Tunecore Review: 2023 – 2024 Buyer’s Guide

About Tunecore Music Distribution

Visit Tunecore: https://bit.ly/42zzf8X – 20% Off

This is our annual Tunecore review and recap. Let’s see where the digital distributor stands heading into 2024.

Tunecore is owned by the global corporation Believe Digital which raised €300 million in a Paris Initial Public Offering. Yes, Tunecore is owned by a publicly traded company with stock shares and investors. Along with CD Baby, it is one of the oldest digital distributors on the market with strong staying power.

Tunecore’s Direct Deals

One thing nobody talks about with music distribution is direct deals. Most music distribution companies use companies like Fuga and Revealator. These companies charge fees in exchange for providing them with music distribution services and these distributors pass those fees on to you. When they say keep 100%, it doesn’t really mean keeping 100%. It means you get to keep 100% of what’s left over after they pay Fuga or Revelator. Tunecore has direct deals so when they say keep 100%, it means keeping 100%.

Tunecore’s Influence

Deals with digital service providers like Spotify are negotiated and distributors that go through 3rd parties are subject to whatever their providers agree to so they don’t hold their own weight. When it comes to negotiating the terms of licensing agreements with digital service providers, Tunecore has the ability to negotiate directly and the leverage to argue for better deals. They’re often one of the first, if not the first, distributors to gain access to features like Youtube Shorts where artists could earn from having their music used and, the short-lived, Tidal Direct Artist Payouts.

Tunecore’s Transparency

Facebook made the decision to pay artists for the use of their music through licensing deals back in 2018 and Tunecore was the first company I got a notice from. At that the time Facebook launched its licensing deals, it wasn’t tracking music on its platform so it didn’t pay distributors based on actual usage. Distributors got paid a lump sum to be dispersed amongst artists however they saw fit. Many distributors simply pocketed the money because it wasn’t directly aimed at any particular artist. Distrokid even has a clause in their terms that grants them the ability to keep such financial disbursements. These companies weren’t obligated to share the money nor notify artists that it existed. Most didn’t, Tunecore did.

Tunecore’s Publishing Administration & Sync

Believe Digital, Tunecore’s parent company, also owns the publishing administration company Sentric and bundles the service with sync licensing for artists using Tunecore. It is a separate but connected service. Tunecore releases, provided the artist is signed for Tunecore Publishing, are automatically registered for global Mechanical royalty collection. Additionally, the release is enrolled in their sync licensing program. The better your release performs, the more likely it is to be pitched for sync placements.

Tunecore’s Advances

Artist Advance is another feature that sets Tunecore apart. A lot of other distributors offer advances but there’s no clear path to qualifying. They treat it like a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” type of thing where you’re left to sit and hope you qualify at some point. Tunecore has direct and clear requirements:

  • Trusted artists – you must have 12 months of continuous earnings totaling at least $870
  • Based on past earnings – you’ll never be asked to pay back more than you can afford
  • If you see the button to your left, you’ll know that you pre-qualify for an advance
  • Qualification for an advance is based on sales history and projected sales from your digital distribution through TuneCore which may change daily. Request an advance to find out if you qualify.

Tunecore’s Royalty Reports

When it comes to royalty reports Tunecore provides the best on platform reports I’ve seen. They provide the ability to cross reference. You can see how much you’ve earned from particular streaming platforms broken down by location, album, and song. Streaming platforms have different rates for different countries. It’s worth it to know if Sweden is paying 3 times the rate as Brazil and measure your historic performance across the two countries. There’s more Tunecore can show you like the stream type, skips, etc. and their Trending reports leave a lot to be desired, but what they show is great. Other distributors don’t provide the same level of detail.

Tunecore Accelerator

This year Tunecore introduced their accelerator program which grants artists access to programs I’m not so sure are all that beneficial.

Discovery Mode

One of those programs is Spotify’s Discovery Mode. What Discovery Mode does is increase the streams an artist gets from radio and now, possibly, Daily Mixes in exchange for a 30% discount on royalties. Read more of our thoughts on Discovery Mode here: Spotify’s Discovery Mode – Opt-in or Out? 🤔

Youtube Creator Program

Also, there’s the Youtube Creator program which allows you to offer your tracks to Youtube creators to use in their videos. This would move you from getting 100% of the revenue from a video that uses your music, to a revenue split with the uploader.

Pitch Forms

The other Accelerator feature is Pitch forms which artists can fill out to have their music pitched for feature placement consideration and playlist additions on DSPs. Effectively, this is like submitting a track for editorial placement in Spotify for Artists. There are absolutely no promises here.

