Tag Archives: music industry

TuneCore Heads to Mondo.NYC 2016!

New York City has long been a hub of creative talent and technological innovation here in the States. Between the thousands of artists and bands, the amazing music venues, and headquarters of music industry brands, it only makes sense that organizers have chosen Manhattan and Brooklyn as the landscape for Mondo.NYC 2016!

Mondo.NYC is kicking off it’s inaugural business summit, festival and digital platform from September 14-18, 2016, and TuneCore is honored to be a part of the action as a sponsor and contributor. We’re of course honored that almost 50% of the artists scheduled to perform use or have used TuneCore as their digital distribution partner!

A multi-day event filled with panels, showcases and performances, Mondo.NYC is a celebration of music, technology and the entertainment industry among fans, artists, and tech/music professionals. If you haven’t grabbed a ticket, we worked with the staff at Mondo.NYC to make sure we could offer TuneCore Artists 20% off their purchases. All you’ll need to do is enter promo code TUNECORE2016 when you purchase online.

By day, New York University will serve as the setting for discussion, networking and education. By night, live music across Brooklyn and Manhattan hot spots will be raging.

Join us on Friday, September 16th from 10:00-10:50am in room 914 the Kimmel Center at NYU for “Under the Hood: Get Your Music Heard and Get Paid for Doing It” – a panel about distribution for independent artists.

In this  featured panel discussion, Scott Ackerman, CEO of TuneCore, will discuss TuneCore’s digital distribution platform and how we help thousands of artists of every size and genre get their music heard around the world, get paid for doing so, and keep 100% of their rights and earnings.  Scott will help artists better understand the process and value of independent distribution.  In addition to his valuable insights, there will be a panel of successful TuneCore artists to give first hand accounts of how they have leveraged the digital distribution platform to enable and enhance their careers.

As psyched as we are to talk about the value of digital distribution, it’s not all about us! Panel discussions topics will range from the roles of music management and the use data to track/manage audiences, to synch licensing and public policy around music – and everything in between. Learn more about the extensive list of panels here.

If you’re an indie artist, a music entrepreneur or music fan looking to learn more about the industry, grab your tickets today – and don’t forget to nab that 20% discount code using promo code TUNECORE2016.

As with any event TuneCore’s staff is hanging at, we always encourage artists to come up and introduce themselves. You can find members of our team taking notes by day and rocking out at night – we hope to see you out in person!

August News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

August was an especially busy month for our stores and streaming services, with even some of our more niche partners making big news:

  • iHeartRadio’s listener rate is skyrocketing, surpassing 10 million new registered users within the last seven months.
  • Shazam is soon to become a household name with the new Fox game show Beat Shazam.
  • After its recent acquisition, eMusic is taking another crack at their audiobook subscription service, eStories.
  • Spotify targets a fresh new audience with their Kids & Family genre channel.


iHeartRadio is celebrating its five year anniversary with 90 million registered users.


Since their launch in 2011, iHeartRadio has quickly become the
largest radio outlet in the United States. This month, they got to celebrate even more as they reached 80 million registered users; 10 million of which were earned in just the last eight months.

iHeartRadio’s catalogue features over 30 million songs from moreiheartradio than one million artists worldwide. As iHeartRadio continues to grow, they are putting more focus on customizable and curated content similar to Spotify’s Discover Weekly or Apple Music’s For You playlists.

“Radio continues to evolve — and so does iHeartRadio. We know our users want to listen to our broad range of content on the device of their choice — and we also know they want to enjoy amazing stories that have emerged from the recent podcast boom or hear their hometown DJ wherever they travel,” said iHeartRadio President Darren Davis. “For those reasons and more, people continue to embrace iHeartRadio, and it’s reflected in the continued rapid growth of our registered user base.”

Congratulations to iHeartRadio, and wish them even greater success in the future!

Fox has greenlit a new game show that could make Shazam a household name.


shazam928After seventeen years and countless advancements in cell phone technology, Shazam is already a widely-known brand. Some may even say it’s taking on the likes of Kleenex and Post-It, with its brand being almost universally synonymous with the action of song recognition. However, this fall might make the brand even more popular, after the new game show Beat Shazam premieres on Fox.

In the wake of American Idol’s final season ending, Fox has been in the market for new unscripted content. Keeping in line with Idol’s musical competition style, Beat Shazam will be the Jeopardy of musical game shows. Shazam already has “Beat Shazam” quizzes on their site, but Beat Shazam will involve a round where contestants compete against each other. The last person standing competes in the final round to beat the app itself.

