TuneCore Artists Close In On Earning One Billion Dollars In Revenue

When TuneCore launched in 2006, our mission was simple and clear: to help independent artists sell their music online, without sacrificing sales revenue or giving up their rights. At that time, there was only a fraction of the digital platforms by which artists can have their music streamed, downloaded and discovered in 2017. iTunes ruled, Amazon was cracking into the market, and artists that created music outside of the label system needed a way to get it distributed.

Since then, TuneCore has gone on to grow as a company exponentially in terms of what we offer artists in the way of features and services – and independent artists have acquired more and more power when it comes to controlling and advancing their careers. Services like Music Publishing Administration, Fan Reviews, Professional Mastering, YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection and others have made TuneCore a staple in the indie community across all genres.

All the while, whether they continued grinding it out DIY-style, got signed to a label, or achieved mainstream success, TuneCore Artists carried on receiving 100% of their sales revenue using our platform.

Today, we’re excited to announce that TuneCore is approaching the $1 BILLION mark of revenue earned by artists from their download sales and streams!

That’s one billion as in the number one, and NINE zeros after it. These are McDonald’s-esque numbers, people. Dr. Evil-from-Austin-Powers-ransom-request numbers, even. No matter the non-music-related monetary figure reference: we think it’s a pretty big deal.

Collectively, that money helped artists do things like:

  • Eat
  • Pay rent
  • Record more projects
  • Create and sell merch
  • Sign up for Publishing Administration
  • Build PR and radio campaign plans
  • Afford new equipment and gear
  • Go on tour

Maybe you’re reading this as a TuneCore Artist who just joined or hasn’t seen tons of money from their release since distributing and you’re thinking, “Wait, what? Me?” Yes, you. As you hustle and write and record and tour to build a fanbase, and focus on earning more revenue from your music, the money you’ve earned so far – whether you’re still working on that first dollar, or you’ve out the other side as a superstar – contributes to a major figure that would have baffled music industry pundits over ten years ago.

Your contribution to this major milestone, no matter what the size, plays an undeniable role in the further expansion of independent music and supports the idea that artists can do it their way and still get paid.

To celebrate, for a limited time you can join the Tunecore Artists already in the ‘Billion Dollar Club’ by distributing a FREE SINGLE using the promo code BILLION at check out (offer expires 7/2/17).

Distribute your free single today!

As we count down to the big earning moment, join us for the journey by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where you can get in on the fun. And be sure to follow our official TuneCore Spotify playlist!

How to Figure Out If Prospective Band Members Are Worth Your Time

By Mason Hoberg

 

The hardest part of trying to figure out who would be a good band member is that it’s hard to know a person until you’re around them for a while. A person fine in small doses may be a nightmare once you start to depend on them. Likewise, a person who rubs you the wrong way when you first meet them may end up becoming one of your best friends.

An article can’t give you the ability to judge a person at a glance. Some people are like tornadoes: they upend your life without warning, and after they’re gone you’re left scratching your head and trying to pick up the pieces. That’s just life.

Though, if you take the time to read this article, you can reduce the likelihood that this will happen to you. And really, aren’t the five minutes you’ll spend reading this article worth it if you can reduce the odds of someone ruining your band?

Spend Time with Them Before They’re In Your Band

A lot of people rush into joining a band, and because of this they don’t really know their bandmates until they’ve been around them for a while. That’s fine before you start gigging, but don’t trust them with any responsibilities until you have an idea of who they are.

Listen to their stories. Do they always make it sound like they’re the victim? Or does it seem like they’re always screwing someone over, even if in their story the person sounds like they deserve it? These are red flags.

Learn to Identify an Addict

Many musicians struggle with addiction. If anything, musicians are more likely to be addicts than the average person. While every addict may have a story, and usually a pretty sad one, you shouldn’t entrust an addict with a lot of responsibilities. No matter how good of a person they are, trusting an addict can very easily lead to heartache.

The most easily identifiable signs of an addict are physical. You obviously can’t pick them up by their crotch and teeth and examine them like at a show dog, but you’d be surprised what you can see in a person if you take the time to really look at them.

Lastly, make a note of their friends. A person’s friends are a reflection of that person, so if all of their friends seem a bit off it’s possible that they may be too. Should you meet any of their friends, discretely check for any signs of addiction.

