This Is How Distribution Companies Are Stealing Artists’ YouTube Revenue

“Each time there is a new way for an artist to make money, a new way emerges for others to take it from them.”

The following guest post comes from Jeff Price, the original founder of TuneCore and now founder/CEO of  

The most recent example: with no justification, a significant percentage of an artist’s YouTube money is being taken by many of the music distribution companies – (music distribution companies are the companies that place an artist’s music into iTunes, AmazonMP3, Spotify etc.)

The distribution companies get away with this by claiming that they, not the artist, control the rights to the artists’ recordings for licensing into videos on YouTube.  This allows them to take a percentage of the artist’s YouTube money for doing nothing. They pull off this financial sleight of hand due to the incredibly tangled, confusing, backwards and, in some cases, almost impossible to understand copyright laws and music business practices.

Case in point.  Distributors have never, ever controlled an artist’s right to license recordings into videos.  This makes sense; the distributors’ role is to distribute recordings of music onto the shelves of music stores and then administer back the money from the sale of the music.

Distributors do NOT license music into videos.

As we are all aware, YouTube is not a “store”; music is not placed on a “shelf” and consumers do not pay money to buy music from it.

These rather glaring facts are not stopping some distributors from sticking themselves between the artist and YouTube, taking a percentage of the artist’s YouTube money for doing absolutely nothing and adding it to their bottom line.

If this does not yet make sense to you, it’s for a good reason.  It’s confusing – and this confusion makes the unsuspecting artist vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

Let me explain in more detail.

How YouTube Works

There are two main ways to make money on YouTube.

One is from views of your own videos on your own YouTube account – this is called a “Channel.”

The second is from views of videos which use your music in them – this is called a “Claim.”

CHANNELS – How A Musician Can Make Money On Their Own Videos On YouTube.

Let’s say you wrote a song, recorded that song and made your own video with that song in it – like an official music video. This video would have three copyrights in it, all controlled by you:

1) One copyright for the video itself

2) One copyright for the recording of the song (called “The Master)

3) One copyright for the lyrics and melody to the song (called “The Composition”)

Next, you create an account at YouTube, called a “Channel” and upload your own video with your own music in it.  You then tell YouTube to “monetize” your video with ads (this option appears in your YouTube account for everyone. No middleman needed). When the ads generate money, YouTube pays you about 55% of what the advertiser paid them.

NOTE: This option to make money on your YouTube video is open to everyone; no middleman is needed.

CLAIMS – What Some Music Distribution Companies Are Doing On YouTube To Take A Piece Of The Artist’s Money

Let’s assume that as before, you wrote a song, recorded that song and made your own video with that song in it – like an official music video – and uploaded it to your own YouTube account (called a Channel).

Also as before, the video has three copyrights and as before all three copyrights are controlled by you:

1) One copyright for the video itself

2) One copyright for the recording of the song (called “The Master)

3) One copyright for the lyrics and melody to the song (called “The Composition”)

This time however, there is a twist; the artist used a distributor to put the music in his/her YouTube video on the shelf of iTunes, AmazonMP3 etc.  Unbeknownst to the artist, this distributor also has a special contract with YouTube called a “Direct Licensing” contract.

These “Direct Licensing” contracts are typically only given to larger music companies or distributors, not to individual artists or songwriters.  These contracts allow the distributors to tell YouTube that they, not the artist, control the rights to the music of a song being used in videos on YouTube.

In addition the “Direct Licensing” contract also allows the distributor to go into YouTube, find the artist’s own videos in the artist’s own YouTube account, have YouTube place ads on the artist’s videos and then (here’s the important part) have the YouTube ad money flow from YouTube directly to the distributor, not to the artist.

(NOTE – these same “direct licensing contracts can be used for good by finding other people’s videos using the artist’s music and making the artist money off of those, something an artist cannot do on his/her own).

Now that the distributors have the artist’s money, they take a cut of it before paying the artist whatever is leftover.  They very misleadingly call the percentage of money they take from the artist’s YouTube revenue a “distribution fee”.

Let’s be clear.  It is NOT a distribution fee, the distributor did not “distribute” anything to YouTube. It’s a “we’re taking a piece of your revenue because we can” fee.

What justification does the distributor have to get a cut of the artist’s money? Good question, and sadly there is not a good answer.

The distributor did not write the song, record the song or create the video.  They did not create the artist’s YouTube account or even upload the artist’s video to YouTube.

And they certainly did not cause people to watch the video which generates the ad money.

Finally, unlike other digital services like iTunes and Amazon, no middleman is needed; artists can go direct with YouTube and make ad money on their own videos themselves by simply uploading their video and clicking the “monetize” button.

In other words, the artist writes a song, records the song, mixes the song, masters the song, shoots a video, edits it together, uploads it to YouTube and gets people to watch it based on the merits of the music and video. The distributor, which did NOTHING to cause these views, create the music and is not needed as a middleman to make money on YouTube, sits back and just takes a chunk of the artists’ money.

Due to the complexities of copyright law and/or the artist not knowing they can just go direct with YouTube a chunk of the artist’s money is being taken by someone else.

In other words, these distributors do it because they can get away with it.

They don’t need to do this, they consciously choose to.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

In this day and age, I can’t believe we still have to fight for an honest system.  It really is not hard to give the artists all the money they are entitled to in a clear, timely and transparent fashion; you just have to want to do it.

But let’s say they don’t want to do it, and they’re solely in the game to make a lot of money at any expense. These sleight of hand business models work against them. Each time a stunt like this is pulled, eventually someone else will step forward with a way to correct things and completely cut them out (just look at what happened to the old school music industry).

As one example, in, 2005, I watched the artist needlessly have to give up their copyrights and a percentage of their money from the sale of their music in order to get it onto iTunes, so I started TuneCore (sadly, the investors in TuneCore threw out the three original founders and appear to no longer have the artist’s best interest in mind).

Now, in 2013, I’m watching the distributors have the artist needlessly give up a percentage of their YouTube money from views of their own videos on YouTube.   So I started Audiam (via Audiam, the artist gets 100% of the revenue from the views on their own YouTube videos and also makes money on other people’s YouTube videos).

Can’t the new music industry take a moment and look at the past and learn from it?

If you screw the artist, eventually you are going to get cut out. Yes it’s easier to just take money by hiding behind the complexities, but if you truly want to create a great long lasting business of value, it’s going to take innovation and hard work.  You actually have to create something that makes money predicated on real value, not on smokescreens and sleight of hand.

Change the model from exploiting the artist to serving the artist and we all win, both financially and morally (and maybe you can even sleep better at night).

In the meantime, can you just cut it out?  Stop taking the artist’s money needlessly, its hard enough for them as it is.

– Jeff Price

Twitter Handle: @TuneCoreJeff

Image by Davy G., adapted under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

148 Responses

  1. Semut Biru

    Download your favorite music for free on

  2. Jacob Chang

    The US music industry faces strong competition from both European and Asian markets, which are gaining ground in the global music arena. Furthermore, the availability of online content has led to increasing piracy of content, which negatively impacts the revenues of record labels says

      • Visitor

        Oh Lord. Jeff’s continuing ignorance of the mechanics of how the record industry works is astounding for a guy running his own company asking people to give him money.

        1) Record Labels can montize rights on YouTube to the masters they own just as they can monetize those rights through all other channels including but not limited to retial distribution channels such as Itunes, streaming outlets such as Spotify as well as film/tv/commercial sync licensing. Signed artists know what rights they have assigned to the labels, and if they don’t know they need a better lawyer.

        2) Publishing companies can monetize the rights on YouTube they own and/or administrate on behalf of the artist just as they collect from other channels including but not limited to retial distribution channels such as Itunes, streaming outlets such as Spotify as well as film/tv/commercial sync licensing. Signed artists know what rights they have assigned to the labels, and if they don’t know they need a better lawyer.

        UGH Jeff… Really… Read a book and learn already. During his entire time at TuneCore Jeff NEVER actually understood how Soundscan worked and that every release through TuneCore that went to Itunes and other digital retailers had it’s sales reported to Soundscan.

        Jeff insisted that somehow TuneCore sales were excluded from Itunes reporting to Soundscan, what a goof!

        • Jeff Price

          I know its exciting for you to be able to communicate and challange me. I hope you dont mind that Im using my response to speak to artists while ignoring the name calling…

          1) Record labels control rights to master recordings. They do have the right to monetize those rights via YouTube via something called a “Synchronization” license. Typically, a “synch” license is calculated at a different rate than a band royalty
          That being said, record labels are not distributors, they are record labels. And my issue is with distributors claiming to control the licensing rights to the master recordings. For example, if someone wants to place a song in a video, they call the label, they dont call the distributor.
          So then why are distributors issuing licenses to YouTube as opposed to the label (and in today’s world, the artist is the label).

          2) Publishers cannot monetize their compositions on YouTube unless they have a direct licensing contract with YouTube. Without that contract, the only thing a publisher can do is ask YouTube to take down the video. Audiam has the agreements to allow publishers to make money off the use of their compositions (even cover versions). This is why Jason Mraz uses Audiam for his publishing.
          In regards to SoundScan – the short version is you are wrong. But I cant blame you, the information you know is not based on actualy experience of building the largest music distribution company in the world

          • chris

            “building the largest music distribution company in the world” – Jeff as much as I like you please do not ever describe Tunecore as that because it simply isn’t, wasn’t and never will be

          • Intelligent 3rd party

            Wow, sounds like these guys work/invest in TuneCore. They type like they’re in their 40s too.

            I imagine Audium is safe, though I would recommend all artists review it’s contract and information.

            Or if your lazy, get customer service/support to swear on behalf of the company to how you “think” the company works. They’ll quickly correct you to prevent a paper trail.* (not sure about this, but I usually can’t get some agents to swear their statement reflects business practices when something seems shady)

            Cheers Artists. Use audium, and fuck everything else.

          • Visitor

            Jeff – when you are in a hole, stop digging. Everything you’ve said is just flat out factually wrong. I don’t know you can keep repeating the same nonsense and you should really know better.
            So tell us again how TuneCore’s distributed titles at Itunes are not subject to Soundscan… tell me, I want to hear it again.

          • Visitor

            EXACTLY! He must be digging his way to his future home, HELL!

          • Jasmine-A

            Thanks Jeff- Ignore the ignorance. I understand what you are saying. Nowhere in your explanation did it mention record companies or “publishers” he STATED! Distributors this was about distribution Companies….smh the devils in the details people…Record labels, distributors, publishers…all different, sometimes under the same umbrella…if you dont understand that maybe this should be the least of your worries…

      • Gahengis

        Jeff is talking about distributors trying to take money from the artist, not publishers or record labels you goof.

      • Jeff Price

        sadly, companies like this take a % of the money from the views of the artist’s own videos
        Please do the research to make sure you are providing accurate information.

        • Visitor

          Sadly Jeff – you’re wrong again. AdREV carves our the artists own channel uploads. For the love of God man, PLEASE educate yourself so that you don’t constantly look so foolish in public. It’s like you’ve got “trump” disease…

  3. Really

    Jeff. So you are aiming this at distribution company who:
    “take a percentage of the artist’s YouTube money for doing nothing”
    However, isnt this was Audiam does?
    From your website.
    “Audiam only charges a 25% administrative fee if it gets you additional money from other people using your music on YouTube.”
    I know you state that on Audiam you allow the artist to keep 100% of the royalties.. thats correct, but only on their own channel and not through the Content ID system.
    This smells anti-tunecore, self promo propaganda.
    Im surprised someone allowed this to be published on DMN considering Jeff cant be impartial and this seems to be a direct attack (plus sour grapes ;))
    It seems like Audiam has a very limited platform with no real technology and they are simply adding artists music from their platform straight into the Content ID system and then taking a 25% cut from Cotent ID revenues. Its a very simple idea that isnt new at all! Im also struggling to see why Audiam take 25% considering you have no large ad sales team, no promotional opportunities within YouTube or other platforms. So what are you offering ??? the simple ability for artists to use the Content ID system YouTube built?

    • Visitor

      “I know you state that on Audiam you allow the artist to keep 100% of the royalties.. thats correct, but only on their own channel”
      Why would Audiam work for free?
      25% for monetizing videos you can’t find by yourself seems fair to me.

