An Artist Finally Gets the Guts to Take on Tunecore

Steven Cravis, a former Tunecore Artist. This Is His 'Tunecore Review'
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This is the type of artist that used to be TuneCore’s biggest cheerleader.  Now, he’s decided to speak out against unfair and predatory practices that have emerged at the company.  And, risk the ramifications that come with that decision.

“My name is Steven Cravis.”

“I’m a solo instrumental artist who has released six albums and fifteen singles over the years. My music has been licensed and used in TV shows, films and commercials. It’s sold and streamed countless times via on-line the digital music services.

My goal is to generate enough revenue as a musician to sustain my career, and in the past five years, I’ve generated over $100,000 from paid downloads and streams.

I use TuneCore for distribution and publishing administration.

I struggled with whether or not I should send this letter, as I’m worried TuneCore may try to harm my career through retribution. (Almost every artist is afraid of what happens to their music and career if they speak out against an entity that controls it, and right now, TuneCore controls mine.)

But I’ve had enough. Based on TuneCore’s recent actions, I feel I must speak up for myself and other artists who have no voice (or fear that if they speak out, they will suffer).  It’s greater than my fear, and I’ve decided if TuneCore strikes back against me, you will be the first ones to know.

With that in mind, here I go.

TuneCore recently did two things that, to me, look like attempts to grab more rights and revenue from the artist.  I think they’re illegal.  I’m worried.

TuneCore, which began as a way to help and protect artists, has reverted back to the old industry model of exploitation at every opportunity.

  • First, TuneCore pulled a “bait and switch” retroactive change to the terms and conditions of its Publishing Administration deal.

  • Second, TuneCore is making a rights grab to control my music in YouTube.

The TuneCore Publishing Admin Deal & Non-Exclusive Rights to Synchronization

A few years ago I signed up for TuneCore’s publishing administration deal.  I read the terms carefully, and they stated that licensing my music to TV shows, films, video games, and so on, was non-exclusive.  This non-exclusive provision was very important to me, as I had a number of different people and companies working for me to license my music into TV shows, films, video games, and the like.

It made sense to me that whoever got me licensed should be the one to get paid.  It also made sense to me to have more than one “agent” representing my music.  Finally, I have my own connections and wanted to assure them that if I personally got my music licensed, no one else would get the money.

So I joined TuneCore’s publishing administration program under those non-exclusive terms, and this caused a domino effect on my career.  I spent time, effort, energy and money in my professional life around the non-exclusive business structure agreed to by TuneCore for the term.  I expected the deal that TuneCore and I agreed to would last the whole duration.

I agreed to the terms, they agreed to the terms, we operated under those terms for the duration.  Everything was fine.  Or at least that’s what I thought.

What I didn’t know: Tunecore was going to change the terms of our agreed-upon deal in the middle, making them exclusive.  Suddenly I (and potentially thousands of other TuneCore artists) would have to drop out of other non-exclusive synch licensing arrangements and give TuneCore my rights exclusively in exchange for TuneCore continuing to provide its service.

If I didn’t like it, I could leave.

This makes no sense. A legal deal is a legal deal.  If TuneCore wants to change a deal after it signed with its artists, then both TuneCore and the artist must agree to the new Terms.  If both sides don’t agree, then things stay as they are with no ramifications, at least until the duration ends.

I feel TuneCore baited me into the Publishing Administration deal with the promise of non-exclusivity and then, months later, switched the deal.  It then used the threat of stopping doing their job (it’s a serious impact to disengage from one admin and start with another, costing tremendous time, money and effort) to get me to agree to something I normally would never agree to.  For example, I had to sever my agreement with PumpAudio/GettyImages and my presence on LicenseQuote in order to retain these Tunecore publishing collections.

It feels like TuneCore coerced and leveraged me.  They used the threat of stopping me from getting my money from other unrelated areas to get me to acquiesce to their altering a critical part of our previously and mutually agreed upon deal.  And when I asked them if there was anything I could do about it, TuneCore said, tough: either you do it our new way, or we refuse to provide the service we agreed to.

They did not care that I had set up my business operation in a particular way based on the deal that we’d entered into.  Nor did they care about the damage they were doing to my and others’ businesses.

How many thousands of other artists did TuneCore trick with this bait and switch maneuver?

If they can do this, what else can they do?  What if they just change the terms to say they own my copyrights outright? How about if they change the duration from one year to five years? How about saying they get to keep all the money they get from my music?

If they get to change the deal term on a whim, why can’t I?

I wonder how a judge would rule?  Can TuneCore just change deal terms in the middle and tell its customers, “Tough, you either agree to these new changed Terms and do what we say or we refuse to provide the services we promised you,” whatever the impact on my business?  If the answer is, “no,” it could set TuneCore up for a potential class action lawsuit.

TuneCore’s Unauthorized Grab of My Copyrights in YouTube

I knew YouTube was going to be important to me as an artist.  In February, 2013 (almost a year ago), when TuneCore was doing nothing for artists in YouTube, I emailed and asked TuneCore Publishing about their YouTube plans.  That included UGC — User Generated video Content that uses my music in it — and I received a reply from the President of TuneCore’s Publishing Administration.  He told me that TuneCore was doing nothing in YouTube at this time, and if they ever did, I’d have the right to engage TuneCore to represent me at my option.

I asked the same question many more times over the next months, and each time the written response back from TuneCore was the same.  TuneCore is not currently providing a YouTube service.  If it did, it would be an optional service that I could opt in or opt out of.

At one point I was even told they would write a specific amendment for me to allow me this option (you can see this in the emails from them below).

Based on that, I entered into deals with others to represent me on YouTube, and all was fine for a while.

I found out later that on December 11, 2013, TuneCore, in conjunction with a company name “InDMusic,” without notification or authorization from me, grabbed my rights and revenue in YouTube.

They did this despite telling me in writing many times that hiring TuneCore to work for me in YouTube was optional and acknowledging that I had opted out.

I assumed this was a mistake and contacted them. They told me it was not a mistake.  Further, they were not going to honor their promise to let me “opt out” or acknowledge that I’d already “opted out” and, whether I liked it, or not they were going to take my rights and money from YouTube.

You can read the entire email exchange below.

So the terms of our deal can change, on their side only, any time they want?  How am I supposed to create, build or maintain a solid career?  How can a deal be a deal if one party can just change it whenever it likes?  I thought this kind of maneuver was only typical of the old music industry, and here’s TuneCore doing it today.

TuneCore needs to (1) honor its original agreement with its artists and (2) honor what it says it will do.

TuneCore needs to stop grabbing rights and using coercion, deception and bait-and-switch techniques as their business model.

If TuneCore truly builds services artists want, I know artists will use them.

So please, TuneCore, on behalf of myself and thousands of other artists that used to trust you, make the following 2014 new year’s resolution: change your policies to what they should be, as opposed to hoping artists are too “uneducated” and “weak” so they wont notice or know how to fight for things that they should not need to fight for in the first place.

Below are my the emails between myself and TuneCore.

Feel free to reach out ask TuneCore for comment. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did.

Below are my truncated messages.

Email 1:

From: Steven Cravis (February 5)

Subject: Youtube


Is Tunecore songwriters/publishing service dipping into any percent of my Youtube earnings?

I need to know because I want to maintain independence on my youtube channel from anyone getting a percentage of my monetization there, including UGC (User Generated Content), yet, I’d like to maintain my Tunecore publishing contract with everything else that it collects internationally, etc..

Thanks for your help.

-Steven Cravis


Email 1, TuneCore’s response (February 7) wrote:

We are not claiming or monetizing any other your YouTube earnings as of now.  This may change in the future.  We will address with you when that time comes.

Thank you


Email 2 (February 7)

From: Steven Cravis


Subject: Re: Youtube

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Thanks. If you do, make it an optional contract, but not a forced change to everyone’s contract, please.

Steven Cravis


Email 2, TuneCore’s response (February 7)


Subject: RE: Youtube

To: Steven Cravis

It is already in there that we can.  Once we can monetize in bulk it will be addresses.  We are leaving it alone for now.  I will do an amendment for yours if needed when the time comes.

