TuneCore, Amazon Team Up To Make It Even Easier & Cheaper For Bands To Sell CDs

from the label?-what-for? dept

Continuing the theme of this week about the new ecosystem of companies out there making it ever and ever easier for musicians to do everything a label used to do for them, comes the news (submitted by zealeus) that Amazon and TuneCore have teamed up to make it incredibly easy and cheap to sell CDs on demand. TuneCore is a very popular service with indie bands, helping them get their content onto various music services -- and now they're adding the ability to do incredibly cheap CDs-on-demand via Amazon. The whole thing costs a grand total of $31/year. Wired does some math, and recognizes that at a price point of $8.98 for the CD, a band only needs to sell nine CDs a year to break even. Nine. While some may say the CD market is dying, if you can offer it at almost no cost to the band, why not have it as an option?


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  1.  
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    Angel (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    Great Idea

    I think this is a great Idea and I applaud any band that uses these methods to get their music out as opposed to using record labels.

     

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    fogbugzd, May 22nd, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    Not quite that good of a price

    This is a great service. However, there are some other very substantial costs any band who wants to put out a professional grade album will need to pay. Probably the most important thing is professional Mastering. Fortunately TuneCore is providing hook-ups with groups that can provide the kind of services you need to put out a very polished product at a reasonable price. However, you are going to need to sell a lot more than 9 or 10 albums a year to break even.

     

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    Lonnie E. Holder, May 22nd, 2009 @ 8:11pm

    Useful Older Media Rarely Dies

    I find the hastened "death" of CD's to be humorous. CD's may eventually die, but only after a very long decline. CD's remain a preferred format for tens of millions of people for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that your iPod (or other MP3 player) may go belly up, but the CD's will still be there (how many horror stories have we heard of someone's entire music collection disappearing with a failed hard drive?).

    I also notice news reports from various locations noting that CD sales were up substantially during the 2008 Christmas season. The reason given: Portable CD players are extremely inexpensive and do not require a computer for loading music.

    Many people complain that MP3 players are too small and are a pain to upload with music. I suspect that most of the people making this complaint are over 30-years-old, but I also wonder how convenient an MP3 player is to an 18-year-old when they turn 50?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Useful Older Media Rarely Dies

    "I also wonder how convenient an MP3 player is to an 18-year-old when they turn 50?"

    By the time they are 50 mp3 players will be obsolete (hopefully) lol. Maybe by then we will have players that can be implanted and use like a bluetooth type technology to upload your music directly to your device using your brain to operate it and using your bodies electrical nervous system to power the unit as well. Imagine thinking of a song and having it play through your device and only you can hear it since the musical vibrations could be tied to your inner ear and so the sound would be ultra clear and yet silent to everyone around you. I say that I hope mp3 players are obsolete by then since I hate to see technology remain stagnant for too long and hope for patent reform so we can push technology to the limit of only our imagination.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Useful Older Media Rarely Dies

    Imagine if the device had some sort of wireless access, and that some shady organization, such as a group of hackers, criminal syndicate, or the government, was able to upload a propaganda recording to it, and prevent the device from shutting off. Wouldn't that be lovely.

     

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    Bruce Houghton, May 23rd, 2009 @ 4:24am

    Tuncore & Amazon

    The Amazon Createspace platform has been open direct without Tunecore to any indie artist - musician, writer, filmmaker and has been for many months. Tunecore is just smartly bundling their service with CreateSpace like they are with other vendors (t-shirts, radio tracking.

    There are obvious advantages in terms of lower upfront costs, but there is also the disadvantage of higher costs to get, for example, a few hundred CD's to giveaway to radio and sell at gigs - the place where physical CD sales happens for most bands.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 4:53am

    I would be interested to see what tunecore's real angle is on this on. What rights are actually signed away, where is tunecore actually making their money, because they sure as heck aren't doing it for free (and $31 isn't enough to make it worth doing normally).

    You have to wonder if they are getting 10% off of Amazon or something for doing this stuff, or perhaps some ownership / rights to the material to resell, hoping to hit a whale that puts them in a place to get rich reselling the mysterious first album later on.

