Why Does Tunecore Suck?
As many of you know, the music industry has changed substantially in the past five years. Before the exponential growth of technology, musicians had to hope for record label signings to be able to get their music into the ears of potential listeners. Today, any artist can distribute their music to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc through companies such as Tunecore and CDBaby for a certain fee. The problem becomes, then, that the distributor controls music placement to sites such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and therefore must be on their game about sending a customer’s product to stores in a timely and proper manner.
I have been releasing music since 2010, so online distribution is not a new thing for me. I have used Tunecore and CDBaby over the past three years (with no particular preference on either, til now) to get my music into big sites such as iTunes and Amazon. Explaining the process may help out a bit; Tunecore’s process is much quicker and simpler, while CDBaby’s is more involved. CDBaby has a one time flat fee, while Tunecore charges musicians yearly for distribution. With either company, the artist submits their songs, chooses a release date, and can only hope and pray their date is respected by the large distributors.
Our debut record was scheduled to be released on December 18, 2012. We had sent in all of the correct materials (WAVs, Album Artwork, Track Info) over two weeks before the release date. When the album did not show up at 12 AM on the 18th, I knew something was amiss. But only after four days were our eMails answered, and their messages were unapologetic and unsatisfactory to proper business standards.
Our entire album release week was completely ruined because of this mishap. We have not recovered any of the funds we would have made had the record been available on time. All promotion was halted and all we could do was sit and watch as Tunecore did not bother to answer in a timely or helpful manner. I understand that Tunecore handles distribution for many artists. What I don’t understand is why we were the ones who were not taken care of properly.
The album finally was released on January 2nd, two weeks from its original release date. The album was sent to Tunecore at the beginning of December, over two weeks before it was due in stores. This would have given them plenty of time to check for errors on their end, right? Wrong! Only after emailing them, and explaining that the album had not gone live yet did they even notice there was an issue. It astounds me that the artist would need to be doing the job of the company’s screeners. Very unprofessional and impractical.
We were and are absolutely disgusted with the communication and effort that TuneCore put forth in “working” to resolve our dilemma. Out of the 6 items we have distributed through them, 4 have had problems. This was by far the worst, a true financial and professional embarrassment. We won’t be using Tunecore again, and I would claim that artists who want to be treated like they matter should look somewhere else for their distribution needs.