Category : Distribution
Since everyone and their mom is posting things about the upcoming SXSW (South By Southwest) extravaganza on their music blogs, I figured we might as well get in on the action. But we’re going to focus exclusively on the Tonevendor/Clairecords SXSW shindigs.
A word about them first: Tonevendor is one of the best indie distribution houses (as well as physical music store) around. Dan and Heather run a really tight but friendly ship. They WILL give smaller bands the time of day, amazingly. They also PAY artists what they’re due, unlike many others. I don’t have many nice things to say about other distros in general, but we’ll save all the negative thoughts for later.
Anyhow, they also release records on their own Clairecords label and they are holding a few musical get-togethers at thie year’s SXSW. Hm.. Hey wait-a-minute SXSW is this week already! Oops, we slacked so this newspost is just barely on time. Hate when that happens.
Their first get-together is a SXSW Daytime Party which is sponsored by them and Thirty Ghosts and Ace Fu. It takes place on March 15 at the End Of An Ear Records shop. Listed on the bill are: Tuung, My Education and Rachel Goldstar.
The actual Tonevendor / Clairecords showcase is that same night at 8PM till 2AM and takes place at Habana Calle. Interestingly, the show will double bill with the Absolutely Kosher showcase outside and Tonevendor inside. Featured on the bill are My Education, Sciflyer, The Brother Kit, Belong, Rachel Goldstar and Luminous Orange.
I actually haven’t heard all of the bands before though I do know that many will fall into the noisy shoegaze category (a la MBV, etc.). I actually have heard the deliciously buzzy and drony Sciflyer before though. The latest release from this Alameda, CA band is “The Age of Lovely, Intimate Things” and I believe they are touring the Western part of the U.S. currrently.
I got a chance to listen to Japan’s Luminous Orange just now, and they were quite good… very MBV/Swirlies/Stereolab.
Here are links to songs by the participating bands available for download on the Official SXSW website:
Tunng – Tale From Black
Rachel Goldstar – Christmas Day
My Education – Snake in the Grass
Sciflyer – Like An Ion
The Brother Kite – Death Ray
Belong – October Language
Luminous Orange – Drop You Vivid Colours
The full posting for the Tonevendor SXSW schedule is available on their website at: www.tonevendor.com/sxsw.
Barely a year ago, indie musicians who were looking around to get digital distribution such as Itunes for their music didn’t have too many options. I remember when Apple first started pushing Itunes for the independent labels they even stated in their press release that they were only going to let the “major” indies (Matador, Merge, etc.) participate.
Fast forward to today and you can see the start of a heated battle between companies who are competing to serve as a “middleman” between Itunes and independent musicians whose music otherwise wouldn’t get the time of day on such services. Some of the companies already in the hunt are IODA, CDBaby and The Orchard, all of who claim to have the best distribution channels and the best deals as far as the percentage they take for each Itunes or digital file sold.
I saw a newcomer in the digital distribution fray the other day whose price model is pretty intriguing to say the least. The company, whose service is in beta currently, is called Tunecore. Basically, you get 100% of the amount that you make from the sale of any songs on Itunes or any other of their music partners (Rhapsody is the only other service currently besides Itunes). I’ve been researching digital distribution for a number of indie bands so this was very interesting.
So what’s the catch? Well, the details are that you pay 99 cents per album track to have a song listed on Itunes U.S. This is important because listing on other regional Itunes stores like Itunes Japan, as well as listing on Rhapsody costs an extra 99 cents… but per ALBUM. That’s still not bad. However, there is an annual upkeep fee of $7.98 for each album.
Therein, is my only sticking point so far. In order to keep your album listed in the various music services you need to pay that fee for each album every year. And the problem is that there is nothing saying that fee won’t be increased later. Otherwise, $7.98 seems like a fairly cheap way to keep your album out there digitally. I’d like to see an “all-you-can-eat” fee option for labels who want to have a bunch of albums listed (well, in fact I noticed that they say to contact them for details on bundling 7 or more albums in their service).
Continue reading “Tunecore Beta” …