      • Visitor

        …plus, Audiam claims it can provide higher paying ads.
        So you’ll make more money from your own channels, as well.
        Audiam could very well charge you for that, but they don’t. (Not that I want to give them any ideas here… 🙂
        Now, compare that to Indmusic:
        Indmusic takes 10% from our own channels but they refuse to tell you what you’ll get in return.
        All they say is that they ‘have never seen a partner make less money’.
        And that could change any day as they won’t give you any guarantees.
        With Audiam, you don’t risk anything at all, as I see it.

        • Visitor

          Audiam take a 25% cut from Content ID, which is fine. However, they never state this.. they just keep saying they dont charge anything to artists (as Jeff stated in his original post).

          Audiam states they have better paying advertising even though they dont have an ad sales team and Im sure they dont have an ad exchange expert within their team! I smell Bullshit!
          Its only fair that artists make as much money as possible from their music. It just seems very strange when its claimed everywhere that you charge nothing, but you do. Its claimed you have an ad sales team when you dont. Its also claimed you are the cheapest in the industry when your not.
          There seems to be a pattern.
          All these little things add up.
          Especially when you consider all the fuckups you made with Tunecore. UPC and ISRC codes dont seem compatible with the rest of the Industry (with most industry leaders stating that you simply make up the numbers).
          If I was sitting on the board of Tunecore .. then I would have had to get rid of you too. Your team seems to have made a lot of mistakes to the point when the investors now cant even sell Tunecore and get any returns.

      • Visitor

        He shouldn’t work for free, but his method of making money isn’t any more artist friendly then what he’s talking about here.. He’s basically calling everyone else a thief and himself a saint.
        Can’t wait to see how long it will take for him to get booted from this company.

        • Jeff Price

          I understand you do not like me personally, but please try to keep that seperate from the wrong information you are using to “get” me as it hurts artists.
          What you state is incorrect. Audiam takes 0% of the revenue generated from the views of an artists own video on YouTube
          It is the only entity on the planet that takes no % of the money.
          Every other single entity on the planet takes a %
          I think thats wrong
          Audiam only takes a % when it finds other peoples videos on YouTube using an artist’s music and then, via its agreeements, tells YouTube to place an ad on these videos, collects this new found money from YouTube and passes 75% back to the aritst
          The question is, why do you not want artists to make more money on their own videos AND start to make money on other people’s videos?

          • Ray

            Your statement here is just false. Flashy headlines do not = integrity.

          • Visitor

            Jeff by that logic no distributor takes a % when they sell no records! Nothing sold = No Distribution Fee. That’s how distribution fee’s work, they are a % of revenue!

            Love you Jeff, but man are you a goof ball on basic industry mechanics.

          • Jeff Price

            You are right. And that’s exactly the way TuneCore worked. It took no % of the money from the sale of the music.
            WIth that said, YouTube is not a “store”. Distributors do not place music on a shelf there and people do not go there to buy it.
            Let me ask you a question, when a record label did a deal with a distribution do you actually believe the label gave the distributor rights to license the master recordings into videos?
            How can you not know basic info like this and try to offer advice?

          • Visitor

            In a word. Yes.
            It is my experience that these are opt-in services and distributors act under the instruction of the labels they represent.

          • Are you serious?

            The reason that an artist’s music is claimed by the distribution service instead of saying that the artist owns it when using said service is not because of any licensing contract: but instead because of the functionality of Content ID itself. You see: YouTube doesn’t give two shits about what artists, channels or games the content actually belongs to. If it’s in someone’s Content Owner, then it’s going to say which Content Owner it was claimed by.

            The only way to fight this is to get your own Content Owner from YouTube which is a notoriously difficult tool to acquire (not that you would think about that since your company has managed to do that).

            It honestly baffles me how someone who should know about Content ID more than the average joe is painfully unaware of one of the most public features of it.

    • Jeff Price

      You have wrong information on YouTube. Let me try to help.
      To answer your questions:

      1) Artists CAN make money on their own videos on YouTube. And they should. And they should get all of it (thus the reason for the article)

      2) Artists CANNOT make money off of other people’s videos on YouTube withe two special contracts from YouTube called “direct licensing” contracts. One for the recording of the song (the master) and one for the composition of the song (called the composition). Most of the world’s artists do not have these contracts and cannot get them.
      As an example, assume someone is covering your song on YouTube. You cannot tell YouTube to place an ad on that video and get the money. WIth Audiam you can
      Audiam has the agreements to get money from other people’s videos on YouTube.

      We find them, tell YouTube to place ads on them, get this buried treasure money back from YouTube and get you this found money.
      This has nothing to do with ad sales teams (Google/YouTube sell the ads)
      This has to do with getting artist’s their money from the use of their music in other people’s videos on YouTube.
      They should be paid. With Audiam they are.
      In regards to feature sets, there are a bunch now and more coming. For example, as an Audiam customer, you can log in and see weekly reports that list every video on YouTube that has your music in it, the view counts, the names of the songs, the names of the videos and a direct link to view the video itself.
      In regards to other value, ask yourself this, why is Jason Mraz using Audiam? There was no advance paid, no special deal
      The answer is that YouTube is confusing, hard to manage and a lot of work

      No, its not just “content ID”, its policing to assure others are not claiming rights and taking the artist’s money, using our own technlogy on top of YouTube’s to find more videos, interfacing with YouTube for the larger problems, building systems that can help an artist promote themselves etc
      I believe music has value and artist’s should be paid. YouTube is the new iTunes. Fans are using the artist songs and recordings – in the tune of 30 billion views a month. However, only 15 billion of these views have been autorized to have ads on them – these views generate over $1 billion a year.
      That means there are about 15 billion views a month of videos on YouTube that have music in them that are NOT making money for the artist. They deserve that money. Im going to get it for them


  4. Noneya Bizness

    Let’s be clear. It is NOT a distribution fee, the distributor did not “distribute” anything to YouTube. It’s a “we’re taking a piece of your revenue because we can” fee.
    This is patently untrue. I work at a distributor, and we most certainly DO distribute our entire catalog to YouTube for Content ID fingerprinting. That means that we’re representing ALL of your songs all across YouTube (not just the ones you upload yourself in a video) – something that individual artists and small labels cannot do for themselves – which, I might point out is noted in the article here:
    (NOTE – these same “direct licensing contracts can be used for good by finding other people’s videos using the artist’s music and making the artist money off of those, something an artist cannot do on his/her own)
    We also take our standard percentage from the revenue collected, which is less that Audium’s 25%. YouTube for all intents and purposes is a music streaming service these days, so it absolutely falls under the purview of distributors to assist in revenue collection there.
    Additionally, we always withdraw our administration of the copyrights on YouTube for any artist or label that requests to monetize their own videos.

    • Jeff Price

      The artist writes the song, records the song, masters, mixes, creates a video, uploads it to YouTube, YouTube sells the ads and then you take a % of the artists money
      As you did nothing to write the music, record the song, make the video, sell the ads AND the artist does not need you to make money on their own videos please justify why you should take a % of their money.
      Its because you choose to…
      But even if you disagree, if an artist uses Audiam, we will not take any of the money they make off the views of their own videos.
      You do
      We dont
      And we dont pretend its a “distribution” fee to mislead them

      • Noneya Bizness

        We take a percentage of their revenue because we entered into an agreement with them to collect the revenue for them and keep a percentage. As I stated (and this happens on an almost daily basis), if an artist or label requests that we remove a copyright admin claim from their video so that they can monetize it themselves, we do.
        It’s part of the overall package of services we provide as a distributor. It’s all very above board.

        • Jeff Price

          I dont agree with you. YouTube is not a store. You do not place music onto a “shelf” and people do not go there to buy music.
          In addition, from what you have written, your company appears to take a % of the money an artist makes on views on their own videos.

          Or asked a different way, Audiam takes 0% of the money that an artist makes from the view of their own videos. Plus we educate the artist on how to make money off of their own views
          Do you do this or do you just take money made off of views of their own videos?
          And are you a distributor or are you an entity that does synchronization licensing for masters and/or compositions
          And since when does a “distributor” represent the songwriter?
          If you are both, do your artists understand that they can make money on YouTube on their own without you on views of their own videos?
          Why do you take a % of the money from views of their own videos on YouTube when you did nothing to cause those views, nothing to write the music, nothing to record the music? You dont even create the artists YouTube account and you certainly dont sell the ads
          So why do you take their money?
          Finally, we also offer distribution via Audiam. Flat rate – $19.99 a year for unlimited songs and releases. The artists gets all the money.

          So let compare:
          100% of the money from views of your own YouTube videos
          100% of the money form the sale of your music in iTunes etc
          make money off of other people’s videos on YouTube
          and you?

          • Noneya Bizness

            Jeff, YouTube is currently the largest digital music streaming service in the world. It far outstrips Spotify or any other music service in sheer number of music streams per day. So, yes it actually is part of what distributors can (and should) help an artist or label with. People don’t buy their music there, but they do go there and listen to music. It’s ad-supported streaming, just like a free Spotify account.
            We have many, many artists that are not particularly savvy when it comes to digital management of their material, or they’re too busy doing other things to sign up for multiple DIY distro services. We collect revenue for them whether or not they upload their own material, or even have their own YouTube channel. We distribute their catalog (ALL of their songs) to the largest music streaming service in the world, and protect all of their copyrights from infringement for them, and monetize their content for them, whether or not they even realize it’s possible to do. For those that do know how to do it themselves, (as I’m stating for the third time) we gladly pull our claims on any video they want us to. I field calls from our labels regularly regarding YouTube rights. About 1 call in 10 is someone who is upset that we’re monetizing their YouTube for them, and they opt out. But the rest of the people I speak with are glad to have us doing this for them. And we have many other small labels that just get an extra payment from YouTube in their monthly check, without having to do anything.
            We default to administering their copyrights on YouTube not just because “we choose to”, but because it’s in the best interest of our distributed labels to be paid for streaming on YouTube. You can use alarmist tactics to try and paint us as “the bad guys”, but our distribution clients don’t think of us that way. They’re happy to have us take care of all that stuff for them, so they don’t have to worry about it.
            Incidentally, we provide the exact same service that Audiam provides (with regard to Content ID on YouTube), except that we offer many other value-added services as well. Like distribution to over 300 physical and digital retailers and streaming sites worldwide, sync licensing, marketing, personal account reps (not a “support page”), and no fees. I’m sure Audiam is a valuable service for those that don’t have access to a full-service distrbutor, but for those that do, your service is not necessary.

          • Jackson

            So, not taking sides here, but please clarify:

            You take a fee off of all the artists’ youtube material, regardless of if you had a hand in it being on youtube or not? Yes or No?

            Is it the same % cut or lower? “Same” or “lower”, please.

            Artists who are not minding the shop, and go through the effort of making and distributing their own content on youtube may be unaware that you are taking a cut of their ad revenue, for as Jeff puts it, “not having contributed anything” to distributing that content? Yes or No.

            Is this disclosed to the artists, that you as distributors, will be taking cuts of their revenue regardless when you’ve done nothing to actually distribute that content?

            If an artist decides to NOT share the revenue they derive from content they create and distribute on youtube, do you still defend the content YOU have distributed that ends up on YouTube? Yes you will? Or is it All or Nothing?

            There are some serious Jeff bashers here. Not buying his narrative hook line and sinker, but not exactly enamored with his detractors, either.

          • Student

            I think you hit the nail right on the head on the last sentence – Audiam is probably good for unsigned artists who don’t have a distribution deal that fingerprints their stuff on Youtube. So for that, I commend Jeff. However, it isn’t surprising that the company he headed (Tunecore) was a distributor for mostly unsigned artists that didn’t do any Youtube fingerprinting – smart move by Jeff, providing what his competition can’t (well, until they manage to do so).

        • Visitor

          One last question – as per your own posting you take the artist’s money unless they ask you not to?

          So your default is to take their money in hopes they will not notice and if they do you’ll say sorry
          Shouldn’t your policy be not to do something you should not be doing in the first place?
          Really? Take their money until caught?
          You dont have to do that – you choose to do that

        • JTV Digital

          Distributors deliver the audio to YouTube for fingerprinting purposes.
          Without fingerprinting, no revenue.
          So there is nothing crazy in having distributors taking their usual cut.

