Tunecore Fires CEO Jeff Price

Tunecore cofounder Jeff Price has now been relieved of his CEO and President stripes, according to information confirmed by Price himself.

We first got the tip earlier this week from an executive at a partner company, who noted that Price was actually pushed two weeks ago (ie, July 31st) based on a number of frustrations and conflicts with the Tunecore Board of Directors.  That prompted us to canvass nearly a dozen different executives – including a direct call to Price himself – though the information seemed to be tightly contained.

This was not described as a voluntary or friendly departure in any way.  Financial issues topped the list of problems, though very high-profile smackdowns with the likes of Amazon and others may have also stirred resentment.  “Jeff did butt heads with several people inside and out of the company,” the source noted.

Perhaps ardent artist championing comes with a price tag.  The following statement was just emailed to Digital Music News.

An open letter from TuneCore Founder Jeff Price

August 15th, 2012

Peter Wells, Gary Burke and I launched TuneCore on January 25, 2006. Our motto and mission: for artists to ‘sell their music not their soul.’ We envisioned changing the global music industry for artists for the better by serving, not exploiting, them. TuneCore’s impact was significant and immediate. It turned the industry on its head by removing gatekeepers, allowing all artists onto the shelves of the digital music services while not requiring them to give up rights and revenue from the sale of their music. It also provided the industry’s first transparent royalty system with easy 24/7 real time access. In late 2011, phase two of TuneCore launched with the announcement of its Global Publishing Administration service, allowing any songwriter access to a global publishing administration deal. This first-of-its-kind global pipeline permits all songwriters to access their additional royalties and enforce their copyrights while maintaining control and ownership of their songs.

With our vision, guidance, execution and hard work we made TuneCore the leader in its space as the largest music distribution and publishing entity in the world. From just three people in 2006, TuneCore grew to over 40 employees working out of the headquarters in Brooklyn, NY and the Publishing Administration office in Burbank, CA.

I am announcing today that I am no longer CEO/President of TuneCore and co-founder Peter Wells is no longer working with TuneCore.

Under our tenure, TuneCore took take significant market share away from the traditional major labels. As of July, 2012, TuneCore artists represent over 4% of all US gross digital music sales revenue and have sold over 610,000,000 units of music generating over $310,000,000 in gross music sales. More than four songs a second are sold on iTunes somewhere in the world by a TuneCore artist. Through the execution of the vision and the trust of the artist, TuneCore achieved about 40% of the market share of EMI and 25% of the market share of Universal in regards to digital music sales in the United States.

We were also able to attract artists across the spectrum: from emerging artists to the older legends and the new legends. Artists such as Drake, Soulja Boy, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Zac Brown Band, Hoodie Allen, Civil Wars, Lecrea, Boyce Avenue, Kelly, Colt Ford, Ed Sheerhan, Alex Day, Aretha Franklin, Jay Z, Girl Talk, Blood On The Dancefloor, Jason Mraz, Nice Peter, Tiesto and hundreds of thousands more used TuneCore to place number one albums and songs on iTunes, Amazon and many other digital stores, breaking the control of the traditional industry while democratizing it.

Under our leadership, TuneCore changed the global music industry, provided hundreds of thousands of artists access to digital music services, shifted the power of the industry to the artist while administering hundreds of millions of dollars back into their hands under a new model, all while growing the company into a global force.

Peter and I look forward to continuing to change the industry on a global scale to the further betterment of artists, songwriters and investors and to issuing our next announcement.

39 Responses

  1. Visitor

    Can’t say I’m surprised… Jeff could be a real . What’s worse however was his pathological attacks on, and misunderstanding of how basic industry reporting works, such as Soundscan. It’s ok to have a vocal biased opinion, but at least understand the thing you are attacking.

    I’m sure Jeff isn’t going to end up on a breadline anytime soon and I hope this experience gives him pause to evaluate how he treats people who may disagree with him.

    Jeff fundamentally did not understand that although TuneCore is a great service, it is the pirates and not the labels that are the true enemies of artists.

    • just another visitor

      Mr. Price has done a lot of good for artists, but I do agree about the piracy situation.

      It’s beyond me why Tunecore goes on and on about the evil majors of the past while it ignores the only serious problem we face today.

      I hope Mr. Price will read — and understand — the writing on the wall once again and start a new successful business:

      The world’s most effective Pirate Slayer company!

        • Visitor

          Spotify? You gotta be joking… 🙂

          No, we need a cheap and user friendly Pirate Slayer company that’ll turn piracy into a source of income.

          We also need to rethink the entire issue and stop being afraid of pirates. They’re not fans and they’re not customers. They’re parasites and somebody needs to take back every dollar they’ve stolen from us.

          That somebody might be…


          • FarePlay

            Not so fast on Spotify, Jeff.

            They are not a viable option for musicians, they don’t pay enough. Their playlist sharing feature could be the “killer app” for digital download and cd sales.

            Not to mention all the messy baggage that goes along with Spotify.

