I was browsing some music blogs when I saw an article on Hypebot about a service called Zimbalam. This company is basically a flat-fee digital music distributor like Tunecore. The key differentiator seem to be cost (Zimbalam) is cheaper than Tunecore, and allegedly won’t charge you the annual fee after year 1 unless your royalties on the albums they’ve distributed are adequate enough to cover the costs.
This is interesting to me because back in 2008 I wrote a post explaining why I was distributing my latest release with Tunecore and not CD Baby. One of the main factors for me was that I didn’t want someone taking a % of my royalties, so I preferred the flat fee. But now I’m wondering, will I have to pay their annual maintenance fee into perpetuity just to keep my music on iTunes? What if my descendants in 2248 want to download my music? Will I have had enough music sales over the previous 240 years to justify keeping my music active on Tunecore? I doubt it…Also, I’m not sure if by not renewing with Tunecore your music is actually taken off of iTunes, etc or just taken off the servers at Tunecore. In either case, I’m not sure how you’d get paid, since Apple isn’t going to start mailing you checks if you stop paying Tunecore’s annual fee.
Anyway. Check out Zimbalam. I’d love to hear from people with experience using it. I’ll try to do some actual reporting on it soon.