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

ArtistPR Buyer Beware (Time lapse nerd blog)

Update 3/21/14
I think it’s only fair to note that ArtistPR keeps trying to post on this blog and let people know that they are totally legit. Here’s the thing, this is MY experience. It doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. You know, maybe they hired a really bad service to make their calls. Maybe the 3 or 4 emails I get a year from totally different  ArtistPR reps that are word for word the same (except for the part where they insert a different random song in the blank) are just their way of saying they really, REALLY, love my music. Fine. They want to post their clean record with the Better Business Bureau? Thanks for reminding me that I should have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. This is what I’ve learned since I wrote this blog: you are going to hear about the best PR services because artists you know will be using them and talking about them. The ones that spam you on Reverbnation and email are most likely trying to make a buck by casting a wide net. And, if they are casting a wide net, what are the chances they believe in you as an artist and will really push your music? And, what are the chances they are just trying to make as much money as possible from as many artists as they can get in the net? You decide.
Original post March 23rd, 2011

 

12:15pm

 

Phone rings. Unknown number from San Rafael, CA. That’s the second call this week. I’m in a writing session with Mr. Jake Owen (super-guitarist-songwriter) so, I don’t pick up.

 

1:38pm Central Time

 

I got curious and returned the call from San Rafael, CA. The caller said she was from ArtistPR.com. Here is the skinny:

 

Maybe I submitted to them or maybe I didn’t. I submit to a lot of things. I honestly couldn’t recall whether or not I submitted to be featured on their “artist spotlight” but, they told me I had and that I was chosen.

 

The cost: $2.95 for the week I was to be featured in the “spotlight” (slightly misleading and I’ll explain why in a bit)

 

They would also need a CD and press kit in hand to give to licensors who might inquire about my music.  I told the caller that I would not give my credit card info over the phone and that I wanted to do it myself on the website. She asked if I could do it while we were on the call because she would need the approval code in order to upload me in to “the spotlight”. I said, I would be available to do it in a few hours and she said she’d call me back. (My guard was up since this number had called me twice and hadn’t left a message. Also, the caller sounded like she was reading from a script) 

Well, in the meantime, I went to look for the details on the site. Here they are:

 

1. Charges and Use of Service. You acknowledge that artistmusicpromotion.com offers a free membership with limited access to resource and services. You also aknowledge and agree that if you choose to upgrade your account to a premium membership that you will be billed $2.95 for 5 days then automatically recur every 30 days at $60.00 until you cancel. You can also choose to sign up for $60.00 a month without the $2.95 trial. Both memberships recur at $60.00 very 30 days. The $60 a month provides you access to our premium members area at artistmusicpromotion.com.com/members Each member is provided a unique username and password at the time of signup that allows you access to our premium members area.. The services provided by artistmusicpromotion.com are listed at  artistmusicpromotion.com/signup2.html and artistmusicpromotion.com/signup.html  You can automatically cancel your account 24/7 by going to our cancellation page You can also access this page by clicking here. You can also cancel your account by calling customer service at xxx xxx xxxx and your membership will be canceled within 24 hours.

 

Is that a one time charge of $2.95 for 5 days or $2.95 each day? Also, there was no link on “here” for the cancellation page. The caller said nothing about a recurring charge. So, maybe this wasn’t the deal she was trying to tell me about. I’m waiting for the call back to ask her and will keep you updated. But, right now, I’m thinking that this was a way of selling their upgraded membership. If not, I wish they would have found a more personable, professional caller or at least contacted me by email about my being “selected” before calling. And, if this is how they are trying to get people to opt in to their upgraded membership, bad move. A bit tricksy if you ask me.

 

3:34pm 

 

Oh, no….here we go
So, she calls back and asks me for my credit card number again. I say, “No, I want to do it online”. I ask her if I’m going to have a recurring charge on my credit card. She insists that this is a one time charge. She tells me to go to the following link: http://www.artistpr.com/signup2.html

 

Ahem…

 

This clearly says there is a recurring charge. Does she think I can’t read?

 

Me: “It says that this is for monthly membership.”
Her: “No, it isn’t”
Me: “Yes, that’s what it says!”
Her: “You won’t be charged.”
Me: “You know, thanks for the offer but, no thanks.”
Her: “Ok” hangs up…

 

 

ArtistPR? Not so much…

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.