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Amazon & TuneCore To Cut Out the RIAA Middleman

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-who-needs-CDs dept.

Music 291

eldavojohn writes "So you're an aspiring band and you haven't signed with a record label. Maybe you've got a fan base interested in purchasing your stuff but you're not really into accounting? Enter Amazon's partnership with TuneCore, a CD printing and music distribution service. You want to sell a full album on Amazon of you brushing your teeth? $31. And you get about 40% back on sales, so selling nine digital copies of your CD will put you back in the black. There you have it, public availability on one of the largest online commerce sites for $31 — no RIAA involved!" TuneCore's CEO put it this way: "As an artist, you have unlimited physical inventory, made on demand, with no [sic] upfront costs and worldwide distribution to anyone who orders it at Amazon.com."

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CDBaby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052219)

Similar model. Get into the iTunes store.

Re:CDBaby (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052333)

Similar model.

If you read the article, they mention CDBaby:

For TuneCore, the deal expands its primary business helping indie artists get digital distribution through online outlets such as iTunes, Napster and Amazon MP3. TuneCore will now compete directly with CDBaby, the current leader in low-volume CD manufacturing and distribution. CDBaby charges $278 for 100 discs, although it recently lowered its minimum order to just five copies.

I've been a massive fan of CDBaby ordering discs straight from people like Anni Rossi but it has a minimum order those artists have to meet. I don't like the idea of a band having to buy up 500 or 100 or even 5 copies. Instead a flat fee of $31 for the artist makes me excited that this could really be big for indie artists ... I think CDBaby's success is proof that this even cheaper alternative could be a massive success. Let's hope Amazon allows you a 30 second preview and review ratings to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

Get into the iTunes store.

While iTunes would be slightly bigger, Amazon is a big leap for Tunecore and I'm happy to see it even on this level.

Re:CDBaby (5, Informative)

Mendokusei (916318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052487)

While iTunes would be slightly bigger, Amazon is a big leap for Tunecore and I'm happy to see it even on this level.

According to their website, TuneCore already has a deal with the iTunes store, as well as most all of the other digital music services.

Re:CDBaby (4, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052687)

> Instead a flat fee of $31 for the artist makes me excited that this could really be big for indie artists

Wow, yeah.

So this basically reduces the major labels to their back catalog. No one that knows about this service would sign unless they already have major sales - and that's an even STRONGER argument for using this service. You retain all rights, get 40% of the take, and costs you one lunch bill?

What freaks me out is that the labels, after staring this in the face for decades, still can't figure out how to sell their catalog. They have 10,000,000 songs in the database, but the only thing they can figure out is how to sell the newest 40.

Maury

Re:CDBaby (3, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052853)

The problem with their model is that 35 of those newest 40 are recycled from that 10,000,000.

Re:CDBaby (5, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053063)

No one that knows about this service would sign unless they already have major sales...

Unfortunately this still doesn't provide a good alternative to one important service the major record labels provide: promotion.

Just because you put your independent band up on MySpace and SonicBids and your own website and sell your songs on iTunes and your CD on CDBaby doesn't magically make everyone in the world suddenly know you exist and want to buy your stuff. Somehow they still have to stumble across you in the first place, out of the trillions of other bands who have done the same as you.

This Amazon service is awesome, and it's part of a much larger trend that will ultimately make the major labels obsolete, but there's still more work to be done.

Re:CDBaby (2, Insightful)

Neeperando (1270890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053079)

No one that knows about this service would sign unless they already have major sales

I don't think that's true. People want more than to break even on the cost of a CD, they want fame and success. If you want your song played on the radio or a music video on MTV, you still need to go through a major label.

I'm not saying this is a good thing. It's a pretty strong financial argument against the labels, but some people want to be famous, too.

Copyright infringement (3, Funny)

Kurusuki (1049294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052255)

I for one wait to see the lawsuit the RIAA is drawing up to bring down upon Amazon for squelching their draconian business practices by violating their 'copyright' on 'distribution of artistic works of an audio based nature'

NMPA/Harry Fox Agency (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052685)

I for one wait to see the lawsuit the RIAA is drawing up to bring down upon Amazon for squelching their draconian business practices by violating their 'copyright' on 'distribution of artistic works of an audio based nature'

You're thinking of the National Music Publishers' Association [nmpa.org] , which controls the rights to record cover versions and licenses them through its Harry Fox Agency. Your "RIAA" guess was close because a lot of labels in the RIAA are under the same management as publishers in the NMPA.

