discovery of a brand’s music recommendations, products and services all presented by a range of diverse content. Our Channels shine a spotlight on the underlying culture that drives artists and delivers a more immersive entertainment experience for our listeners to engage with the brands they love, when and how they want to.”

Chance the Rapper’s new album proves that Apple Music exclusivity is working for the store.


Chance the Rapper made history this month by releasing the first album to score a top 10 debut charting based solely on streaming.

apple-musicColoring Book has already collected over 57.3 million streams since its May 13th release date, ranking it #8 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Chance also made an impact on the Billboard Hot 100, with “No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)” coming in at #86 and “Blessings” taking home #93 on the charts.

After Drake’s resounding success with his Apple Music-exclusive release of Views in April, Coloring Book is proving to be another huge win for the store. Apple Music has brought in over 2 million subscribers since February, undoubtedly related to the collective success of Views and Coloring Book. And while Coloring Book was made available on Spotify, Rhapsody, Deezer, TiDAL, and Google Play as of May 27th, the two-week exclusive was a big success for Apple Music.

TiDAL and Apple Music have both used exclusive streaming content to give their stores an edge, but the Billboard success of Coloring Book is a victory on the side of Apple Music.

SOUND BYTES

New Music Friday: May 27, 2016

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?

darkhorse
Dark Horse (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Anne Nikitin

Soundtrack

devonterrell
Live and Learn
Devvon Terrell

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap

joycewrice
Stay Around
Joyce Wrice

R&B/Soul

matthewv
No Bad News
Matthew V

R&B/Soul, Pop

kreeharrison
Dead Man’s House
Kree Harrison

Country

pegboard
Superstar (feat.Krewella)
Pegboard Nerds & NGHTMRE

Dance, Electronic

avgjoes
Ice Cold Summer
Various Artists

Country

astroidb
Fallback
Astroid Boys

Hip Hop/Rap, Heavy Metal

sauce walka
Holy Sauce
Sauce Walka

Hip Hop/Rap

eshonburg
The Passover
Eshon Burgundy

Hip Hop/Rap, Christian/Gospel

cassino
Bottlenecker
Cassino

Alternative

jayydee
Reality
Jayydee & Nick Kandler

Electronic

May Songwriter News

By Stefanie Flamm

As the days get longer and we gear up for summer, there’s some exciting news happening in the music publishing industry:

  • A new deal could mean improved songwriter royalty distribution from DJ remixes and mashups.
  • ASCAP stands by their songwriters, all the way to Capitol Hill.
  • MediaNet works with SOCAN to provide faster and more reliable methods of royalty distribution.

It’s an exciting time to be a songwriter.

A new deal will allow publishers and songwriters to profit from DJ remixes.


In an exciting new partnership between The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and digital distributor Dubset Media Holdings, songwriters and publishers can now collect from DJ mixes and remixes of their original content. Through this agreement, NMPA members can opt-in to dictate the terms and conditions of using their music in DJ mixes, in addition to receiving derivative royalties for the use of their music.

Dubset’s MixBANK is the first fully cleared distribution platform for remix content, using pre-negotiated licenses to provide equal distribution rights for DJs, songwriters, and publishers alike. Through MixBANK, Dubset can search a remix or mashup for “derivative content,” determine the appropriate royalty owed to the copyright owner, and relay this information to streaming stores like Apple Music.

This is an enormous step forward in the name of songwriter advocacy, and will be a huge benefit to songwriters as more DJs distribute to streaming markets. It’s especially beneficial to independent artists because the deal is focused on collecting for individual songwriters and small, independent publishers. Billboard writes, “Making participation in this new sub-economy available to individual songwriters and smaller publishers is a noteworthy advance, especially within the digital music economy, which so often seems to reward the largest of players.”

One more step in the right direction towards fair royalties for songwriters.

Songwriters urge Congress to reform music licensing at ASCAP’s “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.


May 18th was a big day for US songwriters, as they met with elected officials on Capitol Hill for ASCAP’s “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day.

Some of the country’s top songwriters, including Desmond Child (co-writer of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”) and MoZella (co-writer of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”), spent the day lobbying for updates on licensing laws and regulations. With WWII-era licensing regulations still in place, both ASCAP and their songwriters are striving for a major update that will incorporate the ever-growing streaming population.

