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Wednesday
Jan132010

TuneCore Rocks

Check out the post Jeff Price (CEO of TuneCore) just put up (quote below).

“According to Nielsen (self defined as “…the world’s leading marketing and media information company.”)  there were: “…106,000 new (music) releases in 2008”

In 2009, TuneCore released approximately 90,000 releases.  This means, if their numbers hold true, almost every single new music release in 2009 was distributed via TuneCore.”

The following TuneCore artists sold over 250,000 copies….

  • Nevershoutnever
  • Jon Lajoie
  • Ron Pope
  • Nickasuar
  • Boyce Avenue
  • Kelly
  • Jesus Culture
  • Colt Ford
  • Harry and The Potters
  • William Fitzsimmons
  • Millionaires

Read the entire post.  It’s a great read.

Reader Comments (13)

There is something seriously amiss here. Someone's numbers are way off! How about the tens of thousands of CD Baby releases last year? IODA? How about the thousands of major label's releases who are obviously not using Tunecore? Tunecore has found themselves a good niche, but obviously the statement of almost every release being a Tunecore release can easily be discredited.

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterKB

We're trying to show how poor the reporting at SoundScan is, how they're missing sales. It's not a claim that we actually put all the music in the world out. We simply say that their numbers obviously don't take into account everything--if they JUST took TuneCore, we'd be 90%, so imagine how much is missing from aggregators and majors!

It's a wake-up call to this industry to relearn how to count. The world is moving beyond the old methods.

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wells

I hope so -- Nielsen's been behind the curve for decades and trading on their brand name instead of stepping up their data collection methods. It's like government unemployment numbers -- we all know it's bullshit but we still talk about 'em anyway.

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Peter's right; The Nielsen folks are completely full of...themselves. Their technology is more than a century out of date, and Soundscan is, at least, a great deal less useful than it once was.It's the Wild West out here, and it's tough to make good decisions without good metrics. here's some tech that might actually prove helpful: http://trueslant.com/eilenezimmerman/2010/01/08/social-media-marketing/

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Bone

The reason I wrote this blog blog posting is out of frustration with Neisen, and the media, misrepresenting the truth.

Based on Neilsen's statements - taken as the only source of information by the media as true - if an artists' release is not counted by Neilsen than it is not actually released - you have, in effect, been de-legitimized,

With all due respect, I dont believe an artist's release should not "count" if not recognized by Neilsen as this closes off possible opportunities based on the perception that your release is not "real"

I also find it distressing that the media, and other outlets, turn to Neilsen as the definitive source to determine what is occurring in this industry thereby decreasing the opportunities for musicians and artists that are not part of this old school system.

The reality is the majority of music is now being created, released and sold outside of the traditional system. Ad agencies, music supervisors, video game manufacturers, radio programmers etc turn to Neilsen for information to discover music in an attempt to use/license it. They need to understand that the Neilsen information is an incomplete and an inaccurate portrayal of reality. This inaccurate perception is holding back opportunity and validation for others.

So yes, I want the world to know the truth, I want fans and businesses to understand that this information being touted as the end all be all is actually extremely inaccurate and I intend to broadcast the truth as loudly as possible to as many people as possible.

It is TuneCore's job to provide opportunities, access, knowledge and information, I will use every outlet I have to make certain there is truth in the marketplace - based not on my, or someone else's opinion, but based on hard empirical data.

Jeff Price
TuneCore

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Price

@ Jeff and Peter,

I understood why you published the post. I still thought the post was compelling and appropriate. You 1) illuminated something everyone wonders about, and 2) you provided additional sales and success information that gives independents hope.

-Bruce

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Warila

I second Bruce's statement... You guys are doing a great job over at TuneCore, I've sent many artists your way because you're absolutely kicking ass for independents.

Keep up the good work & keep posting!

James

james@sunrecords.com

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Neilsen's system is outdated, inaccurate, and utterly ridiculous.

For example: In order to report venue sales, one must manually figure out and type up a 57-digit numeric code and submit it via e-mail in a TEXT FILE.

Here is an example of a code used to report sales for a show:

5340001212609120548205
I30089329800029500010
94000010000010

Makes you think about how on top of it they really are... or aren't.

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterEllie Maybe

I have to agree - I'm so frustrated with Soundscan's reporting systems. We've spent a fair amount of time trying to create a system to help automate our reporting and it always ends up requiring some hands on work to get it correct and then we have to manually upload FTP files and it's just a royal hassle. They really need a simple API call that can automate the entire process. Same for both CD and digital reporting. I also always found it frustrating that international sales didn't count. Some of the artists I work with have large foreign markets and it's like, so those sales just don't matter?

January 17 | Registered CommenterJames Rhodes

A comment on the issue from Nielsen themselves might be appropriate right about here...