    Once again, Wired all but publishes a one sided press release without any digging. They must be short of staff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Useful Older Media Rarely Dies

    (1) Since hearing damage is up among young people due to the use of ear buds, they may need the implants.

    (2) Patents have had little effect on the development of consumer technology - or at least I have seen little effect. It certainly did not stop the development of DAT, CD's, DVD's, mini-DVD's, Blu-Ray and its competitor. If there is money to be made on consumers, patents will not stop or even slow the development of the technology.

     

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    Dave (profile), May 23rd, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Read Tunecore's FAQ

    Wired doesn't have to go digging. Tunecore says it all in their FAQ:
    -----

    What rights am I granting to TuneCore?

    As you'll see on our terms and conditions (honestly, read it, it's important), you grant TuneCore only these rights:

    * You grant TuneCore the NON-exclusive right to deliver and allow the stores/services you chose to sell your music and/or music videos. In order for your music or music videos or art to appear on other digital music services, TuneCore must first get your permission.
    * You grant TuneCore the right to collect and transfer to you all the money owed to you from the sale of your music and/or music videos in the stores/services you choose.
    * You grant TuneCore the right to use the name(s), photographs and likenesses, artwork images, biographical and other information provided by you in connection with your music or music videos.
    * You agree to the Schedule of Fees for our services.
    * You agree to our Privacy Policy.

    REMEMBER: TuneCore does not own your songs, your masters, your copyrights, or the rights to any art work or band photo or music videos you submit. You maintain all ownership and control of all your rights. Also remember, TuneCore gets no rights to manufacture CDs, vinyl, DVDs, tapes or anything else. These are your rights, not ours.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re: Read Tunecore's FAQ

    Okay, so there are the apparent rights. So where does Tunecore make it's money?

     

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    Tom, May 25th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    9 cds is difficult to achieve

    i have been selling and giving away music online for 10 years. i've been with tunecore for 2 years. though i have about 20gbs of downloads a month from our site, i only sell about $10 per year on tunecore. i agree with all the free/music/p2p stuff ( i long to find us on TPB) that techdirt talks about. but i don't play live and its pretty difficult to make money from music. luckily i just do it anyway. it is very boring thinking about ways to make money from music, and for most of us its impossible (using either the old model or the new free model). Much better just not thinking about it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Don't tell Mike that! He wants the world to believe that you can make a living as a musician. All these great sites are suppose to make you rich, rich, rich. Well, at least they are suppose to make you a living.

    Thanks for being an example for the thousands of people getting nothing from the "free" music world.

     

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    Mike (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 12:47am

    Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Don't tell Mike that! He wants the world to believe that you can make a living as a musician. All these great sites are suppose to make you rich, rich, rich. Well, at least they are suppose to make you a living.

    I've said no such thing. There's no magic formula to get rich. If you don't play the type of music that people want or if you're not very good, you're never going to be able to make much money. But if you do have talent and the ability to put in place a good business model, the point is that you can make a lot more money *than you made before* under the old system.

    It seems that poor Alex here is so into trolling this site that he likes to lie about me.

     

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    Tom, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    On the contrray i am getting something from free - i make 10 or 20 dollars a year. More than i would get if i did nothing. I get thousands of downloads a month - more people listen to us now than ever could have before. Maybe we are crap, i wouldn't know, we get some very good but fairly rare reviews, can i call us niche? Anyway, i am very happy with free, i have been making music since i was 15, 30 years ago, and never made any money, so its not really a problem. But maybe, i'll come up with an idea for making moey, a popular tune, or in a thousand year be used in a film. i don't care. Making music is the fun bit, the business side is boring beyond belief.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Mike, there is no "poor alex", sorry. You lose yet again.

    You have said this over and over again: give your music away for free, you will get fans and a following because you are being so nice, and you will have success.

    So, really: What percentage of acts are being successful using your methods? Can you name 5 acts that, without any music industry support, are successful using these methods? Don't start with Corey Smith, he got his start on winning a song writing contest and getting an album paid for and distributed. Don't mention Trent, or Radiohead, or any of those, they are all products of the music industry.

    Can you cite a single act making it on the Masnick plan?

