Amazon, More Money, More Stores, #1 Albums, Over $100 Million Dollars & Sonic Youth…

April 27, 2012

By Jeff Price

So there I was on the subway reading the NY Times, and once again in the Monday Business Section in the “Most Popular” Column was the list of best selling artists/releases, and once again there was a TuneCore Artist nestled between the other major label artists.

This was not supposed to happen (so says the traditional music industry).  And it caused me to pause, reflect, and look back on the last year.  I realized I missed the forest for the trees, and it’s a hell of a forest.


As some of you may recall, there was an issue between TuneCore and Amazon in the EU/UK, causing Amazon to pull down the entire TuneCore catalog of recordings.

I am pleased to say, that as of last week, all those TuneCore Artists’ recordings will be re-appearing in the Amazon EU and UK stores over the next five weeks.  In addition, any new releases will be showing up in Amazon EU/UK in the usual time frame.  You can read the official announcement and more about the entire thing here.


Long story short, each time a song is downloaded, streamed or publicly performed, the person who wrote the song is owed a SECOND, separate royalty.

To date, TuneCore Artists have earned over $70 million dollars in songwriter royalties, but have not gotten all of their money.  So we started a service to get it for them.

It took a year to hire the people, build the technology and get it live. It’s been up and running for about four months, and you can view it here.

In the process of getting this live, we set up groundbreaking, first of its kind, industry changing deals.  Digital music services agreed to pay directly to TuneCore the royalties owed to songwriters.  This cut out a lot of middlemen that dipped, double dipped, and, in some cases, triple dipped into artists’ royalties and added over a year before they got their money (if it all).  This TuneCore songwriting service means that instead of this money sitting with some organization in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, England, etc., waiting to be picked up, if ever, it can now make it back to the songwriter.

We also updated and modernized and re-invented global songwriter publishing administration. This not only gets more money back to songwriters more quickly, but it opens the doors for any songwriter to have a global publishing administration (until now, this was only available to an elite few, just as distribution was, before TuneCore launched).

For the first time, any songwriter can come to, click through four screens, and get a global songwriter publishing administration deal. Songs are registered with over 200 societies and digital stores worldwide, and a songwriter royalties can now finally make it back to the songwriter.

In addition, if a songwriter’s song is played in Deezer, simfy, Rhapsody, or Spotify, the songwriter makes more money via TuneCore than via any other entity in the world.

There are four more services with which TuneCore is in direct deals for songwriters, coming shortly.

Hold on to your hats, we get to change the world again—this time for songwriters.


There have been a number of new stores over the recent months—some came as existing services which expanded, others are new deals for us.  All are worthy of your music.

New stores and/or expansions to the TuneCore family of stores:

Google Play
iTunes – expanded into Latin America
Rhapsody – expanded into Germany and the UK

(Until the end of April there is a 50% off sale to add new stores to existing releases.)

We also signed a new deal yesterday with another music service (one I REALLY like) that comes with direct licensing for the songwriter. (Press release and announcement coming on that one soon.)

There are two more in the pipeline—they will also come with direct licensing for the songwriter…


There were a lot, and I mean a LOT.  So many we cannot mention them all.  To start, there were over 2,600 TuneCore Artists featured in iTunes, Amazon, etc.  Some as the Starbucks free single of the week, others on the main genre pages, main homepages, in newsletters, as the iTunes free download of the week, in special pricing programs, and the list goes on and on.

That said, here’s the short list:

#1 album on all of iTunes for almost an entire week: Hoodie Allen

#1 on iTunes Rock Chart: Thousand Foot Krutch

#1 Soundtrack on iTunes: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

#1 on iTunes Comedy chart: Patrice O’Neal and Doug Benson

#1 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart: The Civil Wars, Ben Rector, and others

Starbucks “Pick of the Week” went to Jesse Thomas and We Are Augustines (they both got those giveaway cards in Starbucks nationally)

The Civil Wars sold millions and millions and millions of songs (no doubt turning down every single kind of major label deal you can possibly think of), and performed on the Grammys, while winning TWO Grammys (because one is just not enough) for their album Barton Hollow: one for Best Folk Album and the other for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

The Dove Award (Christian music’s highest honor) was won by:

Lecrae’s Hallelujah for Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year & Jennie Lee Riddle as a songwriter for the Inspirational Recorded Song of the YearHope Of The Broken World.

Kate Diaz played the official Earth Day Event in Washington, DC.

NPR Music featured a number of TuneCore Artists in their feature Song of the Day, including Girl in A Coma and Jennifer O’Connor.

Donnie McCLurkin was honored to be a featured performer in the Whitney Houston Memorial Service.

Joan Franka represented the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest.

In December 2011, Alex Day became the first unsigned artist to achieve a place in the top ten of the Official Charts in the United Kingdom with his song Forever Yours.

Ian Axel’s track This is the New Year was in the Garry Marshall film New Year’s Eve (Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Robert DeNiro, Jon Bon Jovi, and Jessica Biel starred).

Punchline was a featured performer on Howie Mandel’s show “Mobbed.”

Courrier’s track Between was featured in an episode of Vampire Diaries (shooting them to #52 overall on iTunes), and they have a big TV placement coming in May.

The list goes on and on…


In 2010, TuneCore Artists generated over $60 million dollars from the sale and use of their recordings in the stores TuneCore distributes to (i.e. iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rhapsody, eMusic, etc.).

In 2011, TuneCore Artists generated and got back over $100 million dollars from the sale and use of their recordings.

In 2012, the amount of money TuneCore Artists have made is already 68% higher than where it was this time last year.


No matter how you slice it, more money is getting back to artists now than at any point in history.

(And for the usual contingency of people insisting that TuneCore is saying all artists will be billionaires, they won’t.  Please read this article.)


This is more of a personal one for me.  About two weeks ago, Sonic Youth selected TuneCore to distribute every album they released up to their first Geffen album. These albums sit with Rubber Soul and Revolver in my world.

Are you kidding me?  This is Sonic Youth!  I don’t get tongue tied often, but there are literally three people in the world that will cause me to be a starry-eyed, stuttering school boy when I speak to them: Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis and Frank Black), Thurston Moore, and Kim Gordon.

I can’t tell you how many hours and hours and hours and hours I spent listening, and re-listening, to the most innovative, creative and groundbreaking band of my generation.

The sonic walls of sound, production, songwriting and influence they had (and have) on artists still resonate today.

This is a band that never ever sold out. They did it their way and stayed at it for years, inventing, re-inventing, never ever becoming or doing something that was not true to them.

The credibility they brought to any label that released their music or artist who had the opportunity to open for them is immeasurable. I am truly humbled and blown away that I am going to play any role whatsoever in Sonic Youth’s career.  It is an honor.  And a thank you to every single TuneCore employee who helped create a company of such high quality, trust, value and integrity that Sonic Youth would choose to use us.

For those that do not know them, you are missing out on experiencing music and artistic creativity that most likely will not repeat itself.

For those that do know them, it’s so worth re-listening to.

Without you, none of this would have happened.

Thank you for giving all of us here at TuneCore the opportunity to cause change and make things better for artists.

-Jeff and TuneCore

(Sonic Youth albums below distributed by TuneCore)

Confusion Is Sex (Plus Kill Yr. Idols)

Daydream Nation (Deluxe Edition)

Daydream Nation (Remastered Original Album)



Sonic Youth

Bad Moon Rising

The Whitey Album