Thank you

Email 3 (February 7)

From: Steven Cravis

Subject: Re: Youtube


Okay, thanks, xxx, I would appreciate that amendment when the time comes and I can discuss with you why I want the flexibility at that time too, if you’re interested.

[NOTE: Here’s where I made a decision to have someone else do my YouTube claims on my behalf.]

Email 4 (March 21)

Steven Cravis wrote:


What’s the significance of Rumblefish buying out ?

I’m not that familiar with Catalogik yet, are you?

Does Tunecore have anything equal to Catalogik or better in the works?

-Steven Cravis

Email 4, TuneCore response (March 21) wrote:

It’s the monetizing element that is tricky here.  We are building something now but that is for the overall monetization (that I know you would not opt into).

This stuff is heavy but we are working on things for when separate channels are responsible for the ad revenue and paying the songwriters/artists.

Tricky stuff but when we implement things everyone will know.

The main thing we are working on now is a pitch database for Film & TV supervisors.  You will be seeing something in late April.

We are adding a creative element to help exploit the compositions etc.


Email 5 (March 21)

Steven Cravis wrote:

Thanks, xxx.

Is the pitch database for Film & TV sups something I could opt into (without opting into a YouTube related part)?  April sounds great!

Also for the pitch database, will I only be able to include audio/songs that I’ve put through Tunecore digi distribution?   I can see how tricky this all is!

-Steven Cravis


Email 5, TuneCore response (March 21) wrote:

The pitch database will be automatic but only apply to songs where we represent them for Pub Admin & TC Distribute the Master recording.

YouTube monetization will be added at a later date as an option.  So that will NOT be automatic.

Email 6 (May 1)

Steven Cravis wrote:

Subject: Re: any significance? / YouTube


So there’s no conflict with my own youtube monetization, separate from tunecore the new pitch-able stuff change in TC terms, correct?

See our earlier conversation below.

-Steven Cravis

Email 6, TuneCore response (May 1)

Subject: Re: any significance? / YouTube

To: Steven Cravis

No conflict. YouTube will be a separate opt in when announced.


Email 7 (December 11)

Steven Cravis wrote:

Hi Publishing Support,

Your Tunecore/INDmusic/YouTube publishing deal section has the text:

Publishing deal including YouTube monetization: $75 one-time setup fee. If you’ve already signed a publishing deal with TuneCore, YouTube monetization is automatically included at no additional cost.

I just want to make sure that I was not automatically added into the INDmusic YouTube deal. I purposely don’t want to be part of that.

Thanks for your help.

If not, I suggest you reword that part of the page to say:

Publishing deal including YouTube monetization: $75 one-time setup fee. If you’ve already signed a publishing deal with TuneCore, then you can opt into YouTube monetization at no additional cost.

-Steven Cravis


Email 7, Tunecore response (December 11)


You are opted in to our YouTube collections by being a Pub Admin customer.  What is optional is joining IND Music’s MCN.  That is on your YouTube preferences screen as a part of the Pub Admin dashboard.  If you do not opt into this then they do not make you a part of their MCN.  But they do claim your sound recordings on our behalf (which we pay through to you).

IND Music IS claiming your sound recordings on our behalf and we are claiming the compositions.  So if you want us (both TC and IND Music) not to claim your compositions and sound recordings on your YouTube channel you need to go to your YouTube preferences and select the option to “White List” your YouTube channel.  That way any revenue generated on your channel goes directly to you but we only claim and collect for you any YouTube revenue generated on other Youtube channels (the ones not created by you but 3rd parties using your content).

Thank you


Email 8 (December 11)


There must be a misunderstanding:

Please do not have Tunecore or INDmusic claim any of my sound recordings from my channel OR any third party YouTube channels using my music content.

I did not agree to have INDmusic do such a thing.

I have an email from you in the past agreeing with me that this would be optional when I purposely made sure, with you, that YouTube sound recording claims would not be added to my TC publishing activities.

Steven Cravis


Email 8, TuneCore response (December 11)


Subject: Re: just making sure regarding YouTube monetization

To: Steven Cravis


We had to build the agreements this way.  We can not split rights with this administration model.  No other Publishing Administrator would accommodate that either.  That is why we have the “white list” option to accommodate this, and we offer you the option to exclude your own channel.  It is in our rights as your Publishing Administrator to license and collect from all sources worldwide for your compositions.  It is a worldwide Publishing Administration agreement.  Your only other option would be to terminate your agreement or specific compositions in the agreement.  Also, if you did any agreements with any other entities regarding YouTube after you signed the Pub Admin agreement with TuneCore those agreements are in direct conflict with your TuneCore agreement.

Thank you

Email 9 (December 12)

Steven Cravis wrote:


After I asked you about YouTube, you stated ” I will do an amendment for yours if needed when the time comes.”

You wrote me and stated” YouTube monetization will be added at a later date as an option.  So that will NOT be automatic.”  and  “It’s the monetizing element that is tricky here.  We are building something now but that is for the overall monetization (that

I know you would not opt into).”

You wrote me and stated “As I stated before the only optional thing will be YouTube in the future where you can opt in or out.”

But then, after I asked tunecore why INDmusic and YouTube were looking like they were automatically added, from Tunecore’s web site information, you stated ‘We had to build the agreements this way.  We can not split rights with this administration model.’

Please release Tunecore’s and INDmusic’s claims on my music in YouTube immediately. All you or INDmusic has to do is go into your YouTube CMS and for each song click Edit, and then Delete your claim on my music. If you will not release these claims then I will escalate this to the next level.

Finally, please be aware that I made a decision to join INDmusic on my own based on your verification that YouTube would be separate and optional.  On July 2, INDmusic terminated its agreement with me.  Yet, now somehow INDmusic has been forced upon my Tunecore business structure without my authorization.


Email 9, TuneCore response (December 12)

Tunecore wrote:


Go to your YouTube preferences in your Tunecore Pub Admin account and white list your YouTube channel. Then TuneCore and IND Music will not monetize your channel. We will both however maintain our claim on any other parties who use your compositions and sound recordings in their videos.

That is the option we created. You can opt out for your channel. That is the opt out I was referring to.

Thank you


Email 9 (December 13)

Steven Cravis wrote:


In the below response to me, Tunecore wrote “We [IND Music and Tunecore] will both however maintain our claim on any other parties who use your compositions and sound recordings in their [YouTube] videos. ”  Tunecore’s directions to change YouTube preferences in my Tunecore account does not address this much larger infringement on my rights.

Tunecore wrote several times, for a span of 4 months, that I could opt out of Tunecore making claims on my masters and compositions in YouTube.

Based on Tunecore’s permission to have this option no matter what would be built in the future at Tunecore, I joined IND Music. IND Music later terminated my agreement. IND Music and Tunecore may not make any claims on my music in YouTube for any YouTube channel.

Are you going to honor your agreement with me or infringe on my rights?

Steven Cravis”

135 Responses

  1. mindbodythought

    Very well written Steven and totally to the point and true. I too felt left out in the dark with nothing more but a “sarcastic and condescending” response from Tunecore. I responded and got ignored. I’ve had other experiences with them lately that left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding their general customer service. I’m not trying to nitpick, but some of the things have happened multiple times. I thought Tunecore was going to be on our side, but with their YouTube actions, they hurt me and almost caused me irreparable harm. I caught it before it was too late – I think! – I hope! Time will tell, but their timing could not have been worse. I’m beginning to think that no one really cares about the independent musician. These companies just seem to be in it for the wrong reasons these days and ethics is one of the things imposed upon them by a court unfortunately. I too, hope that Tunecore gets their act together and begins to do what is best for the independent artist again.

    • David G

      Tunecore should be on your side since you are their customer.
      All distributors are businesses, and as such should put the interest of their customer first.

      Trouble is, when companies like Tunecore get big enough, the original founders (usually musicians) are shoved out and corporate takes over. This creates a whole new mindset.

      Ideally, the relationship between you and your distributor should be a real dialogue, not an attempt to prize the max amount of cash from you for a service that has become a commodity . Mutual trust should define the difference between a good or a less ideal relationship between distributor and artist.

