Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tunecore Accelerator Program 🤔

Tunecore has announced a new program called Accelerator. What is it, how does it work, and more importantly, does it help?

Tunecore describes Accelerator as a program “built to help artists find new audiences and propel their fandom at each phase of development.” Its features are Pitch Forms, Spotify Discovery Mode, and Youtube Creator Music. You are opted-in to the program by default. Additionally, it also enrolls you into a revenue share where you’ll have to pay Tunecore 20% of your royalties on top of the standard distribution fee. 

One of the core reasons to choose Tunecore as your digital distribution option is to keep 100% of your royalties. They have direct deals so no middleman is slicing into your share. Sure, if you don’t earn well over the distribution fee it works out to be a percentage of revenue that far exceeds what any distributor that takes a percentage charge, but if you do, you can’t beat the deal. For example, CD Baby takes 9%, you make $10,000 you lose $900 for the same distribution that would have cost you $40 max with Tunecore. This all changes with the Accelerator Program. 


Pitch Forms 

Tunecore has always had a feature that allowed artists to fill out a form providing information like the sales performance of previous releases, marketing strategy, press coverage, etc. to be sent to DSPs for feature and playlist placement consideration. It’s not Tunecore making pitches where there’s a phone call or an email and someone tries to make an argument for why you should be featured. It’s kind of like handing a job application to a secretary. 

Spotify Discovery Mode 

Spotify created a program that allows artists to exchange royalties for, possibly, increased rotation. It’s not a guarantee because it effectively swaps the rotation of artists who aren’t participating in the program with the artists who are. The more artists participate, the fewer opportunities there are to swap. The cost of Discovery mode is 30% of the revenue generated by all streams from radio, auto-play, daily mixes, and other “personalized playlists” during the campaign. There’s no distinction between additional streams and the streams you’d normally get. The result could be you pay 30% of revenue for no increase in streams or 30% of revenue for a 10% increase. Additionally, the program is reserved for artists already generating at least 10,000 monthly streams. 

Youtube Creator Music

Content Creators are provided with a library of music, including mainstream tracks, that they can use in their videos. Rights owners can give the option to buy a license outright, where Creators pay a one-time fee or accept a percentage of the revenue generated by the video. Content ID contrasts this program by taking 100% of the revenue generated by videos using your music and paying it out to you. By default, Tunecore sets your releases to accept a percentage of revenue and not an upfront fee with Creator Music. There is no option given for you to control the terms. 

Final Thoughts

All and all is the Accelerator program helpful? Maybe, to some degree, but I wouldn’t say it’s 20% of your revenue helpful. Discovery mode is available in your Spotify for Artist dashboard. Every other distributor automatically opts you into YouTube’s Creator Music program. If you’re at the stage where a pitch would be successful, it’s likely the streaming platforms have already picked up on you and plugged you into playlists.

You pay Tunecore 20% of revenue in exchange for paying Spotify 30% of revenue, provided you qualify, while potentially earning less from your music on YouTube because of the Creator Program. My suspicion here is that the annual fee isn’t enough and Tunecore wants to take 20% of your revenue to sustain itself while avoiding absorbing the cost of providing advanced services. Tunecore’s pricing change was a huge jump. They went from charging $50 per release annually to $15 annually for Unlimited distribution. That price has risen slightly, but it’s still an insane drop. Accelerator isn’t required, you can opt-out. The reality is, most artists won’t know they’re opted-in, except you after reading this. If all artists opt out, would Tunecore be more likely to suspend the program or make the revenue split mandatory? That’s something to look out for.


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