“The music business is among the toughest and most competitive industries, and our songwriters and composers should not have to accept below-market rates for their work,” said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

Two days before ASCAP’s Capitol Hill takeover, they released a video highlighting the advancements that the world has made since these songwriter regulations were enacted in 1941. While calling to attention that these laws were imposed before Hawaii and Alaska were part of the United States, the featured songwriters note that streaming companies exploit the outdated laws and urge for a total overhaul of the archaic music licensing legislation.

75 years seems like long enough to wait for licensing reform, but it looks like changes are on the horizon.

MediaNet teams up with SOCAN to improve royalty distribution for songwriters.


Canadian-based collection society SOCAN recently acquired MediaNet, a music tech provider boasting a catalogue of more than 51 million tracks. In a May 12th press release, MediaNet announced, “[we] will provide SOCAN with authoritative information pertaining to master rights (sound recordings), and will augment already strong matching capabilities for all kinds of performances and reproductions of music on radio, digital, live, satellite, film and TV and other delivery of music to public audiences.”

This acquisition now brings SOCAN to the forefront of collection societies for digital matching. It means enhanced royalty reporting for SOCAN’s four-million members, as well as increased profits from services like YouTube, SoundScan, and Facebook. It is also expected to increase the rate of digital match-rates, which should result in faster royalty payment speeds.

Faster, more accurate royalty reporting means less stress and more time for songwriting!

With all of this great songwriter advocacy coming to fruition, now’s the perfect time to be a part of our Music Publishing Administration.

SOUND BYTES

Wednesday Video Diversion: May 25, 2016

Happy May 25th! Did you know that the two musical icons Lauryn Hill and Paul Weller share this date as a birthday? Well, in their honor, we invite you to get completely lost in the mid-week afternoon haze that has no doubt taken over by now and enjoy these awesome music videos:

Ayo Jay, “Your Number (feat. Fetty Wap)”


Jessta James, “Introducing”


Ancient Cities, “Juice”


Adley Stump, “Don’t Wanna Love Him”


Fly My Pretties, “Turnaround”


Helly Luv, “Revolution”


Christian O, “Better Than You”


Cimorelli, “I’m A Mess”


Sincere Show, “Came Up On A Plug (feat. O.T. Genasis & Papi Chuloh)”


Keep Up, “Fear”

4 Pro Tips to Find Music Supervisors and Get Your Foot in the Door (That Actually Work)

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Paul Loeb and was originally featured on the Sonicbids Blog. Paul is a producer and founder/CEO of both DropTrack and No Ego Records.]

Now, more than ever, songwriters and producers hunger for visual-media placements as opportunities for sync licensing surge and traditional record sales from CDs and downloads sag. Busy music supervisors hold the keys to placements in ads, films, TV, and video games, but how do you find them and get your foot in the door?

Of course, once you’ve introduced yourself, you’ve got to create great songs tailored to individual projects with high production values. Hundreds of articles tell how to do that. But trying to sell your music cold without having met or corresponded with music supervisors is likely to fail. If you’re not affiliated with a song plugger, licensing firm, or music library – and don’t want to be – outreach to individual supervisors can work. Still, to even get a listen, you’ve got to meet as many music supervisors as possible and make first impressions count.

I’ve helped secure over 20 sync placements on MTV, Comedy Central, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, and elsewhere through my company, DropTrack. Our personalizable music marketing platform connects artists with music supervisors, label reps, DJs, and radio pros. To maximize placement opportunities, I advise musicians who use DropTrack – as well as those who don’t – to apply the following techniques.

1. Study up

Good old Google is a fine place to start researching music supervisors and choose your targets. SongwriterUniverse has an excellent directory of them, and Tunefind shows what music many are interested in. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a great tool for identifying who works on TV series and films. You can even get a free 30-day trial of IMDB Pro, where you can find contact information. The National Association of Record Industry Professionals is another resource. Go to NARIP.com, search with keywords “music supervisors,” and read articles telling who they are and how best to approach them.

Also, search phrases like “music supervisors looking for music.” Once you know names, Google them for more information. Watch their ads, shows, and films. Get familiar with them. Be fluent in how music is being used, know the common practices in the field, and embed this knowledge into all the strategies discussed below.

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t submit songs to music supervisors who’ve never worked in your genre. Personalization leads to monetization.

2. Get on LinkedIn

Everyone on LinkedIn is looking for the same thing: professional advancement. Pitching music through Twitter and Facebook is done to death. Music supervisors don’t have time for the former and use the latter for friends, family, and fun – that’s not where they’re looking for the perfect hook for their ad. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is ideal for forming business relationships. It’s expected to request connections with people you don’t know.