Fox has not yet announced when Beat Shazam will premiere, or where it is set to fit into their programming schedule, but we’ll be looking forward to testing our own skills alongside those competing on TV.

eMusic is revamping its service by reintroducing its audiobook subscription service, eStories.


After being acquired by Triplay last autumn, eMusic has been on theeMusic fast-track to rebranding and retooling their service. One of the many improvements CEO Tamir Koch has been working on is the re-launch of their audiobook subscription service under the new name eStories.

With rating systems, features reviews, and author bios, eMusic’s chief mission is to expose listeners to new books, almost like the audiobook version of the literary site Goodreads.

“We’ve wanted to get into the booming audiobook business for many years,” said Koch. “It is a great companion to our other services and perfectly suited to our technology, digital media experience and ability to offer the same unlimited cloud storage our users have enjoyed for years.”

Boasting a catalogue of over 80,000 titles, eStories is priced at $11.99 per month ($3 a month cheaper than Audible). With apps available for both Android and iOS devices, the revamped audiobook service may bring more attention to eMusic as a whole.

Spotify expands its reach, offering a relaunch of a Kids & Family category to its browse feature.


spotifySpotify is attempting to create a new generation of listeners by re-launching the Kids & Family section of their browse feature. The section now features an array of “Let’s Sing Together” playlists, from “Going on a Drive,” to “Folk for Kids,” to even “Para Dormir” for Spanish-speaking listeners.

The playlists are focused on providing learning and language opportunities for listeners, as well as an opportunity for parents to engage with their children. Sound bites from celebrities such as Tyler Perry, Busy Phillips, and Sarah Michelle Gellar are interspersed between songs to provide games and conversation topics for parents and kids.

The songs on the playlists themselves cover a lot of ground, as well. From tried-and-true classics like The Wiggles, to songs from E.R.A.’s RnB Nursery Rhymes, the playlists are a diverse blend of songs that kids and parents can both enjoy.

The Kids & Family category is part of Spotify’s “social good” initiative in an effort to provide more readily-available educational musical content. Spotify works with the Family Independence Initiative to gain feedback from listeners in their network and award funding to artists who host musical activities for children and families.

As one of TuneCore’s most successful genres, we hope to see our artists featured on these playlists in the future.

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TuneCore Artists Earn $44 Million in Q2 2016

TuneCore is excited to share that in Q2 of 2016, our collective base of independent artists earned $44 million – a 24% increase from the second quarter of 2015. That means that since TuneCore launched in 2006, TuneCore Artists have earned $733 million from 36.5 billion downloads and streams.

celebrating_10_yearstotal_artist_earnings_q2-2

Once a contentious point of consideration for artists distributing new music, streaming has proven to be a choice method of consumption for fans, prompting artists to cast a wide net and make their music available on these platforms. In fact, we’re looking at an 82% increase in streaming growth, with top contributors including TIDAL (+157%), Amazon Music (+112%) and Spotify (+89%). Streaming has proven to be on the upswing around the world as well, specifically in Australia (+124%), UK (+97%), Germany (+108%) and India (+112%).

streaming_growth

The more fans’ access to music increases, the more music TuneCore Artists desire to create! We’re psyched to see that TuneCore Artists continue to distribute at a record pace all over the globe. Some of the fastest growing territories include India, Africa, Asia and South America:

fastest_growing_territories

On the music publishing administration side of things, TuneCore Artists saw a 31% growth in gross revenue year over year. In addition, YouTube continues to be a lucrative platform for independent artists with gross revenue from YouTube Sound Recording experiencing a 110% increase and YouTube Art Tracks seeing a 384% increase in gross revenue growth.

publishing_administration

TuneCore’s fastest growing genre is K-Pop, which has increased by 147% since the second quarter of 2015 and is popular in markets including US, Canada and Australia. Additional fastest growing genres and their respective popular markets include:

  • R&B/Soul (+85%) in Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Netherlands & Sweden
  • J-Pop (+81%) in Japan, UK & France
  • Hip Hop/Rap (49%) in Netherlands, Mexico and Chile
  • Children’s Music (+42%) in Norway & Canada

You can head over to our awesome interactive infographic to explore which genres are doing well in every country in the world! 

Trending_Genres_HipHop_Worldwide

As we’ve launched new sites internationally, we’re also excited to announce that TuneCore’s local offerings in these markets are experiencing steady increases in customer growth: Germany (+221%), UK (72%) and Australia (+13%).