          JTV Digital | Digital Music Distribution

          • Jeff Price

            That is not correct. An artist can make money on their own videos without a middleman.
            The quesiton to you is does your company take a % of the money an artist makes off the views of his/her own videos?
            Audiam does not.

          • YouTube distro guy

            If the artist requests to monetize videos on their own channel directly our company certainly allows it, while we deliver the audio to content ID for fingerprinting for < than your25% cut. Don't say all distributors use smoke and mirrors to take money from the artists as our company works to always be transparent and keep all of our labels educated on what services we actually provide.

  5. Visitor

    This is Classic Jeff Price.. Create an unnecessary panic about something that shouldn’t be an issue. He mentions the 55% revenue split, but fails to mention that a distributor or Multi-Channel Network could sell your ads for a higher CPM.
    Yes you dont need a middleman to allow ads on your channel. However, this means your part of the adwords/adsense system. .That means you’re in the general sales pool and if they sell an ad for a $1CPM, you get 55% of that income.
    aggregators, distributors or Mult-channel networks can sell their own ads at a premium rate. For instance, a minimum ad buy for VEVO is $10K with a $12CPM minimum.
    That means even AFTER the splits, you still net more. So no, Jeff, the evil distributors aren’t stealing money from the innocent artist.
    You’re simply trying to create demand for you product by causing unnecessary fear. You’re misinforming the public.

    • Visitor

      “a distributor or Multi-Channel Network could sell your ads for a higher CPM”
      So can Audiam, at least to some extent, according to this statement in their faq:
      “We can get you higher paying ads: We authorize YouTube to place both text ads and the higher paying video ads on your video.”
      And again, Audiam does not charge you for that on your own channels.
      But we need some transparency here. When I want to buy a guitar, I can compare prices, services and products and choose the best deal.
      In this situation, I have to try each company for a year or so. That’s ridiculous.
      So, who pays what?

    • Jeff Price

      If you want to pick a fight with me, at least have your facts straight.
      What you state is incorrect and I understand why, YouTube is confusing. But you are hurting artists by stating things that are not true.
      This article is not about Multi Channel Networks, this article is about “Claims”. The two are very different (please take a moment to re-read the article as it describes the difference between a channel and a claim).
      First, not all multi channel networks do direct ad sales. So much for that point.
      Second, as one example, entities like CD Baby are not a Multi Channel Networks; they are distributors. Yet, entites like CD Baby are telling YouTube they control the rights to the masters or compositions in artist’s own YouTube videos.
      This then has YouTube pay entities like CD Baby the artist’s YouTube money. These entities take a % of the artist money and then pass the rest back to the artist.
      I believe an artist should get 100% of the money from the views of their own videos on YouTube. The question is, why dont you?

      • Visitor

        “I believe an artist should get 100% of the money from the views of their own videos on YouTube.” – Jeff Price


        Except when Jeff Price wants a 25% distribution fee to collect on your money from YouTube… Good lord…

        • Peter Wells

          That’s right, 0% from “their videos,” 25% from “other peoples’ videos,” which is hard is a service with real value.
          No one’s forcing you or anyone else. Don’t want to monetize your earnings when other people use your music in their videos? No problem. But make sure your distributor isn’t doing it without your permission and taking a cut anyway! That’s the sort of thing others are doing, and it’s taking money and choice out of your hands.
          And that’s unfair.
          Peter Wells, co-founder,

          • Visitor

            Sorry Peter – a little bait and switch there huh Peter? Man… you guys know how to throw a party.

            ADREV does the same service you do for 10% less…


      • Visitor

        “First, not all multi channel networks do direct ad sales. So much for that point.”
        I didn’t say all MCN sell their own ads.. The big ones do.
        “I believe an artist should get 100% of the money from the views of their own videos on YouTube. The question is, why dont you?”
        I’m fine with the artist getting 100% of the money. However, if you offer value, I’m also fine with that person getting a % as well. 100% doesn’t always mean better.
        Let’s just be honest about the way you’re looking to make money. You’re buying a bunch of lottery tickets. You’re selling the artist on the 100% royalty, but of those indie artist will get 1000 views and it wont mean anything to them or to you.
        However, eventually you’ll get a rebecca black, Psy, or similar and that will make up for everything.
        With all that, I still dont see the value in your service.. someone could go to INDmusic and give up 10-15% of their revenue on the CLAIM. Why go with Audiam that charges 25% ?
        Also, someone could just go to a MCN (one that sells their own ads) get a higher CPM and still get access to Content ID (which is bascially what you’re selling access to). So they’re making more money off the CHANNEL and giving up less on the CLAIM.

        • Visitor

          “Also, someone could just go to a MCN (one that sells their own ads) get a higher CPM and still get access to Content ID (which is bascially what you’re selling access to). So they’re making more money off the CHANNEL and giving up less on the CLAIM.”
          Yes, that’s the alternative. And there’s no doubt you can make (much) more money off the channel in most cases.
          I think Audiam sounds like a really good idea, but I’m still not sure which pays better in the end — Audiam or your suggestion.
          At any rate, I’d wish people would try and be a bit less emotional here so we could get the facts on the table instead of playing fight club.

        • Jeff Price

          The way Audiam earns money is by working for the artist. It finds other people’s videos on YouTube that has the artist’s music in it (even covers), tell YouTube to place ads on those videos, and get this new money back to the artist
          In exchange, it takes a % of this new money it is able to get for the artist.
          Hell yes its about lottery tickets. Technology allows for more lottery tickets. Now a song has more chances at becoming a hit – either on its own merit, due to the a great video that someone else makes or both.
          And no matter why it happens, the artist deserves to be paid.
          In regards to InD, they are a Multi Channel Network. It is a different type of company using a different type of contract with different royalty rates
          This is different than “Claims”.
          Also, you can check with InD, but I believe the royalty rate you are suggesting they use is not accurate
          And they do take a % of the money generated from the views of your own videos.
          I think the question for you is, why do you think its bad for an artist to get all the money from the views of their own videos and also make money from other people’s videos?
          Their foucs appear

          • Visitor

            “In regards to InD, they are a Multi Channel Network. It is a different type of company using a different type of contract with different royalty rates
            This is different than “Claims”.”
            It seems that you’re saying:
            “Use Audiam for Claims, and InD or another Multi Channel Network for Channels.”
            But is that possible?
            If not, it seems that we have a problem: I’m pretty sure you provide the better service what Claims are concerned, but most of the revenue comes from Channels so we may be forced to choose a MCN instead of Audiam if we can’t have both…

          • Jeff Price

            If you are going to give someone else your money, make sure you are getting value for it. Its up to you to decide if that value is there.
            If you want to join a Multi Channel Network, ask youself, is it worth giving up x% of my money in return for what they are offering
            For example, Multi Channel Networks state they teach you best practices on YouTube and this alone is worth giving them a % of your money.
            These best practices are available on-line for free from YouTube. So the question to ask yourself is: is it worth it to me to give up xx% of my money so I dont have to read a PDF.
            If it is, do the deal, if its not, dont do the deal
            Yes, you can have Audiam do your claims and be in a deal with another entity as part of their Multi Channel Network and give up a % of your money from the views on your own videos.
            Or you can have Audiam do your claims and make all the money yourself off of the views of your own videos.
            I will say this, I believe you should be wary of Multi Channel Networks. No Multi Channel Network can cause your music or video to be liked. The art you create has to work on its own. This is what causes views and revenue
            In otherwords, if you create a hit song or video, you’re going to get the views with or without a Multi Channel Network.

          • Visitor

            “if you create a hit song or video, you’re going to get the views with or without a Multi Channel Network”

            My concern is not how to get more views. My concern is the bottom line — what I get for my views.
            It’s good to hear that I can use a MCN and Audiam simultaneously.
            “If you want to join a Multi Channel Network, ask youself, is it worth giving up x% of my money in return for what they are offering”

            Now, here’s what my situation looks like (and I don’t think I’m alone in this):
            I have no experience with Multi Channel Networks and I’m not especially attracted to the idea. But it goes without saying that I’d be happy to pay 10% if it can offer, say, 50% more money in return.
            Only thing is, that I would prefer one company to take care of all of my YouTube business.
            So here’s a suggestion for you:
            Why don’t you start or cooperate with a decent Multi Channel Network?
            This way, you could offer what I’m sure many artists want:
            One single, easy to use, reliable YouTube package that takes care of Channels as well as Claims. Without risking all kinds of conflicts, takedown request-mistakes, etc.
            You wouldn’t lose anything as you don’t make any money from Channels, as it is. On the contrary, you’d get more customers. And don’t underestimate your cv and name; a lot of people would prefer to work with you instead of an unknown MCN, despite any number of weird comments on this page.

        • Jeff Price

          You’re a bit all over the place and factually incorrect.
          You stated in first posting the Multi Channel Networks do direct ad sales raising the CPM on an artist’s own video.
          Now in this posting you say not all Multi Channel Networks do direct ad sales thereby suggesting the value you say is there is not there.
          Next, a Multi Channel Network has nothing to do with making money off of other people’s videos. A Multi Channel Network contract is one type of YouTube contract that has to do with making money off your OWN videos, not other people’s videos.
          As an example, SONY Publishing does not use a Multi Channel Network contract to find other people’s videos on YouTube using their songs, they have a different contract called a “Direct Licensing” contract. This contract has different royalty rates and terms than a Multi Channel Network.
          Its this type of confusion that allows artist’s rights and money to be taken from them.
          Do not hesitate to let me know what other questions I can answer in regards to YouTube.

          • Mark Wills

            Well this is not the complete story…..

            Firstly, Many of the labels we distribute have signed licensing contracts in Europe with major record companies and Publishing contracts where the synch rights and master rights belong to these companies in the subsequent territories.

            Therefore the real question is what is YouTube? A streaming service or a free for all synch platform to allow anyone sitting on any form of rights to claim claim claim?

            I think we all know what the majors think!

            We have won many disputes with major companies and re-claimed youtube rights for artists with over 100K clicks per day every day!

            On the other hand to promote a new platform “Audium” get a premium partner deal with YouTube, upload audio to YouTube, let it run through the match process and take 25% for User generated Content is easily earn’t cash…Money for using YouTubes technology…Money for nothing!
            On top of this what most artists don’t know is most of them are making more money through User Generated content as via their own channels, therefore Audium is hitting the artists with a 25% fee where it hurts!

            This is not protecting rights of any artist. It’s a money making machine that is offering a better financial output to artists due to a premium partner agreement.

            All independent digital distribution companies do the same as “Audium” is planning to do anyway and are generally charging less (in some cases only 10%).

            All that Audium will initially achieve is a lot of conflicting content between all distribution companies that will block any form of monetization for artists until all conflicts are resolved and contracts are re-written.

            Lastly one should not ignore the amount of manual work involved in managing YouTube content. If you really want to maximize Youtube income and protect the rights of artists you need a kicking team with extensive knowledge of copyright laws in differing territories and the will to fight against the big players when necessary. Thats why independent distributors have to take a share in exactly the same way as “Audium” does of User generated content!

            “Audium” is nothing new and has no new sparkle of magic but is simply trying to take business away from distribution companies by giving artists an insecure feeling about their rights on YouTube and their respective earnings.

          • Jackson

            No. I see it as pretty clear. A choice between, say, giving up 10% of everything, or a choice of keeping 100
            % of my own created and published content, and giving up 25% on everything else.

            Seems to be a matter different business models, no?

  6. Rob Michael

    This article paints a picture where an artist may not even know that their Youtube ad revenue is being funnelled somewhere other than to thier own adsense account.
    I myself have had copyright claims against my own videos featuring my own compositions. These claims came from a company that I authorized to negotiate sync licensing on my behalf. These claims were disputed and resolved.
    How can I know that ad revenue is going to me and not them?