But do it right. Make sure your profile is up to date and describes your skills and experience. When you invite someone to connect, delete the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message, and instead enter a personal note like, “Hi Scott, I’m a big fan of your work on Entourage. I’d like to see if you’re looking for music for upcoming projects. I run an independent record label focusing on dance/electronic music, and I’d love to send you some tunes.”

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t connect until you’ve completed your profile with a good photo and a clear description of what you do. Crush the first impression.

 

3. Attend trade shows and conferences

Passes can be pricey, but conferences are worth it if you stay in the target market for your genre. Ones worth attending include (but aren’t limited to):

  • SF Music Tech Summit (San Francisco)
  • Billboard/THR Film and TV Music Conference (Los Angeles)
  • Sync Summit (Los Angeles, New York, London)
  • ASCAP EXPO (Los Angeles)
  • MUSEXPO (Los Angeles)
  • MIDEM (Cannes)
  • Winter Music Conference (Miami Beach)
  • EDMBiz Conference and Expo (Las Vegas)
  • Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam)

With meetups, mixers, and message boards, contact opportunities are endless.

Prepare by finding out who’s going and research them online. Make a list of your marks. Email them in advance and ask for an appointment to meet during the show. Alternatively, tweet them during the conference to see where they are and if you can come to them.

Attend the biggest panel discussions, sit in the front row, and be the first to ask a question. Stand up, introduce yourself loudly, and make it a good one. Many conferences have panels featuring sync reps and supervisors, though some cost extra. When you’re first building relationships, the added fee is worth being part of an elite group of attendees.

The best networking happens in the hallways, the bars, and the line for coffee. Ask lots of questions about what kinds of music they need, and ask even deeper follow-up questions that show you’re genuinely interested and you’ve done your homework about their business. Make yourself relevant. And don’t forget to exchange business cards.

No more than a week after the conference, email each contact to follow up and allude back to your conversation. Say, “John, it was nice to meet you and talk about your work at Disney. You mentioned needing dubstep tracks for an upcoming project. Would it be okay for me to send you a few songs?”

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t just sit and listen. If you leave with no business cards, you’re doing it wrong. Also, don’t hand out flash drives or CDs at conferences. Now’s the time to form one-on-one bonds, not pitch your music.

4. Seal the deal

Ask your new acquaintances to add you to their email lists and let you know when they have specific needs for songs. Offer to tap them into your network of other industry pros to fulfill those requests as well. Mention that you understand they would only consider music that’s easy to clear for both master and publishing copyrights. If applicable, mention that you have instrumental versions and vocal splits available of all tracks.

Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t send MP3s as email attachments. Send links to your website or DropTrack playlist promoting no more than three tracks for a specific project.

Following these recommendations will boost the likelihood that music supervisors will at least listen when you submit your music. Laying the groundwork makes all the difference to meeting and dazzling the right people and getting decent shots at the deals you want.


Interview: Ron Pope on “One Way Ticket” Doc, New Band & More

If you’ve been a reader of this blog (or a TuneCore Artist) for a little while, you may be familiar with singer/songwriter Ron Pope’s impressive independent music career. To catch you up, Ron went from performing his songs as a busker in New York City subways to touring the world over several years without the help of a label. He’s been a champion of adapting to the trend of streaming music and implementing the tools available to him to garner a fan base that spans continents.

Well, it would appear that he has no plans to slow down! Earlier this year, Pope released his latest full length album with a new artist collective backing him up, and took them all back on the road with him. From the time they began recording through their tour, the filming of the upcoming documentary One Way Ticket was underway. The film captures Pope’s goal of becoming a household name while remaining a completely independent artist.

More than just a tour documentary, One Way Ticket aims to present an artist who is control of every facet of his career, and the hurdles in place for music creators when it comes to truly ‘breaking’ in the age of the Internet.

One Way Ticket premiers June 29th in Brooklyn at the Nitehawk Theater, and if you’re in the area you can grab tickets to it here. TuneCore is proud to have been a part of Ron’s exciting career for almost a decade, and we caught up with him to discuss the documentary, his new album, and of course, the digital music landscape:

Begin by telling us a bit about the formation of your new band.

Ron Pope: The band came together very organically. All the guys I’m working with on this project are very busy New York session players; they’re my first-call guys and have been for years, but they’re always busy. It was a miracle to get them all together for a tour. Originally, our plan was for them to play as my backing band and then to go back to life as usual. No one even considered “starting a band” at first; we were just doing a tour with them as my backing band.