TuneCore_Website_Growth_Local

Here’s to another successful quarter for the members of our TuneCore Artist community!  For more information, don’t forget to check out our interactive infographic.

 

July Songwriter News

By Stefanie Flamm

The music industry may seem like it’s settling into its predictable lull, but songwriters and publishers worldwide are fighting harder than ever for a fair marketplace:

  • The US Department of Justice rules in favor of licensing regulations that many songwriters and publishers see as “a clusterf—k of epic proportions.
  • YouTube announces $2 billion in gross earnings for rights owners using their Content ID system.
  • After a $750m buyout from the Michael Jackson Estate, Sony now owns the rights to 50% of Sony/ATV and its catalogue of over 2 million songs.

The Department of Justice passed new legislation that could mean smaller royalty payouts for songwriters across the United States.


When it comes to the world of publishing, the biggest news of the month, by far, has been the US Department of Justice’s recent ruling in favor “100 percent licensing,” meaning that for songs with multiple songwriters, a licensee only requires a license from one of the contributors (instead of each of them). The music industry as a whole is shocked and upset by this verdict, especially in the wake of petitions fighting for a total overhaul of the already-outdated legislation currently in place. Songwriters and publishers alike fear that this could mean lower royalty payout, more complicated work for PROs, and an increase in royalty disputes across the industry.

“Instead of making the necessary modifications, we have been saddled with a disruptive proposal that ignores songwriters’ concerns for our future livelihoods in a streaming world, serves absolutely no public interest and creates confusion and instability for all of us who depend on the efficiencies of collective licensing,” said ASCAP’s President Paul Williams released a statement on July 11th.

The DoJ’s decision was carefully thought-out based on the trajectory of the music industry in the digital age, stemming specifically from the idea that 100 percent licensing would make it easier for parties like Pandora to license music. However, even the US Copyright Office has put in a negative word about the verdict and urges the DoJ to rethink 100 percent licensing.

In a 33-page reaction to the new regulations, the US Copyright Office “believes that an interpretation of the consent decrees that would require these PROs to engage in 100-percent licensing presents a host of legal and policy concerns. Such an approach would seemingly vitiate important principles of copyright law, interfere with creative collaborations among songwriters, negate private contracts, and impermissibly expand the reach of the consent decrees.”

While music licensees see the DoJ decision as a smart move in the fact of the current prevalence of music streaming, they’re going to receive a lot of pushback from songwriters and publishers alike. It doesn’t look like BMI, ACSAP, or the US Copyright Office are looking to back down any time soon, so hopefully for the sake of publishers everywhere, the DoJ can go back to the drawing board and retool a system that benefits both the songwriters and the digital streaming services that are licensing music.

YouTube proudly announces $2 billion in gross earnings for rights owners through their Content ID technology, but the music industry needs more convincing.


YouTube announced in a July 14th blog post that they have collected over $2 billion in streaming revenue for rights owners using their rights management system Content ID, double what YouTube reported back in 2014.

For those unfamiliar with Content ID, the system uses audio files submitted to them by a partner (like TuneCore YouTube Sound Recording Revenue Service), and then detects those audio files on third-party videos uploaded to YouTube to monetize on behalf of the rights owner. In layman’s terms, if someone uses your song on a cat video that goes viral, you get paid for any money that the video makes as the rights owner of the music. It has been a lucrative service for many artists in the industry, with YouTube being one of the most popular methods with which to stream music.

“We take protecting creativity online seriously, and we’re doing more to help battle copyright-infringing activity than ever before,” Senior Policy Counsel for Google, Katie Oyama, said in the statement.

However, many songwriters and publishers on the other side of that $2 billion have a different perspective on YouTube’s news. Both labels and publishers alike have argued that Content ID fails to recognize as much as 40% of their music on third-party videos in YouTube. Additionally, while YouTube claims that 98% of the time rights owners prefer to monetize videos rather than take them down, representatives of the music industry believe that Content ID encourages YouTube piracy.

“Their pitch goes something like this: ‘Hey, advertising is good for you. Why not use Content ID to cash in on all the piracy by getting a share of revenue we can generate from ad placement?’ Well, they don’t call it piracy – but make no mistake, in the end, their whole scheme still depends on a culture of piracy,” said Maria Schneider in an op-ed for Music Technology Policy.

