Recap: Ron Pope’s “One Way Ticket” Film Premier

Last month, we interviewed independent singer/songwriter and rock ‘n roller Ron Pope about his latest release, as well as One Way Ticket, the new documentary film that followed Ron and his band from the studio to the road in support of the aforementioned release. What started out as a fairly typical tour doc turned into an exploration on the notion of ‘making it’ in the age of digital music as an independent artist, and how Ron stands out in a crowd of creators due to his strong business acumen and dedication to the craft.

Last night,  One Way Ticket premiered at the trendy Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, NY. Known around these parts as an intimate, independently owned, two-theater venue where patrons can enjoy the luxuries of well-prepared bites and a selection of craft beers brought to them right at their fold-out-table-style seats as they enjoy a flick. It was the perfect place to take in a new documentary covering an artist’s career and some of the general ins and outs of today’s music industry.

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TuneCore was honored to be invited and involved in the premier of the film, but we know the true excitement was coming from the eager fans who showed up early for the VIP experience. Complete with its own Snapchat Filter, the phones were out in full force.

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By 6pm, Ron Pope had joined the crowd of fans to mix and mingle over hors d’oeuvres and signature “One Way Ticket” cocktails (homemade mint lemonade and bourbon – a nod to the movie’s, as well as Pope’s, southern roots). Beyond being able to kick it with one of their favorite artists, fans were even treated to a few acoustic songs from the man of the hour.

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After an enjoyable set of tunes, movie-goers began filing into the theater. Ron’s manager Blair spoke and introduced TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman, who said a few words of thanks, congratulations, and expressed his pride in the involvement of TuneCore and in Ron’s musical career progress in general, eventually taking a seat among the audience.

Now, we’re not gonna spoil the movie for you, but we can tell you it was very well received among attendees! Check out the trailer above if you haven’t already, and be sure to catch One Way Ticket available to stream via Qello on Friday, July 1, 2016.

For more photos from the event, check out our gallery below!

Wednesday Video Diversion: June 29, 2016

It’s that feeling that another week has gone by and you’ve found yourself in the familiar yet damning scenario: Wednesday afternoon. Energy levels are dipping, right alongside general interest in accomplishing anything that would be considered to be “productive”. So why not plug in and zone out to this wonderful collection of TuneCore Artist Videos?

Lindsey Stirling, “The Arena”


De$to, “5 Hunit N 4 (504)”


Ayo Jay, “Available”


Nawas, “So Low”


Dillaz, “Mo Boy”


Yo Trane, “Late Night”


Ant Cruze, “Love Is Gold”


Charles Ans, “La Hoja”


Stro, “Mighty Healthy ’16”


Thousand Foot Krutch, “Running With Giants”

NEW STORE ALERT: Kuack Media Group

Here at TuneCore, we’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for new, exciting streaming services and digital music stores to offer independent artists access to. As the way in which consumers all over the world choose to listen to and discover new music evolves, we too must evolve to help creators reach new fans in different places.

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that TuneCore is officially distributing music to Kuack Media Group. Kuack Media Group is the market leader streaming service for mobile telecommunication companies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

That means music fans who have mobile service from Virgin Mobile Colombia, Digicel, Kolbi Costa Rica or Viva Bolivia and subscribe to either “Premium” or “Top” tiers in territories like Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, El Salvador, and more will have access to your music when you distribute to Kuack Media Group.

For those less familiar with mobile services like those mentioned above, let’s just put it into perspective for you: across all four mentioned, there are over 19 million mobile subscribers combined – all of whom have easy access to Kuack Media Group’s respective platforms as a convenient streaming subscription service option.

As far as the subscriptions go, artists can rest assured that they’ll be paid for streams whether fans prefer Premium (unlimited streaming, conditional downloads, playlist creation, & more) or Top (access to a Top 40 Chart and rotating playlists which can be downloaded conditionally as well) tiers. Even cooler? Kuack Media prides itself on promoting independent artists!

