By Kevin Cornell

In what feels like the blink of an eye, we’re saying so long to 2019! We’re thankful to be recapping some of our highlights from this past year as we look forward to what 2020 holds for the independent music community.

New store partnerships, exciting new service offerings, fascinating new industry trends and statistics, and connecting with artists at major conferences/festivals and TuneCore events, 2019 had a little bit of everything. Not to mention a year of educational content for independent artists to glean from and further their careers.

Be sure to take a listen to our “End Of Year” 2019 #MusicMadeMe Podcast episode with TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman:

Let’s take a look back at some of what the year had to offer.

New Store Partnerships

In 2019, TuneCore partnered with new stores and streaming platforms across the globe to ensure that our artists were able to reach more music fans than ever. Breakthrough launches throughout South Korea, China, Russia and the U.S. gave TuneCore Artists major opportunities for discovery.

In May, we announced that we’d be distributing to South Korea-based Music Island. With four million subscribers across six individual digital music platforms, artists could now reach fans in a rapidly growing market.

In October, TuneCore finalized its partnership with Tencent, allowing TuneCore Artists to break into the expanding Chinese digital music market. Focusing on three digital platforms, (Kugou Music, QQ Music, and Kuwo Music), music discovery opportunities were made available across hundreds of millions of active monthly users within a diverse array of territories and demographics throughout China.

In that same month, TuneCore announced its official partnership with the massively popular app TikTok. Artists had been asking about TikTok leading up to the announcement as more and more music fans adopted the app, which allows users to create 15-second videos with background music that helps set the scene. After seeing the app launch the careers of other independent, previously-unknown artists, it’s no wonder folks wanted their music to be available there! We’re excited to help artists add this app to their marketing strategy and hopefully see a correlation between the use of their music on TikTok with streams, downloads and ticket sales.

Finally, let’s not forget the new strides we made with our existing (and oldest!) partner, Apple. This year we integrated an easy-to-use platform for helping artists sign up for their new Apple Music For Artists program. Artists who have distributed music to Apple Music via TuneCore are now able to claim and verify their profile as quickly as possible so that they can begin personalizing their artist page with song selections, photos, and more.

Connecting With Artists

2019 also brought TuneCore many face-to-face opportunities to connect with some of the artists in our diverse and robust community. Ask anyone who works at TuneCore: there’s nothing that can beat that sort of connection!

In March, we hosted a SXSW 2019 mixer for our artists down in Austin, TX.

In September, TuneCore made its presence known at the famous Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany, and then once again in October for Hamburg Bandcontest.

Later in October, our people were on the ground at the epic and ever-growing A3C Festival connecting and interviewing artists, as well as making some time to party.

And throughout the whole year, our brilliant Entertainment Relations team was on the ground in their respective territories in the U.S., UK, France, Italy and Germany, connecting with artists through one-on-one artist consultations and events that encourage local music industry professionals to connect and focus on how they can effectively benefit artists further.

Publishing Administration Upgrades

Let’s not forget about the exciting new updates made available to TuneCore’s Publishing Administration services. Songwriters who are utilizing TuneCore to collect their royalties saw some great new features. These included:

  • Simpler composition registration.
  • Faster royalty collection – the same speed from foreign PROs as their local society.
  • Best-in-class global PRO collection – giving artists/writers the same level of service afforded to the biggest names in music.
  • Easier ‘Splits’ set-up and management.

2018 Growth Stats to Start the Year Right

In the beginning of 2019, we were thrilled to offer our learnings from the previous year and what they held for our artists. We dropped some really insightful statistics about 2018 growth sectors across territories and genres.

While it might seem silly to recap these at the end of 2019, it is worth mentioning that these revelations helped set the tone for the independent music community in terms of overall industry trends.

Growth Within Genres:    

  • Heavy metal – 154% increase
  • J-Pop – 133% increase
  • R&B/Soul – 68% increase
  •  K-Pop – 58% increase
  • World music – 57% increase
  • Instrumental – 42% increase

In 2018, streaming growth varied worldwide:

  • Africa – 146% growth
  • Asia – 52% growth
  • Oceania – 38% growth
  • Europe – 35% growth
  • South America – 32% growth
  • North America – 31% growth

Countries with notable streaming growth in 2018 included:

  • Morocco – 243% increase
  • South Africa – 125% increase
  • Italy – 108% increase
  • India – 89% increase
  • Turkey – 81% increase
  • Czech Republic – 72% increase

We’re looking forward to sharing what kind of growth 2019 had to show!

Looking Ahead

Finally, we want to extend a hearty THANK YOU to all of our TuneCore Artists for a successful 2019. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning, just signed up and distributed this year, or fall somewhere in between, your commitment to creating music and empowering your careers is an inspiration to us day in, day out. Here’s to 2019 and looking forward to 2020!

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