Get Started With Feature.fm

TuneCore has partnered an exciting platform, Feature.fm, that helps artists get their music heard. Offering a “digital ad platform” for musicians, Feature.fm lets you sponsor your already uploaded tracks from Deezer, SoundCloud or Youtube on stores, radio and major music websites worldwide, such as youredm, EDM Hunters, Tiny Mixtapes, 1001 Tracklists, PopMatters or HipHopnMore.

So what can Feature.fm do, and how do you get started?

There are three ways that feature.fm can help you get heard:

  1.    By playing your song to a targeted audience of Deezer users.
  2.    By playing your song to a targeted audience of people listening to the 8tracks Radio service.
  3.    By promoting one of your existing YouTube Videos, SoundCloud tracks or mp3 across various popular music websites and blogs.

The ability to create a campaign to promote your music to streaming stores like Deezer, or popular upload platforms like SoundCloud, make this an extremely worthwhile service in engaging your audience and music everywhere!

As one of the biggest streaming services, Deezer has 10 million active users, and offers its service in 182 countries worldwide. These millions of users are a huge opportunity! By generating more streams of your music inside a service like Deezer, you can drive trending activity, and start to rise up the Deezer charts – meaning  more exposure! As an additional bonus because TuneCore pays you 100% of revenue for your streams from Deezer, you will recoup some of the costs of your feature.fm campaign from the increase in streaming revenues you get from people hearing your music!

Once you’ve selected the song,  you will be asked how you would like to target your campaign – you can select locations, ages and genders. You then need to add some tags – genre, similar artists and flag whether or not your song has explicit lyrics.

If you’ve already distributed your music through Spotify, you can use the “similar artists” area to target similar artists based on data – but if not, then make sure you put in some well known artists here, so that you’re getting a broad pool of potential listeners. Targeting your music to the right audience is super important – be specific enough to hit the right people, but don’t be too specific – you want to get in front of as many potential fans as possible. If someone doesn’t like your song they can skip it so don’t worry. And if they skip before 30 seconds, you don’t get charged for the sponsored play.

Let’s take a look at the UK artist Karmah  to see their experience  using the service! They were specifically interested in boosting themselves on Deezer and selected that as their campaign focus with the song “I Ain’t Worried”. Now, as they are a UK band, their currency is in £, but you can use your own Local Currency (CAD$ £, €, $ etc…)

Above, represents the initial campaign creation process and then two days of activity. You can see that by spending £40 the campaign drove 2500 sponsored plays – so that’s more than 2500 potential new fans reached. One really interesting thing to note here is the “play sources”. You can see that almost everyone listened to the track on either an iPhone or Android phone. The number of Deezer users using the Deezer.com website is tiny by comparison. This is worth taking note of generally when you are promoting your music on social media (for example when using TuneCore Social Pro) – remember that the vast majority of people streaming your music will be doing so on a mobile device, and ensure that you are messaging appropriately.

In the image above we can see that there are 152 “engagements” – representing 6% of the people who listened. Let’s dive into bit more detail on that section.

You can see here that 81 people added the song to their “favourites” in Deezer while another 59 added it to one of their playlists – 140 people took an action related to saving the song. This means that new listeners are engaging with your music! By getting your music in front of a new fan with feature.fm, you may actually have started a relationship that continues for years!

Some more useful information that feature.fm gives you is a breakdown of the age and gender of the people who are listening to the track – but also the age and gender of people who engage.

When Karmah’s team created the campaign, they set some broad targeting criteria – you can be as detailed as you like here – the more relevant the data you put in here, the better the audience you will be targeting. The age range selected for the campaign is 12 to 40, and the locations are UK, USA, France, Ireland, and Canada. For Gender, the campaign targeted both female and male listeners.

When you look at the age and gender or people who heard the sponsored plays, you can see that females aged 18-24 heard the most number. This could be because of the “similar artists” that were used to target the campaign. The screenshot below breaks down the age and gender demographics of your audience.

Creating our first campaign with feature.fm took just a few minutes – and already we are seeing some exciting results…

For £40 (and remember, this is just a snapshot of two days in the campaign) Karmah not only got 2500 plays, but also 152 strong engagements as a result of people hearing and liking her music. She and her team also got some really valuable data about what kind of fan is most likely to engage with her music. All of this for just £0.26 per engagement – and with long term potential for those people who favorited or playlisted the track to listen again and again and again.