:-)

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterRedLemonArt

I applaud Jeff for emphasizing the gaps in SoundScan data in the post and agree there is a need for more balanced, responsible reporting from the media. I also think the old saying "don't throw the baby out with the bath water" applies - at least for me. Spending time, energy and money creating solutions to the "problems" raised here is what I've been working on with a few partners for nearly 3 years now and we've made great strides.

But before I get into that, I have to say that antiquated and incomplete or not, a large part of the Music Industry still looks to SoundScan because it gives the best combined picture of radio, retail and digital sales from week to week in the US (and Canada). Album sales still represent 60% of the market today, so week-to-week sales data still help gauge marketing success for labels,etc.. Even with competitors in one form or another, SoundScan has the widest amount of data on and offline, and if their site is correct, the largest industry subscriber base. Until that changes, seems they have good chance of remaining relevant to not only the media and Billboard Magazine, but to most musicians and industry professionals.

So, we decided to pursue a couple of options to deal with SoundScan"problems"
A. Create a solution to include missing data in SoundScan's reporting (what we've done)
B. Create a system that makes it easier to report data to SoundScan (what we're doing)

A few options others might consider:
A. Create a new system that better accounts for nationwide sales, radio, etc. (what someone is doing?)
B. Make sure your release is counted everywhere it counts (what anyone can do)
(Of coure, there are plenty of ideas I'm sure I haven't thought of and would love to hear any you're willing to share)

As for what we're doing: IndieHitMaker.com is a company a few partners and I formed to help independent US/Canadian touring artists report live venue sales to SoundScan, thus ensuring more of the "missing" data is reported. And thanks to Derek Sivers (recently tweeted "Musicans can report live CD sales to SoundScan through IndieHitMaker" to his 260K+ followers here) and many others who are spreading the word about us, we're growing fast... and for good reason: IndieHitMaker client reaches #13 on Billboard chart via SoundScan reporting for independent musicians.

For those of you who actually look for new artists, you know how hard it can be to substantiate sales numbers. Unless an independent/unsigned artist has significant digital or retail sales, their sales history is relatively invisible. Despite the flaws of the SoundScan system, if an independent/unsigned artist has substantial SoundScan numbers, its quite a different story. Factor in that the majority of indie/unsigned touring artist sales happen at live shows and you'll understand why our company is growing so fast: we help artist document their venue sales history with the only industry-wide recognized "source" - SoundScan. Of course, this is just our way of "giving the baby a new bath," but I'd love to hear other ideas.

Btw, we're also shooting to release an automated system for labels who are already SoundScan clients. Its based on our current in house control panel and will make labels' lives much easier. If you'd like notice or even have suggestions, sign up for our newsletter at IndieHitMaker.com - Soundscan reporting for touring Musicians.

January 20 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Stringer

@John Stringer

"if an independent/unsigned artist has substantial SoundScan numbers, its quite a different story."

Agreed - they still are the only game in town (unfortunately). But what level of numbers are you suggesting is "substantial"? (I realize the answer likely will vary according to who is considering what with the artist, but in general...).

Thanks, and good to know about your service - pricing seems a bit high but not exhorbitant.

January 20 | Unregistered CommenterDg.

@Dg You hit the nail on the head... what's "substantial" is completely relative to the "gatekeeper" concerned. Not to mention, can vary from genre to genre, etc., so I'd dare not make a blanket statement. I can tell you I've heard different numbers thrown around in the industry. The 10,000 mark was talked about as a milestone for an independent by a guy named Tim Sweeney in this post on the importance of SoundScan.

From my perspective, the best thing any artist can do is grow their sales and make sure they are ALL documented (online, retail, venue sales, etc). That's what helped my music project land a top 10 Billboard single, tour around the world and land an investor for our label for $100s of thousands. Of course, we learned some very expensive lessons and carved a fairly decent career (so far) but one of the other great things I gained from my own career as an artist and label owner was the idea for the IndieHitMaker core service. We're expanding the services this year and helping other artists create real leverage.

As for our service pricing, we're actually pretty cheap when you consider that our lowest pricing allows an unsigned artist to sign up for only $35 and pay per report from then on (at the time of this post, reports are $5/show). Once an artist hits 7 shows per month, our monthly plan and annual plan saves them money - and they still come out cheaper than starting their own label and paying the SoundScan's venue reporting fee, not to mention the minimum investment of time to create the reports, as you've already read about above. What we charge in dollars, we far exceed in value provided... and we're just getting started.

Anyway, didn't mean to hijack the thread. The bottom line is creating solutions to any perceived problem is the best use of my time, energy and money and I wanted to share where my partners and I have been spending ours (time, energy and money) to benefit ourselves and others!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Stringer

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