Revenue Split

What might be the most baffling aspect of the Tunecore Accelerator program is Tunecore taking 20% of your revenue in exchange for you being opted in. That’s another thing, you don’t opt-in, you’re opted-in by Tunecore once your releases cross a certain threshold. Two out of three parts of the program result in a loss in revenue and on top that, they take 20%…🤔

Tunecore’s Terms of Agreement

There wasn’t anything in Tunecore’s terms of agreement that caused me to raise an eyebrow. Everything is laid out for you clear as day. They don’t tuck the agreement in some far corner of the website or hide critical parts of it.

Tunecore – Price & Features Chart

New artistRising ArtistBreakout ArtistProfessional 
PriceFree$14.99$29.99$49.99
StoresLimited 
Restricted to Social media platforms like Facebook/Instagram/TikTok,etc. and Youtube Content ID
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited 
Content ID & Social No upfront fee
20% of revenue 
No upfront fee
20% of revenue
No upfront fee
20% of revenue
No upfront fee
20% of revenue
Schedule a Release dateNoYesYesYes
PercentageKeep 80%Keep 100%Keep 100%Keep  100%
Split PayYes
Payee without a paid subscription must pay an annual fee of $8 to receive their share.
Yes
Payee without a paid subscription must pay an annual fee of $8 to receive their share.
Yes
Payee without a paid subscription must pay an annual fee of $8 to receive their share.
Yes
Payee without a paid subscription must pay an annual fee of $8 to receive their share.
Customer Service Response Time5 Business Days72 Hours48 Hours24 Hours
New StoresNo  NoYesYes 
UPC codeYes
Cannot bring your own UPC codes
Yes
Cannot bring your own UPC codes
Yes
Cannot bring your own UPC codes
Yes
Bring your own UPC codes
Exclusive Partnerships NoNoNoYes
Store Awareness – Tool used to pitch music to Digital Service Providers like Spotify and Apple Music for featured placement.
Brand Ambassador – Effectively, an Affiliate program where you can earn revenue every time someone you recommended uses Tunecore.
Twitch – Access to exclusive partnerships
Promotional OpportunitiesNo  NoNoYes
Pro panel & Expert advice sessionsNoNoNoYes
With Tunecore Pro panels and Advice sessions they don’t display any kind of calendar so who knows if or when any events take place.
Custom Label NameNoNoNoYes
Transaction Fees25¢ Cap25¢ Cap25¢ Cap25¢ Cap
WhitelistChannel – Prevent Content ID from claiming any video you upload to your own channel. Channel – Prevent Content ID from claiming any video you upload to your own channel. Channel – Prevent Content ID from claiming any video you upload to your own channel. Channel – Prevent Content ID from claiming any video you upload to your own channel.
Pre OrdersDoesn’t ApplyYes
Instant gratification + special pre-order pricing. Charge less for the Pre-order than the actual release
Yes
Instant gratification + special pre-order pricing. Charge less for the Pre-order than the actual release
Yes
Instant gratification + special pre-order pricing. Charge less for the Pre-order than the actual release
TaxesSubject to Tax Treaties Subject to Tax Treaties Subject to Tax Treaties Subject to Tax Treaties 
Artists111Unlimited
$14.99 Per Additional Artist
Red FlagsNoneNoneNoneNone

Reason For The Ranking

Tunecore is reliable, consistent, and transparent at a level that exceed its competitors. Their features like advances with its clear terms, direct deals, and royalty reporting set them apart. It’s a service I’ve used for years and can wholeheartedly recommend. In fact, they get the seal!

Payusnomind Seal of Approval

Tunecore’s Full List of Stores

StoresDistrokidSymphonicTunecore
Spotify ✅
Apple Music 
Facebook/Instagram
TikTok
Soundcloud Go/Soundcloud
Tidal
Amazon Music 
Deezer 
Shazam 
Youtube Music 
Youtube Content ID
Soundtrack by Twitch
Audiomack
Bandcamp
Mixcloud
Beatsource
iHeartRadio 
Tencent 
KKBox 
Boomplay 
Pandora 
7Digital / Triller 
Resso 
NetEase 
Nuuday 
Claro Musica
Anghami 
Saavn
Soundtrack 
SnapChat
TouchTunes
Yandex Music 
Qobuz
Joox
Kuack Media Group 
Napster 
Listen on Music Time
Medianet 
Vervelife

Gracenote

Spinlet 

Zvooq

Q.Siic

Music Island 

TimMusic

Boom 

AmuzPlatform

Gaana 

Hungama Music

Wynk 

Peloton 

Yoba

BeatPort 
Adaptr
AMI Entertainment

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