TuneCore offers indie artists direct access to iTMS | iLounge News


TuneCore offers indie artists direct access to iTMS

TuneCore is a new service that provides independent artists an easy way to sell their tracks on the iTunes Music Store and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service. The company promises 100% of the money that the stores pay—without a contract or losing any rights or ownership to the music. TuneCore allows artists to upload their music via its website or mail a CD to them. The company charges a one-time deliver fee of 99-cents per song on each album, and a yearly maintenance and storage fee of $7.98 per album.

“TuneCore is a music delivery and distribution service that gets music you created (even cover versions) up for sale on iTunes and Rhapsody without asking for your rights or taking any money from the sale or use of your music,” explains the company. “You get 100% of what iTunes and Rhapsody pay. We take nothing, all the money goes to you. You keep ALL the rights and ownership of your music and master recordings. TuneCore is non-exclusive, so you’re never locked in.”

Related Stories



This seems like one of those “too good to be true.”

Seems FAR too easy and convenient.

How the hell is this company supposed to make money?

Posted by Chris Welch on February 2, 2006 at 7:34 PM (CST)


If this turns out to work, I might be re-offering the service to some of the locals… in addition to adding myself to the selection.

Posted by EricS2008 on February 2, 2006 at 9:04 PM (CST)


How are they making money? If they charge you $.99 per song to upload then they’re actually making more per song than Apple does off one download (because they’re going to keep it all). It may not seem like much (assume $10 per album, on average). But, living in L.A., I know that there are thousands of bands out there that are unsigned and would love to give that many people access to their music. If you took just the musicians in L.A. and NYC alone, it seems that there would be plenty of customers. That’s not including the $8 yearly fee. My guess would be that once they catch on and get enough people signed up, they would raise that yearly fee.

Posted by JimmyJ on February 2, 2006 at 10:29 PM (CST)


If anyone has any questions for the CEo of Tunecore, we’ll be interviewing him in less than a week. It will be downloadable hopefully by next week.

Send questions to:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

and you can visit us at:

and in iTunes:

Posted by 75 Minutes on February 3, 2006 at 12:15 AM (CST)


CDBaby.com has a much better deal. For a flat $35, they will put your CD on Itunes and about 40 other online music sellers (like Napster, Emusic.com, etc) and will carry your CD in their online catalog. I run a surf music label and the typical CD has about 14 songs, which would cost about $14 with Tunecore, plus an additional $8/year. I have 3 of our titles registered with them and the results have been good. I actually make more off the sale of physical CD’s through them, but the digital distribution income (mostly from Itunes) has been icing on the cake. I’ll admit, Tunecore is a pretty good deal, but not quite as good as CD Baby.

Double Crown Records

Posted by Sean Berry on February 3, 2006 at 11:40 AM (CST)


Yeah Sean, but in my experience and in talking to other bands/labels, CD Baby keeps a percentage of your digital sales as well, which Tune Core won’t be doing. Has this changed in the past 6 months?

Posted by Mike on February 3, 2006 at 1:40 PM (CST)


Mike, that’s true - forgot to include that with my last e-mail. I guess it really depends on the artist/band/label as to which company will work best. For Double Crown, I only have 3 titles registered through CD Baby. So far my online revenue has been about $90 total. However, they have sold about $500 worth of CD’s, so for that alone they are doing a good job for me. Our releases are factory manufactured discs with full color artwork (I place equal importance on cover art/music). However, for a musician/band that doesn’t have a CD for sale, or might just want to have a few songs available for online purchase, Tunecore might be the way to go.

Posted by Sean Berry on February 3, 2006 at 6:57 PM (CST)


Sean, makes sense, I ran an independent record label from 1996-2004 and understand the feelings associated with digital files versus entire package (I’m also a full time graphic artist/art director so it hits doubly close to home).

However, is the CD Baby deal an all or nothing thing? Couldn’t you sell hard copy through CD Baby, not pay the $35 fee and 9% interest, and then sell digitally through tunecore if you wanted? Once again, just curious.

