Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Jeff Price of TuneCore: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

As anyone who buys music knows, the way we are finding it and buying it has changed radically over the last 15 years.

For musicians, it used to be that if you wanted someone to release your music, you'd have to get the attention and approval of an artist and repertoire (or A&R person) at a label, work to sign a deal either big or small so that the label would then press up your product and work with distributors to get your vinyl or 8-track or cassette or CD to ship them out to record stores where the music fan could have access to them.

Now, all you have to do it is get some audio files online and instantly be able to have your music available to the current online global audience of 1.5 billion people, which is still just about 23% of the world's population, so the potential for reaching new audiences continues to grow. As mobile devices get smarter, it's inevitable that consumers will be downloading more music and playing it without a desktop or laptop computer even being involved, too.

As a result of the rise of digital download stores such as iTunes and Amazon mp3, the need has come for new companies to aggregate songs and distribute them out to all these growing online stores.

That's where TuneCore comes in.

After SpinArt, Price went on to work with eMusic.com, first as a consultant, then as interim VP of Content Acquisition, and finally as the Senior Director of Music/Business Development. He contributed towards the creation of eMusic's initial business model and created and implemented the first subscription-based music sales and distribution structure.

In 2005 Price started TuneCore, which is an aggregator which helps get digital music into online stores such as iTunes, Amazon mp3, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster, Amie Street, Groupie Tunes, ShockHound.com, and lala.

TuneCore has also been in the news in recent months as some very mainstream acts have used the service to get their music direct to consumers, including Nine Inch Nails and Paul Westerberg. Just a few weeks back, it was announced that Aretha Franklin would be using TuneCore to distribute her version of My Country Tis Thee that she performed at the Obama inauguration.

TuneCore's competitors are services such as IODA, The Orchard, and CD Baby and I discuss with Price about what makes TuneCore different from these services. I hope to interview founders and representatives of these services in the future as well.

This episode includes music from a variety of independent music that has been submitted to be for Well-Rounded Radio. I can't say that all have used TuneCore, but they are indicative of independent musicians these days who are producing great music on their own and using the Internet to reach new audiences.

I met with Price during an event for held by The Future of Music Coalition's in New York City to discuss:
* how artists can use a service like TuneCore to get their music out to download-to-own music services
* what it costs to use and what other services TuneCore offers to musicians
* how it's a part of a very different music industry than what we had fifteen years ago

Music included in the episode includes:
1) Slow Car Crash: There It Is (in preview)
2) TVC15: Ao
3) Anais Mitchell: Shenadoah
4) Papermoon: House of Cards
5) Rev. Bob & The Darkness: Dead Man Running
6) Michael W. Smith: Above All
7) Ray Mason: Question to Answer
8) Clay McClinton: Left My Baby Blue
9) Los Soberanos: Francamente
10) Bill Noonan Band: Big Enough to Hide In
11) Satoru: Life is Never Long Enough
12) Fort Pastor: Fall With Me
13) Shauna Burns: Gotta Get Ahead
14) JJ Appleton: Falling Down
15) Nine Inch Nails: 3 Ghosts I
16) Paul Westerberg: Board of Edukation
17) Aretha Franklin: My Country Tis of Thee