AmazonMP3 has now pulled all Tunecore-distributed songs from its stores in the UK and across the European Union, thanks to a royalty-related dispute. The teardown actually happened January 24th, leaving more than a week of non-inclusion, according to details now confirmed by Tunecore CEO Jeff Price.
Price claims the teardown happened without notice, and was a ‘heavy-handed’ negotiation tactic. “Amazon removed your recordings as a result of an issue regarding royalty payments by Amazon to Tunecore customers,” Price told member artists. “The delay in resolving this issue resulted in the TuneCore/Amazon European Union and United Kingdom agreement expiring without being renewed (note: this is just for Europe and the UK, the rest of the world is not affected).”
The territorial nature of the dispute suggests that this is about extra royalty payout requirements that materialize outside of the US, or some other complexity thereof. “Although we fully intended to renew, TuneCore also had to address the fact that over the course of the agreement, Amazon had not been paying TuneCore Artists to license their songs for download in a significant number of the recordings distributed.”
The broader question is whether other distributors will also experience this problem, or whether it will remain Tunecore-specific. So far, we haven’t heard of similar stand-offs with rival distributors, and Tunecore distribution with iTunes remains intact across the continent.
More as it develops.