The uproar about Tunecore? (blog)

Ok, so, in short:

Tunecore has upped their prices per album per year to $49. The reason? They say it will be better than paying for extras a la carte and they cite these 34 improvements. What I’d like to know is if it’s worth it to you. You’ll have to check out the list of improvements which include things like Apple Artist Ping pages, Tunecore charts and promotion services. 

I would also like to hear what you think of the comments left by other artists. There are several in support of a price increase. Or, maybe they are just grateful for the improvements. I don’t know. But, what I do know is that CDBaby responded by offering 50% for musicians transferring from Tunecore to CDBaby: http://cdbabylovesyoumore.com/  

(Original story here on Digital Music News)

Yes, CDbaby is all about the little guy. It reminds me of how Lefsetz talks about record labels. Make a little bit off of a lot of people. I think it applies to most businesses in the internet era and, from the indie music perspective (or, at least the indies I’m hearing from), it seems like Tunecore is headed in the wrong direction. 

To be fair, it sounds like they spent some real money on these improvements hoping to their customers would benefit. Still, what did they think would happen? Surprising your customers with 150% cost increase? Ouch. 

 – LM

Bands with the Same Name (blog)

This  is a quickie blog. I just want to sing the praises of one of the best indie music businesses out there. CDBABY!!!

 

Yes, with services like Bandcamp you can sell your CDs directly to your fans and that is wonderful. But, it also helps to have your stuff on the major download sites like iTunes because a lot of people just prefer buying from a big name. If you are an indie artist, you have to go through a music aggregator to get on iTunes and that’s where CDbaby and services like Tunecore come in. Great for us! But, here’s the problem. What if you or your band have the same name as another artist or band? Confusion in the store! (see pic below) The last thing you want to happen is to have all your hard advertising work go to waste when customers seek you out only to download someone else’s music. It happens! 

I have this issue.

Oneofthese

 

Now, I actually went to the trouble to have my name legally trademarked so, technically, I could start proceedings against the other artist to keep them from both selling CDs and performing under the name “Laura Marie”. But that seems like a bit much, right? I don’t really want it to come to that. But, as it turns out, for this issue, that won’t be necessary. Yay! for both of us. 

Because my music is distributed to iTunes through CDBaby, all I had to do was call them up (just login to your account and hit “contact”). CDBaby customer service, as always, was super helpful and I was told that all they had to do was submit a ticket to have my works separated from the other Laura Marie in the iTunes store. For now, that’s all I really wanted. 

They say I should be hearing from Apple within the week. I’ll let you know how it goes. Just know that if you have the same problem, you have to contact the content provider that submitted your music to iTunes. Here is a list of all those approved by Apple for indie artists: MUSIC AGGREGATORS. They’ll have to log in to your Apple artist account on your behalf and submit a ticket. If you are with CDBaby, just call them up and ask for Patrick. 🙂

Pass it on! This info could really help some artists set themselves apart. 

 

Sweet! – Laura Marie

 

P.S. I have a NEW WEBSITE and it’s awesome. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll be blogging about how easy it was to put together very soon…

 

For the Indie Do-It-Yourself-er

The following are helpful tools I presented to Elite members of the GoGirls in one of our “secret” meetings at Folk Alliance in Memphis this year. This is a list. It is only a list. If you need further help or have questions about any of these, please post in the comments below. I’ll share my experience as best I can.

These are just some great places to start if you don’t have a team around you and are working on a limited budget. And, yes, you should have your own “.com”. A Facebook fan page will not suffice. And, if you are a band and have a Facebook profile and are using it as a fan page…stop it. Now. Please. 

 

Helpful Tools for Indie Artist

 

Easy and affordable DIY websites: Hostbaby.com and Bandzoogle.com

Both sites now have customizable templates that are affordable and allow you to update your pages and sell your music with very little hassle.

 

Most affordable iPhone app (and Droid to come…): getsoundaround.com

Now owned and also available through Reverbnation.com. Price cannot be beat!

 

Update all your social networks at once: Hootsuite and Ping 

Both of these services allow you to update your social networking sites and FACEBOOK FAN PAGES from your computer and both have iPhone apps for your convenience.

 

Landing pages for your Facebook fan page: Rootmusic.com and FanBridge.com 

Social Networks 4 Musicians has a sweet deal for custom pages but, if you have some DIY skills check out Rootmusic. And, if you are already using FanBridge, they’ve made it easy for you. 

 

DIY CD Sales: Bandcamp.com, Tunecore.com and CDBaby.com 

There are benefits to each. If you haven’t checked them out, do it now.

 

Credit Card sales at your shows: CdBaby.com and Square iPhone app 

Securely swipe credit cards on your iPhone and get direct deposits or get the affordable swiper through your CDBaby.com account.

 

Get your music on the radio: Airplaydirect.com

Get professional and beautiful download cards: Dropcards.com

Get royalties: Soundexchange.com (lengthy application but, do it. If your music is streaming anywhere online, you could have money waiting for you)

Get songs licensed: Pumpaudio.com (They are pretty selective about the music they choose so, be prepared with professional quality recordings of songs as well as instrumental versions. Some people hate the terms so be sure to read them over carefully. All I know is that I’ve received some pretty nice checks without having to shop my songs on my own.)

 J

 

  -Laura Marie

 

Up Next:

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2

Sonicbids. Tokens. Nice save. (nerd blog)

Don’t get me wrong. I still have issues with Sonicbids. The biggest one being that (yes, to belabor the point) THEY BLOODY WELL OWN ARTISTDATA AND THEY STILL WON’T IMPORT GIG DATES TO THEIR SITE! Yeah….ridiculous. 

But, that’s not what I’m on about today. I’m on about the new “tokens”. If you are a Sonicbids member you get tokens to submit to a certain number of opportunities for no added fee (apart from your membership) as spelled out in a blog by founder and CEO Panos Panay. Now, here’s something positive that Sonicbids is doing for artists. Whether or not it keeps members from flocking to other services that don’t charge membership fees to submit to opportunities remains to be seen. But, I do think its smart that they limited the amount of tokens per artist so that the people offering opportunities do not get inundated with submissions from some who shouldn’t be submitting to the opportunity in the first place. As a performer, you have to be selective about how you use the tokens. And, if you don’t use them, you lose them.

Now, there’s still the matter of whether opportunities are legit… 

I mean, I’ve submitted to some only to find out that event organizers do not have their act together. My advice is to thoroughly research the opportunity before you submit. Checking the ratings and comments on Sonicbids is not enough because, I believe, promoters are not exactly background checked. Though, I could be wrong about that. In any case, go to the organizers website, google the event or opportunity and, if you don’t belong to an online music community, seek one out so that you can ask questions of fellow members. We need to help each other out here. Here are some of the organizations I belong to. Yes, it means I have a lot of email but, it also means I have someone to turn to for answers which saves me time, money and grief. 

Folk Alliance

Americana Music Association

CDBaby.org

Grammy365 (in my opinion, not the easiest site to navigate for info)

And for the ladies:

GoGirlsMusic.com (only one member of your group needs to be female for membership but anyone can sign up for the newsletter)

Indiegrrl

There are more out there. Post links in the comments if you belong to a helpful forum. 

 

 – Laura Marie

Next up:

Helpful Tools for Indie Artists

The info I gave to Elite members of the GoGirls at Folk Alliance International 2011.