In the music industry, independent artists have long sought out ways to distribute their music without the help of a traditional record label. In recent years, the advent of digital music distribution companies like TuneCore has made this easier than ever before. However, it’s important for artists to be aware of TuneCore’s deceptive practices in order to protect both their music and their wallet.
TuneCore offers a digital music distribution service that allows artists to upload their music and have it available for purchase on major platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. The company charges a flat fee per album or single, and artists keep 100% of their royalties. This seems like a fair and straightforward system, but there are hidden fees and policies that can be damaging to artists’ finances and reputations.
One of the most egregious things that TuneCore does is charge artists for services that they didn’t request or even know about. For example, the company offers a “YouTube Sound Recording Revenue Collection” service that supposedly collects royalties from videos that use the artist’s music on YouTube. However, TuneCore charges $10 per track for this service, and many artists don’t even realize that they’ve signed up for it.
Another hidden fee is TuneCore’s policy of charging artists extra for distribution to certain stores. While the company advertises that its fees are all-inclusive, it actually charges an additional $50 per year for distribution to the Asian music platform KKBox. This policy is not clearly stated on TuneCore’s website, and many artists only discover the charge when they see it deducted from their royalties.
TuneCore also engages in questionable business practices when it comes to royalty payments. While the company advertises that artists keep 100% of their royalties, this isn’t entirely true. TuneCore takes a cut of revenue from certain platforms, such as SiriusXM and webcasting services. Additionally, the company occasionally fails to properly collect and distribute royalties, leaving artists with less money than they’re owed.
To protect themselves from these deceptive practices, independent artists should carefully read the fine print when signing up for TuneCore or any digital music distribution service. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on royalty payments and dispute any discrepancies with the company’s customer service team.
In addition to being aware of TuneCore’s deceptive practices, independent artists should also consider alternative distribution methods. One option is to work with a smaller, more transparent distributor that doesn’t charge hidden fees or take a cut of royalties. Another option is to release music independently through Bandcamp or SoundCloud, which allow artists to set their own prices and keep 100% of their earnings.
Overall, it’s important for independent artists to be informed and vigilant when it comes to digital music distribution. TuneCore’s deceptive practices may seem harmless at first, but they can add up to significant losses in earnings and reputation over time. By taking the time to understand the terms of their distribution agreement and exploring alternative options, artists can protect their music and their wallet.