At $31 per album (-1, Redundant)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052259)

you'd be lucky to sell 4 copies.

Re:At $31 per album (3, Informative)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052323)

How on earth do you figure it's 31$ pr album? It's 31$ to get listed. Read the article, how would you ever make it out to be 31$ pr. album when 9 sales is all that's required to get back in the black?

Re:At $31 per album (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052337)

No, no, no. You, the artist, pay them $31 to get started and have them take you on. Then they sell the albums at a "normal" price. RTFA... Although, I also blame /. for increasingly bad summaries these days.

Re:At $31 per album (5, Funny)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052525)

Maybe they should hire editors to clean up the summaries, verify links, and check for duplicate stories.

Re:At $31 per album (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052629)

I don't see how this is /.'s fault because this dork can't read and process a summary correctly. I got it right out of the gate.

Re:At $31 per album (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052341)

Reading fail on your part. It's 31$ to list the CD [per year] then they take 60% of each sale.

I didn't read the entire article but that much seemed obvious to me.

It's like Lulu for audio.

Re:At $31 per album (3, Funny)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052363)

It was my understanding that the band paid $31 as sort of a "starting fee". After that initial $31, there is nothing more to pay (that is, if I understood what I read correctly). They're not trying to -sell- the discs for $31 a pop.

Re:At $31 per album (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052529)

It was my understanding that the band paid $31 as sort of a "starting fee". After that initial $31, there is nothing more to pay (that is, if I understood what I read correctly). They're not trying to -sell- the discs for $31 a pop.

You're close, it's $31 a year. Which is why there's no "upfront costs" as the quote says at the bottom of the summary but instead a $31/year. Which is still really really cheap. Interestingly enough, Wired uses "upfront" costs to describe it, from the article:

Tunecore will charge just $31 a year in upfront fees to handle a 10-track CD from pressing to delivery, passing all other costs through to the buyer. In other words, the service promises to remove nearly all of the risks of short-run CD manufacturing, which can cost musicians hundreds or even thousands of dollars for discs that rarely sell enough to cover expenses.

I think people are missing the big picture where you don't have to go to multiple services for your music. You'll be able to buy big names like U2 and Weezer right next to little high school rock bands and indie artists. You make that possible so that the people don't know whether they're buying RIAA or not and who knows? Maybe the musician will decide the RIAA route is not really worth it?

Re:At $31 per album (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052371)

You sir, failed to understand whats the $31 is about. Thats the cost for getting the album there, not the price its sold at.

Re:At $31 per album (1)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052383)

I don't know. You would have to be pretty committed to music to even know about this service. Committed fans are (I believe) happy to spend more money if they know that a significant percentage is going to the artist.

In some ways it's like being an old-fashioned patron of the arts, where you're paying the band so that they can afford to continue making music you like, rather than paying the RIAA $18 for a CD of songs that the artist has already been paid for. (Assuming it's one of the 95% of albums that never sell enough copies to repay their advance...)

Re:At $31 per album (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052479)

Double Comprehension Fail: It's $31 just to start, not per album

Re:At $31 per album (4, Funny)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052691)

This is America, my friend. It can't be MY fault that I didn't read the article and misunderstood the summary. The article and summary were poorly written and therefore confused me. The writers should be forced to pay me for the time it took me to reply in error and for the public humiliation of being a victim of their poor writing. ;-)

Re:At $31 per album (4, Informative)

styryx (952942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052385)

FTA:

Tunecore will charge just $31 a year in upfront fees to handle a 10-track CD from pressing to delivery, passing all other costs through to the buyer.

And

If one of Amazonâ(TM)s 80 million customers buys your 10-song CD on Amazon for $8.98, youâ(TM)ll receive $3.59

However,

one obvious drawback to this model is that you canâ(TM)t sell an on-demand CD at shows, where enthusiastic fans are most likely to pick one up.

That being said, if anyone here wants to potentially earn some money. Create a mobile (or iphone) app that will allow you to buy the CD from amazon, as well as download the tracks (DRM free) to your mobile device there and then. Perhaps using the barcode apps. This would be the best of both (plus another) worlds.

