Questions remain following the news that TuneCore co-founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells abruptly exited the company this week, a change that could affect the independent music community.
Price, Wells and Gary Burke launched the digital distribution company in 2006, providing independent (and major) artists with a means to get their music to digital retailers. Artists pay a one time fee of $50 plus a percentage of royalties recovered to secure distribution to iTunes, Spotify and more. The service claims over 700,000 artists, most of which are producing music independently. It has also garnered high profile support from clients like Jay-Z, Drake, and The Civil Wars.
“Under our tenure, TuneCore took significant market share away from the traditional major labels,” said Price in a blog post announcing his exit. “As of July, 2012, TuneCore artists represent over 4% of all US gross digital music sales revenue and have sold over 610,000,000 units of music generating over $310,000,000 in gross music sales. More than four songs a second are sold on iTunes somewhere in the world by a TuneCore artist. Through the execution of the vision and the trust of the artist, TuneCore achieved about 40% of the market share of EMI and 25% of the market share of Universal in regards to digital music sales in the United States.”
No reason has been given for the exits, from Price or otherwise. Billboard points to unnamed sources who say the TuneCore board voted Price out on July 20 because it was “unhappy with the company’s financials.”
On Thursday (8/16), digital music service Rdio announced a licensing agreement with TuneCore and its rival CD Baby, bringing the service’s catalog to 18 million songs. It remains unclear if this announcement has any connection to the exits of Price and Wells.
Price has also been named for the 2013 class of Leadership Music.