Someone Is Now Offering Free iTunes & Spotify Uploads…

Updated, Sunday, 12:15 pm.  Well that was fast: after about 24 hours, Fandalism has now decided to go with a $19.99 blanket price for one year of unlimited uploads, instead of free as initially advertised.  But, the Digital Music News readers will still get the free offer, just click the link below.  

The original story, published Friday, follows (and the first ten or so comments are a reaction to the free offer).   

Last year, we wondered what would happen if Apple offered a free upload tool for artists. Well, someone beat them to it: Fandalism, headed by influential digital disruptor and entrepreneur Philip Kaplan.  According to details shared by Kaplan, Fandalism will be offering all musicians free and unlimited iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play uploads, with a 100 percent royalty return.

The offer, which officially goes live this weekend, is happening here.

Kaplan’s most notable success is AdBrite, not to mention incubated startups like TinyLetter (and F’d Company in the early days).  Now, Kaplan’s in the music biz, with the growing Fandalism music community.  Which introduces the model behind this play: Kaplan is hoping subsidized uploads will entice musicians to populate his Fandalism community, which already has 550,000 profiles.  This will keep them close.

And yes, Kaplan is unabashedly trying to create a massive disruption for entrenched companies like CD Baby, ReverbNation, TuneCore, and Ditto Music.  “Currently, there are about a dozen 7-or-8-figure-revenue companies that have deals with Apple to upload unsigned music to iTunes,” Kaplan explained.

“These companies are going to be very disappointed…”

Sounds like a big strike, though the math on this could be a little tricky.  Kaplan says his biggest expense here is UPC Codes, which cost “exactly 10 cents” per album upload.  But what about maintenance, customer service, renewals, and all that jazz? “With Fandalism, I’ve automated the site such that I can manage all 550,000 current (free) members by myself,” Kaplan continued.

Which brings us to the end game.  “I hope with this new feature, the number of members will increase — that’s the main reason for it.”

21 Responses

  1. Publicity stunt

    Apple (and others) will cut them off if they don’t have the proper review systems in places (to prevent obscene cover art, etc). This requires humans = cost.

  2. The Joker

    This is not something new. This has already been tried before. A Digital Distributor called WaTunes offered the same service back in 2009 and it didn’t worked out too well.

    WaTunes has garnered attention because it was the world’s first company to ever offer artists the ability to upload music to free to iTunes and other stores while they keep 100% of the company. I don’t see this model lasting too well with this company unless they’re offering some sort of revenue model.

    • Visitor

      WaTunes went bust very quickly, because they were just holding artist revenues.. This is sounds like a bit of a joke really. They arent going to have the right technology in place and its going to be very limited. Additionally, he will need a huge amount of staff if track numbers get big! FAIL!

  3. anon

    This is just more bullcrap tactics. Give it to us for free, yeah sure… until you start robbing us once you got us just like everybody else.

    • Chris

      Because their technology is already poor in terms of backend uploads. Plus, they dont have the time to manage all artists directly.

  4. marsiano

    they are using facebook as the only login option. the empire strikes back.

  5. Buzzsonic

    Uploads to iTunes have always been free actually, its just there are a number of stipulations to actually becoming an iTunes provider.

    “How much does it cost to sign up to sell my content on the iTunes Store?
    Signing up to sell your content on the iTunes Store is free. More details regarding sales terms are available during the sign-up process.”

  6. Steven Corn (BFM Digital)

    No such thing as “free” on the Internet. You pay for it one way or the other.

  7. ????

    “which already has 550,000 profiles”

    paul, isn’t this the same # of users they had 6 months ago?

    Have they really had no luck signing up anyone else since then?

  8. Jedi Bret

    Where does the opt in page mention free?


    That’s what it says.

    • Visitor

      Guess that was short-lived. So I just talked to Fandalism. So, they are moving to $19.99 now for unlimited uploads for a year, but Digital Music News readers will still get the free offer (just click the link from this article).

      They want to test different offers I think, not exactly A|B but something like it.


  9. guest

    Here is what will happen:

    Fandalism will get a lot of rubbish tracks from “artists” . itunes will notice a large amount of errors in cover images metadata etc and cut them off.

    People. Digital distribution for artists is an actual job. Not something you can just pass on for free. Also what about the other stores Amazon, Spotify etc.

    There is no such thing as free. There is always a price.

    The price here will probably be this company going down together with a bunch of royalties owed to artists.

    Be careful

    IF something seems to good to be true it probably is not.

  10. Publicity stuct worked

    DMN fell for it and printed Fandalism’s name on their home page (only to regret it less than 24 hours later).

    Lesson learned?

    To be fair, I have sympathy for bloggers like you, Paul. Its difficult to know when you are being used as a pawn in the PR game and when someone has actual news. At least you didn’t post 4 stories about Ian Rogers in a 24-hour period last week like some other ‘journalist’.

    • paul

      Possibly, and I can see why you might think that. But I’ve known Philip even before the PUD days, I don’t think he was hoodwinking me.

      Instead, I was pushing the story forward pretty quickly, I think Philip probably scrambled to get it in working shape before I published. It seemed like a good, groundbreaking idea, though the first 10 comments seem to have caused a refresh. Yeah, you guys can be punishing and critical, but also pretty smart.

      So maybe I was the one forcing some realtime decisions that ultimately didn’t make sense, and I think Philip made the smart move shifting over the weekend, not an ego-based damn the torpedoes one.

      And hey, DMN users ride for free!


  11. Visitor

    Why didn’t DMN do a feature on the fact that Swedish recorded music revenues shot up by 11% last year? Weird. I thought this would be relavent, considering 90% of the digital revenue is from streaming…

    Good news is not important, apparently.

  12. Links do not work

    Your links do not work. It brings you to ‘privacy settings’ in you FB account however even if you change your settings to ‘public’ it still does not work. Lame