For musicians, breaking into the music industry sits on a pedestal. It’s the ultimate dream people from around the world reach for. However, the ability to connect with an agent, reach out to prominent recording studios and showcasing in front of industry heads is beyond challenging. It’s why so few musicians, regardless of talent, breakthrough. Thankfully for a musician, their music is their business card, so putting out quality music can stand on its own, yet routine performance at local bars and clubs offers only limited exposure. It’s why musicians need to turn to additional outreach methods to promote their craft, and even make money on the side. All of this is possible with the help of TuneCore.
What is TuneCore?
TuneCore is designed for musicians looking to expand their footprint and showcase their music around the world. Most everyone knows of iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. These services bring access but attempting to set up these different accounts takes time and persistence. Beyond this though, there are many other music sharing and streaming outlets musicians simply never take advantage of, which reduces both their exposure and monetization of their work. With TuneCore, that’s no longer a problem.
The TuneCore Music Distribution service helps connect a musician across a barrage of varying streaming outlets. It costs an upfront fee but from there, the musician receives 100% of the sales and streaming royalties. The company doesn’t just work with up-and-coming musicians. TuneCore Music Distribution works with a large number of current performers, such as Jay-Z, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Drake, Sonic Youth, MGM Studios and others.
How to Get Money from TuneCore?
TuneCore helps set up the musician accounts for a range of different industry standard music services. These services often pay either per play or per download. Each service pays out a different amount, but a musician receives money based on their content playing in some capacity.
There are a number of different download and streaming services TuneCore works with. YouTube is one of the most used. It connects a music fan with the over billion users on YouTube (which behind Google, is the most used search engine online). A musician will receive money for every track streamed.
iTunes remains one of the most popular services for obtaining music files, both for Apple product users and for those who use the iTunes media service. Here it’s possible to make money off iTunes through both cloud storage and downloads.
Amazon Music works in a similar way to iTunes. Music fans are able to download a music file, stream it or save it to their cloud. This offers three different revenue opportunities.
Spotify is a music streaming service that is now available in over 20 countries and it looks like it will continue to expand. It’s also one of the most used streaming in the world. Musicians earn income from every file streamed.
Google Play is to PC and Android devices as iTunes is to Apple. It allows for revenue off of both streaming and download. However, there is other several major perks with having content listed on Google Play. The files have another access point on YouTube, can be sourced from the Google Search Engine, and it is available on all Android devices, which is the most used mobile operating system.
Deezer is the most widely available streaming service in the world (more than Spotify). For individuals looking to cash in on other markets around the world, Deezer helps make this happen through both streaming and download methods.
Napster helped create the online music file industry, although it went from an illegal, pirated service to a streaming service called Rhapsody, back to Napster. It also provides download and streaming revenue options.
Simply Africa is a unique opportunity for musicians looking to break into Africa. It is the largest streaming music service available on the African continent and offers streaming revenue opportunities. There are a number of other regional based services TuneCore works with to increase a musician’s exposure around the world, including services like Anghami, Spinlet, Boomplay Music, Kuack, Reach, Zvooq, Claro Musica, TargetMusic, Yandex Music, Saavn, KKBOX and Juke MyMusic.
iHeartRadio has grown into an important staple in the music industry. It’s also a way to introduce a musician to music lovers through the streaming revenue service. Similar streaming services include Slacker Radio, Tracks and Pandora (although with Pandora, as the stations are personally selected, it doesn’t mean all audio files are instantly accepted).
One of the most powerful tools for musicians who do not have a sizeable following is with the application Shazam. This is an excellent service designed to help identify songs and to provide access to new music. It is a discovery-based application that points a music user to streaming and download options.
How Much Does TuneCore Pay Per Stream
The question a musician should ask isn’t how much does TuneCore pay per stream, but instead what does the music service pay per stream or download. As TuneCore doesn’t take a cent of what the streaming services payout, it comes down specifically to the individual services. So it’s necessary to skip over the how much does TuneCore pay per song and instead look at each individual service. With nearly 50 different services, there are different payments for each. However, looking at the most common and most popular for musicians can provide a general answer to how to make money off TuneCore.
YouTube doesn’t provide specifics with regards to what someone will make off of the service. An artist is paid a proportion share from the YouTube Art Tracks subscriptions and advertisement revenue. Anyone who has used YouTube or Google AdSense knows this will fluctuate and is based on a number of variables, so offering an exact “pay per stream” is impossible. However, the more popular a song becomes, the more it is searched and the more it is streamed, the chances of the song bringing in a higher revenue.
iTunes provides specific information. For every song downloaded, a musician receives $0.70. For every album sold, a musician makes $7.00. Google Play pays out the exact same amount as iTunes.
In terms of the TuneCore Spotify payment, a musician will make somewhere around $0.0038 per stream (so less than half a cent). In reality, the Napster service offers some of the best pay per stream prices, at $0.01672 (over a penny and a half). Napster owns a small portion of the market share, but in terms of streaming revenue, it will pay out substantially more than the other services.
Many of the other platforms also offer varying amounts per stream that rests on several variables. However, Napster is one of the few that pays over a cent per stream.
What is the TuneCore Payout Schedule
When a track is downloaded, streamed or uploading to a cloud account, TuneCore automatically indicates this in the artist portion of a user’s account. This allows Tunecore artists to monitor their revenue as it starts to build up. The TuneCore Spotify payment will appear in the account as soon as someone streams the song. This way, a person can see how often their songs are streamed, which songs are steamed and when. However, the Tunecore payout schedule remains universal.
TuneCore pays four times a year, once per each quarter. Following the completion of a quarter (every three months), TuneCore will send payment 45 days after. The long wait time for payments is based on how long it takes some streaming and music services to offer up payments, so this quarterly plus 45 days is due to the payouts of other companies. This means a TuneCore payout schedule will be paid on May 15th for the first quarter, August 14th for the second quarter, November 14th for the third quarter, and February 14th for the previous year’s fourth quarter.
There are three different payment options available, depending on what an artist is interested in. If they would like to be paid through a TuneCore check, there is a $3.00 processing fee for all checks, and it will take around 10 additional business days to receive payment inside of the United States, and up to six weeks internationally (depending on location).
The second option is to be paid through PayPal. There is no fee attributed to a PayPal digital payment by TuneCore. However, PayPal does charge an international processing fee. The third option is an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). This comes with a $2.75 transfer-processing fee. The transfer will take between seven and 10 business days, although this particular method is not available with regards to international banks.
TuneCore does indicate it can take some time before audio file tracks are accepted and processed by other streaming services and can take up to six months for U.S. based musicians to see the track appear on varying streaming services (like Spotify). As musicians begin to see an increase in their streaming numbers it reduces the wait time as the services will process the content faster.
For musical artists looking to increase both revenue opportunities while increasing exposure, it’s important to find as many different streaming and download services available. Attempting to connect with the dozens of streaming services around the world is both difficult and time-consuming. However, TuneCore does all of those, without taking a cut of the royalties (but instead charges annually). It’s a viable option for any musician and one that needs to be considered and looked into by musicians both in the United States and around the world.