     

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    Tom, May 26th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    you do seem to be misreading what i am saying here.
    I am having success, by my standards, much more than i could ever have had before 'free Internet'. I have lots of listeners, i make a few sales. It costs me nothing to make music or the cds ( as i print them myself). this is far better than pre-internet when it cost thousands to make a cd that sat under your bed, got no plays on the radio, costs hundreds to practise in practise rooms and recording studios. So my 10-20 dollars is actual profit. I am very happy with this situation so please dont use me as some sort of proof of your anti-free stand. Free is good for music, for my music and for everybody who has free music on myspace or tunecore, last fm, bandcamp, wherever. What i am looking forward to is the demise of poepl who are in music for money alone. That should free up the market a bit and make popel a bit more adventurous. could be decades away yet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Tom, you misunderstand my point here. I understand you aren't complaining about your lot in life (you seem to be enjoying it).

    My point is that you are exactly the posterboy type Mike points to: The struggling musician who gets fame (and maybe fortune) by pushing their unknown music on the net for free to get more fans and make more, well, whatever.

    You are exactly what Mike points to as the replacement for the current music industry. Get rid of Radiohead, NIN, and all those fools, and replace them with tens of thousands of Toms.

    What would you think of that?

     

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    Tom, May 26th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    i think its fairly likely to happen to a degree. THere will always be management that do a good job of promotion for a few but there will be more and more unassisted successes. I think the money spent on music will be spread thinner amongst more artists. And free is what has started this. Most of us wouldnt be getting heard at all if it was still just 1 national radio station (who played stuff for free - that i would dutifully record, i had 100 c90s with 200 albums taped for free during musics supposed heyday), now there are thousands of ways of getting your music for free, and i am slowly finding more bands that i buy cds from, instaed of the 10 bands that radio 1 would play in rota. Just becasue i haven't made any moeny yet (ever) doesn't mena i won't. Nor do i particluarly think money is important to music making. in fact the removal of money fo art could be very good.
    So sure most small bands make no money but the never did, but at least there is more chance now than there was and thats becasue of free.
    the above may not make much sense, apologies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Tom, you make perfect sense. I have to ask you this: If you made enough money making music, would you give up your day job? Do you think there would be more music if you had an actual way to make money making music?

    I do think you are right that what money there is left will be spread thinner. I suspect it will be spread so thin that nobody can make a living off of making music.

    I also appreciate your spirit and pure joy of just making music. Continue on, joy is rare in this whole deal! :)

     

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  20.  
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    Tom, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Lots of Res but no sunshine.
    terrible joke sorry.
    enough money - give up day job? i my youth yes, now i'm freelance anyway.. don't know. impractical.
    Would there be more music if there was more money? Obviosult lots of people do music for money. i began at 15 becasue wanted to be a Ramone, more S, D and RnR than the money. But i undoubtedly woudl have liked it.
    But now, having once had experience of almost being signed over a 2 year period and the irrationality that that brought with it, and a desire to make music for the wrong reasons ( and therefore to my mind it was less good) (ie trying to make the music more poppy to ensure a signing). I'm not sure - you might want to follow the money - as many bands have tried to do. and thats lead to some seriously awful 2nd and 3rd albums etc..
    Sure if the music was earning money, then my wife would be happier for me to do it more during the day (instead of when she goes shopping).
    But this is of topic isn't it?
    Free means i am getting heard when otherwise i would not. Getting heard means there is more possibility of making money than when i am not heard at all. (blah blah money not object, high values blah).
    Music is a godawful business to be in and always has been, so much competition. Everyone wants to be in it, like writing and art, so there are millions of us and we are all shite. But now its free we are all getting a heard a little bit and actually no music is shite, not even madonna or liberace ( i believe to top earners in their categories), just niche.
    oh i love ranting

     

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    Mike (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve


    You have said this over and over again: give your music away for free, you will get fans and a following because you are being so nice, and you will have success.


    I said no such thing. In fact, I said the opposite. I said "give it away and pray" is no kind of business model.

    Do you always lie?