FTA (0, Redundant)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052411)

"Tunecore will charge just $31 a year in upfront fees to handle a 10-track CD from pressing to delivery...If one of Amazonâ(TM)s 80 million customers buys your 10-song CD on Amazon for $8.98, youâ(TM)ll receive $3.59. After selling just nine discs, youâ(TM)re in the black."

Re:At $31 per album (5, Informative)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052435)

It's a $31 per year "hosting fee" for the artist.

From the article:

If one of Amazon's 80 million customers buys your 10-song CD on Amazon for $8.98, you'll receive $3.59. After selling just nine discs, you're in the black.

emphasis mine.

Re:At $31 per album (4, Insightful)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052793)

...as opposed to getting about 50 cents to a dollar on each CD, and that's if you're lucky to be Madonna or someone already famous...

I'd say it's a very good deal.

one obvious drawback to this model is that you canÃ(TM)t sell an on-demand CD at shows, where enthusiastic fans are most likely to pick one up.

I don't think there would be anyone stopping the band from buying the CDs from Amazon for $9 and selling them at the concert for $15, with an autograph and some booklet, or for something like $25-50 with a signed t-shirt and booklet.

They'd only lose about 5$ on each CD, but in the end it may still be better than ordering and paying in advance for a 500-1000 batch of discs at a duplication factory.

$31 for pressed CDs? (0)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052261)

$31 for pressed CDs? That's pretty darn cheap if you are going to be doing small runs. Granted you can do a lot better than their 60% cut if you get decently popular and sell a lot of discs, but for someone just getting started that's pretty good (and more professional than going the CD-R route).

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (-1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052415)

How the fuck is that cheap? Twice as expensive for the customer as when they buy from a RIAA label, and yet there is no advertising or payola? How do the labels manage to put the CD in the store at $16 and still pay for hookers and blow? Massive FAIL

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (2, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052481)

Yes, massive fail...ON YOUR PART. That $31 is upfront, not per disc. Try RTFA.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (2, Informative)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052483)

Slow down turbo. $31/yr is the Service Cost for the Band. For $31/yr, tunecore/amazon will sell a Physical CD of your music for $8.99.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (2, Insightful)

lambent (234167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052497)

massive read the freaking article before posting FAIL on your part, dude.

kthxbai

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052591)

Who the fuck reads the article? This summary should never have made it past the fire hose. I blame stupid slashdotters for ranking up stories which are interesting but which don't pass basic journalistic muster. I sometimes use the firehose, but it is WAY too fucking painful these days. What a terrible abortion of a UI.

Sometimes I RTFA. Sometimes I don't, and just RTFS. Too bad RTFS is retarded. Even worse that firehose users are.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052747)

Too bad RTFS is retarded.

Dear drinkypoo,

As the author of the summary, I would like to respond to your statement of "Too bad read the read the fucking summary is retarded." I assume that you are referring to the quality of the summary although your sentence is a bit difficult for me to parse. In that case, I appreciate your constructive criticism and would like thank you for making me a better person and Slashdot user.

I hope that someday I might become as gifted at using the word "fuck" as you and perhaps I can beat my apparent bout with down syndrome that you so generously apply to every user of this entire site.

I'm sorry my stories don't pass 'journalistic muster.' I read the entire FAQ and didn't see anything about said muster, could you please expound upon that claim that submissions must pass it?

Also, I believe you are misplacing your disgust with the Firehose and directing it at users. This confuses me, as the users did not implement it. What confuses me even more is that it takes an action by you, drinkypoo, to get to said Firehose in order to 'rate' stories. You curse this UI yet you obviously used it and saw my story in Firehose.

As always, I love you dearly with all my heart and remember to tell drinkyurine that I miss him. Please accept my apologies for such a bad summary and don't let this obstruct our friendship which is sometimes as delicate as a flower covered in dew on a crisp summer morn.

Yours in song and dance,

eldavojohn

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (4, Funny)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052811)

I love to see an artist (eldavojohn) work in his preferred medium (wit). Smartly done.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053019)

I'm sorry my stories don't pass 'journalistic muster.' I read the entire FAQ and didn't see anything about said muster, could you please expound upon that claim that submissions must pass it?

Congratulations on living up to the minimum possible standards. Making slashdot grate, one story at a time.

Also, I believe you are misplacing your disgust with the Firehose and directing it at users. This confuses me, as the users did not implement it.

No, no. The firehose sucks, AND the people using it suck.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052883)

Maybe if you had done some simple math, you wouldn't have acted like a pissy 12 year old.