It’s hard to discern who’s really in the right with the Content ID debate, since rights owners are making a marginal streaming payout from each video play and, like any automated system, there will be hiccups based on similar sounding recordings, use of samples, etc. What’s clear is that YouTube is trying to make lemonade out of lemons for musicians who would otherwise be making nothing from these pirated videos. While it’s not an ideal situation for rights owners, one can hope it’s at least a step in the right direction as we learn to deal with the repercussions of the digital age in the music industry.

Despite protestations from competition, groups in the EU give Sony the greenlight for their $750m purchase of the Michael Jackson Estate’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV.


Since Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, his partial ownership of Sony/ATV and its massive catalogue of songs have been up in the air. Sony made moves to resolve this back in March of this year, agreeing to purchase Jackson’s 50% stake in the company for $750 million, giving Sony full ownership of the Sony/ATV catalogue. However, earlier this month, Sony competitors Warner and IMPALA unsuccessfully challenged the acquisition in Europe, slowing down the purchase but ultimately not grinding it to a halt.

Universal and IMPALA both came to the EU’s antitrust organizations in regards to the purchase, claiming that Sony’s acquisition of the over two million songs would create a market-distorting level of power in favor of Sony. The massive catalogue, which includes works from Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and the Beatles, alongside Sony’s administration of the EMI music publishing catalogue, gives the company a 28% global market share.

Upon the approval of the acquisition, the European Commission released a statement saying, “the transaction would have no negative impact on competition in any of the markets for recorded music and music publishing in the European Economic Area.” Representatives from IMPALA have called the verdict “clearly wrong,” but it looks like Sony still gets to walk away the winner of this fight.

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TuneCore Partners With Songs Of Love Foundation

There are plenty of ways in which people donate, volunteer, and give back to children and teens in tough medical, physical and emotional situations. For John Beltzer, nothing made more sense than music. What if these children and teens could be matched with a songwriter to get their very own, one-of-a-kind song to lift their spirits in a time of need?

It was this concept that led Beltzer to write his first ever ‘song of love’ to a five-year old cancer patient named Brittany at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis all the way from Queens, NY – and when he got a call from her thanking him for her song, the idea for his nonprofit foundation Songs of Love was born!

Since that fateful day in 1996, Songs of Love has reached close to 27,000 children in over 500 hospitals and health care facilities in all 50 states and throughout the world. The organization matches independent songwriters with children and teens, and Beltzer says the connections made between them is incomparable.

lance_songs of love“When the songwriters get letters of how much the songs have helped the kids it immediately validates who they are as songwriters,” he says. “This takes away any feelings a writer might have about failure. There is nothing more fulfilling for our songwriters than being able to heal a child’s spirit through a ‘song of love’. You might say that any ‘song of love’ a songwriter creates is a guaranteed hit!”

TuneCore is proud to be partnering with Songs Of Love as the foundation’s official digital distributor.

“The partnership between Songs of Love and TuneCore means that the whole world now has access to a whole new category of songs
with a genuine message of love and joy. Even though the songs are personalized, many people will be moved at each song’s intention

of bringing about healing,” remarked Beltzer. “Songs of Love and Tunecore are collectively covering the world with a healing blanket of soothing melodies. The partnership distinctly highlights the true healing power of music.”

One of the coolest parts about Songs of Love is how open and accessible it remains with an unchanging goal of brightening up young peoples’ day – from little known indie musicians to award-winning songwriters like Alex Forbes:

“Getting involved with Songs of Love was a turning point in my musical life. There’s something magical about the whole process. It sparks people’s creativity in a really powerful, heartfelt way,” says Forbes.

TuneCore is home to many independent songwriters who may want to use their talents to connect with young patients – and we’re strongly encouraging any interested artists to get involved today!

Just watch this video of a visit from Danielle Dugan, who received a ‘song of love’ from Tony Asher (songwriter of “God Only Knows” among other hits) after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at age eight in 2003. Given only six months to live, Beltzer was floored to receive a call just two years ago from a very much alive and healthy Danielle:

Sitting on literally thousands of notes, letters and cards from song recipients over the years expressing gratitude and warmth only drives John and his foundation to keep going. Just ask Siri Bream, Child Life Specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, VA:

“The healing power of music is huge, but the power of feeling validated, of being honored, of being important enough to have a song that is entirely all about YOU, gives our patients a sense of belonging in this world, a sense of hope, a renewed purpose and determination to LIVE.”

