How to Not Get Blocked by Stores for Formatting Errors

October 11, 2012

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”

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.]