    • Jeff Price

      What is happening to you is EXACTLY what this article is about.
      Tell you what, provide me the URL of your OWN YouTube video that has your OWN music in it and I will tell you who is trying to get YouTube to give them your money
      Ill bet its a distributor.
      This is the point of the article. They have NO right or justification to take your money
      You can either Tweet me the URL (@TuneCoreJeff) or post it here and I ll check back and provide an answer

      • Rob Michael

        When I go to my outube channel at, I see my monitized videos and see nothing about my distributors.
        I hired Rumblefish (via my CDBaby account) to lift some sync-licensing weight on my behalf. So far, this has proven a mild inconvenience as I’ve had to dispute some silly claims they’ve made against me–AND other people whom I had already given permission to use my music on some of their videos.
        Looking at my YT video manger page, I see no sign of Rumblefish claiming anything, but perhaps I’m searching the wrong area.
        Rob Michael

        • Jeff Price

          You hit the nail on the head.
          Rumblefish va CD Baby (two middlemen?) was claiming rights to your own videos on YouTube thereby re-directing your money to them, letting them take a cut and then passing the rest on to you.
          Fortunatly, you understood that this was not right, contacted RUmbleFish/CD Baby and got them to let go of your money
          QUestion is, why were they doing it in the first place? And if you had not called them, you would have given up your money to them for no reason
          ANd this is what I have issue with. Really, the default is take your money unless you notice and then tell them to stop it?

      • Mark Danmark Digital

        And here is a distribution company answer…
        Give me the same info as Jeff and we will do it for less!
        There is no rocket science behind YouTube and claiming rights on YouTube content.
        It’s about finding the right people who care to do the job properly on your behalf.
        You are welcome to contact me direct via our website at the bottom you will see a contact form.

    • Ray

      This is how to get the answer to your questoin. No need to for Jeff to “save you.”
      When you login to your YouTube account and click on Manage Videos, you’ll see any claim next to that video. That’s also where you’ll find the options to monetize yourself. If it’s your distributor, it will have their name.

  7. Yves Villeneuve

    Has this been going on only since Jeff Price left Tunecore? Just wondering if this was the reason for the unfriendly split, or is it something else? If Jeff Price was unhappy with Tunecore receiving YouTube action, did he try to implement an Audiam option at Tunecore when he was its CEO?

  8. Visitor

    Jeff’s major miscalculation:
    This is not the same scenario as 2006 when TuneCore launched. There are already other companies doing exactly as Audiam (some that take even less %), and all these “dsitributors” will most likely match Audiam’s offer leaving Jeff with no advanatge in the marketplace. Audiam has no audience. All the distributors do. It’s much easier to just keep the relationship with the distributor. And for the record, DistroKid is not real dsitribution.
    So, while the headlines get everyone in a tizzy, this will be over just about as soon as it started.

    • Jeff Price

      Its funny, how you positon things. This is not about me or my calculations. This is about getting artist’s their money
      I believe music has value and artists should be paid for its use.
      I also dont let entities that pick the pocket of artists
      So rather than just post on blogs, I start companies to fix the problem
      Audiam fixes the YouTube problem – it gets artists paid for the use of their music in other people’s videos without taking any of the money from the views of their own videos
      If you dont want to pay artists, write your own music. Oh wait, its hard to write Smells Like Teen Spirit. Thats right. Music has value, pay for it.
      Dont like the way Im getting artists their money, I challange you to launch your own company to do it better.
      Work for the artist -cause competios to make everyone have to rise


  9. Alex Di Savoia

    It is an unpardonable action. With diligence and a bit of a fight, artists and labels can sort this out. It’s worth noting the same companies are claiming artist royalties via Sound Exchange too.

  10. Music King

    I would check out Playwire. They give me their video technology for free, and allow me to set my own CPM rates for my content. Additionally, the content I load to them remains protected as it can’t be stollen eaily (like YouTube).
    By loading to YouTube, an artist is essentially liscensing their content to YouTube, forfeiting any rights or decision making power they have. Playwire allows me to monetize evey view on any website online, and still own 100% of all my copy rights.
    Defintley a must for all artist.

  11. Eddy Grajeda

    make a video of it to show samples of the problem . . .

  12. tippysdemise

    There is something to be said for the convenience of having all digital income flow to, and from, the same source (a single distributor). If Audiam is not collecting income from your own channel, then earnings must flow instead through AdSense, which has a fairly high payment threshold for release of funds (I believe it is $100 in the US) and requires some hands-on account setup. For many, having a 91% rate on both earnings from your own channel and user-generated content may be preferable to having a 100% rate on your own channel and a 75% rate on user-generated content (and then having to maintain and monitor multiple digital accounts: distributor, Audiam, AdSense).

  13. Blob Lefshitz

    Venture Capital has no moral compass.

    Who am I? What have I become?

  14. R.P.

    This sounds like someone speaking for experience and aiming the gun at Tunecore…

  15. Chris2

    Jeff,this is no different to what several others already provide – here’s a quote from one the biggest:Rights ManagementEffective operations and conflict resolution is an exact science, and we’ve got it down to an art.UGC Affairs: We monetize all user-uploaded content that contains your music or videos, turning piracy into one of your top revenue streams and ensuring that you don’t miss out on any lucrative opportunities.Legal Conflicts and Disputes: We’ve got your back with dedicated support to handle all conflicts between partners and disputes that arise from YouTube’s 800 million users.Fingerprint and Metadata Sync: We’ve automated fingerprinting and metadata delivery so you get results in a fast and scalable manner, without any additional work. Watch as those buy links drive your sales.Quality Control: Always on point when it comes to maximizing monetization, our experts ensure YouTube’s system has the right data with the right settings.

  16. Stupid Conversation

    The Label Does All The work and the artist makes 100% of that money? is there any way for people to get that fact that when a label or distributor gets things placed for an artist, its all encompassing and its cost effective to work with a label than not because you do get that whatever percentage of no views or listens is nothing? But the label and distributer you fuck head…are the ones that promote, market, distribute and manufacture artists material. Its been that way since the beginning ofthe music industry…YOUTUBE is a marketing tool. Its also revenue source that falls under digital so unless this idiot knows the nuance of every lastrecording contract, he should shut up about this issue….Especially in many cases whenthe artists does no tour, the label ends updoing most of the work….besides, this guy sounds like a disgrunteled person that was NOT only pushed aside from people at the labels, it also sounds like a person that was fired from the very own company he started….Now that is hard to do in life and so with that said today….who cares about what he says about the landscape of this part ofthe industry? And, overall assholes, stop trying to wipe the labels out of every transaction. The label does what i say here and they deserve to get paid for that work…jesus fuck…

    • Jeff Price

      I agree.
      Most artists are not signed to labels, they are their own label. Therefore I agree, the artist should be paid for their effort, music and talent.
      It does not make sense for someone else to pick the artist’s pocket and take their money for doing nothing
      For example, take the self released artist Moone and their YouTube video “Better Energy – Drunk In Session”
      Over 1 million views. Self written, self recorded. They made the video themselves and uploaded to YouTube. They caused the views.
      It makes no sense for a third party to take any of their money. They did it all, and yet in many cases, ditributors are taking a cut.
      Its not right



    This is why I registered with audium! When I would upload my videos to YouTube would send me a message and say my content was owned by The Orchard, ( my distributor) not cool. I own all my content and need to control it and monetize it, NOT give more money to my distributor.


  18. Smallest

    A couple observations here:
    1 – ContentID generates a lot of income for moderately succesful (and up) content- in some cases ugc revenue > channel revenue
    2 – For a small artist who self-monitizes, it is going to take a LONG time to reach that $100 AdSense threshold, especially w/o ContentID. The time value of money comes into play when you’re waiting a year to get that $100.
    3 – A good distributor will search, contest claims, etc. w/ YouTube, adding more value.
    4 – So if iTunes opens up the music store to anyone w/ an Apple ID, are the distributors then stealing money from the artists as well?
    I think this whole argument is a bit suspect- any small label w/ even a tiny amount of business sense knows what their distributors are doing and makes choices that make sense for them, in terms of revenue, time, expertise, etc. You can self-distribute to a reasonable degree through a combo of direct arrangments and no-frills services like TuneCore etc. and this works for some, but others want things like their releases being pitched (which can make a huge difference sales as most here know), more sophisticated accounting (mechanicals broken out, etc.), niche stores that the generalist services don’t reach (Beatport, etc.).
    If labels are being “stolen” from, I would say they’re not handling their business correctly.

  19. Digital Music "Paulslist

    Apparently you can get free advertising spots on DMN. If you are Jeff Price that is. Paul, this is bullshit. You should be lynched by the music community for misleading tactics and misinformation, disguising advertising as news.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Jeff Price is a guest on Digital Music News because people are interested in what he has to say. He writes provocative, unflinching editorial, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen DMN as the place to express his opinions and vision for the industry.
      On the other points, you have no idea how many warm, supporting and insightful emails I get every day, not to mention great ideas. I also have the pleasure of working with some incredible companies, or at the least, meeting some incredibly innovative and pumped-up execs in this space.
      That’s the part you don’t see as much in the comment threads.

      • Digital Music "Paulslist"

        Paul, I do not doubt that you have fans and wonderful people submitting great ideas. But Jeff is really a capitalist like the rest of us – a person trying to make money by filling voids in the industry. And his guest post are truly advertorials. I know it causes great debate and is wonderful for traffic to your site. But, unfortunately, many of us actually in the digital business who have read your newsletter religiously on a daily basis are getting tired of the tabloid-style headlines and commentary that has become all too common — all of which is in addition to free advertising for Jeff Price. Compromises have been made. You come across as being enamoured with high-profile, intelligent, self-promoters. I give Jeff all of that.

        • Visitor

          “But Jeff is really a capitalist like the rest of us – a person trying to make money by filling voids in the industry.”
          Wtf is wrong with being a capitalist?
          I don’t know what you have to offer, but Price made TuneCore and he deserves a lot of credit for that. It would be stupid not to listen to him when he starts a new company.
          And I’m sure his competitors will comment on his article if they have anything to bring to the table.
          But that doesn’t seem to be the case, does it?

  20. cbyrd

    It seems to me from your comments that your primary issues are that they are “distribution companies” and they dealing with “rights.” Is it not possible that the distribution company also helps artists with rights management, either through other services offered or perhaps simply at the artists request?

    I work for a distributor as well. We also handle merch manufacturing, web site design, hosting and management, rights management services and we search for piracy and issue takedowns where applicable. Should we stop offering those services? Or perhaps you would rather we changed our name?

    Regardless, this article looks less like a guest posting and more like an advertisment for your own company.

  21. Peter Wells

    This article had to be written.
    That’s what I conclude from the comments, which feel like a cross-section of a crazy quilt. We have vitriol, confusion, illumination, partisanship, misinformation, defensive backpedaling and flailing attacks on the subject, the author, the industry and even Paul’s site and Paul himself. Wow.
    Most tellingly, the distributors have been scrambling, acting as if they’ve been caught–because they have. Suddenly entities like CD Baby appear to be “inviting” their customers to “join” in a “service” (claiming money from uses of their distribution customers’ music on YouTube, keeping a fee even when it’s from that customer’s own channel) that they’d been doing on the low-down all along. If it’s so elective, why only offer it as a choice now? Why reposition the silent claiming as an active product?
    I see it as a reaction to this article and other things Jeff and I have been saying publicly. Shine a light in a dark place, things happen. It’s the first step in establishing an informed artist community.
    What’s the last step? Lead by example. That’s what Jeff and I learned by conceiving and building TuneCore: become useful and fair to an artist and they’ll benefit, the business grows, the fair model becomes the dominant model, everything improves. This is why artists now have so many services like TuneCore. That’s what we’ll do with Audiam, and the industry knows it, which is why they’re racing to copy the model.
    We believe the artist should only pay for services they want and have the choice to opt out if they wish. Only an informed and educated artist can make comparisons and draw conclusions. So Jeff wrote this article and together we’re building Audiam, correcting a wrong with this new company as we did with our first.
    I’m immensely cheered by the patchwork of emotional comments here on DMN. We touched a nerve, as we did years ago when we created the philosophy and business that was TuneCore. Save this thread, Paul: it’s going to prove an interesting time capsule.

    Peter Wells
    co-founder, TuneCore
    co-founder, Audiam

    • I'm an artist

      Thanks for shilling for Jeff!
      I’m an artist, and I just can’t bring myself to buy into you guys. You’re so devicive. There is a way to champion the artist without leaving a path of dustruction behind you.
      I would love to see you guys build a company based on good will from the artist community, not by trash talking one side, while misleading the other with half truths. I don’t do business with people like that.
      Most distributors out there offer this as a free addon service to their distribution. If artists don’t like the service, they can opt out at anytime.
      Oh and by the way, I don’t see everyone who gets a percenatge of my music as a villian. I’m busy making music and there is value in not handling all of the endless acounts myself.