      While it is true that changing distributors will reset your play count on Spotify, and any reviews you might have on iTunes, weighing that against stress and frustration and feeling like a hostage of circumstance, might be worth doing from time to time.
      Seasons Greetings
      David G

    • Vanzø

      He is obviously dumb. Tunecore told him over 3 times how to stop them from taking money from his channel and that they will make sure no one on other channels makes profits with his music.. the fuck? lol

  2. Not Fair

    So Tunecore’s definition of an “opt out” is to white list your channel?

    That’s a mighty fuzzy way of trying to justify things… because they CANNOT justify it. It’s simply unfair.

  3. TuneHunter

    Depressing! Look for friends in same shoes and class action expert.
    Music industry is bigger mess than Obamacare.

  4. Michael Borges

    Thanks Steven Cravis for writing up this excellent report, and kudos to Digital Music News for helping you broadcast your experience with TuneCore. Thousands of other “tunecore” artists and composers should take notice, especially those that truly care about their future publishing and licensing success.

    If this comes to some kind of legal or class action suit (which it could), more power to you and all the other artists that are getting this time-consuming, legal and financial “work over”. From the way described in your article, their actions don’t appear to be by error or mistake, but as if planned, which may be evident to any astute judge or fair jury.

    I’m wishing you the best with your efforts to get “free” from this undeserved entrapment, and that one way or the other, you (and thousands of other artists) will win this case.

    Michael Borges – CEO, (License Your Music – Without The Middleman)

    • Anonymous

      “I’m wishing you the best with your efforts to get “free” from this undeserved entrapment”

      But isn’t he free to leave already? Or did I get that wrong?

      • Michael Borges

        Hello Anonymous,
        Good question! I suggest you visit Steven’s artist site:
        to contact him directly to learn how this is costing him time, money and additional work, for example, to revamp his catalog sales strategies (one way or the other) in response to the surprise legal “maneuvering” from TuneCore.

        In other words, there’s more than meets the visual “tip of the iceberg” that causes lost time and damages when sub-publishing agreements are not kept according to the face value of their original intent.

        • Jehosophat

          If they’re breeching the contract, it is illegal. Take em to court and you’ll win. Simple

  5. Anonymous

    OK, just to boil it down — first, TuneCore said:

    “YouTube monetization will be added at a later date as an option” and: “YouTube will be a separate opt in when announced”

    And then they actually said the opposite:

    “We will both however maintain our claim on any other parties who use your compositions and sound recordings in their videos. That is the option we created. You can opt out for your channel. That is the opt out I was referring to.”

    That’s obviously dishonest, to say the very least. And incredibly unprofessional. So this is going to hurt them, no doubt about that.

    But you did have the right to leave at any point, if I got it right? If that’s correct, it’ll probably be hard for you to prove any real damages.

    Then again, I would ask an lawyer if I were you.

  6. Anonymous

    “An Artist Finally Gets the Guts to Take on TuneCore…”

    Finally? Paul, what are you not telling us? 🙂

  7. Dave Trotter

    So, You do not want Tunecore to collect on YouTube usage outside you own channel, so who do you want to collect on it? You are going to do this. There is a lot of conflicting statements in this story. You say you signed with them tears ago, then you say they changed the rules after a few months. You are obviously not well versed in contracts. You should go back and read the “Termination” clauses. They are there. Tunecore would never write an agreement without them. You said you built your business model around their Re-Title strategy. How do you build a strategy around something that by its very definition requires no strategy. You say you had to drop Pump (good move) and others, then you are saying you agreed to there terms, where’s the beef? Truncated e-mails…..? This just doesn’t add up, and personally I am surprised it was published with such inconsistent content. And I am no fan of Tunecore, but don’t waste my time with sour grapes!

    • Anonymous

      It sounds like maybe you are the one that needs to go back and read the article and attempt to understand it. You sound high and mighty, but show very little understanding of the subject.

      • Anonymous

        I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with myself here. Dave’s on point.

        • Anonymous

          Sure – love idiotic comments that mean absolutely nothing but are portrayed to appear as if they are the sole authority on something. Get a life – get a clue – or step aside

  8. Willi Wonka

    This all wouldn’t have happened when Jeff Price and Peter Wells ran Tunecore. Tunecore has definitely gotten more corporate. I think their publishing service is worthy but needs more flexibility. Their INDmusic “opt out” approach is disconcerting. Still, these a great services for indie songwriters and should be taken advantage of.

    I joined Audiam for video. Got a nice check a few weeks ago.

  9. anonymoose

    should be noted that it is not trivial to swap digital distributors. If an artist terminates their contract with tunecore and switches to a new distributor all their recordings will disappear from itunes and re-uploaded as new releases. any accompanying history (reviews, popularity rankings, etc) disappears forever and has to be recreated from scratch. the listening history of each release is associated with the distributor, not the recording artist.

      • mdti

        and it can be quantified too (comparison of sales numbers before/after, fees to new distribution, other fees directly linked to the change ie to get back at the previous level etc etc). Now, is this reparable by a court, and is the original contract breached, I don’t know at all.

    • lady miss kier

      good point…that sux for the artist….can you reccomend an online distributor that does look out for the artist now that tune core has changed it’s core ?

  10. Matt Young

    1000 thanks for taken the risk and getting this slimyness out there. I was seriously about to join up with TuneCore but after reading this, def cant go forward. Any recommendations on other distribution platforms with more integrity? ( besides CDbaby)

    • Fellow artiste

      Here are a few distributors that are more accessible and transparent in no particular order:
      JTV Digital

      Their Models vary so it would be up to you to pick the one best suited to your needs. What they have on common is that you can actually talk to them without getting a corporate lawyer cleared support response.

  11. Tunecore Union busting?

    Tunecore makes several statements on its website that are completely incorrect and are specifically designed to mislead artists. First to clarify. PRO`s work together in a vast global network to collect for music use. They are non profit organizations with only the copyright owners interest at heart.
    Here is some of the nonsense Tunecore spouts in an attempt to get you to pay for their “Service”

    1. “$7,800 plus some yearly fees to register with all of the PRO`s and mechanical societies we’re already affiliated with.” ( Joining a PRO like BMI or TONO, STIM or others is completely free )

    2. “6 to 12 months. You’ll need that time to establish your identity and build accounts through dozens of societies.” (this is not true. The whole point of joining a PRO is that they co operate with others. So being a BMI member BMI will collect on your music all over the world. In fact you can only give one PRO the rights to collect on your behalf.)

    3.”It’s not trivial to establish and maintain relationships with dozens of societies who may not speak your language or pay in your currency.” (Again this is hogwash. You do not have to speak French for A PRO to collect and pay you for music use in France. )
    4. “Societies don’t just start paying you cash, you’ll need to invest time to dig for royalties and know where to look.” (Eeeh that is in fact exactly what they do. Digging for royalties on your behalf is the sole purpose of a PRO. Whats more they do it extremely effectively.)

    • Publishing Admin Underling

      Sounds like you’ve never tried to collect international performance royalties through BMI. Best of luck. 6-12 months would be lightspeed for them. 24-36 months sounds more accurate, plus you’re dealing with their cut. ASCAP is better, but not all that much.

      The alternative is to affiliate for specific territories with the PROs in those territories, as both writer and publisher, which is indeed pretty expensive and time consuming. And can indeed require an interpreter, if not some evidence of residency or business dealings in the territory.

      No Jeff proxy here – I work for a competitor, actually.

      • Publishing Admin Underling

        Not trying to say the rights grab isn’t bad in this case. Most contracts like this contain terms that permit changes at any time, and it’s not going to be in the artist’s favor. Just trying to say that publishers do actually perform a service. Which is navigating the maze of various PROs, territories, and Mechanical royalty collections. Those parties have no particular desire to pay anyone, and the publisher is going to be able to obtain that payment more efficiently, in most cases, than a self-published writer.

      • Joda

        This is very true. Collecting money internationally IS a nightmare. US societies do not do it to the best of their ability. Plus setting up direct relationships takes a LOT of legwork. Whoever says differently has no clue about what’s really going on in regard to publishing.

        • Old Guy

          That is just incorrect and probably Tunecore trolling. Join a European PRO if you are having trouble with your US one. TONO or STIM for example pay you the same as your distributor per spotify stream effectively doubling your streaming earnings. They also collect from youtube.They are extremely efficient and pay out twice a year. until recently you had to be a member in the country you resided in, but now you can join anywhere.

