Anyone – including unsigned artists and indie labels – can upload directly into iTunes. That is, without the help of TuneCore, CD Baby, or another go-between. But after a closer look, you’ll probably realize that total independence is a total hassle.
So, here are the details. It’s called iTunes Connect, it works for both music and books, and it’s free.
Well, sort of. The non-explicit costs come in the form of endless hassles, including formatting and submitting music and art, generating UPC codes, and the rest. Actually, the process of securing UPC codes alone is expensive and time-consuming, and even Apple executives quietly recommend against the solo path. The reason is that TuneCore and its competition offer very reasonable porting fees and services, though Connect could make sense for the label that wants more control over their digital distribution.
Beyond that, larger labels, music companies, and digital distributors have their own relationships.
Oh, there’s one more thing. According to one source, iTunes Connect can be a long wait. “You’re basically getting in the back of the line,” the source relayed, a position that probably translates into weeks of waiting.