If you’re interested in getting your music in front of more Latin American and Caribbean music fans, head over to your Store Manager and add  your music to Kuack Media Group.

Not a TuneCore Artist yet? Sign up for your free account today and get your music distributed to all of our awesome digital store partners.

June Songwriter News

By Stefanie Flamm

Summer is officially here, but the music publishing industry is not taking a vacation:

  • Racially-charged jazz standard “Strange Fruit” is used in The Birth of a Nation trailer, demonstrating that certain compositions are great to have in a sync catalogue, even if they’re rarely used.
  • Music executives urge for music industry unity at the NMPA’s annual meeting in NYC.
  • Sync placements are shown to be a twofold benefit to artists like Drake, Skrillex, and The Mamas & The Papas.
  • Major labels, digital distributors, and streaming stores came together as part of Berklee College of Music’s Open Music Initiative to provide more efficient royalty solutions for streaming.

Read more to see how songwriters and publishers alike are working hard for higher royalties and greater industry unity.

“Strange Fruit” proves to be an important song for sync placement in spite of its rare use in TV and film.


Be it the original Billie Holiday version, Nina Simone’s haunting cover, or Kanye West’s sampling of the song in his album Yeezus, the lyrics to “Strange Fruit” are an eerie reminder of America’s dark and not-so-distant past. A soulful recollection of both pre-Civil War and Jim Crow-era America, Abel Meeropol’s 1937 poem provides lyrics to one of the most haunting songs in American history and Time Magazine’s song of the 20th Century.

Because of the gravity of the song’s content, rights owner Music Sales Corp. is particular about to whom they license “Strange Fruit.” The licensing of this song is tactful, with permissions only given to a small percentage of applicants.

“The importance of the song is certainly not lost on us,” says Executive VP of Music Sales Corp. Miles Feinberg. “It contributed to the civil rights movement, so we’ve been very ­protective of it.”

It is for this exact reason that Music Sales Corp. decided to greenlight the use of Nina Simone’s version for the trailer of the upcoming film The Birth of a Nation. Simone’s evocative tone gracefully pairs with the footage in the trailer, leaving a feeling that is both ominous and galvanizing.

It’s the rarity of the song’s occurrence in pop culture that makes it so resonant, and while the song isn’t of much monetary value to Music Sales Corp., the principle of owning the song is worth its weight in gold. “[Strange Fruit] is not a big money earner,” says Feinberg. “But it is an ­incredible one to have in your catalog.”

Sometimes the greatest songs are the ones you rarely hear.

Publishers push for music industry unity at the NMPA’s 99th annual meeting in NYC.


The packed event room at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, NY was buzzing on June 8th as music industry professionals gathered for the 99th annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association. The main focus of the meeting? Music industry unity.

“The music industry has never been more powerful and popular and we as an industry have never done a sh***er job of rallying together as one industry,” legendary music industry executive Irving Azoff said in his keynote address. “We should work together to solve the root of the problem.”

It’s not news that US music publishing legislation is grossly out-of-date; the regulations that were enacted in 1941 have seen very few changes since their inception. Irving speculated that the lack of effective legislation in Washington is a direct result of a disjointed industry. Without a sense of unity, the US Department of Justice has been steamrolling the industry in favor of the consumer.

The DOJ recently reviewed the consent decrees that are at the backbone of BMI and ASCAP’s licensing agreements. With this recent review, the DOJ is considering “100 percent licensing,” which means that any rights owner can license the entire song, regardless of what percentage of the song they own. The music industry seems to unanimously agree that this is a bad idea, as it could potentially mean an imbalance in royalty payments, as well as restricting songwriters to only collaborate with artists in their PRO.

NMPA president David Israelite also had some words to say on what he called the “One Music” strategy, stressing that the industry standing together to fight for better legislation is stronger than individual groups fighting on each side.

Songwriters across the United States believe that now’s the time for songwriters to come together for a common good.

Sync placements kill two birds with one stone for artists like Drake, Skrillex, and more.


