Derek Sivers is the man who created CD Baby. He posted an interesting article on his blog on some of what went on behind the scenes as Steve Jobs created iTunes. It shows another case of music industry battle. I think we are lucky that Tunecore was able to strike and promote a good way to get Independent music into the iTunes music store. I know there are other ways in but imagine if underground artists were locked out.
“I decided to refund everybody’s $40, with my deepest apologies. With 5000 musicians signed up, that meant I was refunding $200,000. Since we couldn’t promise anything, I couldn’t charge money in good conscience.” – sivers.org
Read the full article: http://sivers.org/itunes
Here’s an interesting tip I don’t recommend actually trying: Use iTunes and Tunecore to launder money! Apparently the Times Online (UK) says that’s exactly what happened using stolen credit cards.
“The Metropolitan Police and the FBI have caught an international criminal gang said to have made tens of thousands of pounds by buying their own records from Apple iTunes and Amazon with stolen credit cards. The gang are alleged to have created several songs that they provided to an online American company (Tunecore), which uploaded them to be sold on the two internet sites. It is believed that over four months from September last year the gang used 1,500 stolen or cloned British and American credit cards to buy songs worth $750,000 (£469,000). Amazon and iTunes, which were unaware of the fraud, paid $300,000 in royalties. Six men and three women were arrested yesterday by 60 officers at addresses in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Kent. A man in his forties, was arrested later… It is believed that one of the gang is a DJ and that he created the songs that were then bought…” – timesonline.co.uk
This seems like a stupid crime because of the trail it leaves. I wonder if they had to actually download all the songs they bought. I guess this is one way to get onto the charts!
photo credit: maury.mccown
There are now many ways to get your music on to the iTunes and Amazon MP3 shops. If you’re signed to a label they do the dirty work for you. As an independent artist you can sign your catalog to one of many aggregator services such The Orchard for example. They take a cut and put your tunes in many places for sale including ring-tone sites. Tunecore has been a popular DIY option and it’s the one I have been using for my own albums here in the USA (I have a separate record deal in Europe with Out of Line Music, outofline.de). Because I sell a decent amount on iTunes I easily make back the upfront fees Tunecore charges to get my tunes online.
However, I have a older few releases on my record label that I’m not sure would generate much income. So up until now I haven’t posted them using services that had upfront or maintenance fee’s attached to them in fear I wouldn’t make the cash back. I do sell the old releases on my own website using the Easybe store and I also have them online with my Beatport and Junodownload deals. I’ve been on the look out for a fair service to get the rest of the old catalog onto iTunes. I was pleased to recently discover Routenote. Routenote’s service is dead simple to understand. You upload your music to them and they take 10% of any music you sell after you sell it. They offer online stats and payments come via PayPal. Routenote is non-exclusive.
So is Routenote the best route for you to take? It’s not always a clear cut answer. For some further insight look at this chart and article on the Routenote blog: Digital Music Distributors Compared
One of the things I miss the most about vinyl records is the nice large artwork, inner sleeves and lyric sheets they came with. Compact Disc booklets forced us into reading lyrics in font sizes only really meant for legal fine print. When the MP3 took over on the original iPod we were left with nothing to look at all.
I’ve always said that technology will save us. Man will end up using solar power, curing cancer and inhabiting other planets. Technology will also bring back album art. Next month Apple will release an interactive album application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The application will add artwork, lyrics and behind the scenes goodies to music.
“The new app also highlights an important point: CDs may lose one of the advantages they have clung to in their losing fight against digital downloads. Now that iTunes albums will offer the extras already found in CDs, the latter is quickly becoming even more irrelevant.” – TechCrunch
I know your thinking that, “Oh wow that’s nice but an iPhone is only 2.5 x 4.5 inches. That’s way smaller than my old 12″ albums!” You know where I’m going with this right? Time and tech will fix this issue too. Surely you can bet multi-touch tablet computers with large screens and nice speakers will be in our hands within 48 months. If someone makes a 12″ square tablet my credit card is done for! I can imagine tablet computers will get as thin as old 12″s too.
I hope independent artists will have a way to add their own interactive album artwork. Tunecore are you working on procuring that deal for us? So musician friends it’s time to start brushing up on your Photoshop skills!
photo credit: ntr23
So apparently some guy in Texas tried to cash a fake check for $360,000,000,000. When confronted he said it was a loan from his girlfriend’s mother to start a record label! Doesn’t he know he can use Tunecore and get a bunch of albums on iTunes for less than $100? He doesn’t need print advertising and billboards right? He can just post news of his releases on forums and MySpace right? Well the truth lies somewhere in between $100 and $390 Billion.
A man has been accused of attempting to pass a $360 billion check, which he claims was given to him by his girlfriendâ€™s mother to start a record business, Fort Worth police said. Charles Ray Fuller, 21, of Crowley, was arrested on April 22 on an accusation of forgery, police said. Mr. Fuller was also accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana, Lt. Henderson said. Lt. Henderson said he did not know if Mr. Fuller and his girlfriend were still together. – www.dallasnews.com
This story is funny on so many levels. Then again, this guy just pulled an awesome publicity stunt. Too bad they don’t have his MySpace URL in the news article because I would have checked it out! Maybe the real point of this post is 15 minutes of fame is not enough if you want to make it in the entertainment world.
Would you do anything illegal for fame?
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.