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.]

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Williams Papay Kollie

    How can I get my song unblocked? If I can’t get my song on Spotify, I want my money back!!

    • tunecore

      Hi Williams – If you’ve submitted a release and you’re not seeing it show up in stores you’ve selected, first make sure to check the email account associated with your TuneCore account to see if anyone from our Content Review Team contacted you about making changes to the release before submitting.

      Otherwise, please reach out to our Artist Support Team so they can get this squared away for you: http://help.tunecore.com/app/ask

  • Tunez

    my release was not sent because of the way i entered in the artist names, after making changes how do i distribute ?

    • tunecore

      Hi there – if you had some formatting hold-ups, you should have received an email from our Content Review Team instructing you on the changes you need to make, which it sounds like you did (if not, check the spam filter of the email address associated with your TuneCore account).

      Once you’ve made the appropriate changes, you can email that member of the Content Review Team directly by replying to them, letting them know you’ve done so. They’ll then review and if you’re good to go, send the release to stores. If there’s any additional attention needed from you, they’ll respond via email to let you know.

  • Sam Patlove

    So now the digital distributers are deciding what artist names are acceptable? I’m being rejected for have a “+” character in the artist name…. if I have to use “plus” that will kind of be a major change in a creative choice.

    • tunecore

      Hi Sam – if you’re having issues with your release, you should have received an email from our Content Review Team with more details. Can you confirm this? If so, it’s recommended that you follow up with them to work through any errors or issues.

  • Rafael

    Hello, I’m Spanish, my name is:

    “Rafael Predicador” Rafael Fuentes Rodríguez (The Man of God)

    I want to upload my music on the internet in Music stores for
    Let me know, and in passing “make a profit”

    “For the Glory of God Jesus Christ”: This is my mail:

    rafael_elpredicador@hotmail.com

    I am new to all this, and that is why I need your help to advise me and tell me what is best. Remember: “This is a work of God”

    So:

    “This is the song to spread all over the world.”

    “And you … With what did you fill your heart?”

    Listen to the song, it’s very beautiful.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9OwafyBHzw

    Nothing more: God bless you.

    “Remember what Paul of Tarsus, an apostle of Jesus Christ told us in his days”

    Col.3: 23 “Whatever you do, do it with your heart,”
    “As for the Lord” and not for men;

    24 “knowing that you will receive the reward from the Lord”
    “Of the inheritance”, efe.1: 1-7-11-13-14-17-23 because
    “You serve the Lord Christ.”

    25 But he who does injustice will receive injustice.
    That I do, because there is no respect of persons.

    (Meditate on this)

    God bless you.

    Since the Blessing of God is what everyone NEEDS
    Here on Earth. “NEED YOUR BLESSING”

    “And his blessing is eternal life” to the people who obey him ”
    John 5:24; 6:36.

    Pro.10: 22 The blessing of the Lord is that which enriches,
    And does not add sadness to it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9OwafyBHzw

  • shelby

    Do have to pay again for my album “releases” after i made correction of those errors

    • tunecore

      Hey Shelby —

      If you are in the midst of a distribution and the release hasn’t been sent to stores yet, you will not have to pay to re-distribute after making changes. If you are in a scenario in which you need to take the release down from stores, you’ll need to make changes and pay to re-distribute. Hope that helps!

  • Old SoulLeaders

    I’m worried about my album! I payed $30.00 and you guys told me my album
    was sent January 8th and it should be reviewed and sent out. It’s
    January 19th and my album still isn’t available to stream. Are you guys
    really a legitimate service? I’m not trying to come across as
    disrespectful I’m just worried about my album. Please respond to this
    message as soon as possible.

    • Game Spittin Ent

      check the store’s site directly I thought the same thing you did but the album I submitted doesn’t show the link on my tunecore page but I searched and found it today and I sent it Jan. 11 2017 so do some searching around and you might find it. I found my album 6’6 – Unapologetic by seaching for the album name and seaching for artist name. I found on spotify and itunes so far. the last single i submitted with tunecore posted live at different dates so i just had to be patient. but i hope this helps

    • tunecore

      Hey there – thanks for getting in touch! Due to a large influx of music submissions and residual delays from the holidays (during which many stores/platforms take some time off from letting new music go live), there have been delays. We’re sorry to have you worried about the status of your new release, and you have every right to be concerned. Your release should be up soon but please let us know if you continue to experience a delay. Thank you for your patience.

  • ConservativeYankee

    I can not figure this out! Help! I get the problems prevented…..issues. I go back, fix it and get the same results! How do I do this?

    • tunecore

      Hey there – have you been coordinating with our Content Review Team, or are you not able to send your release at all? We can try to help but this is probably best suited for our Artist Support team, which you can contact here: http://help.tunecore.com/app/ask

      • ConservativeYankee

        Got it!

  • ASC pub

    if my original recordings were done on a computer with Digital Audio Workstation software that creates audio files at 24bit/96khz or 24bit/192khz audio format, CAN THE iTUNES CONVERSION SOFTWARE CONVERT THESE TO 16-BIT/44.1 WAV FILES ?

  • Röjder

    Hey, what if I want to add “ö”? Would they still accept ö rather than o as my artist name?

    • tunecore

      Hey Röjder – you should be fine, but if you run into any trouble, our Content Review Team will shoot you an email to let you know if there are changes that need to be made. They should be able to help regardless!

  • Heye’Yella

    i sent my album for review days ago and still got nothing back. what’s up with that?