      • Jeff Price

        sadly, artists have not been treated well over the past 100 years or so.
        Im not sure what’s devicive (sic) about stating artists deserve to keep their rights, get 100% of their revenue via a transparent system with an aduit trail.
        And yes, I will fight tooth and nail for that. Its what they deserve
        You also deserve choiche, if you want to to do a deal with an entity that takes your rights and revenue, I support you. I want you – and all artists – to be armed with the choiche and information to allow you the freedom to make informed decisions that work for you.

        As an example, with Audiam you get
        100% of the revenue from the sale of your music in iTunes etc
        100% of the revenue from the views of your own YouTube videos
        and you get to make 75% of the money off of other people’s videos in YouTube as well (even covers)
        If this model does not work for you, it is not my place to say it does
        I will however call out others that are being deceptive to you and not providing the right information so they can dip into your wallet and take a piece of your money without you knowing about it.
        Thats just wrong.

        • Visitor

          Lil’ bit cheeky for you to be using the (sic) journalistic protocol when your posts have so many typos!


      • Portallatro

        I support Jeff Price and Audiam because of “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Tunecore CEO was involved with a shady bankruptcy at ZRAN corporation in Israel. Lots of shareholders lost money because of these corrupt executives at ZRAN. Jeff is against Tunecore thus Jeff is my friend. I wear the Audiam label proudly. The best way to fight the bad companies is tell all the other artists about the good company you are using.

  22. Tune Hunter

    It is overdue for YouTube to become a music / media store.
    Party posting any material should have a choice to convert it at 50K, 100K or 250K to commercial cash making goods! After prediscribed number of ad supported streams Google shows only 60 or 90 seconds – you want more you must PAY!
    Then why should they?
    Label boys like free media on YouTube – they are proud to convince Google to load there VEVO! Wow what a breakthrough development!

  23. Steven Corn (BFM)

    (note that I am fully disclosing that I own a distribution company such as those that Jeff criticizes.)
    Jeff’s blanket condemnation is inaccurate, unfair and obviously self-serving. I know that DMN benefits from the buzz that Jeff’s rants creates and I am reluctant to add to the chatter. However, it is important to caste his comments into some realistic and honest appraisal of what he is criticizing.
    “Finally, unlike other digital services like iTunes and Amazon, no middleman is needed; artists can go direct with YouTube and make ad money on their own videos themselves by simply uploading their video and clicking the “monetize” button.”
    That is completely true. Artist don’t need a middleman to monetize their own videos or their own channel. But what he fails to mention is that only distributors (including Audium) can monetize UGC. Without them, artists would only be able to monetize their own channel.

    He also fails to mention that some distributors (such as BFM!) will white list an artist’s own channel since they can monetize it themselves. Unless an artist specifically instructs us to monetize their own channel, we do not take a penny from their Youtube revenue. It’s a very transparent arrangement between BFM and its labels/artists.

    • Jeff Price

      Hi steve
      With Audiam an artist gets
      100% of the money from the sale of their music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, iTunes radio etc
      100% of the money from views of their own videos on YouTube
      and they get to make money off of other people’s videos on YouTube as well.
      With your company they simply make less money.
      I started TuneCore and now Audiam in response to companies like yours. I beleive your business model is wrong and success of TuneCore and now Audiam indicates to me that serving the artist and getting them more money, more quickly with transparency and an audit trail is the right approach
      I understand you disagree and have a different business approach that takes rights and revenue
      Side note: I know you want to “get” Peter and I, but the article I wrote clearly states artists cannot do UGC claims on their own.
      I never need to fabricate or make things up. Its the debunking of the misinformation put out there that is the problem. artists deserve to have information to allow them to make the decisions that best suite them.
      I have to ask, in your own posting here on DMN you state your default is to take an artists own views on their own YouTube views unless they ask you not to.
      Odd policy: take their money until they ask you to stop.
      Shouldn’t it be the other way around?


        Jeff, it seems you either failed to read, or misread Steven’s comment. Your quote:

        “I have to ask, in your own posting here on DMN you state your default is to take an artists own views on their own YouTube views unless they ask you not to.”

        False. This is not what he said. He said:

        “Unless an artist specifically instructs us to monetize their own channel, we do not take a penny from their Youtube revenue.”

        Who’s spreading false information now?

        • Steven Corn (BFM)

          Thank you for pointing out Jeff’s misquote of our position.

        • jeff price

          with all due respect this is not what he said.
          In his previous quote on this topic it was stated that his company would “whitelist” and not take money only if asked
          Why would his company need to “whitelist” someone if it was not taking their money?
          I know its fun to take me on, but at least get your facts straight

          • Re: Bullshit Alert

            I have to agree on the bullshit alert. Jeff’s clearly misrepresenting/misquoting Steven Corn, and his company’s position.
            Anyone that reads these comments can clearly see that. Unfortunately Jeff, you seem to be reading these comments through rose-colored glasses, seeing what you want to see. Just because you say it is so does not by any means make it truth.
            And regarding “Whitelisting”, let’s be clear: “Whitelisting” a channel is CMS nomenclature for any claiming entity identifying a channel on which to release all claims, which allows said channel owner to claim any uploads made specifically to that channel for themselves. If Audiam isallowing their partners to claim “100% of the revenue on their own YouTube videos” (which, let’s all remember we’re actually talking about “100%” of an actual 55% of the total ad-revenue, so stated by Jeff), while simultaneously intaking their Sound Recording assets and Composition metadata and submitting it to ContentID, Audiam would have to be Whitelisting these channels at some point. Otherwise the Sound Recording and/or Composition assets would be picking up on these on-channel uploads through ContentID and claiming them as 3rd Party. The only other possibility is they would have to be routing all their Sound Recording and Composition assets to manual review to be processed manually, which would be an extremely arduous and error-prone process.
            To summarize: YouTube requires all claiming entities to “Whitelist” channels if those entities wish to allow the channel owners to claim their own content. This is YouTube’s policy, not the distributors’. Audiam is not exempt from this Whitelisting policy.
            Do I have my facts straight Jeff?

      • Steven Corn (BFM)

        P.S. – Our rev share on YT revenue is significantly less than yours. Your business model takes more, and I can respect that, because you take less on other verticals. So don’t pretend to be a saint here. You are a businessman who needs to create profit in order to continue to provide a service to your clients.
        I find your “I’m so benificent and everyone else is evil” attitude to be very tired and obviously self serving. No one is buying into it. You can position your business model as being better (which is totally arguable) without the need to defame others and imply that everyone is crooked except for the grand-exalted and completely altruistic Jeff Price. (that was scarcasm in case you didn’t read it carefully)

    • Visitor

      I would like to see Jeff respond to the Whitelist point, because Whitelisting is in fact commonplace among most distributors today, and allows channel owners to claim and monetize their on-channel videos without interference from the distributors.
      It is also 100% true that the average YT partner can’t monetize UGC, as they do not have access to ContentID. In this sense, distributors (Audiam included; let’s not pretend that Audiam is anything other than a distributor limited to the YouTube platform) are of benefit to their partners.

  24. Visitor

    I’m a person in need of this service. I must say though, whatever the merits or not of this service, I’m more than a bit put off that an executive of the company would be more than 50% of the responses to this article. It’s not exactly giving me a strong sense of faith in the company, even though I do admire the passion.

    • Jay

      I have the same feeling…I’m looking for the right solution for my artists but these advertorials are having the opposite of the intended effect for me.

  25. Adult Videos

    I recommend going after porn videos which use unlicensed music all the time. A major label settled big out of court with an adult video producer and web service.

  26. Kevin Rivers

    This is becoming a very hot debate. Normally, I don’t do this but I figured I’d put in my two cents here. Firstly, I’d say that I admire Jeff & Peter for champion their opinions on the industry and I congratulate them on the success of Audiam (w/ DistroKid link up).
    That being said, to Jeff & Peter, from a friend to friend, I will have to call you guys out on a few points. After reading your article and reading the comments here on this thread, it’s clear that you’ve made some serious contradictions in regards to Audiam and other distribution companies.
    Here are some points where I do agree with you on:
    – YouTube is not a store (It isn’t. Not yet anyway. It’s a video platform where users watch videos and they’re now just testing its store features for Movies.)
    – Artist deserves to get the most money possible with great transparency
    – Artist needs to make informed decisions
    My only concern with your article guys is that you’re champion a mentality that you’ve used with TuneCore’s model that’s clearly not a model with Audiam. When you guys started TuneCore, you’ve created the flat-fee approach to distribution. As a result, championing the “100% approach of money for artist” was valid because you really did created a way to make sure artist were earned all their money.
    In this case with Audiam, it’s invalid. Reason being is because while you do say artist keep 100% revenues of their own channels, they do not keep 100% revenues of any video from every other channel. They keep 75% of the revenues of any other video outside their own channel. Thus, you’re making your stance become very contradicting.
    Had you would of done the flat-fee approach in this case, then what you are claiming in terms of making sure artist are paid fairly while other distribution companies pays “unfairly” would be somewhat valid.
    Now let’s talk about the other guys. The distribution companies. Below you’ve quoted Jeff:
    “Distributors do NOT license music into videos.”
    ^ Technically, distribution companies more often DO license music into videos because they were granted the rights to do so. The question is not whether they license music to videos but to they exploit the artist in the process?
    The answer to that question is in most cases is “no”. Which is why distribution companies offer YouTube as a “opt-in” (side dish) option as oppose to the main course (iTunes, Spotify, etc.).
    “These rather glaring facts are not stopping some distributors from sticking themselves between the artist and YouTube, taking a percentage of the artist’s YouTube money for doing absolutely nothing and adding it to their bottom line. ”
    Jeff. You’re bashing distributors for taking money from artists YouTube videos for doing nothing when you’re taking money from artists music outside their YouTube videos for doing nothing.
    “Case in point. Distributors have never, ever controlled an artist’s right to license recordings into videos. This makes sense; the distributors’ role is to distribute recordings of music onto the shelves of music stores and then administer back the money from the sale of the music. ”
    The days of distributors just getting people’s music into the shelves are long gone. It’s not about that anymore. Distributors are there now to serve the artist/label community to help them best monetize their content in the best possible way.
    Because of you Jeff/Peter, and because of all the distribution companies out there, artists are becoming more informed. Today, artists are getting a lot more smarter than when they were back in 2006.
    So to close on my comment on this thread. Jeff/Peter, to say that distribution companies are evil because they take a cut of what artist makes off their YouTube channel is rhetorical because you’re doing the same thing by making money outside their YouTube channel.
    Jeff/Peter, I’ve admired what you’ve done with TuneCore immensely. I believe that if Audiam were to be a flat-fee service + offer artists 100% of royalties across the board, then the mentality that you’ve champion of “fighting to make sure artist keeps all their money” will become ever so concrete.
    As mentioned earlier, I congratulate your success with Audiam/DistroKid and I’ll continue to keep watch for what you guys have in store next.
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

    • Jeff Price

      hi kevin
      thank you for the kind words, I very much appreciate it
      I disagree with you. Distributors do not traditionally license masters for synchronization
      Distributors also do not control rights to compositions (needed for monetization of videos on YouTube)
      Yet here they are doing that.
      Artists do not need a distributor to make money on their own videos on YouTube
      Distributors have no justification for taking an artist’s money from views of their own videos on YouTube
      I created simple business logic and a model that takes 0% of the revenue from the views of the artist’s videos while also getting them the money from the views of other people’s videos.
      The question is, why dont you do this? Why do you take a % of the artist’s money from the views of their own videos beyond the fact that it allows you to make money for doing nothing?
      With Audiam an artists gets
      100% of the money from the views of their own videos on YouTube
      100% of the money from the sale of their music on iTunes, Amazon etc
      and they get to make 75% of the money off the views of other people’s videos on YouTube
      More money, more quickly all while allowing the artist to own their copyrights
      We should not be in a situation where you take their money first and then, only when they contact you, stop picking their pockets
      The default should be to let them earn their money and then offer services/products that add value

      • Visitor

        Hi Jeff,
        Thank you for your response.
        “Distributors do not traditionally license masters for synchronization
        Distributors also do not control rights to compositions (needed for monetization of videos on YouTube)
        Yet here they are doing that.”
        I’m going to agree to disagree with you regarding the distributor bit and leave it at that.
        However, what still begs to question is how can you champion the “100% royalty” model when you’re not fully giving them 100% royalties across the board? You’re not champion the true “flat-fee” model that you’ve created. Instead, you’re just saying its unfair to take a % of money from the videos of the artists YouTube channel.
        As for Venzo, we have no intention of taking a % of money from our artists YouTube videos whether its their channel or not. We see YouTube as an added value as part of our upcoming platform strategy not a means to establish a new revenue stream.
        “We should not be in a situation where you take their money first and then, only when they contact you, stop picking their pockets”
        I agree with you on this. However, in the defense of other distributors, this also presents an opportunity for them to negotiate a solid license.
        “Distributors have no justification for taking an artist’s money from views of their own videos on YouTube”
        Now Jeff. This is rhetorical. Because who is to say that “Audiam have no justification for taking an artist’s money from views outside their own videos” on YouTube?
        “Artists do not need a distributor to make money on their own videos on YouTube”
        True. They don’t. However, today, artists are more happier to have everything under one management system where they can manage their data than deal directly with multiple partners. They’re are thousands of artists who have a large catalog of content that can easily get a deal with iTunes, YouTube, etc.
        Nevertheless, they would rather work with providers like Audiam, TuneCore, Venzo Digital, etc. where they can fully manage their processes under one umbrella. It saves them time and allows them to focus on what’s more important: making & promoting their music.
        Kevin Rivers
        CEO, Venzo Digital

      • Whoa wait a minute

        Wait so does Audiam claim the composition rights on behalf of the people that sing up for it?
        You say that defining the composition owners is needed for monetization on youtube (I didnt know that!), but it was my understanding that compositions weren’t something that normal youtube partners couldn’t make on yt.
        If someone has to own the compositions, does that mean you’re doing it for your partners?

