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TuneCore Review: What Is TuneCore And How To Use It

Photograph of the blog post author, Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

4.9.2020

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In the modern day music industry, artists no longer depend on being signed to a label in order to release their own music. Digital distributors have made it easy for bedroom artists to get their music out into the world via music streaming services, and one of the companies behind this is TuneCore. With so many companies offering distribution alongside other services, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. Well, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will look at what TuneCore is, what services and features they provide, pricing and whether it is worth investing your money into. Let’s get started!

tunecore logo

What Is TuneCore?

Founded in 2005, TuneCore provides independent artists with the ability to and sell their music globally through online music services. The platform offers artists the chance to get their music onto stores such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, Tidal, iTunes and YouTube (among many others). However, TuneCore also offers music publishing administration, artist services, promotion and social media services, meaning they are more than just a distributor. 

The company’s aim is to ‘empower you with the services and knowledge you need to find your fans and grow your audience’, and that’s exactly what they do! So, let’s take a look at some of the platform’s stand out features that benefit artists.

TuneCore Features

CD vinyl records

With various platforms offering distribution, it can be hard to know which platform to choose. However, one of the things that really makes TuneCore stand out is their additional services, features and benefits. So, what are some of the highlights of being a member of TuneCore?

Aspire Program

This is a feature that is individual to TuneCore. The company has partnered with Believe to develop a program designed to take artist’s careers to the next level. Once you start distributing your music with TuneCore, you are in with a chance of getting signed to their Aspire program. This includes digital marketing and promotion support, dedicated project managers and industry pros and greater opportunities for exposure.

Sync & Master Licensing

TuneCore’s team works globally to pitch artist’s music for placements in film, TV, commercials, and video games. If you’ve dreamed of hearing your music pop up on the TV, this is a great opportunity. The world of sync can be tricky for artists to get involved in, which is why this is a great feature. For this service, TuneCore will take a 20% cut of any commission that you make.

Fast Payment

You earn money any time someone streams or downloads your tracks on the streaming sites that your music has been distributed to. The great news is that TuneCore puts 100% of that money directly into your account on the site, and never takes a commission. You can withdraw this money, instead of waiting for payments at certain times of the year – meaning fast, easy payment!

Promotion

If you need help with the process from creation to promotion, this platform has also got you covered. At the creation stage, artists can get fan feedback on tracks and receive personalised mastering from industry professionals. After getting your music ready to sell, including any physical copies, TuneCore can help point you in the right direction to promote your music – including help with website creation, lyric videos and more.

Social

TuneCore Social is your all-in-one solution for social media management. This provides you with the power of multiple apps all in one place to simplify social media marketing for artists. There are both Starter and Pro options, with Starter including posting and scheduling to Facebook and Twitter, and photo editing tools. Pro offers the above, with the addition of premium photo editing add-ons, such as stickers, filters and text. Both plans include ready made hashtag sets to gain more followers, and help with planning and scheduling.

How To Upload Music To TuneCore

vinyl CD playing

The process of uploading to TuneCore is pretty straightforward. 

After creating a TuneCore account, simply utilise your TuneCore login and access the site. Then, upload your music and artwork, enter the details of your release, select which stores you want to distribute to and boom! There are 150+ digital music stores globally to choose from – so it is safe to say they have everything covered.

When preparing your tracks for upload, different stores have different requirements. Your music needs to be of the highest quality possible so that listeners get to hear the best of what you have to offer. In order to upload your tracks to TuneCore, they must be:

  • 16 bit (sample size)
  • 44.1 kHz (sample rate)
  • 1411 kbps (bit rate) stereo WAV files

…is now a good time to mention that Music Gateway offers a free WAV converter

TuneCore Pricing

TuneCore is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, however the service that they provide truly is top quality. Artists can sign up for free, but are then required to pay a subscription fee before accessing the services.