Good day to you sir.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052423)

They are NOT pressed CD's. they are BURNED CD's.

There is no way in hell that for $31.00 they will crank up a pressing process. I've seen those machines, they blow 100 disks just in testing runs.

Granted I can get CD-R's that 90% out there cant tell is a burned CD. They have a beautiful Silver dye system out there that with a silver thermal printing surface looks like the real deal.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052451)

They are NOT pressed CD's.

If that is the case, then the article blatently lied:

Tunecore will charge just $31 a year in upfront fees to handle a 10-track CD from pressing to delivery, passing all other costs through to the buyer.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (4, Funny)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052707)

from pressing to delivery

Maybe they mean pressing the "burn" button in Nero.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052429)

Upon rereading:

TuneCore passes 100 percent of Amazon's payout to the artist - about 40 percent of the retail price.

So they don't take a 60% cut...that's what amazon takes. However, that makes it sound like they take their $31 upfront and that's it. Nothing per disk. So if you sell 1 million CDs, they just get $31. No way. They've got to be getting something back from amazon. Their take is buried somewhere in that 60% cut that amazon takes.

Still, that's a good deal for someone getting started.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (4, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053073)

TuneCore don't do the disk printing; that's done via Amazon's Disk on Demand service, which is actually performed by CreateSpace.

The service that TuneCore provides is that it handles submission of your album to a whole bunch of online music download stores, like Amazon, eMusic, iTunes, Napster etc. I think from skimming its faq it also handles receiving your payment all into one account.

Therefore, as they say, all of the money Amazon pay goes into your account.

They've been doing this for a little while, but now with the link with Amazon Disk on Demand, albums submitted to TuneCore can for the first time be bought on physical CDs.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052503)

$31 for pressed CDs ? That's pretty darn cheap if you are going to be doing small runs.

Sure, but why bother with physical media at all ? I imagine the margins are even better on digital distribution as there are no costs for pressing the CD's and printing the covers.

Buying content on physical media is /so/ last century.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052797)

Digital downloads are a bit difficult to sell at a concert. Yeah, you could give them a flyer showing them where to go an itunes/amazon/whatever, but then you have to hope they actually bother to go make the purchase when they get home. Selling it to them on the spot, while they are still excited about your music, is probably better.

Re:$31 for pressed CDs? (2, Insightful)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053043)

Digital downloads are a bit difficult to sell at a concert. (...) then you have to hope they actually bother to go make the purchase when they get home.

Uuh.. you know it's 2009, right ? You can whip out your iPhone, start up iTunes and buy and download the album right there, on the spot. You don't even have to wait in line at the stall that sells the CD's.

Dial-up (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052915)

Sure, but why bother with physical media at all ?

Concerts, as LordKronos pointed out. Also dial-up users, especially if you record in a genre that's popular outside urban areas.

Print on demand... (2, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052281)

...works for books, so why not CDs?

I know several up-and-coming musicians, and putting out their first couple of CDs is always a financial adventure. If these guys can produce professional-looking packaging on a one-off basis, it could be just what struggling musicians need!

The fact that it shows how irrelevant the big labels are becoming is just icing on the cake.

Re:Print on demand... (2, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052421)

The "professional" look seems to be what's missing here from the Print CD's. It looks like you must choose from a set of "templates" to print your cd on, which are all on par with what local demos looked like at my Junior High School, I.E. Photo of random stuff with Super-Photoshop filters applied.

The only other concern here, is what quality of sound is on the CD's. I've never used tunecore, so do you just submit MP3's of your music, or do you submit lossless files, and they convert them to mp3 for you? If this is a CD of mp3's burned to an album, this is the most useless idea ever. Does anyone know? The article doesn't seem to mention this.

Re:Print on demand... (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052813)

From the FAQ [tunecore.com]

"What format must my music be in, in order to upload to TuneCore?

We have found .wav files to be the most reliable and therefore recommend them first and foremost. Remember that they must be set at a 44.1 khz sample rate, 16 bit sample size and the channel set to stereo. Not sure how to convert your music? - Check out our tutorial.

What format must my artwork be in, in order to upload to TuneCore?

Artwork can be in one of the following file formats: JPG, GIF or PNG. The image must be a perfect square and at least 1600x1600. All artwork must be in best-quality RGB Color mode (including black and white images) and must have a resolution of at least 72 dpi. You may not include: email addresses, URLs, any other contact information or any pricing information. You must include both the artist name and album title on the artwork and remove any stickers or other items from your artwork in case you are scanning it in from a physical CD."