      • hippydog

        No one ever said the PRO’s were fast nor even correct..
        But the international agreements they have are REAL and do work.. anyone who says otherwise is probably a shill..

  12. Chris

    What this points out more than ever is get a lawyer to check your contract before you sign it. I may cost you a couple of hundred pounds / dollars / euros but blimey it’s worth it if it stops crap like this happening to you.

    • Anonymous

      But if they change it later, what recourse do you have – other than to spend a lot of legal money which many don’t have to spare? eh?

      • Chris

        Breach of contract – very easy to get a decision in the courts which costs you nothing and Tunecore would pay all the costs.

        • Anonymous

          Costs you nothing? Really – since when is legal action free? You confuse me on that.

          • Chris

            Small claims court in the UK – you bond £20 which is refunded if you win

  13. Spoken X Digital Media Group

    Hats off to you for standing up for your artist and publishing rights. If you got 100,000 in royalties to your house you were more than blessed compared to other artist though you still got robbed. We got distributed in 50 world wides ten years ago and I did get one payment they were holding for eight dollars and some change. . .

  14. Who do you trust?

    Yeah, Tunecore kind of a joke at this point. There has been a lot of turnover there in the past couple of years, the least of which is its founder Jeff Price. Never heard of their publishing president, but there aren’t any music people running the company anymore. It’s pretty much run by its board of directors (who are all VC investors). I spoke to their legal director recently about a problem I was having with my account and he’s not even a lawyer. Tunecore has become everything it was set up to fight.

  15. GGG

    Glad he got this out, Tunecore has been getting shittier and shittier over the years.

    And not to belittle his point, but has anyone ever actually gotten money from their publishing? I’ve ever only used them for distribution because the idea these people would get anything out of hundreds of thousands of songs opting in for publishing was ridiculous to me. Always seemed like taking advantage of uninformed artists.

        • GGG

          Yep, PROs and a real publisher. I just never got the idea Tunecore’s Pub side was anything other than building some massive catalogue so they have some rights if some song/album/artist takes off and they can take advantage of it.

        • uninformed artist

          Well, I’ve contacted a PRO in my country and they said they don’t collect royalties from digital sales, so I’m a bit confused.

          • Old Guy

            What country is that? Algeria? Anyway, you can join any PRO you do not have to be a citizen. The best ones are European. STIM SESAC TONO PRS and more.

          • uninformed artist

            I’ve been told PROs only collect royalties from public performances (radio, live events etc) not from digital sales on iTunes and the likes.

          • GGG

            Tunecore paying you for iTunes sales is their distribution arm. Which is more or less fine, depending on if you want an annual fee or go somewhere like CD Baby with a percentage.

            Their publishing side is what I’ve always assumed is bullshit based on not hearing one person who has ever made money off that. Though, most people I know don’t use it either, so I’m up to be proven wrong.

          • uninformed artist

            I mean songwriter royalties from iTunes sales that Tunecore Publishing collects (you know, that 9.1 cent for each song). I guess the PROs don’t collect that or am I wrong? Im just starting on the music business, so there’s a lot for me to learn…

          • JTVDigital

            Yes and No.
            In the US:
            – public performance royalties: collected and distributed by PROs (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC)
            writer share goes to you (the songwriter)
            publisher share goes to your publisher or a publishing admin company
            – mechanical royalties: collected by HFA (Harry Fox Agency)
            these go to your publisher (who is then in charge of re-distributing your share) or a publishing admin company
            Rest of the world:
            usually collecting societies (Sacem, PRS…etc.) collect and distribute both, so the workflow is much easier.

          • Old Guy

            Here is the short version
            Digital distribution is a service. it is the more or less the same with varying models. Some of the biggest ones like tunecore and smaller ones like ditto have started to try to split the service into pieces. A bit like when HP released two printers that were exactly the same. One expensive (fast) and one less expensive (slower) the only difference was they had slowed down the cheap version. For example: Any decent distributor knows that pre release on iTunes is a standard feature if you are more than three weeks ahead of time uploading. But instead of just offering it, they charge you 100 dollars for a “pre release” total ripoff. OR they charge you for new stores they add, instead of just shipping there if you want it. Anyone offering you “promo” is just trying to pry more money out of you. Proper promotion does not cost 75$ . You know that in your heart, but just the idea makes you want to try.
            All these attempts at “productifying” distribution are typical business school tricks. All hallmarks of venture capitalists trying to maximize profits. Look for the straightforward offer that fits your needs and Join a PRO. Educate yourself. It`s not like musicians haven’t been collecting these things for decades already. The existing systems work just fine. And BTW. If you want a sync deal, go party with some programme directors or get a real publisher. Mine came with an advance, not an annual fee.
            A word of advice. IF you can not talk to your distributor before you sign up. go somewhere else. Ask them if they can reupload a new master audio file or change your metadata without coming at you with a fee. Your distributor should be someone you trust, not someone you are afraid of like Steven clearly is.

  16. JTVDigital

    Hi there,

    Very interesting story, thanks for sharing your experience.

    First of all please let me comment on something: companies claiming they build a “database” or “library” of music for “helping” you get sync deals are basically bullshitting you.
    This is not how it works.

    Music supervisors are not (or rarely) using these types of libraries.
    Getting sync opportunities requires a lot of work and is mainly based on interpersonal relationships.

    Even with my background and all the industry contacts I acquired throughout my years in the digital music space, I’m still struggling to get placements for our top artists, this is not an easy job, and certainly not something a digital distribution company can offer as an option or service to mainstream indie artists.

    This requires time and financial investment to hire intermediaries for reaching out to music supervisors, TV channels’ music representatives, advertising companies or movies firms.

    I’m not saying this can’t work at all, there are certainly some nice stories and exceptions, but even with quality music and talented artists, it’s tricky.

    I am not and I will never offer this as a kind of standard service opened to everybody.

    My company, JTV Digital, is mainly a digital distribution service but also registered as a publisher with Sacem in France.
    If your music has some potential we may sign a publishing deal with you (a real one, not just publishing administration), and we will make sure to reach out to the appropriate people who can possibly get you these sync deals.
    But again, that’s not an easy task, and it requires time, money and patience.
    Publishing is a long-term business / revenue stream for the publisher and the songwriter.

    Then there is the YouTube question.
    This is how we handle it: at the moment we do not offer it as a standard channel (this option will be available at some point), artists who have some close relationships with us and a significant YouTube reach know we can monetize their content.
    Upon request, we monetize the songs they ask us to, on all channels (their own and on UGC content), and we apply the same cut as on any other service (10% / artists get 90 % of the royalties). That’s it. Simple.

    TuneCore is a “giant” in this industry. They do a lot of great stuff, and are very good in marketing their services, but there are some alternative options for those who are unhappy with some of their methods.

    And I want my company to be one of these alternative solutions.

    Kind regards,

    Jeremie Varengo – JTV Digital

  17. Anonymous

    Paul, why don’t you ask TuneCore to tell us their side of the story?

  18. Venzo Digital

    If you guys are looking for a better iTunes distribution solution, I encourage you guys to check us out at:

    We are quickly becoming the fastest growing platform to sell music, ringtones, and iPhone apps on the iTunes Store. And guess what? We do it at no cost to you! You can also do Pre-Orders, set pricing, check your iTunes Trends everyday + every week, and more.

    • Venzo Scam

      Venzo Digital. That’s by Kevin Rivers who’s last digital distribution company went bankrupt last year. I’m guessing no one got their royalties back.

      • Kevin Rivers

        Hi Makell Bird. Great to see that you’re still up to your old tricks. Still trying to convince people that ADE is a legit business? You don’t even have a accounting system let alone a place where users login. Judging by your site you’re still using Blogger. But you say my company went bankrupt. How is that possible if my company paid out $1m+ In royalties last year?

