Originally Posted by John Suitcase
A side question to CD Baby and Tunecore: What services do you work with? I have a couple of releases with The Orchard, and I know they work with about a billion services around the world (well, a lot, anyway!) I realize iTunes is big in the US, but there are other services like Rhapsody, Emusic, etc. along with lots of cell-phone services, and so on.
This list is all over our site, but here's a summary:
Stores you can currently choose to have your music appear in through TuneCore:
--iTunes U.S. (and substores iTunes Latino, etc.)
--iTunes United Kingdom
--iTunes European Union
--iTunes New Zealand
--Best Buy.com (comes with Rhapsody)
--Verizon (comes with Rhapsody)
--Groupie Tunes Ringtone Service (comes with Groupie Tunes)
--Music.com (comes with Groupie Tunes)
--MUSIC VIDEOS into all iTunes stores
And for most of TuneCore's existence, you could also get into these stores without restriction, but they now no longer accept content except at their own solicitaion:
--MediaNet (formerly known as MusicNet), who were the sole delivery portal for:
Cdigix Ctrax (on more than 30 college campuses)
iMesh (both U.S. and U.K.)
Virgin Digital (both U.S. and U.K., before they both closed)
FYE Download Zone
And herein lies a clue as to the state of the industry, and its future. Every store TuneCore offers to its customers has to pass a rigorous examination. When a store has content, it has power. That's power they got from the hard work of the musicians, and we don't want to let anyone get a benefit from our customers' hard work unless they return it by offering fair terms, solid and reliable accounting, a stable business model and a platform that's going to survive.
This is especially true because of how we offer stores to our customers: by choice, and for a delivery fee. It's only $0.99 per album, but when you choose to have an album sent to a store, you're giving that store power and putting at risk your own hard work.
It can get tricky, you can't even trust the law. The store allofmp3.com was obeying Russian law, but they were basically ripping people off. BurnLounge was shut down by the U.S. government as a Ponzi scheme--but until that day, it appeared to be very on-the-level.
So we dig, and even then sometimes a store that does a great job cannot be accessed because they deliver through a service that, for whatever reason, can't handle the inflow. That's what happened with MediaNet. Then again, even a store with all the right looks can simply fail, like SonyConnect.
So here's a list of criteria that a store must meet before we'll strike a deal with them:
1) They can handle the volume we send them.
2) They display the album and song information accurately on their site.
3) They've proven they're as secure and hack-proof as one can reasonably expect.
4) They provide accurate, detailed, REGULAR accounting.
5) They pay in a timely fashion.
6) They're stable (will be around for a while).
7) They have reasonable deal terms.
We're very gratified that most of the stores we choose to partner with are solvent, fair, have rigorous accounting practices and, not coincidentally, account for an enormous amount of the traffic and revenues generated by legitimate digital retailers.
Let's hope they show the way--we'll be there to follow that path.