Trust Your Gut

You ever get a bad feeling about someone, but you just can’t figure out why? That’s your subconscious alerting you to something about that person. While no one’s intuition is fool-proof, the fact that something rubs you the wrong way about someone is generally a good reason to be wary of them.

The hard part about this is knowing how to act on it. Generally, the best course of action here is to trust but verify. Give them the opportunity to earn your trust, but don’t entrust them with anything until you’ve gotten to know them as a person.

A Tiger Rarely Changes Its Stripes

I’m a big believer in the idea that if people want to change, they can. However, most people have a hard time acting against their nature. If they’re a liar and/or a thief, you don’t want them in your life.

If you hear stories about how a prospective band mate has previously treated the people in his/her life, be sure to take this into consideration before you bring them into your band. This actually leads us into our next topic.

Don’t Trust Every Story You Hear (Good or Bad)

While the rumors surrounding a person can be a good indication of who they are, at the same time it’s important to consider where these stories are coming from. For example, there are people who are going to be jealous of an up-and-coming musician in your local music scene. And while I wish musicians didn’t treat each other this way, there are musicians who will start rumors about each other out of jealousy.

And while it’s a cliché, rumors do spread like wildfire. Be sure to really think about who’s telling you a story about a person before you believe them. What do they stand to gain from telling you a negative story about a person? Never discount a story about a person, but don’t blindly trust anyone either.

In Conclusion

Learning to judge a person is a key part of succeeding in the music industry. The way members of your band act in public will have an effect on your reputation, so make sure that they reflect well on you as a person.

And don’t be afraid to get rid of someone who’s a drain on your life. Life’s too short to spend time with people who make your life worse, and everyone (well, almost everyone) deserves a good life if they’re willing to work towards it.

What you’d think of this article? Anything you’d like to add? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

How To Build Your Online Music Brand in 24 Hours

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Paul Loeb. Paul has been at the intersection of music and tech for 20 years. He is founder and CEO of DropTrack, a music promotion platform for independent artists. His goal has always been to give musicians like himself the tools to stand out from the rest, get heard, and make deals.]

 

Whether you’re pursuing music full- or part-time, you’ve likely been asked by family, friends, or perfect strangers about how you plan to make it in the music industry. Annoying, sure, but it’s a fair question. It’s a tough industry to crack and success takes much more than musical talent. Unlike in the past, however, making it big as a musician isn’t just about who you know. The good news is, with a bit of marketing, you can start to set yourself apart from the musicians who simply continue to hope the right person happens to walk into a near-empty bar for a listen. Here are a few quick tips for building your music brand so you can stand out amongst the competition.

It Starts With a Conversation

If you’re a member of a band, it’s important to start the branding process with all members present. If you’re a one man or woman show, you can get started immediately. You’ve probably already talked or thought about how you define your music, but for branding purposes, let’s focus on what makes your story different or unique.

There are thousands of hopeful “indie rock artists,” but are you in a band with your siblings? Did you learn to play the saxophone from your grandpa? Even if you’re convinced there’s nothing special about your background, there’s an interesting story behind any true passion. If you’re still unsure of how best to tell your story, look to the musicians who inspire you. Odds are, they’re paying marketers big bucks to help with this process, but reading a few of their stories can help provide a template to follow. Teasing that story out is the first step to successfully branding yourself.

Tell Your Story Concisely & Authentically

Now that you’ve done the hard work in getting to the root of what makes your music brand unique, it’s important to create a few variations of that story. You’ll need your quick, 30-second elevator pitch as well as a more detailed version for things like your website, talking to press, etc. The more concisely and consistently you can tell your own story, the catchier it becomes. Also be sure that you’re telling an authentic story and building a connection between you and the listeners.

Think about the musicians you love: there are likely certain stories—the love story behind the lyrics of your favorite song or the random way in which the guitarist met the drummer—that stick with you because of how well, and how consistently, they’re told. Which part of your story would you want to stick with a music blogger? With your biggest fans? It may seem redundant because these narratives are surely in your head, but getting them onto your website or into an email is critical in transferring how you see your music brand to how others understand you.

Be Consistent Across Channels

Now that you know your story and can tell it effectively, you’ll want to make sure it’s updated across all your channels, from your website to various social media platforms. You’ll want to make sure that a music blogger who checks out your Facebook page has the same experience there as (s)he does on your website, Twitter, and Instagram. Your messaging and the visuals that support it should all reflect the story you want to tell.