      • Media BCD

        No but they do need the distributor to release and often administer the payments of the distributed material. And as part of the AGREEMENT, which the artist knows, should know, and as I tell the artists who signs with my label, should have their own lawyer read the contract and explain it in details to them.

        My label doesn’t do the distribution, it does it through a third party, why? Cost effective for me and the artists. And in such a way, since the master and the videos actually belongs to a Label (be it the one the artists signed to or started for themselves) The artists who writs his songs will and should not get 100% of the videos rights, never has, never will.

        Couple of reasons for that.

        1- Contract for one.

        2- The money for the distribution is fronted by the Label, not the artist. So even if an artist has his own label, it’s the label who gets that rights, not the artist. What’s the difference? Taxe and income statements. The artist will actually have 2 income taxes to pay if he has his own label. The business taxes and the personal income taxes he made from that business.

        3- The label is the one paying for the videos, so it makes a lot of sense that they get the royalties of the videos, less of course the writers and composers royalties.

        4- Not all songs that are written and posted on Youtube is fully owned by the one posting it, and distributors often does the job of paying the right % of the money to those it has to go to. THAT is an administrative action, and as anything in life is not free.

        5- and this one is tied up to the first. IF one artists actually manages to make the song from a to z without going to a studio, without going to a mastering house, without using a distributor, without having a label (none what so ever, not all artists have labels by the way not even their own one in part to avoid the business plan, the business taxes etc), have composed and written the song entirely themselves, have played all the instruments entirely themselves, have handled the camera panning, zooming, traveling, tilting themselves whilst performing infront of the camera (this part is usually paid by the label who hires a production company to make the video), who uploads the video on all the different viewing platform, who hunts down anyone one that uses the music or the video without prior consent or actually true use of free use, and there’s so much more than goes on that you actually do not speak of, if someone actually manages to do all of that while being creative and releasing new material, then for sure they would actually have to be paid 100% of everything, but then at the same time, THEY WOULDN’T SIGN A CONTRACT WITH A DISTRIBUTOR WHO HAS CLEARLY AND PLAINLY EXPLAINED IN THE CONTRACT IN DETAILS, WHAT THE DISTRIBUTOR WILL GET! If they sign a contract and they don’t read it or have it explained to them carefully.. then I’m sorry, but it’s the artists fault, not the distributor.

        • Media BCD

          And that was to Jeff, sorry if my ealier post confused to who I was responding to.

    • Makell Bird

      I agree with Kevin, YouTube is NOT a store. If anything, artists should be using it as a promotional tool to showcase their music/products and to direct fans/customers to wherever they are selling material.

      This is exactly why ADED.US Music Distribution doesn’t do the “youtube ID” crap. I feel it is intrusive (on the distributor’s part) to put those kinds of chains on the music. I’ve heard from several people that say they HATE the fact that CD Baby was doing that to their music.

      Prime Example: An artist uploads a generic music video to youtube. Then the artist joins CD Baby and uploads their music. Then CD Baby (or ANY company that does this) puts this youtube (tracking) ID on it and the ORIGINAL videos get marked as copyright infringement and blocked on some level. So, you’ve just hurt the artist more than helped them. And, let’s assume the artist wants to use that same music in a different way or an a different video… that video will be linked/blocked to whether or not the artist wishes to still be in business or connected to that distributor/licensor.

      And, once again, Jeff you are telling people on these blogs that they are getting ripped off, while holding out your hand and asking them for money for what you’re doing. That seems really weird to people like us. And , YES, you are taking shots at TuneCore while doing it. Like I said, and I will keep repeating this… AREN’T YOU ALREADY A MILLIONAIRE??? Dude,… Jeff… just sit back, smoke a bowl, and count your money and leave this distribution business to us hahaha. Hell, come to Vegas and I’ll smoke a bowl with you hahaha.

      Makell Bird,
      CEO and Founder of ADED.US Music Distribution

  27. Tune Hunter

    Dear music industry participants and observers,
    You are in the middle of hot discussion on how to divide pitiful bread crumbs thrown into the ocean from the biggest pirate boat on Earth!
    Lets invest the same energy to help convert YouTube to 10 billion dollar monetization cargo ship!
    Labels! You do have nice relationship with YouTube folks – please show Google how to make more cash without VEVO and all will be rewarded!

  28. Peter Wells

    Why has it taken this article and this discussion thread to get everyone talking?

    Our industry need leadership precisely because without it, those in power (gatekeepers, aggregators, distributors) set policies in the dark, and for their own gain, often short-sightedly.

    Despite the usual chaos and misinformation, I’m still thrilled at this comment thread, because it’s gotten distributors TALKING. Why did it take an article like this to bring people out, defensively or otherwise? That’s the question we need to ask.

    Thank you, Kevin, especially for this:
    Because of you Jeff/Peter, and because of all the distribution companies out there, artists are becoming more informed. Today, artists are getting a lot more smarter than when they were back in 2006.

    If this is a spark, we need to encourage the kindling and build it into a bonfire. We need leaders blowing on the flame.


    Peter Wells
    co-founder, TuneCore
    co-founder, Audiam

    • cbyrd

      Maybe the industry has been talking. Maybe distribution companies, like mine, take the time the discuss different options and exactly how everything works with the labels that we deal with. My phone number is always available to any one of them. They call regularly and speak directly with me!

      Can you say that about TuneCore or Audiam? I don’t know enough about your companies to definitively say one way or the other. I am legitimately asking. I know that I have had labels switch from TuneCore and complain about a lack of interaction.

      I don’t want to be one of the ones that just bashes on your companies. These are all legitimate questions.

      • Peter Wells

        Oh yes, we respond to those who reach out to us, constantly, and often within minutes. That was something I was really proud of over at TuneCore, and now that I’m at Audiam, I’m determined to do it even better.

        • cbyrd

          Can you acknowledge that there are distribution companies that aren’t swindling their label partners? This is perhaps the part of the article and comments that bugs me the most. You and Jeff paint a picture that you are the only ones being honest with labels and paying them accordingly and yet several distributors have spoken up in the comments.

          It seems to me that the industry isn’t quite as grim as you have made it out to be.

    • Visitor

      “Despite the usual chaos and misinformation, I’m still thrilled at this comment thread, because it’s gotten distributors TALKING”
      And you talk and talk and talk.
      Unfortunately you don’t care about artists so you refuse to tell us the only thing we want to know:
      What do we get for a million Channel views?
      Audiam says:
      “We can get you higher paying ads: We authorize YouTube to place both text ads and the higher paying video ads on your video.”
      Well, how high’s that, Audiam? 1/10% higher? 200% higher?
      While Indmusic says:
      “we have never seen a partner make less money. Some of our label partners have seen their YouTube revenue increase 300%.”
      So, which is it, Indmusic? 1/10% more or 300% more? What’s the average?
      Why don’t you guys come back when you have an answer (not excuses, not weasel words, not ‘it’s YouTube’s fault’, just numbers)?
      Thank you.

      • Visitor

        It should be added that Emmanuel Zunz from answers the question — without even being asked:
        “So while we keep 30% of the revenues from their own channel, we generally are able to double the artists’ revenues first.”
        Now, that’s solid information: will generally be able to give me 40% more than I can make on my own.
        So how about it, Audiam, Indmusic, etc? Could we get the actual numbers from you as well?

      • Visitor

        Placing higher valued ads is not something anyone can guarantee. So, it’s simply not true anyone can provide such a feature, except the largest distributors. YouTube is the one to determine the ads to place on certain videos and in certain countries, distributors cannot get this stuff issued in any way.

  29. 25%

    Hi Jeff (or Peter),

    People keep bringing up the 25% and you keep not responding directly to that question. How can you not be taking anything, and also be taking 25%?

    You’ve very successfully redirected every one of those questions with repetition of what I would call “talking points”. Kind of weird from such a loud “truth teller” such as yourself. More like a politician.

    And, if you are in fact taking 25%, how the heck is this any different than a distribution company, other than that you only do ONE THING and NOTHING ELSE and therefore just need to be a single add on separate to everything else that artist is doing to get their music out there.

    I admit, I kind of glazed over after 60 or so comments, so might have missed something hidden in one of the many discussions.

    Also, don’t you think that directly emailing clients of other companies and telling them that that company is stealing from them is both misleading and rude, and a karmically poor way to get clients? Just curious and somewhat rhetorical on that last one, because ultimately, I already know what I think about that kind of practice. (Misleading, Rude and Karmically Poor)

  30. David Romero

    I just have a simple question: who is visitor?

    it would be nice to know who is on the other side of Jeff, I mean a warm body with a real name

    who are you? who? who?

    • Visitor

      There are probably 50 Visitors…
      ‘Visitor’ is the default pen name for anybody who posts here without logging in.
      A clever ‘Visitor’ once wrote:
      We are the Visitor collective. We come in peace.

    • Steven Corn (BFM)

      I would support a non-anonymous method of submitting replies. I think that that would not only make the replies more cogent, it could help those that read them to make better decisions about how they want to handle their catalog. Anonymous postings are generally highly unreliable and impossible to substantiate.
      Plus it would remove any suspicions that a comment is being posted by a company-shill. You’ll notice that I always post my full name and company. Not to promote myself. but, rather, to be fully transparent and accountable.

      • Visitor

        “Anonymous postings are generally highly unreliable”
        That’s funny — I think that the most unreliable messages here are posted by very well known individuals from Multi Channel Networks, and similar companies.
        Most of them keep telling us, for instance, that we — individual indie artists — need them in order to monetize user generated YouTube content.
        So, what happens?
        An indie artist, Cellist Zoe Keating, tells us here…
        …how her YouTube revenue comes from user generated content, found automatically by Content ID without any assistance from said companies.

  31. Adeline

    Great post to let more readers know how the real facts of how musicians posted their videos to youtube and able or not earn revenues from their content. Youtube is good but always need to get lots of viewers to view their content. It’s quite difficult to new artists. For those established artists, it’s a powerful tool for them.

    For beautiful and soothng piano music, welcome to visit my blog:

  32. mnitg

    I know I’m a bit late, but this is an interesting article that I learned a ton from. Good post.

  33. Makell Bird (ADED.US Music Distribution)

    Jeff, although I respect your pioneering the music distribution industry, I’ll have to disagree with a LOT of the points you’ve made here.

