Music And SoundReview

Full Tunecore Review: Is It Worth It?

Full Tunecore Review: Is It Worth It?

You’ve completed recording your vocals, instruments, and all the rest of it. You’re thinking of hiring someone to design a cover for your single or album. You want to publish your music on Apple Music and Spotify, this will be the point where you run into the biggest obstacle so far. There are hundreds of music distributors, all with different fees, benefits, and features. If you’re thinking of using Tunecore as a digital distributor,  this Tunecore review should help you determine whether or not they’re the right option for you.

You can also read our Distrokid review.

Fees

Tunecore, like Distrokid, is a subscription service. A subscription service means you pay an annual fee to distribute your music. 

To keep your music on the platforms where Tunecore distributes,  you will need to continue paying the annual fee.

Besides their annual fee, Tunecore has a host of other fees, that as an artist, you must know about before using the service. That way, you don’t assume they will publish your content to – and collect royalties from – platforms that require an additional fee to enroll in.

Annual Fees

First Release: 

Single $9.99

Album $29.99

Ringtone $19.99

Recurring Annual Fee:

Single: $9.99

Album: $49.99

Ringtone: $19.99

One-Time Fees:

New Streaming Services/ Distributors: $10

YouTube Content ID: $10

Publishing: $75

DISTRIBUTION

Tunecore distributes to 150 platforms in 200 countries. This means that it’s easier to accrue more of streams, but it also means that you can get worldwide recognition for your work and talent, which can impact your success as an artist tremendously.

WAITING PERIOD & RELEASE DATES

To publish through Tunecore, you need to have approval first. Your music needs to meet Tunecore’s standards. Once they approve your album or single – which takes approximately one or two business days – your music will appear on within 24 hours for platforms like Apple Music but can take up to 8 weeks for platforms like Amazon on Demand.

To ensure your music goes live at the same time and across platforms, Tunecore recommends that you schedule a release date for four weeks after you’ve submitted your music for approval. This release date scheduling may need to be longer if you think they could reject your music because of incorrect formatting. 

PUBLISHING ROYALTIES

Unlike their competitors, namely Distrokid, Tunecore collects royalties from performances – live, TV, film, and covers. 

There’s an 80/20 revenue split and a one-time fee of $75 to sign up for this service. 

As an artist, publishing is crucial to your success. Think about how many people hear music on TV, radio, or film and choose to find an artist because they enjoyed a song. But, also the revenue earned from performances on TV, radio, and film far exceeds the average $0.006 you’ll receive from streaming platforms. 

ROYALTIES

How much you earn in royalties will depend on where Tunecore distributes your music. For example, if you distribute your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and most conventional streaming services, you’ll keep 100% of your earnings.

For the money they collect through publishing, you receive 85% of your earnings.

Using the YouTube Content ID system, you’ll receive revenue from ads that contain a portion of or entire parts of your song. You receive 80% of any revenue collected through the YouTube content ID system.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

Tunecore’s additional services are more numerous than their original offering. But, to keep this Tunecore review as short as possible, I’ll go over the highlights.

Tunecore Social

Tunecore social is a service that simplifies the process of marketing your music on social media. The benefit of the service is that you get a Linkshare link, which is one link that you can publish on social media so users can choose where to stream your music.

YouTube Content ID

If you want to earn ad revenue from your music, having a YouTube Content ID will ensure you’re able to monetize your music when it appears on the platform. Regardless of whether that is in a portion of a video that’s using your music or throughout the video. YouTube uses its system to discover videos on the platform that use your music.

Publishing

Tunecore handles the collection of royalties from publishing. This means you don’t need to manage too many accounts. But, another benefit of Tunecore’s publishing service is that they have a team that pitches Tunecore artists’ music to TV and film. This gives the average artist publishing music on Tunecore more likely to have their music appear on television and film. Music from Tunecore artists has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, ESPN, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Empire, to name a few. In addition to appearing in ads for Pizza Hut, Palmolive, T-Mobile, Nordstrom, and Amazon Echo.

Tunecore Direct Advance

Tunecore allows artists who’ve made at least $870 in royalties over 12 months to get a Tunecore advance. This service doesn’t affect your credit score, and you pay it back using your royalties from downloads and streams, not publishing. However, you cannot take down your music while you’re still paying back an advance. 

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Unlike Distrokid – one of Tunecore’s popular competitors – Tunecore offers phone support. When music is a primary part of your livelihood or you’re invested in your career and your work – as you should be – if you experience issues, you want to be able to get on a call and discuss these difficulties with someone. 

Tunecore also has a team of knowledgeable customer service agents, which means that you could get more than the templates other digital distributors offer.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS

International Team

Besides Tunecore’s endless list of additional services, they also have other benefits. The first being that they are truly international. They have offices in London, Hamburg, LA, Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Milan, Paris, Nashville, even Mumbai, and Rio De Janeiro. For artists outside of the US, it is still possible to speak to an executive or contact a local expert.

Capped Payment Processing Fees

Another amazing benefit of Tunecore is that they have a set rate that enables you to keep most of your money when they transfer it over into your desired payment processor. For Paypal that cap is $0.25 (for US only) or 2% (capped at $20)for international users. Bank Transfers range from $1 to $5 per transaction, and paper checks are $5 per transaction. Additionally, Prepaid Mastercards (Payoneer), the transaction fee is $1. 

Analytics

Tunecore gives you analytics about your plays and downloads in your analytics dashboard. You can see how your music’s performed on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon. 

TAKEAWAY

Tunecore’s fee structure is more complex than it needs to be. However, it’s understandable since Tunecore is trying to reduce the amount you have to pay upfront while still giving you a premium service. If they were to create an all-in-one service, it wouldn’t be affordable to the average independent or self-releasing musician.

Recommendation

I would recommend Tunecore. Although there are downsides to distributing your music with them, for example, having to pay an annual fee to ensure your music remains on streaming platforms. But, that aside, Tunecore gives you control of your music and your earnings.

Besides, using Tunecore will give you a better understanding of the music business, which can be beneficial if you want to have any career longevity.

Because Tunecore manages every facet of music distribution, making them a better solution for artists in any stage of their career. 

Distributing music to various outlets can be quite arduous. However, Tunecore makes it easier for you to distribute, scale, and earn from your music, allowing you to focus more on creating music.

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