Pissed? Tunecore Quietly Raising Its Renewal Fees by 150%

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This is one of those things you only notice when you notice.

For example, when your annual renewals are due within 30 days. And in the past few weeks, Tunecore has more than doubled its album distribution renewal fees, from $19.98 to $49.99.

Actually, that’s a 150% increase, and $30 means something to most artists.  We talked to a Tunecore customer service rep about the shift, who confirmed that the price hike actually happened April 6th.  But of course, Tunecore wasn’t about to trumpet the change.  Singles and ringtone distribution renewal charges remain the same – at $9.99 per year.

We had little trouble locating pissed-off artists. “This is a highly alarming event and many artists consider it blatant fraud,” one artist wrote. “The sign-up deal was $19.98 per year to renew an album. I want you to know I will immediately be contacting the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Protection Agency and RipOff Report.”

Tunecore does reserve the right to change rates, and the company has been notifying artists – but typically within 30 days of renewal.  That technically allows time to shop around, though shifting contents to another service can be a huge hassle.  And, there are serious penalties for non-renewal.  “You must renew by the date above to keep your music live on the online stores you selected,” the Tunecore letter states.  “If you do not renew, your release will be taken down from the online stores after the renewal date.  You will lose all your reviews, comments, future sales and your TuneCore Media Player. ”

There are extras that come with the elevated price.  The rep told Digital Music News that the increased rate also allows bands to select an unlimited number of stores, and trending reports are free.  And, he offered a tip – if you want to add another store after initial sign-up, you can call Tunecore and they will waive the $1.98 add-on fee.  Thanks, guys.