    I can only offer my own personal experience on this. YES I run a digital music distribution company (ADED.US) but my experience with youtube on THIS front hasn’t been pleasant. From what I’ve seen, this whole “content ID” thing YouTube has going on isn’t helping artists, it’s hurting them… I’ll give you a prime scenario from my own experience…

    An artist came to me and asked me if they could “sell” their music on youtube and if we could help them monetize their music on YouTube somehow. Right off the bat I told them they won’t make any money on youtube, but the VISIBILITY that youtube has can’t be ignored. I told them that they should let us upload their music (in our own personal formatted video) to youtube to DRAW ATTENTION to their STORE listings such as iTunes, amazon, spotify, etc. – This is done by simply placing a link to such stores into the description section of said video.

    Now, my channel on youtube is monetized for ads… but guess what… I have NEVER seen 1 penny from youtube for ad revenues even though I know for a fact that ads are being served on the videos we’ve uploaded. In the event there WERE ad revenues, I would DEFINITELY give it to the artist whose video made the money. But, as stated, I have yet to see one penny from youtube (google).

    With all that being said. I have some questions for you so that I may clarify your position in the “music business”.
    (1) Are YOU a musician?
    (2) Have you ever actually been in a recording studio and put together an album

    I find a LOT of the things you say confusing because it’s like your pointing the dirty end of the stick at the people and businesses you helped create (TuneCore). And while you are here talking about artists getting 100%… does “the artist” understand what 100% means?… Because 100% (from iTunes) is only 70¢…

    3 things I want to point out:
    (1) I am actually an artist/musician (used to be anyways) – I’ve worked with MAJOR LABEL distributed artists in the past. I can tell you from being on the distributor’s side now that ARTISTS ARE LAZY and it’s delusional to think that they can do EVERYTHING. This is why the music business has several divisions to support said artist’s career: Manager, promoter, marketer, distributor, graphic designer, photographer, stylist, engineer, mastering, creative director, etc.

    (2) Remember how I said YouTube hurts artists… well we uploaded some music for an artist… and TUNECORE tried to block our upload to youtube claiming they had ownership of said material… now KEEP IN MIND that this is THE ARTIST THEMSELVES… they have LEFT tune core and have decided to use our company (ADED.US Music Distribution)… and now TuneCore is working against them… from working with us – This is why I’m against the whole youtube thing – not to mention companies like tune core EXPLOIT the “claims” system and even go as far as to try to claim material they don’t ACTUALLY have rights over

    (3) You’ve already made millions off Tunecore Jeff… why don’t you do what Derek Sivers did when he sold CD Baby to DiscMakers for 22 million and sail off into the sunset and take a never ending vacation… that’s what I would do.

    Let’s just say the one thing that you’re NOT saying… YOU’VE CREATED A MONSTER… and that monster’s name is Tunecore… you are now preaching AGAINST the very practices and procedures that you help set up at that company. All the while asking artist to join Audiam or DistroKid or whatever new venture you’re on… and YES they are paying you to do so. You’re basically approaching these situations with a “brownie sale” mentality… you’re saying “My brownies are better than their’s”… but it’s the same damn person… making the same damn brownies.. from the same damn recipe – AUDIAM is no different than TUNECORE

  34. Kurt in Alaska

    Here’s a fun one. A company, let’s call them CD Baby/Rumblefish, gave me the copyright notice on YouTube for a video and song I created and released through Tunecore directly to iTunes ONLY. We put the video up around the same time and it’s moderately popular.

    CD Baby references our name and song title, but I’ve never, ever, ever had any account with CD Baby/Rumblefish. We were very careful with the song, as it’s the basis for an international bestselling children’s book now. It was only released to iTunes. I’m going back and forth through emails with them right now, but they have ZERO involvement in any way, publishing, distribution or otherwise, and yet they are getting in the way.

  35. Henshaw

    I am an independent artist. It’s a bit sad to find people quarreling over a simple issue like this.
    Things don’t always turn out the way we think them rationally. Maybe someday, Audiam will win
    some public awards for promoting a great marketing idea, or maybe the contrary. Anyway, artists
    are free to try it and see for themselves.

    I think it would be more illuminating to read from artists who have tried such services rather than
    keep reading empiric marketing logic from competitors.

  36. Stevian An Apostle

    I rebuke SATAN in this situation and argument. There are trades and new trades being created daily. If any artist or label that signs up with either is subject to having fees taken, this is the purpose of any business TO MAKE MONEY! I an an artist with a label along with a ministry. NO ONE SHOULD WORK FOR FREE. Even these days interns are subject to get paid. As an executive we should not go back and forth with others, as a minister we should shake the dust off our feet and move on. As there is death and life in the power of the tongue we should speak life into one another not beat one another down with our own policy facts. every company is different in some way and has a goal and mission so saints let them run their course as God sees all and the wicked will be punished in God’s timing not ours. I have tried 3 different companies and see the different percentages which has me viewing the work they do for their %, but a man should get his fair wages for the work he/she does especially for others. I/We signed up in a contract for certain things and a contract can override certain laws or ways and in this case it is being done. these companies work for us and as you and I work from 9 to 5 if that then we get paid what we signed up to do and receive. May God Bless you all in all that you do, let’s make this world a better place by living right and making and keeping peace.

  37. francis

    I understand what jeff is saying. Music distributors are not suppose to claim the ownership of a song written, composed, mastered and upload to youtube by the artist himself. Up Jeff, bravo!

  38. Rhett May

    Hi Guys,
    Great discussion and debate….shame I have only just discovered it……BUT…
    It seems that it was only yesterday that you got this up and running….BECAUSE….
    It’s now the end of October 2014….OVER FOURTEEN MONTHS LATER….and it’s still happening !!!

    I’m sick to death of fighting with Google /Youtube to monetize my new Channel……EVERY time I upload my own music videos….and I have five on my channel…..I have some distributors name pop up immediately I press the ‘publish’ button after uploading.

    I write all my own songs.
    I make/pay for all my own videos to be made.
    And yet….I’M THE ONE HAVING TO PROVE….that I own the copyright on my own…100% copyrighted and owned music videos ?????

    And eventually….IF youtube monetize my music videos…..will these thieves be made to return the funds that they have stolen via monetizing of my 100% copyrighted asset ???

    We live in a CRAZY…CRAZY…world of thieves and highwaymen masquerading as supporters of musicians/artistS.

    What happened to the good old days of ‘When The van was rocking, don’t come knocking’ fans/supporters/advocates of musicians/bands…who would give their body and soul to help us…just so they could listen and groove to our music ??

    Anyway guys…..and gals….ENJOY my videos…..and help these soulless desperados steal some more of my money…..

    Great classic rock/pop:

    2…Heaven or Hell
    3…Cute Calcutta Boy
    4…A Little White Powder Under Your Nose
    5…Cocktails and Cannabis (over 2.2 million plays/views on my other channel)

    Contact me if you would like to help me out with my music…..

  39. Thomas

    This exact thing is happening to my band, Fit For Rivals, via Red distro. Fucking stupid.

  40. Viking

    Interesting stuff,, i see RN Mike and his distributor Rob at Ingrooves have uploaded the Viking Trance albums on the new music key service already, looks great (apart from the adds) see saved playlist good luck with it, hopefully this will be good for artists as well as listeners. I am looking forward to hearing from you how the specific royalty structure for this service will work,,, as i see Christophe is monetizing my audio that he has uploaded as video files with adverts ??, how do i receive this revenue from my work ??????…….. I very much look forward to hearing from Christophe regarding this issue ,,, regards one Very Angry Viking /|\

  41. wow

    Sounds like Jeff may be messing up business fir others. ..that’s the only way someone would get on here and show fear….. this is interesting as an artist!

  42. Music Choice Revenue | Music Document

    […] This Is How Distribution Companies Are Stealing Artists … – Jeff. So you are aiming this at distribution company who: “take a percentage of the artist’s YouTube money for doing nothing” However, isnt this was Audiam does?… […]

  43. Jason Schiffner

    Dude, I’m not even in the music industry and I’m motivated by this post. I can only imagine how frustrated artists get about this problem.

  44. Taylor Swift Writes An Open Letter To Apple | LIFEisMUSIC

    […] goes to show how much of a difference artists like Taylor Swift can make just by speaking up. It’s no secret that artists, producers and writers in the music industry only get a very small… but many recording artists have been speaking out against streaming service companies  in recent […]

  45. Anonymous

    I’m not savy to the music industry, but its easy to understand that the internet changed what took years to mold in seconds.I’m a simple person so bare with me. How many DJ s are there in this country? PLAYING MUSIC FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR,

  46. Angry YouTube User

    Thank you Jeff Price for this article. I am and angry and frustrated user at YouTube. I have uploaded about 75-80 videos on youtube most of them I recorder from Live Party from band out of USA and song that are public and none copyrighted, but within 3 months 90% of my videos are claimed by some company call The Orchard Music. This company probably never heard of the type of music I had uploaded to youtube but just because I don’t have the money to pay a lawyer or disputed the property of this music I just left it alone. I actually stopped uploading my video for this reason. I don’t want any opportunist to take advantage of my hard work videos and make money out of it. Most of the people complaining about your argument its probably because they work somehow for these agencies.

  47. Louana

    I Left Ingrooves to join Distrokid and Audiam as I disagreed with their taking 20% off everything. Distrokid & Audiam seem to work together, on Distrokid’s website it says “If you’ve already uploaded tracks to Audiam, you won’t need to upload them again to DistroKid. ”
    So I joined Audiam, uploaded over one hundred files uncompressed which took ages (several days), but there was nothing on Distrokid nor Audiam to do what was advertized.
    I wrote to Audiam & Distrokid, no one answered, that was a year ago…
    So I had to upload for several days again for Distrokid, uploading as mp3s for Audiam would have saved lots of time if I hadn’t been misinformed.
    Now I read this article and Jeff saying they don’t charge anything, without saying Audiam takes 25% when it’s not your own channel.
    Let’s say it was an accident but Audiam was also charging 25% on my own channel, I had to insist to get it sorted as everytime I went on my account, the box where my channel’s name should have been listed, was always reset to blank
    Secondly, my music has many more views on other people channels reposting my music, without Audiam doing anything for that. And yet they take 25% on that.
    In what is it different from a distributor like Ingrooves who only took 20% for that same thing? Yet Jeff you imply they’re abusing artists while you do it at a higher rate.

    On Distrokid’s FAQ about the service Youtube Money:
    “YouTube Money is a DistroKid service that gets you paid when other people use your music in their YouTube videos.
    When YouTube detects your music in a video, monetization (ads) will be turned-on for that video. The ad revenue (minus 20%) will go to you, instead of the person who uploaded the video. These earnings will be shown in your DistroKid “Bank” tab.”
    So that’s 20% off my revenue because Distrokid adds the content ID to youtube’s database. (in fact you have to subscribe to the service for 5$/y on top)

    But it also says:
    “YouTube may say the copyright claim is from “Audiam.” Audiam is the company that helps power DistroKid’s “YouTube Money” feature (and we love them for it!) You can safely ignore the email. Audiam will send the ad revenue to DistroKid, and DistroKid will send it to you.”

    So what that means is that Audiam will take 25% off EVERYTHING, as there’s no option on Distrokid to benefit from the 100% for your own channel, and then Distrokid takes 20%

    Which is basically a worse case scenario than what Jeff is pretending to be against in the article, as there’s not only a distributor’s cut (20% + 5$/y) but also an Audiam cut (25%, the Distrokid’s 20% are taken off the 75% for the artist).

    And they work together.

    Although the views on my channel have exploded following some massive exposure, I’m actually making less money from Audiam than I was making with Ingrooves (who took “only” 20%) regarding Youtube monetization.

    Feel free to ask more questions or explain, thanks.

    • The Professional Reject

      Louana-LOL I agree with you on billion levels.OMG I had the same experience it is like I am reading my own problems LOL
      It is just amazing I wrote to Audiam to ask them this:
      Why why do you collect royalties on music that was used illegally in other people’s videos and why you cannot collect money when them music is used legally?
      Nobody wants to fix this problem.
      So in order to make more money via Audiam, your music must be used illegally and that is crazy.
      If you sell your music via royalty free libraries, not Audiam will reject to collect your royalties form YT and even they are threatening to give you 500 USD fine if you upload tracks that are selling on royalty-free libraries LOL
      I agree collecting royalties from music the way they do is contrary to the article 🙂
      I want somebody to do the following.
      Force Youtube to make a new detecting system UNIVERSAL
      So we go upload our tracks there -people go take your music use it in their videos and YT then generates the monetization report and deducts % that must be paid to the musician via Adsense account and that is it.
      Nobody will be hurt
      Do you think a guy who makes 1000 USD per month will be hurt to give you 2% of all the profit?
      If he cries that then ask him what is to give a good product for free.
      People are extremely spoiled and somebody must unlearn them form this free riding.IF you use music in your project you must pay that is it no other way, no free stuff.These people ake millions per year with videos and they can use your music for only 40USD license LOL that is ridiculous.