Posted by Mike on February 4, 2006 at 12:43 AM (CST)


Hey Sean and Mike and all,

It’s a big discussion, our model vs. CD Baby. Not to get into a huge discussion, I hope our business speaks for itself. As we charge less up front than they (far less than $35 an album and we don’t charge $20.00 for barcodes the way CD Baby forces you to do if you don’t have your own), as we don’t take any rights, as we don’t keep anything off the back end, I think it’s such an easy sell I rarely have to say more.

But one thing is important: we’re non-exclusive, and there’s no forced minimum term. We’re no-risk. Go ahead and use TuneCore, you can also go anywhere else in the world. We don’t attach strings. Yes, we charge $20.00 for pulling an album down in its first six months, but that’s just to dissuade folks from yanking our chain. Pulling down an album is a lot of work, mostly for iTunes and the other stores. It’s not a profit center for us—clearly we want folks to stay with TuneCore forever.

And as for other stores like EMusic and Sony and Napster and DOZENS MORE…watch the news. There’s about to be an explosion in the number of services we offer, and package deals to go with them. That ought to seal the deal for most. We went live last week with the birds in hand, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been out bagging some more trophies.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion. Healthy debate (and healthy competition!) is what we’re about. 75 minutes is interviewing our CEO, I think, you’ll get more from him, but I thought I’d chime in.

CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, big labels, they all exist in an open market. We intend to show them how it’s done, and that people are happy to get digital distribution without selling their souls. And that’s why Jimmy is right—we make money when everyone finds out about us and pays us a reasonable fee for a reasonable service. It’s the better mousetrap.

Thanks again, feel free to write me if you have quesitons.


Peter Wells
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Peter Wells on February 5, 2006 at 2:45 AM (CST)


Peter, thanks for chiming in.

Another store I’d love to see is Yahoo Music Unlimited. But yeah, once you get the ones you mentioned and YMU your service would rock.

I personally don’t make any music (yet ;) I’d like to start learning a few instruments if time allowes).. but I have a friend that I’d really like to get distrubuted online. I’ll be sure to tell her about your service.


Posted by Josh on February 5, 2006 at 4:26 PM (CST)


Yahoo! is definitely on our radar. Can’t give anything away yet, but I think you’ll be pleased.

What the heck, go make music! Even if you never put it up through TuneCore or anyone else, there’s nothing like it. Long before we founded TuneCore I was recording my piano improvisations on a home CD-burner. Maybe I’ll dig those recordings up and put them onto iTunes…

Take care!


Peter Wells
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Peter Wells on February 5, 2006 at 7:50 PM (CST)


If anyone is interested in hearing more from Jeff, the President of Tune Core, that interview mentioned above is available at our website now.


it’s an hour long conversation and we discussed some of the questions that came up in these comments, as well as over at digg and elsewhere around the web. It should help clear things up and also gives a look into some future features of the site.

Posted by 75 Minutes on February 8, 2006 at 11:36 AM (CST)


I registered with Tunecore on Jan. 3 and it looks like my album of originals is live on iTunes as of today, so that’s 2 weeks - not bad.  I’m new to the online music business, so I was worried that it would take way longer.  I was thrilled when I saw my music on Amazon.com and Napster within just a few days of registering with Tunecore.
Robyn Roberts

Posted by Glen Maldonado and Robyn Roberts on January 18, 2008 at 1:25 PM (CST)


TuneCore actually charges an annual fee of $19.98 per album, not $7.98

Posted by amy on October 29, 2008 at 4:51 PM (CDT)


tune core i think charges more then what they say.  also they charge hell of a lot to released music. I’ll rather get signed and pay a percentage. instead of paying per release. IODA is good. it has over 400 digital outlets and still growing more. i dont no problems with tune core just isnt good if you want sales.

Posted by Young Skrillyn on July 19, 2011 at 9:51 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy