To be able to more closely compete with more modern music distribution companies like DistroKid that offer unlimited releases for a low annual fee, TuneCore has recently drastically changed up its pricing.
TuneCore charges between $14.99 to $49.99 per year for unlimited song and album uploads to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music while letting artists keep 100% of the royalties.
Although TuneCore now also has a “free” plan, it is only possible to release music to social media platforms on this plan and doesn’t include distribution to digital stores and streaming services.
Their older “pay-per-release” model is extremely outdated and is why I personally chose to avoid TuneCore like the plague and couldn’t really recommend them in my original TuneCore vs DistroKid comparison.
In this article, we’ll explore TuneCore’s new pricing to see if it is worth it for artists and musicians in 2022 and beyond.
What Is TuneCore’s New Pricing?
TuneCore updated its pricing in June 2022 to be more in line with modern music distribution companies by offering unlimited song uploads for an annual fee.
Here’s a breakdown of TuneCore’s new plans:
TuneCore has 4 different plans available ranging from the free “New Artist” plan all the way up to the $49.99 per year “Professional” plan. For most artists, the $14.99 per year “Rising Artist” plan is good enough but there are some upgrades hidden in the more expensive plans.
On top of this, artists get to keep 100% of the revenue earned on digital stores and streaming services, which means that TuneCore now meets the 2 top requirements I mention in the music distribution buyer’s guide:
- Having the ability to release unlimited songs
- Not having to pay a percentage of your music’s income
Before this update, Tunecore’s pricing was far too expensive at $9.99 per single or $29.99 per album and simply was not in line with what modern musicians and artists need in 2022 to succeed.
Let’s take a look at each of these 4 plans in more detail so that you know exactly which is the right one for you.
TuneCore New Artist Plan Explained
The TuneCore ‘New Artist’ plan allows artists to send unlimited releases to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok in exchange for a 20% cut in royalties.
There is no upfront fee for this plan, however, artists are not able to release music to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music when choosing TuneCore’s ‘New Artist’ plan.
Here’s what you get with TuneCore’s New Artist plan:
- Unlimited releases to TikTok, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube
- The ability to create an Official Artist Channel on YouTube
- Access to TuneCore’s masterclass courses
- The ability to generate sales reports
- 5 business days customer support time
This plan seems useful for anyone that only wants to release music on social media platforms, create an Official Artist Channel on YouTube, or preview TuneCore’s courses and platform before committing any money.
Definitely create a free account to check it out if you want, however, I would not recommend the New Artist plan since you can’t release music to streaming services.
TuneCore Rising Artist Plan Explained
The TuneCore ‘Rising Artist’ plan allows artists to upload unlimited music to social media platforms as well as streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for $14.99 per year.
Artists get to keep 100% of their royalties when on this platform (which is a huge plus) and also includes access to some pretty nice features.
In addition to everything that artists get with the ‘New Artist’ plan, artists on the ‘Rising Artist’ plan also get:
- Unlimited releases to digital stores and streaming services
- 100% of any revenue made from digital stores and streaming services
- The ability to choose the date and time for when your releases go live
- Spotify and Apple Music official artist verification
- 72-hour customer support time
In addition to this, an “Artist Revenue Split” feature that is similar to DistroKid Splits is coming soon as well.
I would highly recommend TuneCore’s ‘Rising Artist’ plan because it has some fantastic value and gives artists everything that they need to succeed in 2022 and beyond.
TuneCore Breakout Artist Plan Explained
The TuneCore ‘Breakout Artist’ plan allows artists to upload unlimited music to social media platforms and streaming services as well as extra features like free cover art and automatically adding your song to new stores for $29.99 per year.
In addition to everything that artists get with the ‘Rising Artist’ plan, artists on the ‘Breakout Artist’ plan also get:
- The ability to automatically have their song added to any new stores and streaming services that may become available
- More detailed reporting called “Daily Trends Reports”
- Access to a cover art creator and premium artwork
- 48-hour customer support time
The ‘Breakout Artist’ plan is pretty uncompelling for the increased price and will most likely only be useful for anyone that needs artwork or is worried that new streaming services are going to keep popping up.
I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to TuneCore’s ‘Breakout Artist’ plan unless you really want the extra features since their cheaper ‘Rising Artist’ plan gives you much better value for the price.
TuneCore Professional Plan Explained
The TuneCore ‘Professional’ plan allows artists and labels to upload unlimited music to social media platforms and streaming services as well as create custom UPC codes, set a custom label name, and add additional artist profiles for $49.99 per year.
