So you want to be a recording artist, either as a singer/songwriter or performing the tunes composed by others. Expect to be ‘discovered’, then sign a record deal with one of the established labels – or is it ‘the old days’; and you recognize how the process has now been democratized by global digital platforms, and how easy and affordable it is for independent artists to be seen and heard?
For 16 years now, TuneCore, a subsidiary of Believe, has been working to put artists first and provide them with options, packages and a platform that gives them better access to streaming platforms and apps. media icons that spell recognition and popularity. It may come as a surprise to learn that artists who used TuneCore in its early days include Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper. And that one of last year’s breakthrough artists, then 17-year-old Lauren Spencer-Smith, was also using TuneCore to promote her single Fingers Crossed. In fact, since Lauren’s video garnered so much attention around the world, she was subsequently signed to Republic and Island Records.
TuneCore Global CEO Andreea Gleeson was in Manila, and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her and Cyrus Chen, TuneCore SEA Head. With strong regional roots in countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, Andreea and Cyrus were very happy to be here, as they see the Philippines as one of TuneCore’s emerging markets, and it was time to relaunch this process.
And I hastened to remind them that when it comes to singing talents, with the exception of the current company, the Philippines is known as a nation of singers and troubadours – and there was a time when almost all the renowned hotel lobbies, throughout the region, have a show band consisting of Filipino singers and musicians. Music is in the blood of most Filipinos, and it’s often more about exposure, marketing and management to get them noticed.
With TuneCore, we were talking about the platform that has played an essential role in democratizing access to music distribution for self-liberating artists. It was the first platform of its kind that did not take percentages from artists. There are no annual fees and it is the most affordable unlimited distribution plan. TuneCore SEA’s dream is to be the premier independent music ecosystem in Southeast Asia, and for Andreea and Cyrus, the Philippines is an important link in achieving this. To help make the platform much more accessible and easy to use, they have now partnered with GCash as their payment solution.
There are four basic packages available in TuneCore. The first is the New Artist plan, which allows the artist to test their music on social platforms, and there is no upfront cost involved. Then there’s a Rising Artist plan which is listed at $14.99/year, and in addition to social media platforms, you’re available on over 150 digital stores globally. Then there is a Breakout Artist plan and a Professional Artist plan. Head over to TuneCore to understand the dynamics of each of these plans in detail.
At a dinner hosted by TuneCore, Shyr Balagtas, Flow G., Bugoy na Koykoy and CLR were in attendance, part of the growing family of local artists with existing or pending affinities with the TuneCore ecosystem. Through TuneCore, they control the music release schedule and the promotional aspect of their music. It’s a creative freedom that isn’t normally associated with being signed to a label.
Asked which musical genres are best represented by TuneCore, Andreea replied that they cut across all genres, but if you had to identify the top two in terms of engaging and maximizing what the platform can offer, it would be hip-hop and electronic dance. Music (EDM).
If you had to sum up what TuneCore stands for, it’s about encouraging independent artists to create, experiment, have fun, and not have to wait for a label to “discover” them. Can I hear you tuning your guitars and stretching your fingers to attack those keyboards?
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