        I guess my labels are happy after all 🙂

        Kevin Rivers
        CEO, Venzo Digital

        • Venzo Scam

          You did go bust. Watunes or whatever folded and never paid any royalties. You paid out a million?
          Dream on. Your alexa rank puts you at about 50 views a day, on a GOOD day. Yea u got a lot of zeros on the end of your accounts, but they are all attached to another zero. Your site sucks, you will never have a lejit business and u know it

          • Kevin Rivers

            Makell Bird. Your extreme lack of knowledge in the music business its too amusing for my taste. You really think WaTunes “went bust” because of us not paying royalties to our artists? Makell, you are sadly mistaken. Not only did we pay royalties to artists who’ve used the service before it closed but the majority of former WaTunes users are currently using Venzo Digital today.

            The only real reason why WaTunes “went bust” is because of the lack of traction we didn’t produce within Facebook. But as far as us not paying royalties, instead of me responding at your level, I’d rather have my works do the talking.

            Now as far as you Makell Bird, the reason why you didn’t get any royalties from me (and everyone else whom you’ve used for distribution) is because you stole royalties from the major labels. You sir, steal new releases from major content owners and expect to make money off of that when its completely illegal. You try to use fake terms of conditions from sites like claiming that the major labels gave you rights to use their material to sell on iTunes.

            If you can rob from the majors, I can only IMAGINE how much you are robbing from smaller indie artists who is using ADE Distribution. You can’t make money by stealing songs from Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Rihanna, create bogus/fake mixtapes like Guest of Honors series, and then come to REAL companies like SongCast, TuneCore, RouteNote, Record Union, Venzo Digital and NOT get caught. 🙂

            That’s why you bash all of your competitors. Because everyone in this business knows your game. Every distribution company knows you are a scam/con-man. Face it Makell, all you are good for is sitting behind your messy bedroom in Henderson, NV eating Doritos and robbing real hard-working artists who are using your scam site ADE Distribution (which is the worst name + the worse way of helping artists I’ve ever seen). What’s funny is that you have to hide behind fake names again? Just to defend yourself?

            Your site is all over the place. What you need is some serious programming skills my friend. A sleek design is only the first part of a business. You need a user system, a upload tool, a account system, etc. How are you helping artists when they don’t have any of these tools made available to them? Google Drive is not the best way to get music on iTunes and Blogger is not the best platform to display a distribution site.

            And to make things worse you charge your artists 15% admin fee if they make $500+ a month? Talk about highway robbery. Yet, you say you pay artists 100% royalties? Any well educated artist will see that your company is a scam within the first 10 seconds of visiting the site.

            After this response, I only feel bad for artists whom you’ve already tricked to use your services as they are clearly not well educated enough to read between what’s real and what’s a scam. I do wish that you can grow up, become a real CEO, build up your service, and stop bashing your competitors because it only makes you look like the fool. Not me or other distribution companies. 🙂

            Kevin Rivers
            CEO, Venzo Digital

          • Kevin Rivers

            Hey Jeremie.

            Glad you could chime in. Makell DREAMS he can distribute Psy and Rihanna. lol

            Like I stated earlier. Only the most well un-educated artists will fall for his scam distribution site. ADE Distribution SCAM. Originally ADE was “Angelic Destroyer Entertainment” (but he quickly changed it to Artist Development Entertainment so he can rip off artists). What’s funny is that his scam site stay true to his original roots because he does “destroy” people’s lives by appearing to be “angelic” like. In other news:

            Merry Christmas Jeremie

            Kevin Rivers
            CEO, Venzo Digital

          • Bright Lights

            Honestly, just by commenting on this thread, all you distributors have lost.
            None of you look professional

          • turned away

            Hello. I agree with Bright Lights.
            I read a nice neutrally given comment left by JTV Digital & made my mind up to join with JTV, but now I see everyone chiming in trying to swipe at this other website. Luckily I didn’t signup with JTV. Anyone chiming in here, I will not join.
            What do people think of MondoTunes?

        • Makell Bird

          Kevin, the person above commenting against Venzo Digital IS NOT ME. I already told you a while back that I wasn’t going to say anything bad about your company and I meant it. Plus, if I’m going to make a comment (1) my name will be on it (2) I’d promote my company ADEd.US while I’m at it… looks like someone is having fun with you

          • Kevin Rivers

            Hi Makell,

            If this is really you, and you are truly sincere that you are not the one that made the previous comments about me and Venzo, then I sincerely apologize for my previous responses against you. You have to understand that due to the fact that you are the source of these false allegations against me, when any anonymous comments like these are made in any forum (where I may intend to respond), I immediately face my attention to you.

            Moving forward, I may have an idea of whom has made such comments to me where successfully attempted to get me revved up. I’ll most certainly point my attention to them moving forward. Again, I sincerely apologize to you regarding these comments mention above being that you are not the one at hand.

            Kevin Rivers
            CEO, Venzo

        • An Anonymous Artist

          Hello Kevin,

          I appreciate everyone’s effort to make distribution free, and I am sure that you were not trying to scam people, however many sources have mentioned your scam for Venzo Digital, and I am not sure who to trust.

          I am an artist, and had music distributed using Venzo. However, when you sent a letter saying you were going to switch to your new company Zoningo, you did not specify how the royalties switched over. Now that the website for Venzo Digital is down for good, my music is still on iTunes, but I have no way to get paid, or even see how many people are buying it.

          I have used Zoningo, and it seems to work. However, it angers me that there is no way to get my music. Until this is worked out, and I really hope it is, I will use other companies such as RouteNote.

          • pat1103

            How has routenote worked out for you?? Im thinking of joining them..

  19. Anonymous

    Paul, another suggestion (aside from also hearing TuneCore’s side of the story):

    Why not prevent the usual TuneCore competitors from using these monetization threads as personal billboards?

    Real information, such as the facts that Old Guy and others provide, drown in spam.

  20. Garth Soshahi, CEO- AAMPP

    Now it all make sense why Tunecore fired, it’s founder – Jeff Price, because they knew that he would not stand by an allow things of the sort to happen. At my company AAMPP (pronounced Amp) we are working towards a future of easing the pain artists are facing by changing their mindset, by staying clear of those predatory practices.

    Check us out at:

  21. Allen D. Tate

    I am glad I ditched TuneCore after only using them a few years ago to release a single. My Spidey senses were tingling even back then.

  22. Guets

    Yes it’s true IND Music are a joke pet project of Guy Oseery run by kids and Tunecore has to fire it’s obnoxious founder only to become more onbnoxious and steal rights in a desperate battle to remain relevant. Just wait till anyone can onboard into itunes (comgin soon) and it’s all over. TuneCored pub admin is a total joke. Run for the hills you are screwed if you are with Tunecore. There are so many better options.

  23. lady miss kier

    thanks for speaking out on this…you saved me from doing business with them and I’m sorry you experienced this nitemare!!!

  24. Chris Burnett

    I got to know Steven Cravis during the years of promoting music at the original He was a very ethical person then and I don’t think he has changed. I have never dealt with Tunecore because I chose not to. The primary problem that I have had since the very beginning of Internet music dealing with all forms of online and digital distribution has always been the audit trail. You (artist / indie label) don’t really know what was sold / collected in this model. You have to take the word of the platform provider that distributes your music to the retailers and other licensing customers. I am not sure an entity like Tunecore or CD Baby isn’t more powerful than the “major labels” because there are lots more indies paying to use these services than there are artists that major labels are loaning money to. I currently use CD Baby, even though it has changed lots since Derek Sivers sold it, but there are other options out there: Bandcamp. Your own webstore. Your own deal with Amazon (forget trying to get your own deal with iTunes). Peace, Cb

  25. Chris Burnett

    (Posted originally on Dec 20,2013 – original post was removed without explanation)

    I got to know Steven Cravis during the years of promoting music at the original He was a very ethical person then and I don’t think he has changed. I have never dealt with Tunecore because I chose not to. The primary problem that I have had since the very beginning of Internet music dealing with all forms of online and digital distribution has always been the audit trail. You (artist / indie label) don’t really know what was sold / collected in this model. You have to take the word of the platform provider that distributes your music to the retailers and other licensing customers. I am not sure an entity like Tunecore or CD Baby isn’t more powerful than the “major labels” because there are lots more indies paying to use these services than there are artists that major labels are loaning money to. I currently use CD Baby, even though it has changed lots since Derek Sivers sold it, but there are other options out there: Bandcamp. Your own webstore. Your own deal with Amazon (forget trying to get your own deal with iTunes). Peace, Cb

    • JTVDigital

      Hi Chris,

      Truth is, most digital retailers do not pay the royalties regularly to the distributors or the major record labels.

