Using TuneCore to Put Music on iTunes, Rhapsody and Other Distribution Sites

I recently used Tunecore to distribute my latest musical release to iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and a whole bunch of other services.

The album creation and upload process was pretty straightforward, and TuneCore’s user interface is very clean and easy to use. The tracks took forever to upload, but it was ~160MB for 4 songs.

Only two quibbles:

  1. The help links on the album creation/upload pages open in the same browser window, which made me worry I was going to lose the information I had already entered. These should open in pop-up windows.
  2. After uploading a track, it says “Verifying file” or something, and a circular icon rotates to show you that the file is being processed. I waited for this to stop, but it never did on its own. I was afraid to do anything else because I didn’t want to corrupt the file I had waited an hour to upload. Turns out, once verification begins, you can add another song below, and when the page refreshes, it will indicate that the previous track has been added successfully. This wasn’t clear to me, so I wasted a lot of time waiting for something that never happened.

These are really just small usability issues…

Each Digital Distributor is Different

TuneCore does a good job of laying out all the payment intricacies involved with each of the digital distributors that you can push your music to. Each service is different and may be more or less profitable for artists. But I figure that the more ways someone can discover my music, the better. Everyone I know buys music from iTunes, but maybe some users of the other services will discover me somehow.

And now…The wait.

After completing the upload and album creation process, then paying, the site returns a message saying that the music should be available in 8-10 weeks. Damn. This is a long time. I’m sure Apple and company have billions of terabytes to process, but still. Two months seems quite long. Oh well. At least it’s out of my hands now.

It didn’t take nearly as long as I feared for my music project to go live with the various services. In many cases, it was only a few weeks. Awesome!

Why I Chose TuneCore over CDBaby

Back in 2008, I chose Tunecore over CDBaby to distribute my second EP. At the time it made sense for reasons that I no longer recall.

Since then, it couldn’t be any clearer to me.

I would never choose TuneCore over CDBaby ever again

TuneCore is a crap service that holds your music hostage indefinitely. You’ll have to keep paying their annual fee forever, which after a few years feels like absolute robbery. They actually go through the trouble of having your music removed from iTunes if you stop paying them.

I stopped paying them because I found it absurd and anti-human. I finally re-listed the album through CDBaby, which you pay for once and that’s it.

The one downside to CDBaby is they charge 9% of your sales. But if you’re an unknown musician like me, that will be about $0.00 after a few years when everyone who knows your music has already bought it. In which case you don’t want to pay just to have them keep your music listing active.

End of story. Sorry for the bad advice, nearly eight years ago now. If you expect your albums to sell for years to come then maybe TuneCore’s annual fee will end up cheaper than 9% of sales. But if you’re just a regular musician putting some music out there, you’ll regret using TuneCore.