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Jeff Price steps down as Tunecore CEO in an open letter

I don’t know how many of you have interacted with Jeff Price, but he’s a fantastic guy.

My name’s Alex Day, I’m an independent musician, one of Tunecore’s artists, and in the last year things have got pretty crazy for me in terms of exposure and growth. I’ve sold half a million songs on iTunes, all put there by Tunecore, for example. Through it all, Jeff’s always been an email away. I didn’t know him - I just took a shot and sent him an email and he was polite enough to reply, and from then on he’s always replied. He told me how much he liked the new music video I’d made and released that day, or backed my crazy scheme to release three singles at once, or congratulated me on getting a featured profile in Forbes (in which he joked ‘when you buy Tunecore be nice to me!).

I feel compelled to write this after hearing about Jeff stepping down as Tunecore’s CEO. I’m not clear on who his replacement is, but I’m going to say something that Jeff was once kind enough to say about me: he’s everything that is right with the modern music industry. He makes time for his artists. He breathes music. I’ve always seen Tunecore as a supportive family and there can be no greater home for my work, and Jeff is responsible for creating such a welcoming and encouraging environment for emerging talent.

As I read his open letter (copied below), I was thinking all this - about how supportive he’s been to me and my music - and then what do I find? A list of famous Tunecore artists, with me right in the middle, smack bang between Ed Sheeran and Aretha Franklin. I was blown away.

On behalf of musicians everywhere, I wanna thank Jeff for being the kind of CEO we don’t see enough in the music industry. Someone who cares, gets excited about what they do, and really fights for the musicians they represent. He does things right, and I can only hope his successor is up to the challenge of standing in his shoes.

Here’s Jeff’s open letter in full:

Peter Wells, Gary Burke and I launched TuneCore on January 25, 2006. Our motto and mission: for artists to “sell their music not their soul.”  We envisioned changing the global music industry for artists for the better by serving, not exploiting, them. TuneCore’s impact was significant and immediate. It turned the industry on its head by removing gatekeepers, allowing all artists onto the shelves of the digital music services while not requiring them to give up rights and revenue from the sale of their music. It also provided the industry’s first transparent royalty system with easy 24/7 real time access. In late 2011, phase two of TuneCore launched with the announcement of its Global Publishing Administration service, allowing any songwriter access to a global publishing administration deal. This first-of-its-kind global pipeline permits all songwriters to access their additional royalties and enforce their copyrights while maintaining control and ownership of their songs.

With our vision, guidance, execution and hard work we made TuneCore the leader in its space as the largest music distribution and publishing entity in the world. From just three people in 2006, TuneCore grew to over 40 employees working out of the headquarters in Brooklyn, NY and the Publishing Administration office in Burbank, CA.

I am announcing today that I am no longer CEO/President of TuneCore and co-founder Peter Wells is no longer working with TuneCore.

Under our tenure, TuneCore took take significant market share away from the traditional major labels. As of July, 2012, TuneCore artists represent over 4% of all US gross digital music sales revenue and have sold over 610,000,000 units of music generating over $310,000,000 in gross music sales. More than four songs a second are sold on iTunes somewhere in the world by a TuneCore artist. Through the execution of the vision and the trust of the artist, TuneCore achieved about 40% of the market share of EMI and 25% of the market share of Universal in regards to digital music sales in the United States.

We were also able to attract artists across the spectrum: from emerging artists to the older legends and the new legends. Artists such as Drake, Soulja Boy, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Zac Brown Band, Hoodie Allen, Civil Wars, Lecrea, Boyce Avenue, Kelly, Colt Ford, Ed Sheerhan, Alex Day, Aretha Franklin, Jay Z, Girl Talk, Blood On The Dancefloor, Jason Mraz, Nice Peter, Tiesto and hundreds of thousands more used TuneCore to place number one albums and songs on iTunes, Amazon and many other digital stores, breaking the control of the traditional industry while democratizing it.

Under our leadership, TuneCore changed the global music industry, provided hundreds of thousands of artists access to digital music services, shifted the power of the industry to the artist while administering hundreds of millions of dollars back into their hands under a new model, all while growing the company into a global force.