    So, really: What percentage of acts are being successful using your methods? Can you name 5 acts that, without any music industry support, are successful using these methods? Don't start with Corey Smith, he got his start on winning a song writing contest and getting an album paid for and distributed. Don't mention Trent, or Radiohead, or any of those, they are all products of the music industry.

    I'm sorry, but you don't set the rules. You make it sound as if an act has touched the mainstream industry it can't be considered following the plan we laid out. That's simply untrue. Should Corey have shunned a music writing competition? No, of course not.

    Our rules are how do you succeed today, and we're seeing plenty of success from folks understanding these basic economics. Corey Smith and Trent Reznor are, in fact, two great examples of this, your meaningless rules and misunderstandings notwithstanding.

    Please go troll somewhere else.

     

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  22.  
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    Mike (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    You are exactly what Mike points to as the replacement for the current music industry. Get rid of Radiohead, NIN, and all those fools, and replace them with tens of thousands of Toms.


    Again, I said no such thing. What I actually said (you really ought to practice your reading comprehension) is that by understanding these basic economics anyone can do *better* than they would have otherwise. Tom's seeing that. But it also means that Reznor or Radiohead are doing *better* than they would have otherwise.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Mike, there is no lie there. You are reading PAST my words and adding your own, which is worse. Did I say "give it away and pray"? Nope. I said "give your music away for free, you will get fans and a following because you are being so nice, and you will have success." - in your terms, that success is being able to sell more concert tickets, more stuff, or even selling a game of miniputt or whatever. It is your own system, your own manifesto, right there.

    "I'm sorry, but you don't set the rules. You make it sound as if an act has touched the mainstream industry it can't be considered following the plan we laid out. That's simply untrue. Should Corey have shunned a music writing competition? No, of course not."

    You can't hold up guys like Trent or even Corey Smith as great examples of how your vision of the future works, because without the existing music business, they would be not be here to start with, they wouldn't have a fan base, and they wouldn't be able to leverage that fanbase. The free music revolution has been on for almost 10 years now (since the time of Napster), so please, give us some examples of the bands or artists who have come from nowhere to have success in the music business. I will even accept your version of success (making a living).

    After all, you claim to get tons of letters every day. Please share with the class.

    My point is simple: standing on the top of the popularity mountain created by the incumbant music industry, and waving a flag and saying "we did it our way" isn't entirely clear or honest. I am sure there are plenty of bands, artists, performers, singers, what have you that are at the bottom and want to know which way is up, and are looking for guidance and inspiration, examples they can work from. Really, this is exactly your chance to show how it works for real, nuts and bolts. From mom's basement to a full time career as a musician, performer, song writer, whatever it is. How did they do it? How do the Masnick principals make this happen? How can they do it?

    It isn't a troll - it's a plea for you to actually share the secrets, share your knowledge, and enlighten us with actual examples of how it is done in this new era of the DIY music industry.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Actually, Reznor's "better" means mostly more satisfying to himself, but not to the audience. His last couple of albums haven't been commercially very successful (relative to his earlier work), and as his concerts are already sell outs regardless, he hasn't improved his attendance figures much. In his case, better seems to be "not backsliding".

    Radiohead? Well, In Rainbows is a critical success but not quite so much commercially, outselling only the previous "hail to the thief" which was their poorest selling album since the act "broke". The material played well with their fans, but didn't do quite so well on radio. Even with all the "pay your price" stuff, they were still quick to sign distribution deals to push shiny discs. The only thing "better" here is that they have the luxury of being a name act with a huge following, such that they can push out anything and enough people will pay for it to keep them going along. They are apparently back in the studio now, hopefully to produce a record that is much more accessable to fans and non-fans alike.

    So better? Well, it depends what you define as better.

     

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    Mike (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve


    It isn't a troll - it's a plea for you to actually share the secrets, share your knowledge, and enlighten us with actual examples of how it is done in this new era of the DIY music industry.


    It is a troll because you keep lying about what I say, and then coming up with rules that you yourself make up as to why all of the examples we show "don't count." I'm done responding to you. We've seen what works, we've explained it to you in great detail. Your inability to understand it is both astounding and your own problem.

