Review of Tunecore
What is Tunecore?
Tunecore is a platform for conglomerating the distribution of digital music. The main reason to use this service is it allows for musicians to get their mixes and songs on multiple online distribution platforms. The main appeal of Tunecore is the sheer amount of implied reach that the site promises. In exchange for distribution of your music to these services they ask for flat yearly fees for putting the tracks and albums in their system. With a smaller year one stocking fee, and a larger recurring annual fee.
The service allows artists to feature their work on a total of 150+ platforms, with the biggest networks being:
- Amazon Music
- Google Play
What are the Benefits of Tunecore? Is it even worth it?
Aside from the obvious benefits of the reach of the company, Tunecore has some advantages compared to competitors like CDBaby. Essentially the bigger your following the better Tunecore is for you. If you are only expecting to sell 5 tracks a month you’re probably better off going with a different distribution network, but if you’re frequently getting questions about where to find your tracks during outreach and shows it’s definitely worth looking into.
If you’re not quite at that point, and you are having trouble selling merch and inspiring your fans to take action, I can’t suggest the book Six-Figure Musician enough. Tunecore really shines when you start to get established and this book is probably the best thing written to get you to that stage. It’s really eye opening, and you can really maximize the benefits of self publishing distribution services.
The reason that Tunecore gets more appealing the bigger you are is because it charges a flat fee, and that fee only really becomes worth it if you sell around $950 worth of music a year in comparision to CDBaby.
It does bring a major benefit through their synchronization licensing. Which allows you to make your music available to music supervisors for use in film and television. Essentially this licensing lets you put your tracks into a database for content creators to use it in their own media. Things like television shows, commercials and large music events. These really snowball because once your song gets played in a commercial everyone’s going to be googling the title and picking up your track.
If you’re part of the sync licensing Tunecore also does some legwork for you by trying to find potential placements for you. But for it to be worth it your mixes have to stand head and shoulders above everyone else’s and be specifically designed for use in different types of media. I’ve wrote a bit of a guide on how to build and sell beats for specific uses here.
Is Tunecore a Scam For New Artists?
It’s definitely not a scam, but it’s definitely not for the naive or new mixmasters. Just because you can put your music into the system doesn’t mean they’ll ever get purchased. A large portion of music (around 94%) on the platform sells fewer than 100 copies. 64% of the tracks manage sell more than one copy. 1 in 3 tracks don’t sell at all. You definitely have to be in the top 5% of music composers for this platform to really pay off.
The main problem with the above paragraph is the annual fee, the first year for an album is cheap at $35.99 but the following years it costs $50 to keep your album on the platform’s roster. If you’re not making the sales you’re just going to be losing money.
As mentioned above CDBaby is a great alternative if you’re expecting lower sales. With no recurring fee, they skim a percentage of what you sell. Both services provide a nice way to reach potential audiences and are a great way to bring in some extra money that can be used to improve your setup or free up some time to continue to create. But if you’re looking at a distribution service be sure to pick the one that’s right for where you’re at professionally.