Peter and I look forward to continuing to change the industry on a global scale to the further betterment of artists, songwriters and investors and to issuing our next announcement.


Alex Day is an independent musician with two UK Top 20 songs and over 90 million plays to YouTube in the last year, all without a record label or any PR or management. His newest single, She Walks Right Through Me, is available on iTunes.

Reader Comments (5)

Alex, that's swell for you ... but, TuneCore's business model has never been about you and others like you that actually sell product ... it's always been about louring as many no talent "Tex Nobodies" a possible into paying fees their sales (if any) will never recoup.

Recently, to attract even more 'succors,' they've started offering global services they can't possibly deliver -- all this while Jeff has been running around trashing companies and organizations that truly have artists and songwriters - big and beginners - best interests at heart ...

It's true that most 'self help' operations count on fees from people that don't have a chance to fund their operations ... but none of the others actively work to cut their clients off from associating with companies or organizations that will be the sources of much of their income when they begin to succeed.

Recently, in writings and public appearances, Jeff seemed to obsessed with building TuneCore into a cult like community under his complete control... Next thing I expected to see was an offer of free Kool-Aid.

It was a wise move on TuneCore's part to cut him loose.

August 16 | Unregistered CommenterTonsoTunez

I agree with you, Alex. Jeff is a great guy. I've met him in person and he's the real deal.
Now I just wonder what comes next.


August 16 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Cravis

jeff price is one of the most insincere, self-righteous music business ego-maniacs there ever has been. he has espoused time and again about Tunecore's holier-than-thou approach, but you can bet your bottom dollar that his approach has always been about feeding his ego and lining his pockets with gold. he does not care about the small musician that he distributed, their model is built on taking a check from the little guy no matter the success - or lack-thereof of that artist down the road.

i have no problem with the idea of this service, but lets be honest about the motivations here and not put down the rest of the industry claiming your own self-righteousness!

how embarrassing to found a company, be its ceo and then to be unceremoniously fired. wow! how often does this happen? it proves at the very least that he was not liked very much by his own constituents and perhaps that he was also internally unethical. we all may never know the depths of his evil, but you can be certain there are lots of stories that suggest mr. price's ethics and double-talk were far from righteous.

This is obviously bad news for the MILLIONS of musicians that were already using TuneCore's service or were planning on using them. The good news is that TuneCore, CDBaby, and SongCast are not the only companies that offer this service. The newest, and in my opinion BEST, company to join if you're a musician who wants to learn how to put songs on itunes store or how to sell music on itunes store is ADEDistribution. They also happen to be the cheapest.

August 16 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Corman

Technology is changing the face of music. Jeff Price and the other co-founder of TuneCore are probably off to create something else, something completely different. They're inventors, but maybe not managers.

The TuneCore business model is not sustainable because technology has made independent music, truly independent. Most of ya'll don't know it yet. But that's all about to change too. Lemme give you 2 quick examples, you should subscribe to because they'll tell you the very latest techie stuff coming out and it's in plain English, otherwise I wouldn't bother.

1. will hold the money on our different projects and pay according to the agreements we make among ourselves.

2. will let ANYONE accept credit card payments on an iPhone or iPad.

They're both free up-front. They take a tiny commission when you make money... like Paypal.

THINK about this: You can make albums with different people. List 'em on Holvi (it's affiliated with a bank in Norway) Sell 'em at your gigs and stuff and you can take credit cards, no hassle, no costs until you sell something and your PHONE is the cash register.

The money would automatically be sent where it's supposed to go so everybody in the band knows what's going in in REAL-TIME. Oh, and Holvi gives you a free online store to sell digital downloads, not just music... but film/eBooks/software.

You can already walk into shops, a camera captures your face and you can buy stuff just by saying your name. No cash, no credit card required.

ALL of us will be doing things like that, it's like TV's and microwaves when they first came out. The floodgates are gonna open and completely change everything.

Jeff Price and his co-inventor friend just took the money and moved on to the next wave in cyber-space because they're creative techie's. They'll go make more millions doing things 'managers' can't imagine.

This is a VERY good time to have a creative brain. We make original content. We are spoiled for choice in how to distribute it and new opportunities are Literally opening up everyday.

Rhonda Merrick

August 20 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda Merrick

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