The distribution fee for a single track is $9.99, and for an album with more than two songs, the cost is $29.99. They also charge an annual fee of $29.99 for an album, and $9.99 for a single. Therefore, for 2+ years, you will be required to pay $49.99. For Social Pro, you will be required to pay $10.99 for a monthly subscription and $118.99 annually. Great news, though – with TuneCore, artists get to keep 100% of their streaming royalties, so at least all of the money you have earned will go straight into your pocket.

In regards to their other services, there is a $75 one time set-up fee for TuneCore’s music publishing services. They also take 15% commission for publishing, and 20% for Sync licensing.

Comparisons With Competitors

TuneCore isn’t the only platform to offer distribution, or even the additional services such as music publishing administration or help with promotion. Let’s take a look at TuneCore’s competitors, and how the platform fares against its rivals.

CD Baby Vs TuneCore

CD baby vs Tunecore

Wondering about other services that are similar to TuneCore? The closest comparison is CD Baby – so let’s get the TuneCore Vs CD Baby debate underway!

In terms of what the platforms offer, the services are pretty equal. Both offer distribution, publishing rights administration and sync licensing (including cover song licensing). However, TuneCore does offer specific social media help, and has programs such as Aspire, which are unique. CD Baby, on the other hand, offers manufacturing and duplication services to create and duplicate physical copies of your music, which TuneCore does not. So, the services are fairly balanced, although a little varying.

In terms of pricing, CD Baby is cheaper. CD Baby’s prices are $29 per album and $9.95 per single. You can also upgrade a single from ‘Standard’ to ‘Pro’ for $20, and for $40 for an album. For TuneCore, it is $9.99 for a single, and for an album, it is $29.99. So, as both standard packages go (without upgrades), the distribution price is similar. However, TuneCore also charges an annual fee of $9.99 (single) and $29.99 (album), which racks up the price to be a lot higher. CD Baby does not charge an annual fee, meaning that you just pay per release. CD Baby does, however, take 15% commission, whereas Tunecore doesn’t take any royalties. Therefore, it becomes a debate as to whether artists would prefer to pay more overall, but reap all of their rewards, or pay less but have a cut taken each time they release music. 

DistroKid Vs TuneCore

CD Baby vs Distrokid

In regards to services, DistroKid is a lot more basic than TuneCore. The platform simply offers distribution, and is simplistic, to the point and… a lot cheaper. DistroKid charges an annual price of $19.99 for unlimited tracks. They also offer multiple plans if you want more benefits, including a service for labels. There is the Musician plan ($19.99 per year), Musician Plus ($35.99 per year) and Label ($79.99 per year). The big difference here is that artists don’t have to pay every time they release a track, it is all covered under an annual payment.

Commission-wise, neither platform takes a percentage of artist royalties, so they are equal in this respect. Tunecore offers a lot more features, such as sync licensing. For those requiring more extensive features for a little more cash, Tunecore may be the best choice.

Is TuneCore Worth It?

So, is TuneCore legit? Is it worth it?

Out of all of the distribution services available, TuneCore does have one of the widest ranges of services. Artists can get almost everything they need from TuneCore, albeit at a slightly higher price than some of its competitors. Also, the reputation of the company within the industry and with users is great, with customers rating it 4.1 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot.

If you are purely looking for distribution, the price may be a little steep, and perhaps DistroKid may be the best alternative. For similar features and benefits with a slightly lower price tag, CD Baby is a great alternative, also. However, if you are looking for various services, fast payment, additional benefits and a reliable distributor with a great reputation, TuneCore distribution will be a great fit for you and your music!

Final Thoughts

music distribution spotify

Digital distribution is a great way for artists to get their music out into the world, to those who will love it. There are many factors to consider, and artists should do their research and make sure that their distributor offers everything that they need. It is an important part of the journey, as you have put in so much hard work. Treat the release part of the process with as much care as you did the creation. Find the right distributor for you and your music and enjoy!

If you are looking for a platform that offers everything you need in one place, why not try Music Gateway? We can help with promoting your music, improving your streaming presence and providing Sync opportunities. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.



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