    • tunecore

      Hi there – There may have been a delay from the weekend in getting your release approved by our Content Review Team, but they’re on the case! If you feel you’ve been waiting longer than usual, get in touch with Artist Support here: http://help.tunecore.com/app/ask

  • Kimberly Kimberly

    Hello. About 2 of my tracks are remixes. Next to the track title I wrote Remix. Also next to another track I wrote Bonus Track. Will this be ok? Thanks

    • tunecore

      Hi Kimberly – as long as you put “Remix” in parentheses you should be good. The Bonus Track – if it, too, is a remix – should end up reading like this: Track Name (Remix) [Bonus Track].

      Hope that helps! If you have any issues wit the formatting of your release, you should receive an email from a member of our Content Review Team with helpful instructions on how to rectify any errors. From there, once you’ve made the corrections, you can email them back directly in that thread and let them know you’re good to go.

  • Whats the story with doing cover tunes and publishing? How does the person who owns the song get paid?

    • tunecore

      Hey Dan –

      When distributing a cover song, you need to obtain a mechanical license – giving you the right to reproduce and distribute for digital sales. That ensure that the songwriter is getting their appropriate mechanical royalties on purchases/downloads/streams.

      TuneCore recently launched a service that helps our artists obtain these mechanical licenses, too, so our artists can distribute cover songs the proper and legal way! Learn more here: http://www.tunecore.com/cover-song-licensing

  • M Lyve

    how do i fix this message im not sure where to start?
    No duplicates: All audio should be unique to its title. Please make sure all your audio was uploaded to the correct corresponding track.

  • Tim Deacon

    Everything Is Fine Now Keep On Rock

  • Redo Redo

    I’ve been reject cause my artist name was “Rido & the heritage”, but Rido & the heritage not featuring artist, this is only one group,
    Why I use “& the heritage” cause in my composition I use some of my home town traditional instruments and some culture

    Please, What must I do so my album can go live with that name

  • Redo Redo

    I’ve been reject cause my artist name was “Rido & the heritage”, but Rido & the heritage not featuring artist, this is only one group,
    Why I use “& the heritage” cause in my composition I use some of my home town traditional instruments and some culture

    Please, What must I do so my album can go live with that name

    • tunecore

      Hi Redo –

      This happens sometimes because stores like iTunes will think you’re Rido, and “Heritage” is the featured artist. Often times, you’ll simply need to show our Content Review team that this is the name of your band/act by providing something as simple as a website or social media profile. Get in touch with our Artist Support team by phone (M-F 10a-6p) at 646-651-1060 or via email here: https://support.tunecore.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

  • BILLIONAIRS LYFESTLYE

    How’s many day’s does it take to get back after fixing the problem

  • Tony Parker

    why dont they tell you this up front?

  • wigs

    how long does it normally take after you reply to tunecores email for a review team to look at the changes and see if the album can be released?

  • Mark Harrison Cline

    I keep getting my album rejected. I’ve put the featured artists on a separate line like it asked, but it still rejects me for the same reason.

    • tunecore

      Hi Mark – if your album has been rejected for any purposes, you should have received an email from our Content Review Team with an explanations and any instructions to fix it. Make sure your featured artists are correctly listed in just one place within the release. You can respond to the member of the Content Review Team directly in their email to you for more clarity.

  • Valerio Lucantoni

    Hi, just a question. My status is:

    Title: Kronos

    Main Artist: The Wormhole Experience

    Featuring Artist: Marco Sfogli

    so, the title preview was:

    Kronos (feat. Marco Sfogli)

    by The Wormhole Experience

    What is wrong?? the email tell me that you can’t proceed because there are some problems with the way I fill in the artist place,

    Can you kindly help me?

    • tunecore

      Hi Valerio – it looks like you’ve included featured artists both in the fields available AND in the song title. For this reason, some stores will reject your music. Please check your inbox for instructions on how to fix this from our Content Review team – you can respond directly to them in that email thread if you have questions and they’ll get back to you in a timely manner.

      • Daniel Swags

        My song as not been live for days. Has there been any formatting errors?

  • Ryan Harris

    Hi so I did not use a wave file I used an mp3 but it has amazing quality and has been mastered. will it limit me

  • Lindokuhle Sithole

    Hi I am an artist with tunecore. I would like to know when will my song be available ? I have gotten my links and it is live. but the release date is just two days away and would like to know if its gonna be availble on the day

  • official Soldierbeatz

    HEY, i just wanna know,do i have to upload the back cover(tracklist) of my album when i want to distribute or just the front album art ? and also can i still sign up for music publishing administration after i have distributed or i have to do this before i go live?

    • tunecore

      Hey there – you don’t have to upload back cover art, and you can sign up for/register your songs with our Publishing Administration service any time! Not an issue if you’ve already distributed.

  • Sharon

    Hi! If my photo uploaded for my ep fine does that mean it has been accepted?
    I just realized that it says no blurriness… which doesn’t really make sense to me. I’m in focus, but the background is out of focus. Does that count as blurriness?

    • tunecore

      Hey Sharon – if you uploaded a photo/cover art file that violates our formatting guidelines in any way, you’ll receive an email from our Content Review Team. They’ll give instructions about making any fixes and you can correspond with them directly in that email thread. If you don’t receive an email, you’re good!

  • Jason Davis

    I just released a song but I accidentally used just the left wave file. Will this affect the sound quality of my release?

    • tunecore

      Hi Jason – if there’s any violation of formatting, you’ll receive an email from our Content Review Team. At that point you can switch out audio if necessary.