Karmah’s manager Jermaine from Public Sector Entertainment said, “Karmah already has a really engaged fanbase through SoundCloud, Twitter and Instagram – but we know that as her career develops the thing that matters most is getting out in front of new fans who have never heard her music before – feature.fm has allowed us to do that in a way I have not seen from any other tool. Creating our first campaign with feature.fm took just a few minutes – and already we’re seeing some exciting results. I will definitely be using feature.fm with other artists I manage. We made a small spend to test the platform, but I’m already imagining if this campaign keeps running. With a £100 campaign spend, that could be over 6000 streams, and more than 380 engagements… With £200 campaign spend it could hit more than 12000 streams, and possibly as many as 750 engagements – and we will see some of that spend come back directly through streaming revenues. Longer term I’m sure that the value of developing these new fans is sure to pay off.

Get started with feature.fm today – look for the link backstage in your TuneCore account and sign up using that link to get some free feature.fm credit to use in your first campaign.

TuneCore Artists Earn $44 Million in Q2 2016

TuneCore is excited to share that in Q2 of 2016, our collective base of independent artists earned $44 million – a 24% increase from the second quarter of 2015. That means that since TuneCore launched in 2006, TuneCore Artists have earned $733 million from 36.5 billion downloads and streams.

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Once a contentious point of consideration for artists distributing new music, streaming has proven to be a choice method of consumption for fans, prompting artists to cast a wide net and make their music available on these platforms. In fact, we’re looking at an 82% increase in streaming growth, with top contributors including TIDAL (+157%), Amazon Music (+112%) and Spotify (+89%). Streaming has proven to be on the upswing around the world as well, specifically in Australia (+124%), UK (+97%), Germany (+108%) and India (+112%).

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The more fans’ access to music increases, the more music TuneCore Artists desire to create! We’re psyched to see that TuneCore Artists continue to distribute at a record pace all over the globe. Some of the fastest growing territories include India, Africa, Asia and South America:

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On the music publishing administration side of things, TuneCore Artists saw a 31% growth in gross revenue year over year. In addition, YouTube continues to be a lucrative platform for independent artists with gross revenue from YouTube Sound Recording experiencing a 110% increase and YouTube Art Tracks seeing a 384% increase in gross revenue growth.

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TuneCore’s fastest growing genre is K-Pop, which has increased by 147% since the second quarter of 2015 and is popular in markets including US, Canada and Australia. Additional fastest growing genres and their respective popular markets include:

  • R&B/Soul (+85%) in Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Netherlands & Sweden
  • J-Pop (+81%) in Japan, UK & France
  • Hip Hop/Rap (49%) in Netherlands, Mexico and Chile
  • Children’s Music (+42%) in Norway & Canada

You can head over to our awesome interactive infographic to explore which genres are doing well in every country in the world! 

Trending_Genres_HipHop_Worldwide

As we’ve launched new sites internationally, we’re also excited to announce that TuneCore’s local offerings in these markets are experiencing steady increases in customer growth: Germany (+221%), UK (72%) and Australia (+13%).

TuneCore_Website_Growth_Local

Here’s to another successful quarter for the members of our TuneCore Artist community!  For more information, don’t forget to check out our interactive infographic.

 

5 Tips To Avoid Ruining Your Mix With Muddy Sound

[Editors Note: This article was written by Scott Parsons and was originally featured on the LANDR Blog, of which he is the editor of! Make to check out LANDR Instant Mastering for an afford way to polish your new tunes.]

Just like Moms say: ‘leave the mud outside.’

A muddy mix sounds bad. If there’s mud then frequencies are fighting, nothing is popping, and it’s difficult to hear each part.

It used to happen to me all the time. My mixes would blur together into a giant ball of meh.

Everything sounded fine soloed, but my mixes lacked clarity and punch.

My tracks needed de-mudding.

It’s time to start leaving the mud out of your mix for good. Don’t waste time going back to clean it later. Use these tips to get better at mixing music.