  48. a shame

    This is completely insane. I just happened across this. Why can’t Jeff advertise his product/service, without bashing everyone else and being deceptive with his wording. There would be no rants and raves in the comments section had you simply been transparent (the thing you mention all distributors lack) in your initial advertisement/guest column.
    Oh you don’t take 25% from an artist own channel? You must be a knight in shining armor and a saint!
    That seems to be the selling point, and the reason that you’re tossing ridiculous harsh accusations at literally every single distributor/label/competitor that isn’t Audiam. Also 25%? I realize I am posting this 3 years after the article was written, but 25% of youtube revenue is pretty ridiculously high… I run a label and our distributor only takes single digits. If I had a choice of moving our thousands of songs to Audiam to collect our revenue for us, would I? Definitely not! It’s just simply not a good deal. 25% is nuts. All the wishy washy wording is nuts, coming out the gate to advertise your company by bashing everyone else and making stuff up, while trying to convince artist’s that the bogeyman is stealing from them, so they give you 25% to prevent it. I used to really like Jeff Price. After seeing this article/ad, it pisses me off way too much. Pushing himself like the patriarch of all things holy and pure even insinuating that it’s almost a not for profit service while everyone else (literally everyone except Audiam) is making bank from artist’s pockets. Also while taking a much bigger chunk of youtube revenue than the standard.

    Somebody get the pope to Saint this man….

  49. Anonymous

    Also a victim of Youtube scamming me. Youtube are fraudsters along with the audio resellers.

    Someone in Youtube must be getting money under the table for this. This is plain view corruption!

  50. Kathleen

    This has happened to my husband’s video on YouTube. This morning he was denied by YouTube that his music belongs to him. So he has deleted his account on CD Baby as they are ones who claim his music as their own. He is livid about this, since his video was a lot of work and has been getting some good views and the music was perfect for it. Songs and music he wrote, recorded and even has his own publishing company and in the past owned his own label, which is all on his CD. But YouTube denied him. It is a very difficult situation.

  51. Minime

    It’s complete BS that these companies get to rip off artists like this. I would content ID my own stuff but got an email from youtube saying piss off you ant. OK. not that extreme. Still I have to lose profits due to no access. These companies know they are making easy money that takes literally a few minutes to apply for content ID. Should be illegal,

  52. The Professional Reject

    Ok, Let me state my opinion on this problem since I have worked with Audiam and few other companies.
    I love what Audiam did for me for the past 2,3 years but they finally kicked me out because -now see this ridiculous thing:
    Youtube told them to kick me out of their business because Youtube is one lazy company that cannot and do not care to track licenses.
    What happened?
    as any musician trying to make a successful business, I am selling my music at some royalty free libraries and guess what I make tons of money from them and + I want to track all the people who use my music on their YT videos and did not pay or ask to use my music.
    So one-day Audiam sent me a letter stating that they cannot longer collect my YT royalties because my music is selling on Royalty-free libraries.
    This is extremely ridiculous.Why?
    Because YT now has to do the job to verify which user has a proper license to use the music and which one does not have one but they are lazy to do that so if they detect that your music is selling at libraries they will not let Audiam collect your money.So I am finished with Audiam.Yes, it was nice I collected over 6K just sitting back and enjoying writing music.
    I cannot quit libraries where I make good money.
    Now watch the twist.
    Now the so caller Royalty Free Libraries also reject some of my work.LOL
    But WHY?
    Again, When you upload some of your work there I am working with only one where I can put my own price and most of my tracks are selling for 350USD per track because I refuse to sell tracks for 40USD and I kicked out all lowballers years ago starting with the most disgusting library of all called Audiosparx -which by the way continue blatantly to collect 60% of my streaming royalties.
    So when you upload your music on these libraries in some you have to state if you are ASCAP or any organization member.I am ASCAP
    They suddenly ( only library I am with )started giving me cheap shots and kicking some of my newest best work EVER with BS that “This track would not sell well in our library” when in reality is a similar track that made, for example, one made 15K sales in just 2 years LOL
    And what happened?In one discussion with them-guess who Youtube again telling them that they do not want problematic tracks to be sold in their library so I was kicked out LOL
    Can you believe this?
    The library is telling me that this is a very serious problem LOL Serious for whom?
    Because they say YouTubers want to get non-problematic tracks and monetize their videos LOL
    So at the end, youtube is creating tons of problems for all musicians.
    Also, one thing that I hated about Audiam is and I told them this problem but nobody responded to it:
    Audiam can collect royalties on your tracks ONLY if they are used illegally or without any license.Really, WHY?
    So a guy can go and buy a 40USD track and make a video that can have 10million views make thousands per month but he just paid you 40USD and that is it ?
    Why not all the Youtube users that use your music not pay you lets say license fee and % of their monthly views like 2%?
    What is the problem?
    (if you do work with filmmakers and you score their picture you want their picture to be successful so they can make you money, why not YT be the same, whats the problem?)
    Today Youtube turned all YouTubers into greedy pigs that want to make videos on Monetize and that is the objective N1 Make money lots of money.
    One of the final stabs at Musicians was when YT make the drop-down menu to use music for your videos LOL the dumbest idea ever.
    Have you noticed how every YT video has the same crappy music over and over again?Yes, to be on the safe side you just get a crappy idiotic track from the drop-down menu and select a track that is free because you want to make money LOL
    All the free tracks not associated with any organization or big artist are absolutely amateurish idiotic and stupid but hey who cares you can make millions on your youtube videos right?
    Ok, so what I did and doing today in order to survive?
    So digitally tracking companies are No Go For Me LOL they kicked me out
    Royalty free libraries -most of them are bloody criminals and taking from 40 to 60% of your sales -Also No for me and the one that did good for me now rejecting my new music (yes,I admit I did some stuff for Hollywood and made good money but being associated with ASCAP and having placements in the big industry should not kill me as independent artist)
    So, now what?
    I am selling my music via Distrokid but that is absolutely nothing for me I am doing it just for fun.
    I made my own YT channel where I post all my music for absolutely free.It is FREE for all youtube users when they use it in their youtube videos.
    My idea is: If nobody wants to collect all the money that I made over the years on YT at least I will make a free channel and attract people using my music and just subscribe.I hope my channel in time will generate me some money.So far so good.
    And I already know that all the methods like Digital companies, libraries are a complete joke for any musician who wants to go to the next level.So if you are about doing that quit this BS stuff, and go look for serious agents and people who can place your music in serious and big projects do not waste your time with digital BS companies and libraries, even YT.Make one YT channel put your music there but focus on your serious writing and find serious companies because they are the companies that make me money to buy a house, not these B******s who are just after your money.
    I am still laughing when I get my Audiosparx royalty statement and see all the money they pocket from streaming my music.(I have terminated all my tracks there but they just keep the streaming LOL)
    If any of the serious people out there are reading this and you want musicians to continue making music and not quite (because I was really close to quitting because what is the point to write music for years and hours per day and then nobody to give you a dime and to listen to all the crappy music on the radio?)
    So, now you need the following system.
    If ANY ANY uses your music and I do not care who -they are obligated to pay you % of whatever profit they make.
    Face it guys, everybody makes videos these days and makes money from it.Everybody knows that big numbers of YouTubers make thousands or millions per year with their crappy videos(believe it or not there are videos ‘Me Picking my nose on camera” and having millions of views”)
    So when your music is used in any project there must be a system that can detect your track and deduct % from the money the filmmaker makes.
    Only in this way, musicians will feel that finally, it is a good thing to make music and get paid.
    When I joined Audiam the emails started pouring in like :
    Please sir do not terminate my workout video with your music music in it I love your music there and I have 120million views LOL really so you have 120Million views on that video you make thousands of dollars per month and the guy did not even say I am willing to send you 5K for that track I have been using for 3 years LOL.
    Do you guys understand what I am trying to say?
    So illegal tracks get paid and collected. I do not like this idea, I want that 120 million view video to pay me % of the money it generates.
    Do you think it will hurt the filmmaker of the video?I doubt.
    (eliminate the words Royalty free for good)
    In this way musicians will keep feeding their families and continue working their art but if things do not change you will continue listening to garbage music on the radio and many many musicians making amazing music in their bedrooms and nobody ever heard of them.
    If I have the power to make a company I would do a company called “Professional Rejects” where all the amazing composers can put their music and if you even buy a track from that company you are obligated to pay % for life and no illegal use will be offered like blanket BS license and BS for 40USD.
    (but in order this to happen we need companies like youtube to have such system to detect the music and then to generate a report and deduct composer’s fee %-do you think this is impossible or bad?)
    You may get the track for 40USD but you agree to pay % for life to the composer and if you monetize or do whatever you want you still have to pay % from your profit.
    Why is nobody doing it?

    • Louana

      @ The Professional Reject, Very interesting ! Lots of issues you’re pointing out there.
      I’m often corresponding with Audiam for various problems with youtube, and the answers I get (passed from YT reunions between audiam and YT) are as illuminating as a politician statement.
      Audiam is making money from youtube and doesn’t want to, nor can’t, be in a position to contradict them.
      For exemple people are uploading my music on YT, some guy posted a 2 hours 1/2 video with over 30 of my tracks, but there’s only one ad on it. I’m asking Audiam why (as many long videos have several ads), turns out Audiam hadn’t enabled what is called ” Mid Roll commercials” for any of the accounts they’re managing. In fact they weren’t even aware of it, which I find surreal as that’s what they do: they collect money from ads on videos, but didn’t know, (never noticed?) that YT videos can have several ads on them.
      Still that didn’t change anything on the 2h1/2 long video, still only one ad.
      The answer from YT to Audiam was:
      all ad formats on videos are selected by a fairly complex system of demographic (age, sex, etc) of the viewer of the video, location of the video watcher, and ad inventory, and is done automatically.

      Yet I clean the cache of my browser, obviously don’t connect to a google or YT account, try on many different machines, ask friends in different countries to try, but there’s still one ad.
      Whereas I have a list of long videos I found on YT with 10s of ads, and they’re on the videos anywhere on the planet for anybody watching YT.

      As a “solution” Audiam said I could just remove the 30+ tracks from their managing, and enable myself the “Mid Roll commercials” on that video.
      Except as I said it’s not my video to begin with, so if they can’t ask YT to do it on somebody’s video, how could I ?

  53. Beth

    I signed up with distrokid to distribute my original music/videos on iTunes etc. I am now getting copyright disputes from audium. I am disputing 2 videos. Is Audium stealing money/rights from me? I never saw anything that stated they have the rights to my music unless it was written in small print somewhere. So how do you get your music on iTunes, amazon etc without one of these companies?????

    • Ron

      Hello Beth,
      I was wondering if you got a reply form distrokid?

      I found this maybe it will help:
      DistroKid offers an optional upgrade called “YouTube Money.” We’ll add your audio to YouTube’s Content ID system, which scours YouTube for videos that use your music. When a match is found, ads show on the video and you’ll get the ad revenue.

      If you have a video on YouTube that uses your own music, you’ll likely get an email from YouTube that there’s been a copyright claim against it. This is nothing to worry about–it’s YouTube’s ContentID system doing its thing. You can safely ignore the message. Ads will appear on your video & we’ll send you the money earned.

      YouTube may say the copyright claim is from “Audiam.” Audiam is the company that helps power DistroKid’s “YouTube Money” feature (and we love them for it!) You can safely ignore the email. Audiam will send the ad revenue to DistroKid, and DistroKid will send it to you.

      If there are videos you’d like to whitelist, we can disable Music Money from those videos, release all claims, and leave them alone. Visit:

  54. An Average YouTube Browser

    This “Audium” thing is now also allowing them to illegally claim YouTube videos that actually have a license for whatever song the uploader is using. What’s worse, game music and free to use music is getting claimed. These people are stealing money from YouTubers who have PAID to use the music in their videos or who have worked hard on whatever they’ve created using UNCOPYRIGHTED stuff. So yeah. Just some food for thought.