      Some do well or very well in terms of transparency and payments frequency, like iTunes, Spotify, Deezer or Amazon.

      But usually smaller services are somehow difficult to deal with when it comes to getting the money back….

      So yes the audit trail is a real issue and, believe me or not, even major labels struggle to get paid by the retailers!


      Jeremie Varengo – CEO
      JTV Digital

  26. Lourdes Pita


    Wow. Fight the fight here. They are exploiting for sure and they are clearly going back on their word and agreement! Please keep me posted on this. Makes me not want to join tunecore now. I have an assistant that is about to start working all this stuff for me that I simply don’t have time for. I don’t understand a lot of the jargon here. Most artists like me would get completely confused about all this! Which is why they are doing this. They don’t care if an artist like you screams and yells for them to honor their agreement because they know most of us artists are not on top of this like the rare artist like you is.

    I get most of my money from pump audio /geddy images and BMI. So did you have to terminate pump audio to be with tune core? Doesn’t makes sense, pump audio is not exclusive. I know I had to sign the from when they dropped me down from 50% to 35%! That sucked! What was I to do? If I did not sign my alternative was not to get anymore money?
    You are very articulate in this letter, thanks for standing up to the bullies at tunecore! Please keep me posted on this!

  27. ARTIST3

    Have any of you checked out Mondotunes? And if so what do you think of them?

  28. anonymouse

    ya’ll aint seen nothing yet – there’s a larger scandal with all distributors you have to watch out for –

    I just caught one distributor not tagging videos with content id – but placing their own adsense on the uploads lol – unless you look for it, you’d never know. – luckily i’m able to step away from it while my views are not very significant. You also have to watch out for people that download your music, change the name of your track and upload it to another film/tv site.

    tunecore and indmusic actually look like they are looking out for artists – albeit in a strict exclusive way, this is a crap load of work – especially for the amount of accounts they are maintaining – so don’t underestimate the amount of crap they have to go through to look out – and as long as they are getting you good placements and aggressively shopping you or covering you – it really is all good. Trust me it can be worse – how ? when someone pulls that exclusive surprise on you – then does nothing at all for your music….or worse – makes money without you on your work. – while what happened did seem to be an out of left field “But you said” story change – it’s still a very low on the corruption scale I’ve seen ( and lived )

    I’m not affiliated with either at this time – but i’ve got stories from some of the vile things i’ve seen.

    Bottom line – do your best to work things out with eachother – hating on someone that has over 10,000 artists worth of songs to deal with can put your music at the bottom of the list, while locking you into a contract – it’s a new thing for them and it’s a new business model that’s constantly changing. In the end we are all trying to find ways to pay bills, consider those that don’t do this part time and have to suffer it as a day job – while paying bills.
    Trust me this business has jerks left and right – so they will get their share of insane drama and complicated “what just happened” surprises – ie – if they have to go against a major label – tunecore may be big, but they are still relatively indy size in comparison to the majors.

    Not favoring anyone – just saying this is a mess that can be much worse – try to be nice with each other. No hitting below the songwriters share :p

    repeat after me – “I have no way to audit their systems, and they can easily change my song name and register my work without me, I’ll never know it was a hit in local norway cable network – I should try to be friendly”


    • Anonymous

      “I just caught one distributor not tagging videos with content id – but placing their own adsense on the uploads”


  29. this contact form

    Thank you each alternate helpful web site. Exactly where else might I recieve that sort of info coded in this sort of excellent technique? I’ve a task that we’re basically at this moment managing for, and I’ve ended up on the look away with regard to similarly info.

  30. Andy

    Tunecore really pissed me off with their handling of YouTube monetization.

    I contacted them earlier this year to see if they were working on a solution to help their customers monetize their songs via Content ID, and they said they were NOT. This was in June, a few months after they told the author of this story that they were.

    So I went and found a solution elsewhere. Now they’re forcing me to use their YT monetization service, without being able to opt out of it, so I have multiple claims on the same videos, which freezes the monetization of the music.

    I also learned that TuneCore changed their TOS without informing me, making my publishing admin deal exclusive.

    So bye bye TuneCore! I just cancelled the renewal of all of my albums and will be cancelling the renewal of the Publishing admin deal too.

    Any suggestions on which service to use? I need to have access to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Deezer, which are my main sources of income.
    I like the look of JTV Digital, who have been very helpful in answering my questions about migrating to a new service.

  31. Who do you trust?

    Is it true that TuneCore is going bankrupt? I am hearing rumblings that while the pay-outs are great for the Artist, the Company isn’t making enough money to stay afloat and is going bankrupt or being sold to Universal Music.

  32. John36

    I am also writing songs for movie, TV and commercial placements and the publishers that I am working with do not recognize Tune core so they will not pay them my royalties.
    Therefore I have to drop Tune Core.

  33. George53

    Thanks Steven for your story. I decided to use TuneCore in 2011, whenever I got my masters and videos completed. Before contracting with TuneCore, I started preparing by pulling all my posted demos on the web due to the distribution requirements stated in their TOS. I then contacted their rep and asked pertinent questions regarding the EXACT requirements for entry into a distribution contract, and got a strange reply: “You do not need to pull your songs from the web… we are non-exclusive. It’s perfectly ok to have your songs on the web, wherever you wish. That surprised me greatly, because their TOS SPECIFICALLY FORBID full songs anywhere on the web, as it represented a conflict of interest to successful monetization and collections. I can perfectly understand the need NOT to have songs up that can be copied and pirated! I COULD NOT understand why they would not admit to requiring this in a direct communication with me. It sent up such a red flag that i pulled back and waited… and waited… and waited… all the while taking my time to tweak and perfect my masters and get the videos done. When I was finally at the break-in point, I went back to the TuneCore website… and to my dismay, the prices had changed, the price structure had changed, the TOS had changed, and they had pulled what appeared to be a full-blown bait & switch on every client they had.

    WHOA, camel, WHOA!!! Time to re-consider my career as an Indie artist… the pirates are BAD ENOUGH, but the distributors also?

    Sorry to hear you got snagged in the process. I really am disappointed that they did what they did, as I was very much looking forward to getting going. The whole thing sucks, it really sucks. So now it’s time for another approach to this… and some more friggin’ waiting! GRRRR!

  34. Makell Bird

    Sell music on iTunes with ADED.US Music Distribution at – SELL DIRECTLY from our site and collect 85% or sell in over 1,000 other stores and collect 65-70%. We also build personal apps.

    Put music on spotify
    sell music on google play

  35. matt

    this is really messed up, i am going through the same thing right now and getting flagged on youtube for using my own songs in a video! They are also claiming %50 of my publishing and no one will get back to me via email

  36. Ghost Writer

    Anybody, please confirm the following rumors that I have heard from internet stories and other artists. It has been circulated that iTunes, Tunecore and BMI who use Publishing Administration located in Burbank, California place lesser known artists on the lower priority lists to collect their royalties and some of them get ripped off where they don’t receive any payments at all. Is this true? Thanks.

  37. The Blue Elephant

    thanks a lot for all these responses! i was thinking of joining tunecore’s publishing deal but no WAY now….exclusive agreement? are they out of their minds! you want an exclusive agreement? you invest in me first…than we can talk…not ask me to pay you!!!

  38. Shane

    Damn, and I was going to sign up with these guys two days ago. This just made my choice that much easier, Cdbaby it is.

  39. Anonymous


  40. Stan

    I was saddened to read the post on Tunecore. I spent about 25 years in content acquistions for two major entertainment conglomerates. If Tunecore unlawfully violated the terms of your agreement, you should have legal recourse. This goes for anyone so affected. Based on my experience in IP rights, however, I fear that Tunecore — if they have any legal representation whatsoever, protected themselves in one manner or another.

    I’ve seen 75 page contracts from major motion picture companies that had substantial, deal-breaking language buried in some seemingly boilerplate clause on page 60-or-so.

    I’ve seen online, HTML contracts — not PDFs for digital signature — a living document that can be edited by the site owner and, thus, is basically written in chalk. A simple form using SUBMIT accepts information on the signatory — who could be anyone, anywhere, and with an IP that tracks to a cafe in Madrid.