We’ve all seen the video – Taylor Swift puts on “Jumpman” by Drake & Future, starts running on her treadmill while rapping along to the song, and falls flat on her face. The Apple Music commercial has gained upwards of 17.5 million views since the video was posted to YouTube on April 1st. But what’s more impressive is the success of the song as a result of the sync placement.

Downloads for “Jumpman” increased 193% in the week that the video went live, from 15,000 sales the week of March 31st to 44,000 a week later. This is another win for Drake, whose sync licensing for “Hotline Bling” in a T-Mobile Superbowl commercial brought in royalties from 130 countries where the game was broadcast.

BMI and ASCAP reported over $590 million in sync revenue from 2015 alone. These sync licenses bring extra attention and sales revenue to both new artists, like when Feist’s “1 2 3 4” was featured in an iPod Nano commercial in 2007, to older artists like The Mamas & The Papas whose 1965 hit “California Dreamin’” is making a resurgence via an H&M commercial for Coachella.

Sync is one of the biggest tools for success in music today, and it’s paying off big for songwriters.

Berklee’s Open Music Initiative brings streaming services together with labels for more efficient royalty matching.


Goliaths of the industry, from major labels to streaming stores, came together this month to help streamline digital music distribution and copyright. These groups are working with The Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) as part of the Open Music Initiative (OMI) to create better royalty matching solutions for publishers and streaming services alike.

Berklee is joining with teams from the MIT Media Lab and the University of London to create advancements in matching technology, which will help with the speed and accuracy of royalty reporting. While strides have been made in the past, BerkleeICE believes that the support from institutions, industry executives, and distribution services like TuneCore will give OMI the push it needs to succeed.

“The internet led to an explosion of innovation precisely because of its open architecture. We now have the tools to build an open architecture for music rights, using a decentralized platform,” said Neha Narula, director of research, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “We’re excited to work with BerkleeICE and the Open Music Initiative to create a foundation for innovation, not only in rights management but in music itself.”

OMI is hitting the ground running this summer, with their inaugural gathering held in NYC on June 22nd, and a three-week innovation lab to be held in Boston from July 11th-29th.

An open-sourced platform around creative rights could be just the thing the industry needs to create a unified force against outdated legislation.

Make sure you’re receiving all of the songwriter royalties that you’re entitled to by joining our Music Publishing Administration.

SOUND BYTES

June News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

The days are longer, the sun is brighter, and our digital store partners are gearing up for a summer’s worth of big updates:

  • Amazon Music plans to release a new streaming service that will compete against Spotify and Apple Music
  • US music mogul Guy Oseary, famous for representing Madonna and Nicki Minaj, has become an investor and partner of Saavn
  • Apple Music responds to negative customer reviews with a total overhaul of their interface
  • Deezer uses a simple, fun advertising strategy and sees their new user numbers triple

Our store partners are working hard to improve customer experience, offer new products, and make it easier for your fans to listen to your music.

Amazon Music is stepping into the streaming arena with a new service planned to rival Apple Music, Spotify, and TIDAL


Pretty soon, Apple Music, Spotify, et al. will see another competitor in the ring of digital music streaming. A source informed Reuters earlier this month that Amazon Music is planning to offer a standalone streaming service for, in keeping with what has become an industry standard, $9.99 per month. The service is set to launch early this fall.

2. amazon-music-logoCurrently, Amazon offers a curated catalogue of music for
streaming, available only to Amazon Prime members. The new 
service will be available outside of the Prime membership for the monthly cost of $9.99, and will offer a larger catalogue of music for streaming.

Amazon has been making huge strides in its competition with other streaming services outside of just music. Prime Instant Video is in direct competition with Netflix and Hulu, and Amazon recently launched a customer-supported video service called Amazon Video Direct which is a similar service to YouTube. It’s therefore something of a natural progression for the store to invest in a music streaming service to compete with Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music. The service is also likely to complement the Amazon Echo device released last year.