I'm certain that, because people aren't so bright, there'll be a lot of "CD containing audio derived from mp3s that came from ripping a burned CD that was produced from .aacs, that were compressed from the output of a ten dollar ADC connected to a microphone taken from a 'Barbie's Kiddie Karaoke' machine" stuff floating around; but it looks like the service itself supports perfectly sensible upload options.

Re:Print on demand... (2, Insightful)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053017)

You may not include: email addresses, URLs

Thanks for quoting that. Can't contain URLs, WTF? You can't promote your band's website on your own album? That's pretty messed up.

Re:Print on demand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052875)

If this is a CD of mp3's burned to an album, this is the most useless idea ever.

No, it isn't. I listen to a lot of indie bands but it isn't fun to listen to it, then give your contact details to some website you had never heard of a week ago, often pay upfront, then begin waiting that you get the CD. It might be anything from partially scratched, home burned CD made weeks after the order in a cheap unlabeled cover to actually something nice. If it ever arrives that is...

Given a choice between that and reading "Buy our CD for 8.99 in Amazon!", I know what I will choose.

Re:Print on demand... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052933)

The only other concern here, is what quality of sound is on the CD's. I've never used tunecore, so do you just submit MP3's of your music, or do you submit lossless files, and they convert them to mp3 for you? If this is a CD of mp3's burned to an album, this is the most useless idea ever.

If the submission is in MP3, it could be LAME at 256 kbps ABR. Have you been able to ABX that against the lossless source?

What's misspelled? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052319)

"As an artist, you have unlimited physical inventory, made on demand, with no [sic] upfront costs and worldwide distribution to anyone who orders it at Amazon.com."

What's with the [sic]? 'no' isn't mispelled. upfront isn't misspelled.

Lumping in a prepositional phrase with a noun, verb, and a noun is bad grammer, but I didn't think you used '[sic]' to indicate the bad grammer isn't yours....

Re:What's misspelled? (1)

miket01 (50902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052393)

I believe it is that the upfront costs are $31, but the sentence claims that there are no upfront costs.

Re:What's misspelled? (2, Informative)

paulsnx2 (453081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052595)

Factual errors are not noted with a [sic], generally speaking.

Re:What's misspelled? (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052623)

While that may be true, it's not really a spelling error, is it?

Could this do it? (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052329)

I could legitimately see this as being the beginning of the end for the RIAA, and I've never thought that before. It makes sense that it would take a big media vendor with a well-established user community, combining manufacturing with sales.

This would be fantastic if I were a musician. No inventory. No worrying about manufacturnig. And you get a percentage of revenue that you won't see anywhere else. The general Amazon community will make marketing a *lot* easier than it would be otherwise. All in all, it seems to make the RIAA meaningless. I really think indie bands might be able to make this work. I'm looking forward to shopping for music on this and know the RIAA ain't getting a dime.

Re:Could this do it? (3, Funny)

Chlorine Trifluoride (1517149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052351)

Of course they still have meaning. We need them to maintain the RIAA equalization standard.

Re:Could this do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052663)

No, we don't. We can hand that to someone else. RIAA needs to just die at this point.

Re:Could this do it? (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053053)

We need them to maintain the RIAA equalization standard.

You mean the one that says "set all levels to 90% then compress the crap out of the result"? Because that's the only one anyone seems to use these days.

Re:Could this do it? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052547)

well, I'm glad to see we finally got someone of your calibre onboard, I mean to say, without your support, we'd have been a lost hope!

Glad to see you backing the good team!

Re:Could this do it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052711)

and no marketing......

It would be nice if this helps break the RIAA, but I think it unlikely. All this really does is create the ability to cheaply distribute CDs which are a dying medium. Artists already have the ability to self distribute digital copies. So what is the big deal ?

Producing a quality product that meets a real need at a price that people are willing to pay is only about 30% of success. The other 70% is marketing.

This service does nothing to help with marketing so there will be a million artists that no one has ever heard of or will listen to. Word of mouth marketing is (a) slow and (b) statistically unlikely to succeed. "Word of mouth successes" are really driven by people who are good at self promotion which most people are not. Plus for every successful "word of mouth" story that someone can point to, there are thousands of failures.

