Music Marketing Author and Course Instructor

Blog Post
Why I am a fan of TuneCore

Posted on 3/4/2008

I've talked a lot about how TuneCore and CD Baby are great online distribution options for independent bands. The two are set up differently, with CD Baby taking 9% of sales, and TuneCore making money on a $19.98 annual fee plus $.99 per store per record upfront costs. We run the numbers in my course on which is the better option for online distribution, and at low sales, there is very little difference between the two services. But at higher sales figures, there's quite a bit of difference.

Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired's great music blog just wrote a quick piece on what Trent Reznor likely paid to distribute his new record, Ghosts I-V to Amazon. It's really pretty amazing:

Trent Reznor found a great deal for distributing his comprehensive new Nine Inch Nails album to the Amazon MP3 store: going through TuneCore, while keeping ownership of the master recordings and 100 percent of royalties. Now we can see why he was so eager to leave his record label.

This is assuming TuneCore charged Reznor its standard for delivering a 36-song album on the Amazon MP3 store for the first year; I have a question in with TuneCore to try to confirm:

$35.64 ($0.99 per track)

$0.99 to put one album in one online music store

$19.98 charge per album


$56.61: Total cost to distribute Ghosts I-V to Amazon MP3

That’s not the only efficient aspect of Reznor’s plan. He’s using BitTorrent to distribute the first 8-song volume of the album to fans for free, and the innovative aspect of the release generated lots of (deserved) press attention.

Trent is using a Creative Commons license with this current release, which I also think is noteworthy

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