I get lots of questions about how we distribute as a label.
When I first got started in the music industry as an artist, I used TuneCore.
Amazingly, with all the innovation our industry has undergone almost ten years later, I’m using it again to distribute our records currently at TH3RD BRAIN.
The Tunecore platform is really easy use to use and I enjoy knowing we’re not paying a percentage to distribute as distribution is almost worthless without added services.
The biggest disadvantage to using Tunecore is they do not openly share the deals they have with the platforms.
Unlike most other platforms where at least some clients pay a percentage, everyone using Tunecore pays a flat fee for distribution ($9.99 per single and $29.99 per album each year). Since Tunecore doesn’t make any percentage off their clients, the only incentive they have to strike the best deals with the DSP’s is the fear you will leave for another distribution service.
I wish Tunecore would make their deals public though as it would provide the additional security to ensure their clients their rates are competitive.
Earlier this year, we considered doing direct deals with all of the major services – either directly, via Merlin, or a mix of both. If we are to make this switch next year, I will likely use FUGA to distribute assuming my goal would be to keep distribution costs low.
The biggest advantage I see in doing direct deals is to be able to access to Entertainment Intelligence, which is a truly sophisticated analytics platform capable of providing the data needed to make decisions.
Recently, we’ve been holding back Spotify from our Tunecore distributions in order to upload directly.
Tomorrow, I will go further in depth on the enormous benefit of the direct upload, why it is important, and why the industry should be paying more attention to it.
*NOTE: If we were to consider an additional services situation, I would use AWAL. If you need money, distributors can be a great alternate option to a label. If they get a percentage because of their investment or services commitment (i.e. pitching DSP’s/radio support), they will obviously have an added incentive to support. However, distribution is a quantity game so the super successful case studies are still few and far between amongst crowding rosters. However, AWAL (Lauv, Rex Orange County, Freya Ridings, Madison Beer, etc.) and Empire with their urban music presence are making their mark by proving the value add distribution services can provide to the right situations. I know there are other distribution services with a winning case study, but these are the two I’ve noticed who seem to have multiple wins in 2018.