If you’re a songwriter who is interested in getting involved and learning more about Songs of Love, head over to the foundation’s website here. Be sure to catch the recent 20th Anniversary celebration that included the audience of a Paul Simon concert pitching in to sing and record the chorus to a ‘song of love’ dedicated to eight-year old Teddy Moore.

songs of love_teddy moore

TuneCore is looking forward to a bright future with the Songs of Love Foundation!

July News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

Our stores are gearing up for the second half of the year with some exciting new developments:

  • Spotify attempts to rival Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio by launching two new radio shows on their service.
  • TIDAL caters to both artists and listeners alike at the twelfth annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in DUMBO.
  • After a two year wait, Deezer has finally been made widely available for listeners in the United States.

Spotify launches two new radio stations to compete with Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.

Spotify is giving Apple Music a run for their money by launching two new exclusive radio stations. Similar to Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, Secret Genius and AM/PM are artist-focused and feature new music, artist interviews, and more.

spotify-logoAM/PM focuses on the music that guest artists like to listen to, both in the morning and at night. In addition to the interviews, each episode comes packed with an AM and PM playlist curated by the guest. Guests artists thus far include Tinie Tempah, Wolf Alice, Lianne La Havas, and more.

“There’s an experimental edge to what we’re doing: let’s try this out and give it a go,” said Spotify’s Rob Fitzpatrick. “…AM/PM is an artist-friendly way of doing that without it becoming a thing that turns into a slog for them.”

Secret Genius concentrates on songwriters, interviewing different artists every week to discuss the songwriting and collaborative process. Guests have included breakout star James Blake, as well as more behind-the-scenes songwriters Nick Van Eede, Ed Drewett and Nicky Chinn.

The radio stations are available to all Spotify users, including those with free accounts.

Brooklyn Bridge Park provides a backdrop for TIDAL’s latest exclusive concerts at the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was pulsing with the sound of hip hop earliertidal logo this month. The TIDAL-sponsored 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival was a major attraction for hip hop lovers from New York and the Tri-State Area, featuring headliners like Nas and TuneCore artist Talib Kweli.

The 4-day event was held in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a small neighborhood tucked in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that is home to both the festival and TuneCore’s Brooklyn office. Each day was unique, offering a different flavor of hip hop entertainment for every day of the festival.

Wednesday, July 13th kicked things off with the “Hip Hop Institute,” a series of lectures and workshops with artists and executives of the hip hop world. The lectures covered everything from making it as a musician to what it means to be a woman in hip hop. In the aftermath of several police shootings this month, keynote speaker DeRay McKesson inspired listeners with words about Black Lives Matter.  

Day two focused on hip hop and film with the Dummy Clap Film Festival. Screenings included 86-32, the 1983 documentary Style Wars, and the 25th Anniversary Screening of New Jack City. Day three took a page from Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” video, combining visual art with music from DJ Midnite, TuneCore artist Taylor Bennett, and more. Finally, the weekend was capped off by a blowout finale concert on the waterfront, including Fabolous and Rapsody, in addition to headliners Nas and Talib Kweli.

TIDAL helped bring the Brooklyn festival to hip hop lovers everywhere, offering a live stream of the concerts throughout the weekend that can now be viewed at any time on TIDAL.

Deezer is ready to tackle the US streaming market with the long-awaited launch of their service in the United States.

Spotify, TIDAL, Apple Music, etc. have another streaming service to compete with, starting this month. The French streaming service Deezer has been working to launch a US version of their site for the past two years, offering limited beta memberships through partners like Bose and Cricket Wireless during that time. However, the wait is now over for the rest of us, and Deezer is fully live for streaming in the US.

“We are thrilled to make Deezer available to all music fans in the U.S., at a time when the company is growing stronger and developing new technologies that enable us to deliver a much more personalized experience. We’ve already received an overwhelmingly positive response since offering Deezer via our partners Sonos, Bose and Cricket, and now look forward to making our service available to everyone,” Deezer Global CEO Dr. Hans-Holger Albrecht said in their launch statement.

Deezer-logoDeezer’s US service is Premium-tier only, meaning there is no option for listeners to stream music free in exchange for ads. Instead, Deezer is offering a 30-day free trial for all new customers, who will then be required to pay $9.99 per month to continue with the service.

With 16 million monthly users across 180 countries, Deezer is one of the most widely-available music stores around. The service is already a household name in Europe, but it faces some tough competition this side of the Atlantic including goliaths like Apple Music, TIDAL, and Spotify. The newly-updated “flow” discovery feature, along with their quirky and hilarious advertising campaign, should be a big selling point for US listeners.

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