Create a List of Influencers

Once you’ve gained direction with the story you want to tell, it will be easier to find bloggers and publications who might be interested in your vision. You can use free, online tools like Buzzsumo to quickly search for relevant influencers. Broaden your reach by thinking about your story from a couple of different angles. If you’re a New Orleans-based funk band, look for bloggers who cover other funk bands, but also look to local New Orleans publications who might be interested in the local, hometown aspect of your story. You should cater your message to these two types of writers differently, but send promos easily and track which aspect of your story might be having a greater impact.

Make a List of Resources You Need

Ok, so it might be hard to do a total rebrand in 24 hours. But, now that you know the brand image you want to portray, have updated media to the extent you can, and made a list of the people with whom you want to connect, it’s time to jot down where you can go the extra mile in completing the branding process. Maybe your visual aesthetic isn’t telling your story as effectively as it could be. Scheduling a photoshoot or reaching out to a designer about a new logo are proactive steps you can take today toward a complete, successful online branding.

Now that you’ve put some serious effort into building your brand, it’s time to make sure you’re getting in front of the right people. Music bloggers and industry influencers will be more likely to give you a listen when you present yourself in a unique, consistent manner. (Remember, your demo isn’t enough, but your new branding will help you get the email open or link click-through.) There’s also no time like a rebrand to ramp up your marketing emails and connect with your fanbase with an email marketing campaign through Droptrack. You’ve done the work; now, go get your brand in front of the right people.

TuneCore Partners With Vinyl Replication Service QRATES

You don’t have to be up on every single current music trend to notice the soar and continued popularity of vinyl among fans and artists alike. Whether it’s a limited-run 7” or an attractive multi-colored 12” LP, independent artists have taken to pressing vinyl for new releases to sell to their fans – new and old – at shows and on their preferred digital channels. The global vinyl market is poised to hit $1 billion by the end of 2017.

While TuneCore is a digital distributor, we’ve made sure to offer resources for artists who are in need of a physical version of their releases via our third party CD Duplication Service. But today, we’re excited to announce an expansion of that offering: TuneCore has partnered with the vinyl replication service QRATES (pronounced “crates)!

As we’ve covered and as most indie artists will tell you, pressing up vinyl versions of a new release can be an expensive endeavor, and often times requires a minimum order of copies that don’t fit into artists’ business plans. QRATES lets artists commit to orders of 100 copies, where 300 or 500 might be the minimum elsewhere.

Using QRATES’ interactive design and vinyl-building platform, artists and labels can control the presentation of their records while keeping an eye on additional costs associated with specialization in real time.

While normally pressing vinyl copies of a new release can be time consuming and require a multitude of different steps and vendors getting involved, QRATES takes the hassle out of this process by handling all levels of production and offering an average 6-8 week turnaround.

On top of a smooth, trustworthy process,QRATES also offers artists the following services:

Distribution – Need a help with distributing? With QRATES you can try to sell your vinyl directly to record stores using our Store Delivery service. Store Delivery allows our international network of record store partners to purchase your records from ‘Press & Pre-Order, ‘Funding’, and ‘Sell Catalog’ projects at a wholesale price.

Mastering – Don’t know what to do with mastering for vinyl? For your greater sound experience, QRATES has secured a partnership with Color Sound Studio in Paris to offer an exclusive “STEREO COLOR” mastering service to our customers.

Crowdfunding – Using the “Funding Project”, your vinyl can be pressed with the exact amount of orders. To start the project, just build and customize your artist page, design your vinyl, and enter the necessary information to launch your project page. There is no sign up fee! Alongside our unique vinyl simulation tool, you can promote your vinyl with digital streaming, download and more to boost your orders.

Ready to learn more about getting your next project out on wax? TuneCore Artists can enjoy a 5% discount using QRATES (using promo code TUNECORE05) as a part of our partnership. Head over to QRATES’ site today to get started.

TuneCore’s Social Media For Musicians Guide [Free Download]

With the recent launch of TuneCore Social Pro – a premium version of our free social media management tool, complete with a mobile app – we think it’s important for independent artists to take an educated approach to how they handle their marketing strategy on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

That’s why we’re introducing the totally free TuneCore Social Media For Musicians guide. Designed for artists at any comfort level and experience using social platforms – and packed full of useful content – the Social Media For Musicians guide is a great tool for any artist who is taking their musical journey to the next level.

