[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Daniel Iammatteo, Content Specialist on TuneCore’s Entertainment Relations team. Be sure to check out his previous piece, Best Practices: Pitching in Spotify For Artists.]
There are a multitude of reasons why you might be thinking about moving a release (or a catalogue) over to a DIY distributor such as TuneCore. The most probable scenario being you were signed with a label and have now regained the rights to control your own masters. Just in case you want to know an industry secret, the marketing on an older record has likely been done and recouped already (so renewing a rev-share agreement could mean “sharing” revenue that you no longer have to or should give up so easily).
First off, congrats and welcome to the other side! Secondly, you will find that being DIY frees up a lot of costs (no more 15-20% distribution fees), but it means you’ll start to be responsible for some of the grunt work… The good news is that getting your music into the TuneCore system is a straightforward and simple process, and you can do it without losing stream counts or disrupting your store playlisting (YAY!).
Here is what you’ll need:
- Release artwork: guidelines here
- The .wav files: guidelines here
- Metadata (producers, songwriters + contributors)
- Existing ISRCs (not UPCs, you’ll get a new one of those)
When you upload to TuneCore make sure to list the artist profiles where the music should be going, as well as the original release date (this way the release doesn’t show up as a new release, and set the “release date” to when you want the TC upload to go live in stores.
After the release goes live on platform, you’ll probably be keeping a close eye to the artist’s Spotify page. You’ll notice that within a few days (normally 1-3 business days) this icon will appear below the release(s) you’re switching over…
This means that there is a duplicate version of the release live on the platform (which you’ll want to see in order to avoid a lapse in availability). After you see this pop-up, you should be all set to ask for the takedown of the release from the prior distributor.
Once the takedown from your prior distributor is complete, you are all set with the transfer and you can repeat this process for all additional releases you want moved over into the DIY ecosystem. 🙂
A couple of footnotes learned from experience:
*Sales reporting will be split between the two distributors for however long the duplicates are live on the platform… so if your first statement or two looks low on TuneCore, you may find that it was actually attributed to the old non-TuneCore release.
*Monetization on FB and YouTube are actually considered separate services by distributors, so you will likely need to request separate takedowns on your catalogue in order to switch that over to TuneCore.
*Store back end reporting (in S4A or otherwise) could be disrupted during the transfer process. Even when following these best practices, there can be errors or tech failure. If that happens, take a deep breath, and contact your distributor to double check the transfer was successful.