    The point is that many companies from the highest to the lowest end of the food chain will try to hose anyone they do business with. Some celebrate these ‘victories’ shamelessly. Fortunately, there are a few with higher ethical standards, seeking business partners rather than victims.

    • True enoug

      True, Stan, and if they have anything in their terms and conditions (which admittedly I haven’t read) that says something to the effect of “company reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions etc etc” then in the eyes of the law, if you signed off on it, then it’s legal. Especially in the digital age, terms and conditions and contracts require fine tooth combing.

  41. CMK

    Well. That was 1 hour of my life taken, reading this article and reading all the comments.

    I was gonna sign up to Tunecore too, and how I’m so baffled I don’t know what the hell to do!! Jeez, is it really that criminal for the artist to actually make the money?! It’s expensive enough to have a song professionally produced and now we gotta deal with all this crap as well?

    Gah!!! Maybe I should keep it REAL simple for myself, sign up with APRA AMCOS (I’m in Australia), have a soundcloud page, get a Broadjam profile and figure something else out.

    Sigh. I was getting really excited about signing up and paying for service but if they are gonna go around and change all the rules all the time (especially about ownership, copyrights and royalties) well I say F them!

  42. Adam Scurry

    I use beats distribution. They are fair to artist and they charge only 0.99 cents per track. I use to use Tune Core but it cost too much. I tried beats and they are awesome. They hooked me up with Free ITunes pre-orders. No yearly fees like tune core and you keep all your sales. I liked tune core and never had issues yet. Please check out beats distribution.

    • Antinet

      this website looks horrible. Looks totally illegitimate. I can’t stand scammers who feed off the talented. At least prove you can spend $100 on a real graphic designer to do your logo.

  43. Antinet

    WIthout going into gruesome details, I’ve dealth with very similar legal bati and switch on the stock photo side of things. Contracts change at will, and here’s an even better situation, the smaller company that cared about the artists gets consumed by one of the monsters. Why not? The starters become millionaires, and the monster buys its compeition. And YOUR WORK becomes their property at that point, or at least it sort of does, and they know you’re not coming after them for pittances. It’s all part of the scam.

    THe problem comes when you have a hit song, or one piece of creativity that can generate a lot of income, and they try to grab it and get in between you and your copyright. This is why it’s hard to sign any agreement with anyone.

    It’s very tough to sort out who to go with and who to not.

  44. steven corn

    Nothing should ever be forced upon an artist or songwriter. Sometimes, it’s practically impossible to avoid (such as ASCAP/BMI rates or Soundexchange rates). Changing something as materially as “non-exclusive” to “exclusive” would be a material breach in my opinion, negating the contract. Forcing an artist to include Youtube is a contractual term that also can’t be added unilaterally. (Unless, the tunecore agreement has some “now known or hereafter devised” type of clause, of course.)

    As hard as it is to register publishing and reload masters, Steven’s catalog is not vast. It’s six albums and 15 songs. My advice is to serve Tunecore with a breach of contract and termination notice. Then start over with a new publishing admin and a new digital distributor. If he tries to play within Tunecore’s rules, he’s going to lose and the only way to win is to change the venue completely. Fortunately, there are many other options out there.

    I’m glad that Steven shared this info. It’s very enlightening. Now he has to end his relationship with Tunecore and do the hard work to get back on track. It’ll be completely worthwhile to do so.

  45. Frank

    To be honest, I think you expect too much from Tunecore. I think they can offer their service for that little money and revenue-share (and without taking any ownership) because they have a standardized way of dealing with things that is probably perfect for 99% of their clients.
    I think that Steven wants both: The custom-tailored service you could get from a real music publisher but at the low cost and without signing away any rights. Not yet there – out there…

    • David

      I agree Frank. The guy signed a publishing deal with Tunecore – now he should let Tunecore collect and take their percent.

  46. Grammy Winner .

    Before anyone can do anything , you need to take care of the original situation legally . May I suggest that you get hold of The Cameron Organization and Bug Music …see if they will get into it . Download every e-mail sent and every reply and then the original contract that you made with them along with their revised version and a copy of the fee that you paid to engage with their services . What they are doing is a breach of contract . Because it is based on non payment of royalties …it is not a small claims court issue …it is Federal as it has to do with copyright infringement when another fails to distribute royalties to the rightful copyright owner . I think The U.S . Attorney should be notified of the fraud .

  47. David Evans


    The things you wrote in your post are illegal. I’ve been in the music industry for 30 years. No offense, but large companies are normally extremely careful to do things 100% legit because they’re big, obvious targets for law suits with lots of ability to pay damages. Sometimes big companies are run by people who skirt the line knowing the little guy cannot afford to do legal battle with a staff of salaried lawyers. But what you talked about is not skirting the line, its cut and dry illegal. That’s why I sort of doubt the full legitimacy of what you’re talking about. I wonder what Tunecore’s side of the story is. That said, if this is really true, any entertainment attorney would gladly take this case on, its a no brainer and would likely include a punitive damage award which is an attorney’s wet dream.

  48. Jacob

    You can tell TuneCore is a scam just by looking at their website. Hypothetical testimonials, unconvincing design, confused information and many promises…

  49. Jerry Hsu

    Hello there,
    I can’t understand why there aren’t any more websites about this. Currently I am under their Publishing Administration service, and am currently in a very icky situation… There are just so many things that are very unreasonable towards the artist/musician like they can change the agreement anytime they want. They state this within the first column: “TuneCore reserves the sole right at any time to modify, discontinue or terminate the Site and Services, or modify the Terms of Service without notice. All modified terms and/or conditions when posted on the Site shall supersede the prior agreement between you and TuneCore, and such revised Terms and Conditions shall constitute the entire agreement between you and TuneCore. ”

    So what they say is, basically you agree, that they can change the agreement anytime they want to!

    Also, please read this line: “Company shall have the right to collect all income relating to the Compositions earned prior to the beginning of the Administration Term, but not yet collected, as well as all (i) income generated within the United States during the Administration Term for a period of TWELVE (12) MONTHS immediately following THE END of the Administration Term”
    So they say that even if you end your agreement, they will still collect money from you after 12 months, AND THEY WON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING. In another line they state that they will collect money from your music for even 18 MONTHS ‘after’ you have ended their agreement. It doesn’t make sense! It’s all in favor of Tunecore, NOT THE ARTIST. WTF!

    • Dark Waters

      I was about to sign up to use Tunecore, but then I started reading all of the insane complaints about them. If ANY of this stuff would have happened to me, I would have already lawyered up. No chance I’m going to work with them now. Thanks for all the insight and warnings.

  50. Jenna Wright

    Hi, Steven I wanted to know if when I joined songcast when you put in the category artist or label could I put youtube if I was a youtuber, which i am, since I am not with any label or artist? Thanks

  51. Phil K.

    Hi Steven, I applaud you standing up to the monster that is TuneCore. I tried terminating my agreement with them and they stated that they retained the right to collect any income for up to 3 years, effectively stealing my catalog and leaving me unable to work with any other publishers to find placements. The thing is, I fired TC BECAUSE they weren’t getting me any placements, and I STILL won’t be able to get any placements without TC dipping their evil hands into the mix. Fuck them. If there’s a class-action lawsuit involved that could help me get the rights back, I’d be all-in with you. I doubt a class-action lawsuit would yield much but it’s better than having someone hijack my intellectual property without doing any work on their end…

  52. Scott

    Steven I appreciate your blog on this, I was in the middle of considering using this service to promote and sell my music. Personally I wouldn’t have had any problems with them changing up the agreement but in looking through the current tos I don’t think the language is there other than non usage of the services that states you agree or don’t agree. Personally I feel that if you are going to make those kinds of changes to your tos that constitutes your having to enter into a new agreement. Who or how would you prove that you continued or didn’t? Can you delete your account? Then the question would be are you purged from their system or are they continueing to make money off of your efforts without your knowing it? I own a business and have had a run in with another big review company out there Yelp. I had set up an account with them and then sadly I wish I had gone out there and looked to see the reviews of this company before I set up the account. Says that they put up bad reviews about you and then they call you to extort you for money so that they will take them down. Sad thing here as well is that after I created the account I could not delete it, I even tried to contact them afterward to get them to and there’s nothing I could do to get them to. So this is some thought for other people involved in this kind of thing to. Watch your reviews on these companies and know who you are dealing with before you enter into any agreements with them. In closing I would feel more comfortable in doing business with a company that gave me the opportunity to not enter into the new agreement and that they would then terminate the account afterwards. Yes it sux when you get onto a good thing that someone goes and pulls the rug out from under you. However as a business owner I can tell you this one thing, they can’t operate on air. If enough people get wind of you and people stop using your service something’s going to have to give or you’ll be out of business. For every one great plattform out there to sell something there’s going to be at least 10 more of them to the one you are on or looking at. Do your research and don’t get discouraged. I’ve been running my other business going up on 8 years now and it does get tough but you just need to get tougher and stick it out.