We’re excited to check out the service when it launches!

Saavn receives an investment from a major music industry executive. What does it mean for the service?


Legendary music executive Guy Oseary has joined Saavn as an investor and partner, as of earlier this month.

Oseary started his career at 19 years old as an A&R rep for Maverick Records. He quickly climbed through the ranks, now acting as partner and CEO for Maverick, which represents artists like Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Paul McCartney, and Lil Wayne.

8. Saavn-Logo-Horizontal-Green-1000Saavn isn’t Oseary’s first go at tech investment. He joined with Ashton Kutcher and Ronald Burkle to form A-Grade Investments, which has helped finance Airbnb, Spotify, SoundCloud, Shazam, and Uber. In the case of Saavn, however, this is a personal venture and is not associated with A-Grade.

Saavn CEO and Co-Founder Rishi Malhotra is excited to have Gil on the Saavn executive team. “Guy has incredible instincts across entertainment and media. He understands that we are not building the Spotify or Pandora of India. We are building Saavn in India, for India, and we’re thrilled to work with him to build the company for the long term.”

Perhaps, to quote the 1942 movie Casablanca, “this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Apple Music gets a makeover to improve their customer experience.


Between their first year anniversary coming around the corner and their recent announcement that Apple Music is now up to 15 million subscribers, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the Apple Music community.

Another big piece of news from the Apple Music front was apple-musicannounced at their Worldwide Developers Conference that took place between June 13th-17th in San Francisco. Senior Vice President Eddy Cue showed off the brand new Apple Music interface, designed to better employ the feedback received from customers over the last year. The new version of Apple Music is designed to centralize the listening experience and create a fluid transition between streaming and downloaded music.

Since the June 2015 launch of Apple Music, Apple has struggled to consolidate the pre-existing iTunes app with their new streaming service. Both listening platforms were combined into the Music app, but the interface has notably been difficult to navigate, and in rare cases has resulted in thousands of lost audio files. This new overhaul is designed to not only better harmonize iTunes and Apple Music, but it’s also making the interface easier to maneuver.

Cue detailed that the new version of Apple Music will have a mostly black-and-white interface, making the colorful album artwork pop, as well as more detailed song information and a “Recently Added” section to check in on what’s been recently downloaded or saved on the device. The new updates will also affect the desktop OS, with Apple Music sharing available directly through iMessage.

The newly designed Apple Music should be integrated with iOS 10, coming this fall, and we can’t wait to test it out.

Deezer uses their enormous registration increase to revamp their advertising strategy and help close the gap between themselves and Spotify.


Deezer took a leap last year with their first attempt at TV advertising, and it’s paid off big time. The streaming service, available in over 180 countries, has seen a 300 percent growth in daily registrations within the last year. With that momentum, they’re taking on a new strategy with a fresh set of video advertisements.

Deezer-logoDeezer’s first campaign approach is simple: what rhymes with Deezer? The commercials are straightforward and fun, and the bright colors, subtle humor, and “sounds like you” tagline give the store’s branding a friendly and approachable vibe that inspires you to check out the service. Their new campaign takes the silly but candid sentiment that brought them so much success in 2015, only now doubling-down its own absurdity. They even went for a one-two punch by adding puppies, because who doesn’t love a dog jamming out to dance music? The new “flow my music” tagline refers to their recommendation tool, but also implies an easy-to-use interface.

“Our first foray we saw a 300 percent increase in daily registrations. With those results in mind, having demonstrated TV is a success and we’re keen to unlock more of that opportunity. With this new campaign we’re broadening the offering to more audiences and more media channels,” said Christian Harris, managing director for the UK & Ireland.

As Deezer grows in strength, they hope to close the gap between themselves and Spotify. With a campaign this naturally enticing and their consequential success over the last year, it looks like Deezer is quickly becoming a huge asset to artists around the world.

Deezer is available in almost every territory, and listeners can apply for the beta in the United States.

SOUND BYTES