          • FarePlay REDUX

            Jeff, love your line: (Spotify) “that’ll turn piracy into a source of income.”

            You got that right; Spotify = pirates 2.0.

          • Visitor

            Um, I ain’t Jeff Price. And I don’t think Spotify has anything to do with piracy (nobody’s forcing you to deal with them). But they’re a PITA and I wish they’d go away.

    • WILL

      This guy didn’t give a shit about artists period. He saw how Snocap f***** up and knew the vunerability and naivety that lies under unsigned artists. So he decided to put a fee up front instead of taking a commission on tracks sold like Snocap’s model on Myspace cos it simply didn’t scale because most of the music released would be binned by even the fairest, coolest labels.

      …and that argument between him and that other twat Ted Cohen that was filmed somewhere a few years ago…dickheads.

  2. Karma

    Here is an open letter to you Jeff.


  3. @jasonfiber

    This is really shocking. Jeff is one of the smartest guys out there.

  4. Ghost of Morris Levy

    A haiku for Jeff:

    A rogue C E O

    Trying to help poor artists

    TuneCore is pricey

    • Bald Headed John

      Maybe a limerick:

      There once was a man from eMusic

      When talkin about labels would lose it

      So he started tunecore

      Then they showed him the door

      If offered a job by the labels will he refuse it?

      Sorry, poetry is not my forte and nothing rhymes with music

  5. Visitor

    Couldn’t have happened to more of an asshole. Ask any of the SpinArt artists if they ever received an accurate accounting. None of them did. He was the reason.

    Jeff: If you were really smart, you’d take this as a cure to rethink your life and how you treat people. Look in the mirror long and hard and try to make true change in your life.

    I wish Jeff the best of luck, because he has built up so much bad karma, it will come calling.

  6. Visitor

    unwarranted chip on his shoulder. doesn’t play nice in sandbox.

  7. Geoff Iced

    I’m the king of the world! Wait for my next announcement, in which I will disrupt and solve the problems of hunger, poverty, and world peace! I’m the most awesome unemployed guy EVER!

  8. Noneya Bizness

    Now that TuneCore seems to be sinking, if anyone is interested in learning how to sell music on itunes store or how to put songs on itunes store look up a company called ADEDistribution they can put your songs up on itunes, amazon, spotify, and google play

      • Visitor

        wow, the one person working for crapnote really does sit there all day , probably in his pyjamas waiting for any opportunity to tout his company.

        • Reminds me of the joke

          “That guy is a drunk, every time I go to the bar I see him there.”

          • Visitor

            Sometimes at happy hour bars offer free tacos and such.

            probably go grab a meal for the day and stiff the waitresses

  9. rastamouse

    Follow the money.

    Is Tunecore even profitable? Another business designed to service the imaginary group better known as “middle class musicians”.

  10. Realist

    Really? Are we using this firing as an opportunity to pitch our own aggregator services? If you are truly in this as a pro, you know that getting on iTunes is not the tough part. Look at the stats: 28MM songs made it on in 2011. 94% of those sold 100 units or less, roughly 8MM songs were downloaded just once! This is the legacy of Tunecore and others like them. You can’t release music and hpoe that it goes viral on its own. Get a team, get a clue, get real!!


  11. @smhueston

    Wow. Peter Wells gone awhile, but surprised at this.

  12. @iamchrislaney

    It must be bad when you’re fired from your own company.

  13. Michael Trenton

    Yup, no surprises here. This is almost another story of the inevidable rise and falls of music tech companies who sell their souls to the corporate world.

    We used both Tunecore and Cdbaby and have found the same exact issues, problems and most importantly limitations. We’re a band from SO Cal and recently joined http://www.mondotunes.com (check out

    A ton of successful bands/artists are hopping on board because it was created by major label musicians for other musicians without all the BS fees. They have the largest range (around 800 I believe), no monthly, yearly per store (any other BS fees). They’re affiliated with Interscope so have great resources while artists still keep 100% of their rights and net royalties. Haven’t gone corporate yet and I hope they stay indie!

    • Yeah Right!

      You obviously work at Mondotunes. And BTW there aren’t 800 digital stores worth selling in.

      • Visitor

        Mondo tunes look like absolute dog shit, and your advertising methods suck. Everyone mentioning their business on here really is embarrassing themselves. If you had money and clients you wouldnt be doing this

        • Visitor2

          I agree. Companies like ADEDistribution, RouteNote, and MondoTunes are desperate for clients and money. Go with distributors who doesn’t use these kinds of advertising methods. Go CD Baby! Go TuneCore!

          • MG

            Do any of your saying negative things about Mondotunes have any actual experience with them? It seems like their deal is much more fair than anything else I’ve come across. I don’t care if they market-that’s my job. I just want to know if they get the tunes into the online stores and if I’ll get paid when I sell anything.

            Please only repy if you’ve used them. I’m not interested in gossip:-)

  14. Visitor

    No surprise here… Jeff probably needs to stay off his soapbox for a while. I’m personally sick of him blathering on and on