How can you find your ‘social voice’? In what ways can you be building an audience? When should you post on certain platforms – and for that matter, what kind of stuff should you be posting?

We all know it’s not enough to simply set up profiles, post once or twice a week, and expect those minimal efforts to have a meaningful impact on the way you build your fan base online. But at the same time, artists and musicians were born to do just that – create! It shouldn’t be expected that every creator is a natural self-promoter or marketer, regardless of how experienced with social media one is in their personal life.

In addition to information on building a sufficient social media strategy and utilizing analytics (gasp!), the TuneCore Social Media For Musicians guide also has some incredible video components to it! We interviewed experts in the field of promotion and PR, social data, and even some TuneCore employees who happen to be independent artists themselves to find out what kind of struggles music-makers need to get over when diving into the brave new frontier of social media marketing.

So – looking for tips to master your social media strategy? Look no further! Download the free guide at Amazon here, and enjoy our six-part video series below or on our YouTube channel.

5 Reasons Teaming Up With Another Band Means a Mutual Boost on Tour

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Jhoni Jackson, a music journalist and Puerto Rico-based venue owner.]

 

Heading out on tour with your band has the potential to bring everyone in it closer together. Co-existing and constantly collaborating, playing together night after night—becoming a tight-knit troupe in the process is almost inevitable. But why not double the bonds you could solidify by bringing another group into the picture? Organizing a joint tour means you’ll connect with even more fellow musicians—and that’s not the only benefit, either.

The notion that there’s strength in numbers is inarguably true for independent and DIY bands. Touring is one of the toughest parts of the gig; in that effort especially, you’ll accomplish more working together.

1. You’re sharing fans

Even if you hail from the same city, chances are you don’t share the exact same fanbase with any other band. That means pairing up in any capacity is an opportunity for exposure to new listeners; touring together is a maximized version of that.

Whenever possible, tag your tour-mates in related promo and other posts—and they should do the same, of course. Collaborate as much as you can: Both bands should be reflected in promo material like tour posters, promo videos announcing dates, Facebook events, and so forth. Every time you promote together is another chance to appeal to each other’s fans.

One result of two separate camps collectively pushing the promo could be increased show attendance, and there’s some strategy within that for increased effectiveness. If either group has toured before, include spots in your schedule that one has played and the other hasn’t; the band visiting for a second time can help carry the newcomer in terms of pull. Even if both bands are embarking on first-ever tours, though, you can also use Insights on your Facebook page to learn about the demographics of your fans. Their locations could help you choose which cities you visit, or what kind of marketing effort will work best based on your existing (or yet-to-be-built) audiences.

2. You can pool resources

Lug around less by sharing gear, particularly the bulkier items like amps and drums. Go in on groceries together to save money, and share the burden of cooking and preparing meals by rotating responsibilities. Depending on how big your group is, you might even travel together in a single vehicle, so there’s only one gas tank to fill to be split among all of you. And when you’re reaching out to friends and acquaintances as you line up places to crash on tour, more musicians in the mix means a greater potential number of generous hosts.

3. Two networks are better than one

Maybe one of you knows a booking agent in a particular city and the other doesn’t, or perhaps you’ve established a rapport with certain outlets that your touring mates haven’t. Knowing the right people in any given city can be a boon to a DIY tour. Whatever the effort, your connections combined are obviously doubly powerful.

4. Collaborating sparks creativity

Working together on any type of creative strategy, the sharing of influences and obscure discoveries, even casual conversations about art and music—something special happens when separate imaginations meet. New ideas pop up seemingly from nowhere; you gain fresh perspectives about other people’s work and your own.

Creativity fuels creativity, and in the close quarters of tour life, there’s no doubt you’ll find inspiration in collaborating—and practically living together—throughout the trip.

5. Through the camaraderie, you strengthen community bonds

Touring together is one of those shared experiences that facilitates deep connections and meaningful, lifelong friendships. The struggles, triumphs, exhaustion—incredible shows, bad turnouts, strategizing for press, the perpetual uphill battle of financial sustainment—are all collectively endured or celebrated.

Camaraderie develops naturally, and that, in turn, helps you strengthen your overall ties to your scene, whether that community is local or built around a genre and spread throughout different cities.