Believe Digital Acquires TuneCore…

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A couple independent digital distributors have consolidated. Label service company Believe Digital has acquired indie artist distribution company TuneCore. The press release describes it as a “partnership”, but it is an acquisition.

TuneCore artists will get access to Believe Digital’s wider distribution network and label services, with offices in 29 countries and a staff of 250.

Denis Ladegaillerie, Believe Digital Founder and President, says:

“The success of TuneCore, its deep commitment to independent artists, and the natural synergy between our services for artists, make this partnership a powerful force to propel artists’ growth. There is a tremendous opportunity for TuneCore & Believe to champion independent artists and their entrepreneurship, and together our focus will be to provide the best comprehensive services to a wider range of musicians around the world.”

TuneCore has paid out a total of $504 million to artists, though its broader business model has largely disappointed.  In heady days of last decade, VCs plowed money into ‘DIY’ artist distribution services like TuneCore, but a myriad of issues ultimately dampened revenues and prevented giant ‘exit events’ like IPOs and major acquisitions.  Believe’s more label-focused digital distribution segment has also faced serious pressures, which makes the consolidation less about growth and more about survival.

14 Responses

  1. Kevin Rivers

    This puts Believe Digital as the 4 largest indie distributor behind INGrooves (Universal Music Group), The Orchard (Sony Music Entertainment), and ADA (Warner Music Group). Definitely will be the biggest news of 2015 for the music industry!

    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital
    http://www.venzodigital.com

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      4th largest based upon what, exactly? number of labels distributed? number of tracks? market share? According to a Soundscan market share report for 2014 year end, Entertainment One would appear to be larger than any of those you mentioned. Believe Digital just acquired a ton of tracks but there no verifiable data that anyone can point to that would prove that the TuneCore acquisition has moved the needle at all in terms of their share of the digital market which is really the only thing that matters when it comes to the deal terms that they can achieve. Think about it…is there any DSP anywhere that is giving up worthwhile deal points to get the handful of good titles that come along with the deluge of crap that comes with a TuneCore delivery?

      Reply
    • There is something...

      Why ? Believe is a very serious company used a lot by independent labels in Europe. It’s a very interesting news in fact. Believe has great report and analytic tools, wonder it they will be implemented in Tunecore service.

      Reply
      • Me2

        Some years ago when considering Believe Digital as a distributor, I did some searching online and uncovered very serious allegations from an African rights group that Believe were systematically claiming content ID on African independent artists without consent. But this was years ago, and I’m having a helluva time coming up with any links to it now.. I might have it wrong, but I’m pretty sure I don’t. Anyone else remember this?

        Reply
        • There is something...

          I would be very cautious about those Content ID claims… Many artists don’t understand how it works and thinks they have the right when in fact other people have… But of course, sometime, it’s a real mistake / wrong claim issue.

          Anyway, I know a lot of labels working with Believe and I can tell you they do their job at collecting money and giving accurate reports. We just need to see how and if that will affect Tunecore in a positive way of course.

          Reply
          • Me2

            That’s good to hear from those labels with direct experience.

  2. Yep

    Believe are the 2nd best indie distro business, behind The Orchard

    Good luck to them. They work very hard for their labels.

    Reply
    • Actually..

      Sony have acquired all of The Orchard, so they’re technically not an Indie.

      Reply
  3. Yikes...

    They call it a partnership, but you call it an acquisition. Yet, you provide no argument or evidence to support that claim. There is quite a difference.

    Reply
  4. Musicservices4less

    If you read carefully a few of the other press reports, it appears that Believe Digital had owned a portion of Tunecore which may or may not been made public. Based on what was just announced, Believe Digital most likely had an option to buy the rest of Tunecore. Usually there are conditions and restrictions placed on such an option. Believe determined that for whatever reasons now was the best time to exercise that option.

    Also, realize that pretty much digital distribution is now controlled by the 3 majors. The only significant true “independent” digital distributor is Believe/Tunecore. Of course there are smaller digital distributors and a percentage of artists/labels going direct to each digital retailer. It is time for some research company (hopefully independent of the music giant players) to put some number on this.

    Reply

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