We went to Georgia and moved into a lake house for a few weeks to begin rehearsing and recording; while we were there, it just started becoming apparent that we were becoming a band in the most basic sense of the word. Everyone was sharing input and helping to shape the music and getting along insanely well. It was all a happy accident!

In what ways does the music you’re creating with the new band differ most from your previous solo stuff?

At the end of the day, all of my records have been made up of songs I’ve written by myself, (or with friends), and then produced on my own, (or with friends), utilizing various musicians to back me up. In that way, whatever the album cover says is fairly inconsequential; my first album, when I was “in a band”, (Ron Pope & The District), is no different than Daylight or the newest album. They’re chapters in the same book.

What kind of reaction did you get from longstanding fans?

I’ve been blessed with fans who are willing to follow me as I shift gears from one sonic world to the next. When I released Calling Off The Dogs in 2014, with all its crazy orchestrations and wild compositions, they were just as receptive as they were to Atlanta or Ron Pope & The Nighthawks, (which are much more organic sounding recordings).

At the end of the day, the production and all the arrangement stuff is just window dressing; the songs create the context, and my fans seem to realize that better than most.

After plenty of recording and touring as a solo artist, what inspired you to reach out to Kelly Teacher about filming your ventures surrounding the creation of this album and the tour?

Although my name has always been on the marquee, calling me a “solo artist” at any point is something of a misnomer. I have always recorded albums that feature full bands and have also always toured fronting an ensemble.

I knew that this tour was going to be special and when Ted Young, (who worked on this project with me), suggested that we have someone document it, I thought it might be an adventure. In the beginning, neither Kelly nor any of us knew exactly what the movie would be about; the point of our story came into focus as we moved forward together. I hate to keep using this term, but it was very organic.

At what point did this film shift from being a story about an artist and his band to a commentary on the state of the music industry?

All of that happened naturally. We went into this journey hoping to capture our travels and the making of this record; we ended up telling a much more complex story. That started with talks around the breakfast table and conversations over smores at the lake house.

Kelly just kept capturing things that seemed to point towards something more significant than just a concert film or a “band makes a record and goes on tour” movie.

Do you feel you’ve gained new insight on ‘making it’ as an indie artist when reflecting on your recording/touring with the band vs. your previous experiences?

Every day, I find myself learning more and more about how to keep progressing as an artist and a businessperson. Living at the intersection of art and commerce can be a daunting experience, but the deeper you dive into the process, the more adept you becoming at navigating it all.

Are there any particular obstacles that you feel have gone from ‘terrifying’ to ‘doable’ for indie artists over the past few years?

I have always been of the mindset that anything is possible if you’re hard working and creative enough. As Kanye said, “Never gave in, never gave up, I’m the only thing I’m afraid of.”

It’s on YOU to get yourself where you want to go. There is very little about this business I’ve ever found “terrifying.” We’re not in a race against the clock to try to cure a terminal disease; we’re adults who get to make up stories, stay up late, and make noise.

I think it is important to maintain perspective; even when music isn’t your job, if you want it to be, you have to treat it like it is and do hard, focused work; but beyond that, you can’t let it drive you crazy. The business is complex and multifaceted; control what you can control and don’t sweat the bullshit, (because God knows you’ll have to wade through mountains of that to get where you’re going in this game).

ron pope one way ticket 1

What do you feel indie artists who watch One-Way Ticket will be able to take away from the film?

I think the movie really gives people a sense of how hard we work every day. My career didn’t come out of nowhere; we spent a long time working very hard to get to this point and continue with that work each and every day.

That is probably the most important lesson a young artist can take from the movie; if you want it, outwork your peers and go get it.

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked to you about streaming – which has been a big part of your career. Any thoughts on the progress that’s been made in the past two years?

The emotional tone within the industry in regard to streaming has shifted significantly in the last couple of years, obviously. In 2014, I felt like I was part of a very small minority of artists who were excited about the possibilities that streaming offered.  In that era, we saw marquee artists like Taylor Swift taking their music off of Spotify in protest.

Now, we see Ms. Swift starring in advertisements for Apple Music; clearly, the prevailing winds have shifted. I think that the conventional music business has finally come around to the idea that steaming affords them real value.

That’s been the biggest shift in my mind; less people are crying that streaming is causing the sky to fall and instead, those people are trying to find ways to generate revenue via these platforms that aren’t going to disappear any time soon.