TuneCore – Tools for Indie Musicians

This is part of a “Tools for Indie Musicians” blog series where I highlight what tools I use to spread my music out there. See other posts in the series here.

My last post in this series was over CD Baby. TuneCore does pretty much the same thing – and that’s getting your music to iTunes and other digital retailers so people can buy your music and make you rich and famous.

Visit TuneCore’s website

TuneCore has a few differences, though, and I’m going to highlight those here, as well as detail my personal experience with them.

Pricing

The main difference between TuneCore and CD Baby (that I can see) is in the pricing – it’s a totally different model. It works like this:

Singles are $9.99 and albums are $49.99. Both prices are PER YEAR. This is the big difference from CDBaby (in costs). Also – the UPC barcodes are included. So, to break it down, here’s a comparison.

Singles:

  • TuneCore: $9.99 per year
  • CD Baby: $14.99 – one time fee

Albums:

  • TuneCore: $49.99 per year
  • CD Baby: $59.99 – one time fee

You might be thinking that CD Baby is a no-brainer in the long term, but they payout model is a bit different, too.

TuneCore passes 100% of profits to you. This is huge. When your song sells on iTunes for $0.99, Apple keeps 30% and then TuneCore pays you the rest, which is $0.693 per sale of one song.

CD Baby keeps 9% and pays you 91%. That same song that payed you $0.693 with TuneCore gets you $0.637 with CD Baby. You might think that 5.6 cents no big deal, but it can be significant. So, the pricing differences take on a bit of a different story. I think I’ll make another post soon where I’ll discuss which service to go with and why – to me it depends on a couple different factors.

The Process

Just like with CD Baby, the process of getting your album or single up and running is super easy. It’s all digital – you upload the artwork and music, fill out the info and submit.

Reporting

TuneCore handles reporting a bit better than CD Baby, in my opinion. They give you “weekly trend reports” from iTunes. Basically, you can see how many iTunes sales you’ve got every week. CD Baby does reports, but it’s only after iTunes pays out, which is typically about 2 months after the sale.

Here’s an example. Last week I released a single through TuneCore. The single went live on iTunes after 16 hours. The following Tuesday (just a few days ago), I was able to log in and see that I had sold 3 copies on iTunes. So thanks to the three of you that bought it! Haha. I did release it for free at NoiseTrade, though, and lots more downloaded it there. Anyway – this kind of reporting is not offered through CD Baby.

Conclusion

I have only used TuneCore for one single – and it’s only been out for a week. So far the service seems great. I haven’t collected any money, so I can’t comment on how smooth the payout works, but I’m guessing there won’t be any hiccups.

One note – if you don’t pay the yearly renewal fees for your singles and albums, they are taken down from the services. You’ll have to re-submit them as new singles/albums, and all stats and other data (like reviews in iTunes) will be removed as well.

Give these guys a shot if you’re looking to release something soon!

  • http://www.tunecore.com Peter Wells

    Glad you’re having a good experience so far. Give me a holler if you’ve any questions about us. I love when people go public with their process here, it helps us hone our service and makes us better and better. Appreciate your thoughts!

    –Peter
    peter@tunecore.com

    • http://www.brianwahlmusic.com Brian

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Peter! I didn’t speak to your customer servicen in the post (simply because I haven’t every asked you guys about anything yet), but your responsiveness on Twitter and here tells me that it is excellent.

      Also – I know you guys do tons of stuff that I didn’t cover here. Just haven’t used it all yet. You’ve got a repeat customer, though – I’ve got another single cued up to be released next week!

  • http://cassidyrobinson.com Cassidy Robinson

    I used Tunecore for my first album. But I eventually ended up going with Reverbnation for my second and have loved it. They upload to multiple distributers and have a built in promotional system. I love their detailed sales reports too. Like Tunecore, Reverbnation gives you 100% of the profit. Just another option that’s out there. 🙂

    • http://www.brianwahlmusic.com Brian

      Cool – thanks chiming in on this, Cassidy. I knew that ReverbNation did digital distribution, but I’ve never heard of anybody’s experience with them. Glad to hear a positive report!

      • http://cassidyrobinson.com Cassidy Robinson

        I did read that they charge a flat price whether you’re uploading an album of 50 songs or one single – so that could be a downfall for those that just want to upload singles. Which, by the way, how do you guarantee that a single will be up by the time you want it to? I’ve always had to wait forever for my album’s to go live on iTunes using both Tunecore and Reverb!

        • http://www.brianwahlmusic.com Brian

          That’s ReverbNation that does the flat $50 fee?

          I released a single just last week through TuneCore, and it was live on iTunes in less than 24 hours.

          A few months ago I released an acoustic album through CD Baby, and it was live to iTunes within a few days.

          I think both TuneCore and CD Baby pretty much guarantee your stuff will go live on iTunes in 24-48 hours, and that’s been my experience. It used to take a lot longer, though. I’ve also found that Napster gets stuff up really fast – 2 or 3 days typically.

        • http://www.weekendwarriorworship.com Mark Snyder

          I went with Catapult, and my album was on ITunes in about a week, so I was super happy with the timing of that. I have not done digital distribution with Reverb Nation – I use it for other things. Cannot speak to CD Baby or TuneCore.

          • http://www.brianwahlmusic.com Brian

            Cool – thanks, Mark.

  • http://www.doomsdayapocalypse.moonfruit.com/ Doomsday Apocalypse

    Hey Guys, try out http://www.venzodigital.com/ , it’s 100% free and you get a share of the profits, it distributes to Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and eMusic