Interviews

Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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TuneCore’s Scott Ackerman On Why TuneCore Is The Top Internet Platform For Independent Artists Of All Ages & Genres

Before the Internet became a part of everyday life — in the days of records, cassette tapes and/or compact discs — most artists needed a record company to get their music out into the world. Without that professional assistance, that artist would not have distribution, thus there would be no way for the general public to find that music. Fast-forwarding to modern day, a service like TuneCore may make an artist wonder why they would need a record company. With TuneCore, an artist can not only get their music onto all of the key websites and streaming services around the world, but also administer their publishing rights and collect all of their royalties. The accounting arrives digitally like clockwork and TuneCore’s services only cost a flat annual fee.

As of June 2017, TuneCore artists have earned close to $1 billion in revenue. That collective number includes plenty of artists you ought to be familiar with, like Chance The Rapper, Lil Yachty, Jay-Z, They Might Be Giants, Nine Inch Nails, Joan Jett, Drake, Silento, Sara Bareilles, Ron Pope, Cody Johnson, Amanda Palmer, Daddy Yankee and Ed Sheeran. TuneCore is not genre-specific, it does not lock artists into long-term commitments, and based on the number of Grammy-nominated artists it has handled music for, it clearly is not intended for artists who can’t attract industry attention.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Scott Ackerman, the CEO of TuneCore, on behalf of The Hype Magazine. Ackerman had joined the TuneCore team in 2010 as the Senior Vice President of Customer Care. More on Ackerman and TuneCore can be found online at www.tunecore.com.

To you, what separates TuneCore from other digital distributors?

Scott Ackerman: TuneCore gives independent artists access to the most cutting-edge industry tools and technology to help them get their music heard by more people around the world. With more than 150 digital music partners globally, TuneCore is helping artists get their music in all the right places, everywhere from well-known streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play, to the up-and-coming powerhouses like KKBox — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc. — and SAAVN in India. After being in business for over a decade, we’ve built strong relationships with our digital store partners provide members with key benefits such as same-day delivery to iTunes and Apple Music.

While many digital distributors can help artists get their music on bigger-named platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, TuneCore gives them the opportunity to reach more fans worldwide by making their music available on more niche stores/platforms in often overlooked but valuable territories. When independent artists make their releases available to fans everywhere, they open the door for greater discovery potential.

In addition, TuneCore offers independent artists a variety of marketing support to help them stay connected to their fans. An artist’s social media strategy is more important than ever, and our artists have told us that managing the various platforms is a challenge. With TuneCore Social Pro, they can better promote their music across social channels, through streamlined posting, robust analytics and an app for accessing everything on the go.

What are a few examples of notable TuneCore artist success stories?

Scott Ackerman: TuneCore is proud to witness the journeys our artists have taken and the success they’ve built as part of the TuneCore community. One of the many notable examples includes Chance The Rapper, who used TuneCore to release Coloring Book and won three Grammys last year. Additionally, Ron Pope achieved a major career milestone in 2013 with 1.5 million digital downloads of his music distributed by TuneCore. Nipsey Hussle also proved the power of being able to control his own catalog, which allowed him to reach his landmark of nearly $1 million earned from streams and downloads — a notable feat in today’s industry! Regardless of where their career takes them, TuneCore is proud to have been part of the journey.

Is there something you wish more people knew about TuneCore?

Scott Ackerman: TuneCore does more than just distribute your music. The analytics and sales reporting our platform provides helps artists make smarter, data-driven promotional and business decisions. This data is important to artists at all stages of their career.

Think about what a talent buyer in a local club or a music director in a radio station wants to know about new artists these days. How much is your music being streamed? Where is it being streamed? And what are you doing to promote it? They want to know what kind of fanbase you’re working with, and TuneCore offers the best reporting tools in the industry which are available at our artist’s fingertips. Even if you’re not booking shows or promoting to radio yet, these analytics can help you determine where to focus your efforts and help you understand your strengths.

For more established and developed artists, TuneCore’s analytics can help them plot tour dates based on geographical insights, track the impact of live performances in certain markets and adjust their marketing spend based on past activity. Additionally, TuneCore offers publishing administration services. On top of helping artists collect songwriter royalties from sales/streaming all over the world and coordinating with performance rights societies, our in-house creative team is actively pitching and landing TuneCore artists for sync licensing deals across the television, film, advertising and video game fields.

Finally, Scott, any last words for the kids?

Scott Ackerman: If young up and coming artists should keep anything in mind today, it’s this: you have the means to create music, get it out to the world, and build a fanbase — all without having to sacrifice any control. Artists today have to wear a lot of hats, but hard work can pay off. It’s important, especially when starting out, to act as your own biggest promoter – and focusing on your digital marketing efforts is a major part of this. It can be tough to find your promotional voice, but in an oversaturated market, it’s crucial.

I can talk all day about the benefits of making your music available in as many countries as possible, but digital distribution is just one piece of the puzzle. When artists take control of their career, they’re empowered to treat their music like a small business and eventually build their team. TuneCore will be there to make sure your music is available online worldwide, you’re keeping 100 percent of your sales revenue, and you’re armed with important analytics. Just keep creating and stay passionate!


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About the Author

is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He has been a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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