Tunecore makes a price change. Im still using it.

Last week I uploaded my record label’s new release Ionic Vision – Club Isolation to TuneCore. I use them to get my releases onto iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. You pay a maintenance and service fee charge of $19.98 per album. This is reoccurring yearly charge for every album you have “live” for sale. You also pay a one time charge of .99 for each store you want to have the release on. For example .99 for Amazon worldwide, .99 for eMusic and for iTunes each world store is separate so .99 for iTunes USA, .99 for iTunes Germany, etc… I don’t bother selling my music on some stores they offer like Rhapsody or Napster.

One thing you may notice if you used Tunecore in the past is the maintenance and service fee charge has doubled from what it used to be. I emailed Tunecore about the price change and they told me yes it did go up but only effects newly added releases. So for example, your older albums on iTunes won’t start incurring a double charge. My albums make a decent amount of money per month so its not a major issue for me. However, for the new single on my label with just 4 songs on it I now have to question if it’s worth doing. Beatport, Neuton, Juno Download and of course my own online store (using Easybe) don’t charge me anything to put a release up. I do want these releases on iTunes and Amazon but only if I will surely will not loose money. I’m a glass is half full guy so this release went up using Tunecore.

I still think Tunecore is a good service. They have a great website. Uploading and organizing your releases works smoothly and is a nice looking process. They always answer my emails right away. Storage is getting cheaper so I’m not sure why thier fee doubled. Let’s hope for more competition in this space as really at this point Tunecore is the only good option for independent labels to get onto iTunes. I do feel it’s important to keep the concept of “point of sale” in mind which states the more places you sell your stuff the more money you should make.

Published by

Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

10 thoughts on “Tunecore makes a price change. Im still using it.”

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Oliver. We do try to reply very quickly, and so far, people have reacted really well.

    It’s true, around eight months into our existence we found our yearly maintenance and storage had to climb. The problem isn’t storage so much as the “maintenance” and processing part. These are huge files, and every single store has its own format requirements. Also, when a new store comes along, we have to re-deliver. The bandwidth can get crazy. Finally, our accounting system is practically a full-service accountancy department, where we process huge sales data, deal with banks to transfer funds, and digest the information into small, perfectly organized sales reports for all our customers. The end product is simple to use, but it takes a lot.

    We decided not to subsidize those costs by taking a percentage of your earnings. It wouldn’t be fair: why should someone successful pay so much more? We wanted to keep it flat. I’m very happy it’s only $19.98, which means an album need sell only three times, say, from iTunes, in a whole YEAR. Even a single only has to sell a couple of dozen times in a whole year–I think more bands spend more money on guitar picks in a year than that!

    Thanks again for sticking with us. It’s still by far the cheapest and most fair way into iTunes and the other stores. :)


  2. Hi Peter. Thanks for you reply here. You guys definitely move at the web’s pace which is great. Everything you say above makes sense. Bandwidth is surely something I didn’t consider… as your service became more popular I am sure you had some stay awake late moments.

    Actually the yearly charge will weed out a zillion very bad albums that have no expectation of ever selling. Thats a good thing!

  3. i myself would still consider using Tunecore for something like Amazon delivery but only if i had a full EP or album(not worth it for singles).

    the iTunes thing is quite stupid though – the way they separate all the territories is just ridiculous. plus the store is probably flooded with crappy music. i’m referring to Apple’s stupidity and not Tunecore’s of course, they’re just helping to facilitate getting your music on a crazy website.

    i’d say it’s best to stick with niche stores that sell music of your genre, but Amazon is definitely on the right path with 320kpbs and DRM-free downloads imo.

  4. Im curious as to why you dont just buy a barcode and simply upload the files yourself instead of using a service to do it? Something like http://www.indierec.com/.

    It seems to me that Tunecore and other services like it are just playing middleman and charging for something that you as a label and/or artist can do themselves.

    Charging a yearly fee for a release to get onto iTunes is rediculous, once its uploaded to their service there are no charges to the digital distributor so other than bandwidth/storage what could they possibly charging you for?

    Just seems like wasted money to me. If my math is wrong please let me know but as I see it, using Tunecore and other like services is a waste.

  5. Hi Datascraper. iTunes doesn’t allow small labels or single artists to upload directly to them. There are digital aggregators (The Orchard for example) but they take a cut of your profits.

  6. I talk to iTunes on a daily basis, and honestly, they simply don’t take everyone who applies. It’s a long process to get a contract in to iTunes, usually a 3 to 6 month wait, and unless you’ve got a sizable catalog, they’re going to reject you. iTunes doesn’t want to have a zillion contracts with individual artists.

    Of course we’re a middleman, but we’re a fair one. FedEx is a middleman between you and your package’s destination, but they provide a valuable service and deserve to get paid. I mean, we’re asking, what, $30 or so, FLAT? And you keep your rights, get into iTunes in mere days, and we organize all your sales back to you on a web-based form where you can process your payments instantly? That’s not worth the cost of a six-pack and a couple of pizzas?

    We figure it’s a fair shake, since we’re not using old models of taking ownership of your rights or demanding a percentage (let alone a percentage WITHOUT CAP).


  7. You can also http://www.dittomusic.com who cover around 700 stores.
    We have so far managed to get 7 unsigned artists into the UK charts and are responsible for helping KOOPA become the first unsigned artist in history to get into the UK top 40.

    We have a 4 week turnaround and give you free barcodes, ISRC codes and YOU specify your release date.
    Our £25 package covers over 50 sites including all worldwide iTunes sites, Amazon, Amazon UK, Play.com and some great new ones like Youtube digital, we7, lala, mobile networks like Shazam.

    I believe we are one of the only distributors to have a telephone number which is uself for helping our clients.

    Some other great features of Ditto is doing your Catco so that you are fully chart eligible and putting you on pre release.
    This means that while you are waiting the 4 weeks to go live on iTunes fans can still order your music off around 12 sites!!!

    If anyone has enquiries please let me know, i would be happy to answer them.

    Oh and we also have our own national TV show ;)



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