Not an RIAA killer, not even close

Re:Could this do it? (3, Insightful)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053083)

Artists already have the ability to self distribute digital copies. So what is the big deal ?

I think it is a big deal for marketing to have a central platform - nobody would look up an artist's site and key in credit card info etc... unless they know and like the band already. An Amazon "indie" bestseller list, and a centralized storefront gives far more exposure to artists with far less work involved. (Just think of the software equivalent: selling on the iPhone appstore vs. a trying to sell the equivalent application for an equally popular Nokia phone from your own website...)

As for the marketing bit - the RIAA sponsored artists are also _statistically_ unlikely to succeed unless they are one of the handful that get picked for payola and million-dollar ad budgets... This just makes the non-top-100 album, which was previously pretty much a loss-making proposition for RIAA artists, a viable avenue. And if you look away from M-TV and ClearChannel, there are oodles of niche magazines and subculture sites which could easily push an unknown artist to 2,000 sales - previously not worth the effort, now generating a year's salary.

Re:Could this do it? (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053113)

You seriously underestimate that thing "intertubes" ;)
Just wait for Pandora and such but only for RIAA free music. It will take time, but it will happen. There is a big chance it will even happen with Amazon's blessing, just by checking a box when uploading music "I agree you to use my music for marketing purposes". Amazon get's a big fat cut from selling not RIAA music as they don't need to pay RIAA anymore.

Kind of like.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052339)

The format kind of sounds like Amie Street - but much less efficient, and much more likely to fail.

It's cheap, if you look closely (2, Interesting)

Ehwaz003 (830177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052343)

It's not cheap at first glance, but it couldn't be more obvious that it is cheap, if you take everything involved into account. I'm just a bit afraid of the response from RIAA. They proved time and time again that they start suits with or even without a solid reason, so I guess it won't take long before they will say that this service should be taken down immediately.
Which would be a shame.

Re:It's cheap, if you look closely (1)

lambent (234167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052433)

hopefully they do sue. amazon would be able to stand up to them in court, and hopefully through the legal process get their objection thrown out. at any rate, what basis does the RIAA have to sue, anyway? if an artist is unsigned, and not part of the industry, the RIAA does not 'represent' them, never had a claim on them, and has no business stinking this up with the fetid zombie stench.

Cover versions (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053031)

what basis does the RIAA have to sue, anyway? if an artist is unsigned, and not part of the industry, the RIAA does not 'represent' them

Unpaid royalties for a cover version. The National Music Publishers' Association collects royalties for cover versions through its Harry Fox Agency, and a lot of publishers in the NMPA are under the same management as labels in the RIAA. Even if you set out not to record cover versions, you could be writing one and not even know it [slashdot.org] . Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, 420 F. Supp. 177 (S.D.N.Y. 1976).

Re:It's cheap, if you look closely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052557)

I'm just a bit afraid of the response from RIAA.

Don't be. The RIAA may have a history of shitting where they eat, but I have a hard time believing that even they would be stupid enough to piss off one of the most popular retailers on Earth. Remember, Amazon did amazing business well before they started selling music. One false move from the RIAA and Amazon could drop their affiliated labels and still sleep tight in massive beds of cash.

It's missing some elements (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052347)

There are lots of elements used in the "Music Engine." One of those crucial elements is radio play. Another is wide-spread marketing. And still another is hiring girls to scream during performances. (Didn't you know? Get a handful of girls to scream during a performance causes other females to start screaming and they begin to believe they "love" this music and/or the performers. I know this flies in the face of common sense, but it works.)

Re:It's missing some elements (1)

red_blue_yellow (1353825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052523)

There are lots of elements used in the "Music Engine." One of those crucial elements is radio play. Another is wide-spread marketing. And still another is hiring girls to scream during performances.

I'm sorry, but unless you want to be the next Hoobastank or some such nonsense, those things are completely unnecessary.

Re:It's missing some elements (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052967)

I'm sorry, but unless you want to be the next Hoobastank or some such nonsense, those things are completely unnecessary.

If you want to actually sell enough CDs (or novels, or software, or greetings cards, or whatever) to make anything like a living, you need marketing.

If you write the Great American Novel, put it up on Lulu, and wait for the income to roll in, you'll sell 20 copies if you're lucky. To do better you've got to send review copies to magazines and web sites, persuade them you're worth interviewing for an article, get some viral marketing going for your product etc.

