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Which aggregator for distribution?
Old 23rd February 2012
  #1
Which aggregator for distribution?

Hey guys, I've ran into a crossroads of distribution "crisis."
I have a single, the first I've ever released, that I would mainly like to have put onto the iTunes store. Browsing through Google, I've come down to a couple aggregators for getting my music copyrighted, onto markets, and such: CD Baby and TuneCore.
I've seemed, though, to have read many significantly negative reviews for TuneCore, for them to be a very LARGE scam, even though they leave a lot of room for earnings. Can anyone share an experience they have encountered with them, or maybe some opinions?
Overall, can you guys help me choose which one you believe will suit best, or even a totally different one? I'm not sure of the success rate the song may have, so the potential of profit is unknown.

Many thanks,
Mark
Old 26th February 2012
  #2
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Old 26th February 2012
  #3
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Old 26th February 2012
  #4
My experience with Tunecore -

They got my music into iTunes promptly, and paid promptly. I had my music up there for about 3 years, and sales were roughly proportional to the amount of effort I expended in promoting the album. That said, despite some sales I did not make a lot of revenue from iTunes. You need to understand that Tunecore does no promotion for you. Also, you need to know your potential buying public and where they find their music - the audience for my music is more likely to buy CDs or LPs than lossy digital downloads. Electronic dance music consumers are more likely to buy through Beatport. Google Music might work for you if you simply need a way to allow people to buy your music.

All of Tunecore's sign-up materials suggested a standard pricing scheme where the content-owner paid around $20/yr to get an album into the five iTunes regional stores. Their prices suddenly increased to $50/yr, but it was not clear if as a Tunecore customer I would be able to choose to not have my music in some of the additional services that they listed (which was important to me). I bailed on Tunecore, since I no longer trust that they will 1) maintain pricing levels and 2) allow their customers flexibility in deciding which online retailers to use. Since their entire revenue stream comes from independent artists and labels, if their cost of operations increases and artists stop using their services, the budget shortfall will be passed on to continuing customers, meaning that $50 will only go up. I wouldn't call it a scam - Tunecore does deliver on their promise to make your music available through a variety of services - but you need to be acutely aware of their business model and revenue stream, and what that will mean to you long-term.

Also, regarding making $ off of a single (and your first one at that), I wish you luck. I and many other independent artists I know, if we make money from digital distribution or licensing, make it from having a very large back-catalog and a lot of licensable/saleable material. As such, the ideal financial model is to pay a fixed, one-time fee to get material available for paid download and make the maximum amount of content available.
Old 27th February 2012
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by oudplayer View Post
My experience with Tunecore -

They got my music into iTunes promptly, and paid promptly. I had my music up there for about 3 years, and sales were roughly proportional to the amount of effort I expended in promoting the album. That said, despite some sales I did not make a lot of revenue from iTunes. You need to understand that Tunecore does no promotion for you. Also, you need to know your potential buying public and where they find their music - the audience for my music is more likely to buy CDs or LPs than lossy digital downloads. Electronic dance music consumers are more likely to buy through Beatport. Google Music might work for you if you simply need a way to allow people to buy your music.

All of Tunecore's sign-up materials suggested a standard pricing scheme where the content-owner paid around $20/yr to get an album into the five iTunes regional stores. Their prices suddenly increased to $50/yr, but it was not clear if as a Tunecore customer I would be able to choose to not have my music in some of the additional services that they listed (which was important to me). I bailed on Tunecore, since I no longer trust that they will 1) maintain pricing levels and 2) allow their customers flexibility in deciding which online retailers to use. Since their entire revenue stream comes from independent artists and labels, if their cost of operations increases and artists stop using their services, the budget shortfall will be passed on to continuing customers, meaning that $50 will only go up. I wouldn't call it a scam - Tunecore does deliver on their promise to make your music available through a variety of services - but you need to be acutely aware of their business model and revenue stream, and what that will mean to you long-term.

Also, regarding making $ off of a single (and your first one at that), I wish you luck. I and many other independent artists I know, if we make money from digital distribution or licensing, make it from having a very large back-catalog and a lot of licensable/saleable material. As such, the ideal financial model is to pay a fixed, one-time fee to get material available for paid download and make the maximum amount of content available.
Thanks for the helpful insight. I am not using any revenue acquired by which means of music sells to support too much at all. Pretty much it's just every now and then, being able to acquire a little bit money for doing a hobby on the side.

Mark
Old 6th March 2012
  #6
TuneCore has received some negative reviews, but who knows how much of it you can believe. They're #1 right now either way. IMO...you can either pay TuneCore's excessive fees or sign up with Catapult Distribution. Same deal as CD Baby, but cheaper. Although CD Baby does have their own niche market and do direct sales that will pay you more in the long run, but I doubt the sales compare to the major stores. Different business models. You just need to pick the one that suits you best.
Old 7th March 2012
  #7
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Old 9th March 2012
  #8
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Graham Tobias's Avatar
 

You might consider checking out Nimbit. It's a pricier solution, but offers marketing tools and a direct to fan platform in addition to distribution.

