Tunecore Review 2021 – An Objective Look
Is Tunecore a Good Choice to Get Your Music on Streaming Platforms?
Affiliate Disclosure: Deviant Noise Inc. is a professional review site that may receive compensation for purchases made through links on our site. This article was sponsored by TuneCore.
Last Updated: Sept 2021
Overall Rating & Recommendation
Tunecore is a pretty big name in music distribution, but it’s one of the more expensive options.
But it’s still our #1 choice for getting your music out there – in this complete Tunecore Review, you’ll learn why.
We highly recommend independent music artists choose TuneCore as their music distribution partner.
This is because they’re a trusted brand that offer a high quality experience – they’ve got great customer service, are easy to use and constantly roll out added perks for members.
If you’re an independent music artist, who you choose to release your music with will be an important part of your marketing and distribution strategy, so it needs to be a top-tier provider.
In our opinion, Tunecore is just that.
4.25/5 Stars (Overall Rating)Based on ease of use, customer services and distribution options
Tunecore has been around for years and years – they’re one of the oldest names in the indie music distribution game. They’re also one of the biggest, often cited by the rapper Russ as part of the reason for his unbelievable success in the music business.
Whether you need to release a single or an entire album, Tunecore is our preferred choice.
Why? A few reasons.
Wait One Second…
“You’re partnered with Tunecore, of course you’re going to recommend them!”
That’s not entirely accurate. We’re also partnered with DistroKid and have received offers from other companies to partner with them too.
Our partnership doesn’t mean we can’t offer our objective opinion on which service we think is best. And if you read our Tunecore vs Distrokid comparison, you’ll see exactly why. Or you can check out our DistroKid Review.
But let’s get back to our Tunecore-specific review.
Quick Review of Tunecore
Simply put, Tunecore lets you easily release your music everywhere that music is available online (see just how easy in our guide on getting your music on Spotify). They have a reach of over 150 stores/streaming platforms and give artists 100% of their store payouts. (That’s an important point we’ll get back to later).
There are a lot of value-added opportunities and perks artist-members get.
The biggest downside to using Tunecore to release your music is the up-front cost of each release. It’s not the cheapest option, but many times the cheapest option isn’t the best option either. (Pricing info below).
But in terms of the overall service offering, it’s definitely our go-to recommendation when asked about who to distribute music with.
Your First Release: (Get 20% OFF Your First Release Here!)
- $9.99 for a “single” release (one song)
- $39.99 for an “album” release (multiple songs)
Regular Priced Subsequent Releases:
- $11.99 for a single
- $59.99 for an album
It’s also important to note that you’ll need to renew each release on a yearly basis. You can also buy distribution “credits” in advance and get 15% off. The credits are only for new releases, not renewals.
- $10.99/month – “Tunecore Social” social media tool for musicians
- $12 – YouTube Ad Revenue
- $99 – Tunecore Publishing Administration
- Gets your music on over 150 platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, TikTok and more
- Pays out 100% of sales revenue
- Provides comprehensive sales data and analytics
- Allows you to collect revenue from YouTube/Instagram/Facebook
- Social media tool helps with music promotion
- Offers music publishing (royalty) administration
- Artist Rewards – VIP Sessions, Marketing Opportunities, Priority Support
- Offers invite-only 8 week “Artist Accelerator” program
- Trusted brand with proven track-record/history
- Top tier customer support (better than the competition)
- 100% revenue payout
- Continually offering new bonuses/perks to artists
- Not a “bare-bones” company or service
- High price of releases compared to competitors
- Yearly renewal required on releases
- Currently no option to release Master/MQA (hi-res) audio (I’ve been assured they’re working on it)
Choose Tunecore If…
- You’re an independent music artist looking for a rock-solid partner for distributing your music
- You don’t plan on releasing a new song/album every day or two
- You want 100% of your store earnings paid out to you
- You want a fast support response time and not wait for days to hear back
- You want help advancing your music career
- You want to be able to tracking your growth in-depth
Let’s Talk About Payouts
This is probably the biggest reason we recommend Tunecore over other options.
Although everyone will tell you they payout 100% of the revenue they receive, it’s not entirely accurate. The key words are usually “revenue they receive.”
Tunecore is a big enough company that they’ve got direct partnerships with the stores they distribute to. Some of the smaller competitors have to deal with middle-men, not with the stores directly.
That middle-man actually takes a percentage of the revenue before they pay it out to a company like DistroKid. DistroKid then pays out 100% of the revenue from your music that they received from their middle-man partner.
It’s a small, but important distinction to know about.
And, interesting note, Tunecore has paid out over $2 billion to artists in their history. That’s a genuinely gigantic number. Especially for the independent music game.
What About the High Up-Front Cost?
Although it’s true Tunecore has a higher up-front cost for releasing your music, when you look into some of the cheaper competitors, you start to realize that it can end up actually costing you more over time.
Sure, there are free options out there, but they take a big piece of your revenues and royalties.
As for the subscription “release-all-you-want” options out there, they’ve got a ton of add-ons that can end up making a release more expensive than Tunecore’s up-front fee.
Just as an example, if you released a project with DistroKid and wanted all the add-ons (some of which are included with Tunecore at no extra cost), it would cost you $64.87 for a single and $112.78 for a 10 track album – PER RELEASE. And that’s on top of the subscription fee. Their text-message marketing tool also costs $12.99 per month.
Now, of course most people won’t need all these add-ons all the time, but it’s worth taking into account when making your decision of who to choose.
To get Tunecore’s Publishing and YouTube addons setup it’s a one-time fee of $99 and $12 respectively. Their social media tool is $10.99 per month.
You’ve probably already guessed it from reading this Tunecore review, that we highly recommend artists and bands use Tunecore to release their music worldwide.
I’m a big fan of the service. And I’m confident once you try them out, you’ll love them too.
Full disclosure – I’m a fan of DistroKid as well and have used them to release music in the past. But TuneCore just makes more sense for the future.
If you’re tight on cash, though, and just need to get some music on Spotify, it might not be the best option. In that case, we’d recommend using DistroKid.
But in most cases, if you’re a serious independent music artist you’re likely better off with a company like TuneCore. Their offering is just better suited to musicians who are serious about growing their brand and their music careers.
So when you’re ready to release your next project, whether it’s a single or an album/ep I highly recommend you go with the big-boys in town – Tunecore.