The same would go for a CD, even if you're not going for the mainstream. Get a reputation for live shows. Get written about in the specialist press. Get played on specialist radio shows or net radio. Get blogged about.

The OP's right. Traditional record labels do all this stuff, and that's part of where the money goes.

Still, it's all stuff you can DIY, or have done separately.

Too espensive (-1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052361)

Like most (all?) self publishing services, whether books or music, the problem is that without economies of scale the product can't compete with commercial distributors on price. I find it hard to see much success when you're selling a CD at twice the normal retail price. Maybe a few hardcore fans at best. Still, I suppose any interest shown would be useful in atracting and negotiating with a real record label.

Re:Too espensive (1, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052567)

31 USD is the set up fee, not the cost of the album.

Re:Too espensive (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052611)

I find it hard to see much success when you're selling a CD at twice the normal retail price.

From the article: "If one of Amazon's 80 million customers buys your 10-song CD on Amazon for $8.98, you'll receive $3.59."
They are not selling the CDs at twice the normal price. The $31 is the annual fee the artist pays to be included on TuneCore, not the cost of a CD.

Re:Too espensive (1)

sabs (255763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052631)

who the hell modded this guy up?
The cd's are going to be $8.99
SO actually, they'll be CHEAPER than most regular retail cd's.

Where do you get twice from?
The $31 startup cost paid by the Artist/Band?

Re:Too espensive (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052809)

Ten bucks isn't twice the normal retail price. RTFA.

YOU FUCKING TOOLS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052455)

Sure go and sell your shitty music on amazon and bypass the "draconian biz model" as the /tards says but remember

    Ultimately the fucking tools here and everywhere will just f'ing donwload it for free anyway as soon as another f'ing tool decides to share his hard drive.

Bottom line, your fucked, get a real career path

Already been done (3, Interesting)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052471)

Japanese amateur (doujin) artists have been self-publishing professional-quality albums for years now. No RIAA, no middlemen: they set up a booth at a convention and sell it. And then, afterwards, they sell extra copies from their website. It seems to work well enough: some single fandoms have produced hundreds if not thousands of albums [nyaatorrents.org] .

Isn't it amazing what you can do when you prioritize actually making music [x264.nl] over trying to get rich?

And don't think that the Japanese have it easier with regard to music copyright enforcement: the problem is actually so great there that file-traders have been forced to use anonymous P2P systems like Share and Winny.

What's Misspelled or unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052489)

"As an artist, you have unlimited physical inventory, made on demand, with no [sic] upfront costs and worldwide distribution to anyone who orders it at Amazon.com."

What's with the [sic]? What in this phrase is misspelled or unusual? It is a quote, so the noun, verb, prepositional phrase, and noun in a list, though bad grammar doesn't require a [sic].

The phrase "with no upfront costs" modifies everything in the list, not nust the phrase "made on demand", so the comma is justified. It is just bad grammar, and bad grammar doesn't require a [sic] notation....

Re:What's Misspelled or unusual? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053121)

What's with the [sic]? What in this phrase is misspelled or unusual?

As I understand it, the "no" is unusual. There is an upfront cost of $31 per band per year.

Think of the RIAA! (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052491)

Who's going to feed all of these underprivileged lawyers once they stop being hired to sue students, 10 year old girls and dead grandmothers? Think of the henchmen! Won't somebody pleeeeeeeeeeease think of the henchmen!

Re:Think of the RIAA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052655)

Teh internets is putting them out of business.

Time to bailout the RIAA!

Re:Think of the RIAA! (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053065)

Time to bailout the RIAA!

That's probably in ACTA, and the reason we're not allowed to see it.

From TFA (2, Informative)

storkus (179708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052505)

The $31 is per YEAR, basically setting up an account like you would with some of those "work from home" outfits, but for a reasonable price. The TFA states that "all other costs are passed on to the buyer". What those costs work out to I don't know, but if you can sell a stamped CD at $10 and still make a buck or two minimum, then you're not doing bad.

What I want to know is how a major stamping operation can retool so easily between different CD's that they can still do this economically?

Re:From TFA (1)

storkus (179708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052561)

I should have read lower down in TFA:

"As with its digital distribution service, TuneCore passes 100 percent of Amazonâ(TM)s payout to the artist â" about 40 percent of the retail price. If one of Amazonâ(TM)s 80 million customers buys your 10-song CD on Amazon for $8.98, youâ(TM)ll receive $3.59. After selling just nine discs, youâ(TM)re in the black."