This plan is geared more toward record labels or anyone that needs to upload music for multiple artists.
In addition to everything that artists get with the ‘Breakout Artist’ plan, artists on the ‘Professional’ plan also get:
- The ability to use your own UPC code in releases
- The ability to attach a custom Record Label name to your releases
- The ability to choose which countries can access your release
- Access to partnerships with Tidal and Twitch
- Additional “promotional opportunities” created by TuneCore
- Access to small workshops and group sessions
- The ability to add a “recording location” to your releases
- The ability to add additional artist profiles to your plan for $14.99 per profile per year
I would only recommend the TuneCore ‘Professional’ plan to record labels or artists that need any of these additional customization features.
Most artists will still get the most value out of TuneCore’s ‘Rising Artist’ plan and likely will not need any of the additional features of any of the upgraded plans including the ‘Professional’ plan.
Is TuneCore Legit?
TuneCore is a legit company that has been helping artists distribute their music since 2005. As of 2020, TuneCore has paid out over $2.5 billion in royalties to its artists.
Although I have disagreed with TuneCore’s very expensive pricing in the past, as of June 2022 they have updated their business model to be more in line with the gold standard of unlimited releases for an annual fee that DistroKid first offered.
Although not all of TuneCore’s plans offer the best value, I would highly recommend TuneCore’s ‘Rising Artist’ plan because it gives artists everything that they need to succeed in 2022 and beyond.
Is TuneCore Free?
TuneCore has a free plan that allows artists to send unlimited releases to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok in exchange for a 20% cut in royalties.
Although there is no upfront fee for this plan, artists should know that they are not able to release music to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
My top suggestion for a TuneCore alternative is DistroKid (which is the company that TuneCore based its new pricing and plans on).
If you would like a more detailed look into what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review. 🙂
If you would like to see how DistroKid compares to these services, more closely check out these articles:
- DistroKid vs CdBaby
- DistroKid vs UnitedMasters
- DistroKid vs Ditto
- DistroKid vs Amuse
- DistroKid vs SoundCloud
- DistroKid vs Landr
P.S. If you also want to learn about music publishing and make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table with your music distribution setup, I’d recommend checking out these 2 articles:
How To Get The Most Out Of Unlimited Song & Album Uploads
One of the most important things you can do if you want to successfully release music independently is create a long-term release plan and strategy for your music.
My recommendation is to plan out 6 – 12 months’ worth of releases and make sure that your music is in a release-ready state so that you can truly focus on promotion once you get started.
In particular, I would recommend that you plan on releasing a new song every 28 days so that you can maximize your exposure on Spotify’s algorithm playlists like Release Radar.
The “secret” here is that to catch the attention of the Spotify algorithm, the Spotify editors, as well as your potential (and current) fans…
You must release music often in order to build up enough momentum in your music career for things to start “popping off”.
Releasing an album of music every year or 2 is the “old” way of doing things that just does not work anymore.
If you want to learn more about the strategy and how you can “hack” the Spotify algorithm to get wild results…
I’d recommend checking out this YouTube playlist I’ve put together for you: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHmXQrkZqFioLzooRggrhpKXW65morqxc
There are several videos that I’ve created for you that I know you will definitely find useful and will teach you more about the Spotify algorithm and how you can make it work for you to get thousands of free streams.
How To Promote Your Releases Without Burning Out
Most articles and videos on the Internet will tell you the “250 things you NEED to do” or give advice like “be on EVERY social media platform” to promote your music properly.
The truth is that this advice is usually an attempt to reach a certain word count or video length and makes you fall into the trap of thinking that “more = better”.
Although I’ve shown all the different types of promotion available to you, I actually only follow 7 simple steps when promoting my own music.
The reason for this is simple:
As an independent artist or musician, you have very limited resources (both time and money) and you need to choose how you use your resources wisely.
Because you need to repeat the promotion process constantly to start getting real results, my recommendation is to focus on just a few very specific tasks.
By focusing only on a select few steps that are going to actually move the needle, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to easily repeat these steps for every single release you do.
The “secret” is to simply “copy and paste” these steps each time you are releasing a new song.
I’ve put together a simple 7-Step Spotify Release Checklist that I used to get over 5,000,000 streams that you can have for free.
This checklist has been a lifesaver for me and it really is the heart and soul of how I successfully promote my music on Spotify even to this day.
Be sure to review the steps in that checklist and click around to reveal more information about each step and why it is so important. 🙂