  53. D'ron Forbes

    Seems to me like none of you understand what is going on here. Tunecore is simply trying to help you. If someone else is using your music they should pay you. So tunecore collects that and puts a claim on it FOR YOU and delivers the money TO YOU. Why are you complaining about that, it seems to me like this is a slander post to discredit Tunecore. Everybody overlooks the fact that this man upon making this post has had no trouble collecting over $100,000 from tunecore since being with them. Sounds to me like you are doing well enough and some people just don’t know how to leave well enough alone.

  54. Josh Murtha

    This says it all.

    From Tunecore contract:

    “Please read the following terms and conditions carefully, which amend the Terms of Service that you previously entered into with TuneCore, Inc. (“TuneCore”) with respect to your Recordings, as such agreement has been supplemented, amended or otherwise modified. This is a legal agreement between you and TuneCore. TuneCore reserves the sole right at any time to modify, discontinue or terminate the Site and Services, or modify the Terms of Service without notice.”

    A co-writer of mine signed up for TCP (at the recommendation of this blog) under the impression that it was non-exclusive. Because it was. It seems they had the “sole right at any time to modify…” the agreement and now they have exclusive rights to the music, preventing me from working with other companies to license any of the music we co-wrote. Example: Crucial won’t touch it if Tunecore is involved, because they are exclusive.

    Just learned of all this tonight. I’m utterly furious right now.

    Someone please tell me I’m wrong.

  55. Catchyname

    At best they are amateurish and annoying you won’t make much due to the amateurishness of it all and at worst… well, how low can you go. If you have any doubts about the money looking to funny email the state attorney general and leave your complaints there.

  56. ryoga

    if you want to do things right just go with a proper publishing and record company and stop whining, if they don’t take your music is because it is shitty anyway and you will not profit from it either way.. Then you all come here whining and crying out loud that a company that promised you the moon and the stars isn’t what they said.. No shit.. How someone would risk putting music that can’t make a dime out there if it wasn’t just scamming you and getting money from you

    • j

      Thank you for this post. I came here due to an email I received, allegedly from Tunecore about a sec. breach. May be phishing scam. Anyway, wanted to say, I probably aint using them now. Also, to a few low-integrity-lifers here that replied and suggested that this is nothing or to stop whining. First of all, grow some integrity. Secondlly to the one here whining that maybe his music wasn;t great or something shows that you simply aren’t living your dream and are jealous that someone else is. Sorry to add to any negativity here. But I just read a few comments and felt I needed to put several repliers back into their place. Hope this worked out to your liking!

  57. Evan Ryder

    Joins Ditto…Learns They Scam People
    Joins Tunecore… Learns They scam people..

    can someone give me a name of a distributer that does not scam people?

    • Mary

      That’s my question as well. Is there any other artist that gets as badly screwed as a Songwriter? Ridiculously depressing…..

  58. joecoolmedia

    There is a reason

    99.875% – or nearly all – of artists lose money with these amatuers whether or not they where also “Made in NYC”….

    Run dont walk tunecore is ridicule.


    Are you aware that you can publish your own content plus videos to get it monetized. For example Google Play allows you to do it with just a one time $25 so it will just be you and google and not you, tunecore and google. I’m just saying. Also apple does it but you need more than one album.

  60. nna

    I narrate my experience with tunecore, bmi, and Nielsen soundscan in sadness. I had a very terrible experience with tunecore, bmi, and Nielsen soundscan. It started in 2011 I went to the internet to make my music career better because most of the musician go to the internet to promote their music. First I stumbled on tunecore without making proper research on the scam company, so I was excited that this company will help me distribute my music all over the world for people to hear my voice not knowing that they are nothing but thieves and liars. First they will tell you to sign up for free and distribute you music all over the world, then the next thing they do is to tell you to do is sign up for bmi account to help with the royalty collection. Once you have signed up for the bmi account which is not a free sign up they will ask you to link the account together. The moment you link the account together you have lost control of your royalty. They fill the royalty for you and dividing the money made from the royalty into two and also make sure that you don’t get a cent from your money. The next thing they do is to show more stores that you need to sign up for.
    Now let talk about ‘‘BMI’’. Once you notice that you don’t have control over your royalty, you try telling them to unlink your BMI account from your TUNECORE account. BMI will tell you that they can’t unlink the both account because if they do tunecore will stop to bring artist to their website for signup. So they simply tell you that they can’t, which is another lie. That’s what they did to me. So I wrote to tunecore demanding that they separate the accounts, tunecore told me that I have record contract with them and that it cannot be terminated, so they refuse to unlink the account. All of sudden Tunecore has changed from music Distribution Company to a record label. Tunecore and bmi are in this together and tunecore is the one in charge of the scam game.
    Nielsen soundscan is the company that tracks the sale of music and other media in America. For some time now I have been doing my research to find other company in America apart from Nielsen soundscan that can track my song but I find none. That is why they can lie about the sales data result in American and no one can find out because most news media get their report from them. I registered all the songs I published in the internet with soundscan for tracking but when the time comes for tracking the sales of my songs they tell me that they can’t find my songs. I registered UPC and isrc code of my song with soundscan. I also uploaded all the songs I published in the internet in mp3 format for encoding so they can also track the airplay of my song. Nielsen soundscan refuses to track the sales data, airplay data and the streaming data of all the songs I published in the internet. Whenever I ask them for sale report they tell me I made no sale, if I ask for streaming and airplay report they tell me that have they can’t find the song I uploaded into the bds account they created for me because they have deleted it on purpose, they also keep asking me to re upload so tracking of the previous ones will be forgotten and be counted as new upload. They also try to scare you away with their price for tracking; they do this because they are in the scam game with tunecore because if you don’t have proof of the sell of your music how can you fight for your money.
    Everybody is talking about how tunecore dealt with them, but no one is talking about how to deal with tunecore. My tunecore account that was linked to bmi account was separated by the help of the BBB. So if you happen to be one of the victims of tunecore, you make your report to RIPOFF,BBB ,FBI, e.t.c. Making this report will not make any difference so ask them to delete or close your account. They will ignore you because they did it to me. I believe that once your account is still open they will continue making money from your music. So ask them to close the account or delete the account from their website. If they ignore you then you do a WHOIS search on tunecore to find out who is hosting their website and their admin e-mail, send a message to admin email requesting that they close your account. Also send an email to the hosting company narrating your ordeal with tunecore and plead for their assistance in helping to close your account with tunecore. If all the victims of tunecore will report to the hosting company, I think they might help in their own little way. Go to Google and type “WHOIS TUNECORE” you will see the company that is hosting their website and report the abuse to them and also send email to admin email and request they close your account.

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  62. coco wolf

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  63. Juppe

    I have only had bad experiences with Tunecore. I will not bore you with my long story just conclude that I have never every in my entire life been treated so disrespectful as in the conversation with this company.. How on earth do they have any customers? Stay away, stay as far away you can from Tunecore. There a lot of better alternatives.

  64. Adoniy

    attn. Kevin Rivers: Where do you get off on using your site’ s [] voice command facility to make a subliminal nuisance of yourself, probably through skype, hence microsoft[, msn] claiming intellectual property rights that do not belong to you and generally being derisory, while leaving yourself the option of pretending you never did anything of the sort? I deleted my venzodigital account ages back and find my tunes are still being featured on itunes on behalf of venzodigital. If my jams are not making any accruals, please bother to take them down.