TuneCore’s Price: “Well Over 95% of the Releases on Tommy’s Label… Failed”

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Is TuneCore responsible for distributing crap and crowding the lane for serious artists?

That is the allegation of Tommy Silverman, and TuneCore CEO Jeff Price couldn’t resist the challenge.

And make no mistake, this got really personal, really fast.  “This is the same person that runs/owns New Music Seminar,” Price stated.  “I find it a bit odd that Tommy thinks 80 percent of the people he is trying to get money from (by selling them a ticket to his conference) make music that he thinks is ‘crap.’ If this is the case, why take their money?”

Tommy was hardly assigning himself as the arbiter of good taste, though Price attacked on those grounds. “But philosophically, I disagree with the concept that one person, ie Tommy, gets to make the decisions for the rest of us,” Price noted at one point.  And later, the attack turned to Tommy Boy the label. “Even more odd, well over 95 percent of the releases on Tommy’s label, Tommy Boy Records, failed.”

Price rifled through a number of other counterarguments, and raised the collective fist of thousands of aspiring artists.  Tommy’s reliance on a 10,000-album sales threshold remains a critical sticking point for Price, largely because the album itself is an ageing format. “Yes Tommy, 79,000 releases sold less than 100 copies last year, and to make matters worse, not one of them sold a copy of their release on 8-Track,” Price continued, part of a larger ‘old man’ characterization.  The more sober point, without caps and yelling, is that consumers increasingly purchase singles – not albums – making the 10,000-album threshold a questionable bright line.

The biggest enemy for Jeff Price, unfortunately, is Jeff Price, and the vitriolic and enraged tone of this latest response is hardly an aberration.  That style tends to decrease the potency of his arguments, though there are some solid points underneath the hysteria.

For example, who cares if thousands of hobbyists are releasing fresh content?  And who can really say what constitutes good art, or what should be filtered?  “Although the sheer volume of music creation does not make it good, the fact that more people are creating it certainly increases the odds,” Price expressed.