    It's really sad that someone like yourself seems to get jollies out of trolling websites that helps artists and content creators adapt. What a sad life you must lead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    Actually, Reznor's "better" means mostly more satisfying to himself, but not to the audience.

    Someone apparently doesn't spend any time on NIN.com. Reznor's fans are more satisfied than ever. It's incredible how much closer they feel to him than many others.

    Well, In Rainbows is a critical success but not quite so much commercially, outselling only the previous "hail to the thief" which was their poorest selling album since the act "broke".

    The band has said it made more money on this release than any other. You judge it based on how well it sold. Most people judge it on how well the band did. On that front, the band did great.

    Even with all the "pay your price" stuff, they were still quick to sign distribution deals to push shiny discs.

    Actually, that deal was already signed when they announced the pay what you want deal. That was always a part of the plan, and it makes sense. Selling the CDs is still a scarce good.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 9 cds is difficult to achieve

    "Selling the CDs is still a scarce good."

    Don't tell Mike that. He will go off on a rant about stupid companies pushing shiny plastic discs.

    "Someone apparently doesn't spend any time on NIN.com. Reznor's fans are more satisfied than ever. It's incredible how much closer they feel to him than many others."

    I was a member of NIN.COM a long, long time ago, when it was a very obtuse vertical line interface that most people didn't get. I have each and every one of the discs from halo 1 to about 14 or so, including some japanese rarities. Consider me a big fan. What Trent has done is basically syncopate with a smaller subset of his fans. Those who like this direction like it a lot. The rest of us were lost in the shuffle. Record sales and such show that clearly.

    WHen you look at Radiohead (or other similar acts) the profit comes from all that was built over the years, with the record label partners. Sort of like a man with a midlife crisis that dumps his wife the the pretty young thing down the road, this sort of move to embrace X or Y seems like short term gain, ignoring how it all happened.

     

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  28.  
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    Peter Wells (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Actually, we do just fine!

    I really ought to check TechDirt earlier--the threads build up here fast! I've been responding to so many blogs and reports, by the time I get here the conversation has already moved like a high tide.

    So first, thanks everyone for the lively debate! I can clarify a few things.

    That $31 thing is an example of a 10-song album, but it doesn't just include Amazon-On-Demand. For $0.99 more, you can add digital distribution into any iTunes store. $0.99 per store adds as many as you want, including AmazonMP3, eMusic, Napster, etc. So you don't have to rely on physical sales to make it back, you get worldwide digital distribution for a buck more.

    As for how we make our money? The up-front delivery and yearly. THAT'S IT. We don't take a %, we don't have any kickback agreements with stores or vendors. We've put HALF A MILLION songs into iTunes alone so far, that kind of volume means we do just fine. The truth is, digital distribution isn't that expensive to do: other places have just been charging more because they can. We started TuneCore precisely to show the world that this can be done inexpensively, fairly, without exploiting people, and still generate great income for us.

    Thanks again! Holler with questions, if you have any.

    --Peter
    peter@tunecore.com

     

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  29.  
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    Sammie Houston, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Watunes, The New Music Industry

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Unlike Tunecore who charges a fee per song and/or album Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE!

     

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  30.  
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    Sammie Houston, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re: Not quite that good of a price

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Unlike Tunecore who charges a fee per song and/or album Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE!

     

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  31.  
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    Sammie Houston, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Watunes, The New Music Industry

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Unlike Tunecore who charges a fee per song and/or album Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE!

     

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  32.  
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    Sammie Houston, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Watunes, The New Music Industry

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Unlike Tunecore who charges a fee per song and/or album Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE!

     

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  33.  
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    liam morris, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:02am

    sport

     

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  34.  
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    lil-z, Nov 16th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    check me out

    my single drops on iTunes december-7 I no
    I have what it takes so everybody go to my
    myspace.com/lilz2345 and check me out my single
    is called mr.clean and let me no what you think
    I really need you guys to show me some love
    do that for me and lev a tex and let me no if
    i have what it takes Im trying to build my fan
    based up so if you like my music let other people no to
    come to my page and show me love see rappers dont
    no with out people feeling your music who else gone
    feel you get at your lil-z im out much love

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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