If you want the best of the best, try to get a contract with The Orchard. They just took over IODA, and they're probably the biggest/best indie digital distribution company in the world presently. They operate on percentages though, and you might not be able to get a contract.

I should note that I have worked for The Orchard in the past, so I am a little biased.
Old 9th March 2012
  #9
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spaceman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Mark View Post
I've seemed, though, to have read many significantly negative reviews for TuneCore, for them to be a very LARGE scam, even though they leave a lot of room for earnings. Can anyone share an experience they have encountered with them, or maybe some opinions?
I use Tunecore , and they are certainly not a scam. I never had any issues with them , and in fact the few times i used their support , i was pretty impressed by the reactivity. I think what pissed a lot of users ( me included ) about Tunecore was their sudden 150% price increase. They got a lot of heat about that.

However , as some already noted here , they will not do marketing or any ancilliary services. All they do is put your album/singles into digital stores , and Amazon CD on-demand services. And they allow you to choose to opt-out from the ones you don't want, contrary to some other aggregators where it's an "all-or-nothing" affair.
Old 11th March 2012
  #10
I think as a business model Tunecore is pretty transparent. They charge you for a service, and they provide that service. My problem with Tunecore is Jeff Price who wants people to think that with a $50 a year Tunecore account bedroom hobbyists are competing in the record business...

Tunecore is selling a straight forward transactional business. Jeff Price is selling the dream of stardom in a misleading way. What's worse is he really doesn't even understand a lot of the things he criticizes like Soundscan Reporting. Probably because the majority of people that use Tunecore won't make back their $50 per year per album, and certainly won't recover their recording costs.

Tunecore exists for as long as people want to have the vanity to support self releasing records, which is fine. But Jeff wants people to believe the distribution through Tunecore is more than just placing albums on Itunes, Amazon, etc, and it's not.

In this thread, Jeff joined in the discussion on GS:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music...ore-stats.html
Old 16th March 2012
  #11
Gear interested
 

How about BandCamp?
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Old 3rd April 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Interested to hear about how the Bandcamp User experience (As an Artist) compares to Tunecore, CD Baby (et al).
Old 9th July 2012
  #13
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Tobias View Post
You might consider checking out Nimbit. It's a pricier solution, but offers marketing tools and a direct to fan platform in addition to distribution.
.
Any suggestions for somebody not interested in marketing tools, just a cheap and simple way to distribute to as many sites as possible?
I used TuneCore but they got too expensive.
There's a small (but growing) niche audience for recordings of unusual instruments and historical songs but in stock-market verbiage it's a long term small growth stock. Tunecores fees were eating up all the income.

Catapult is sounding like the best for me. Anybody have experience with them?
from their site;
We charge a one time setup fee of $25 for each album submitted for digital distribution ($9 for singles or ringtones). After that, we pay you 91% of the royalties received from the respective music store. There are no hidden fees. How's that for fair?

For example: If iTunes sells one of your songs for .99 cents. They would pay us .70 cents, and we would then pay you 91% of the .70 cents.
Old 9th July 2012
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsax View Post
Any suggestions for somebody not interested in marketing tools, just a cheap and simple way to distribute to as many sites as possible?
I used TuneCore but they got too expensive.
There's a small (but growing) niche audience for recordings of unusual instruments and historical songs but in stock-market verbiage it's a long term small growth stock. Tunecores fees were eating up all the income.

Catapult is sounding like the best for me. Anybody have experience with them?
from their site;
We charge a one time setup fee of $25 for each album submitted for digital distribution ($9 for singles or ringtones). After that, we pay you 91% of the royalties received from the respective music store. There are no hidden fees. How's that for fair?

For example: If iTunes sells one of your songs for .99 cents. They would pay us .70 cents, and we would then pay you 91% of the .70 cents.
What are you talking about with Tunecore's fees? Unless I completely missed something; you pay $50 a year and that's it. Any other fees are the fees that individual digital stores charge. If you went direct with Itunes you still only get 70cents per 99cent song.

Doing simple math, if you are hoping to do ...say $5000 or $10000 in sales per year over 2 years (just picking random #s that seem at least semi ambitious)... you would make $6,900 or $13,900 through tunecore (including $100 fee for 2 years) versus $6,355 or $12,649 through Catapult.

Saving you $500 - $1200 ish by using Tunecore if you're planning on making anything decent.

If you think you may only make like $500-$1000 a year or less you will save a few bucks going with Catapult or a similar service.

I mean we're talking the price of a videogame (less actually) to release your music in every primary digital store i guess in the grand scheme i don't see the big deal either way if we're talking about saving $20 or $50 a year
Old 10th July 2012
  #15
Or $10 a year, per single.
Old 29th September 2015
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Bump 2015?
Old 29th October 2015
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Tunecore has statment in their contract stating that each month you need to generate $150 from sales. For most unsigned artists this is very hard to acheive and will almost certainly mean anything generated from the sale of your music will only goto Tunecore. Whoever you choose as your aggregator, make sure you read the tearms and conditions fully and understand exactly what you need to make in sales befor they will make a payout.
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