“2010 to 2020, the headline was the rise of streaming. 2020 to 2030, I think the headline is going to be the rise of local independent artists, because we are now at the stage where streaming is the largest form of music consumption… The first artists that are benefiting from this are independent artists.”
Those are the words of Denis Ladegaillerie, CEO of distributor Believe Digital, in a Midem keynote session published online this morning. And yes, of course as a company whose business revolves around independent artists, he could hardly say anything different. But Ladegaillerie also talked about some of the shorter-term trends he’s seeing: for example, the volume of new music being put out through its TuneCore subsidiary has grown by 105% during the Covid-19 crisis.
“We’ve seen a huge number of artists who were at home, who have recording capabilities at home, create and distribute their music,” he said, before returning to the wider implications. “I’ve experienced for most of my music career the word independent to be a synonym to ‘weakness’, and I think what we’re starting to see now is the opposite: independence is starting to get powerful… you gain the power, and you gain the freedom.” Watch his full keynote via the Midem site.
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I hope all is well. Tunecore was brought massive amounts of attention through successful independent HipHop acts like Russ, and Chance the Rapper. Since Sony’s acquisition of TuneCore in 2017, I have not seen any stories of independent success with that same distribution service. I began releasing music independently in 2013, and over the past two years I’ve been working full time to expand Vicious Teknique’s audience. Upon Vicious Teknique reaching new heights of popularity, and accomplishing financial goals for streaming revenue levels, all funds were frozen by TuneCore in October 2020. I’ve witnessed first hand how the music industry kneecaps independent artists, while pushing major label affiliated acts to the forefront of users’ attention on digital streaming platforms. The reason the music industry can appear to be postured against independent musicians is because the Major Labels own many distribution companies, and streaming platforms; With Major Record Label companies being provided a reported 18% of shares in Spotify (https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2009/aug/17/major-labels-spotify). TuneCore’s alleged favoritism for Major Label affiliated artists contradicts their mission statement, and is a conflict of interest against many upcoming independent artists. I am not the only independent artist that has dealt with this setback, as the Better Business Bureau website has multiple comments detailing similar events with TuneCore.
The Sony owned distribution company, TuneCore, removed dozens of Vicious Teknique’s songs from digital stores on October 18th, locked access to my distribution account, and froze revenue over the course of two months amounting to over $33K. While providing barely any explanation, TuneCore claimed one song on Apple Music had possible suspicious activity, TuneCore then removed 25 songs from ALL platforms despite these songs performing according to TuneCore’s guidelines. TuneCore has halted company operations, killed Vicious Teknique’s growth with Spotify monthly listeners falling over 100K since the last month (Attachment), and streaming revenue being reduced by over 70%. The removal of Vicious Teknique’s content, such as hundreds of fan made TikTok videos, has restrained the valuable momentum we have spent years, and tens of thousands of dollars to create. Losses have been immense, while TuneCore doesn’t even acknowledge they are totally contradicting their mission statement by killing an independent label. Attorneys probably now have to take the case to court, furthering financial losses. Many music media outlets mention there are few truly independent artists thriving anymore, the reason may be because the industry powers own distribution companies, and the streaming platforms independent artists need to operate.
I’d be open to discuss this matter further, and provide you any proof you may need to verify my dispute with TuneCore (Sony). Wishing you the best, thank you.
Sincerely,Hayden C. TekermanBioEngineering | B.S.Ocean Engineering | M.S.Conundrum Records | CEO
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