Which makes my wondering about how they can turn a profit on such small runs even more pertinent...

Done years ago (4, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052515)

Used to be called mp3.com.

Aside from that indies have been around forever.

I've always said that artists who cry about this have options but they're too lazy/too talentless to do it for themselves. Oh well.

Yuo Fail +It!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052517)

declined in markeT us the 3ourtesy has run faster

THIS IS AWESOME!!! BAD SUMMARY (2, Informative)

oloron (1092167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052585)

If you RTFA you see that the 31 dollars is per-year handling of your disc, you set the prices for your prints and get commision based on that... sheesh guys wake up

$31 IS NOT THE COST PER CD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052589)

For all the morons who seem to be inferring that from the summary. $31 is the flat one-off fee paid by the artist to get listed. The CDs will cost customers typical CD prices.

Marketing? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052675)

I dont like the record labels but people do seem to forget they do some work of value - like marketing.

I put my bands album out on this website and how is anyone going to know its there?

Sure a couple of bands make it from word of mouth and internet activity, youtube etc but the vast majority dont.

Give me a big marketing budget and some pluggers any day.

Re:Marketing? (2, Insightful)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052869)

Sure a couple of bands make it from word of mouth and internet activity, youtube etc but the vast majority dont.

Give me a big marketing budget and some pluggers any day.

(a) Even given the "big marketing budget and some pluggers", the vast majority of bands don't make it anyway....

(b) Given the typical RIAA-member contract, you're probably clearing more money from the Amazon/Tunecore arrangement, and you haven't mortgaged your souls for a decade in the process.

It would be nice... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052741)

if Apple would do something like this with digital distribution on iTunes, where artists could upload their music and get the same 70/30 split as devs get for iPhone apps. The whole RIAA/ASCAP/BMI paradigm needs a good hard kick in the pants.

Re:It would be nice... (2, Informative)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052891)

Tunecore works with iTunes as well. Has for a while now.

No URLs or contact info allowed on artwork?! (4, Interesting)

atrocious cowpat (850512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052807)

From the TuneCore-FAQ [tunecore.com] :
"What format must my artwork be in, in order to upload to TuneCore?
[...] You may not include: email addresses, URLs, any other contact information or any pricing information."


Is this a common (or acceptable) limitation?

Re:No URLs or contact info allowed on artwork?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28052979)

Maybe there is a potential for spammers to game their system and they want to nip it in the bud.

Re:No URLs or contact info allowed on artwork?! (3, Interesting)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053115)

No it's not common, it's BS. You can't promote your band's website on your band's CD? WTF.

Hey RIAA (5, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052823)

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Goodbye.

Wow. (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052941)

While I'm not myself, a good number of my friends are activly producing music.

This actually looks brilliant, I will definintly recommending.

Cost (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052973)

Ok, here the fixed cost is $31 and you get 40% of the sales.
What are these values when using RIAA middle man? If there it's also 40% or less of the sales, they got pretty much owned. If you get more % of the sales, then there's a point where it's more profitable to use RIAA than Amazon :).

You f4il it? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28053015)

The 90s called! They want their CDs back! (1, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053131)

I don't get the point of pressing a CD. Who has a CD player anyways nowadays? I mean, I can buy a in-car-stereo with a USB connector for 100! It home, most people have their computers hooked to some amplifier or active speakers anyways. And I don't know if anyone even owns a portable CD player anymore.

I should start making band sites, that work like this:
- A basic site and page structure, including tour dates, a "blog", a gallery, a discography, a biography and artist infos, and contact / fan page / forumm.
- A wonderful individual design. Alternatively they could use their own friend- or fan-made design. Doesn't matter. No licensing crap! They have own the whole site.
- A very simple on-site shop with all songs, bundles of songs as EPs or albums, and paypal to buy and directly download the files from the site. In MP3, AAC, OGG, WAV, FLAC, APE, BIN/CUE, etc. With all metadata (even lyrics), cover images, and some bonus stuff too.
- A admin area for the artist, to upload songs (as wav, or an albums in bin/cue), assign cover images, metadata, bonus-stuff-zips, and so on.
- An optional automatic insertion into every music shop on the net.

I would only have to program it once. Then an artist would only have to pay the design, plus a small fee for setup and a tiny part of the initial programming. I bet I could do this for $1100 with design, and $100 without.

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