Here’s everything you need to know to keep the mud where it belongs.

IT’S AN EQ THING

Fixing a muddy mix comes down to EQing.

EQing is adjustments you make to highs, mid-range, and lows of your sound.

Typically, a snare or a cymbal will register in the mid to high range. A kick drum or bass pad will show up in the lower mids or all the way in the lows.

The tricky part is that all sounds can register in the high, mid, and low frequencies.

For example, a snare or a vocal will tend to have some low frequencies that get cluttered up with all the other lows.

If you’re not sure what frequency is all about Google’s amazing new Spectrogram tool is a great way to visualize sounds. I recommend comparing the flute to the trombone.

CAN’T THE LOWS ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Low end instruments also end up fighting to stand out on the same frequencies. This causes some major mudding.

The cluttering of frequencies is what causes a muddy mix.

Fixing these elements will make your mix clearer, crisper and punchier.

Follow these simple steps to de-mud all your mixes.

1. CUT THE MUD FROM THE START

The easiest way to avoid a muddy mix is to ensure that you’re working with the cleanest possible samples and recordings.

If your tracks are crisp and polished from the beginning there will be less unwanted noise floating around.

Plus, the cleaner your tracks are, the more responsive they are to certain processes. It will make the cleaning process much easier later on.

If you start with Grade-A sound, it’s easier to get a Grade-A mix.

2. PANNING AGAINST THE MUD

When you’re getting a first rough mix together panning is crucial to set you up for success later. Plus it’s a good way to get a bit of the mud out of the mix early on.

Good panning will give each instrument its own space in the stereo image so it’s not fighting other instruments.

If you have lead vocals start by leaving them in the centre. Same thing goes for bass. Once you have those centred you can pan everything else around them.

Panning is a creative process, so your pans are up to you and your ear.

But try to keep instruments that sound similar on opposite sides from one another. Don’t hard pan all the way to the left or right unless it fits, just find a good medium.

You should also make sure that your mix isn’t left or right heavy. Poor panning can make your mix lopsided. So check for balance often.

Hot Tip: use headphones and monitors to get a full sense of what your pans are doing. Using only headphones gives you an overly exaggerated sense of your stereo image.

3. LISTEN TO EVERY TRACK SOLOED

You’ve probably already listened to your overall mix. That’s how you know if it’s muddy or not.

Now it’s time to solo each track and pinpoint where the biggest bad boominess problems are.

Start by soloing your lowest tracks. These will typically be a bass drum, or bass guitar. It’s best to start with your drums and go from there.

solo

Listen for any unwanted boominess (don’t try and fix it yet, just listen so you know what needs work).

Slowly unsolo each track and listen for which frequencies are fighting each other in that all-important mid-low frequency area.

To get a better sense of what’s clashing, I like to use a multi-channel frequency analyzer like Voxnego’s SPAN.

It’s one of many helpful free VST plugins. It will help you visually see where frequencies are clashing.

This will give you a good idea of what needs to be fixed during corrective EQing.

4. PARDON ME, BUT COULD YOU PLEASE PASS THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS?

Your best friend for corrective EQing is the high and low pass filter. You’ll notice a difference immediately.

When applied, a high pass filter allows only frequencies above a certain frequency to pass.

hipass

They’re perfect for getting rid of unwanted low end on tracks that register mainly in the higher frequencies—like vocals or a lead synth. Which means less mud.

Most DAW software has a simple EQ for all your high and low pass needs. I used EQ Eight in Bitwig.

A low pass is filter is the opposite of the high pass. It only let’s through the lows below the frequency you set.

Use it to roll off some of the highs that might be sneaking through into areas where you don’t need them.

Feel free to use the high and low pass filters to free up your best possible sound. They’re a perfect starting point for correcting EQ across your entire mix.

5. CARVING EQ

The most common part of a mix that gets muddy is the 200-500Hz area.

Fixing it is as easy as carving out a bit of space in these frequencies.

Carve

Go back to your EQ insert on the tracks that are still sounding a bit muffled. Select the frequency range that you’d like to target and tweak it until it’s sounding better.

Each audio track needs specific frequency settings and unique gain cuts.

So go through each track and carve out whatever sounds best for that track. But be careful. Removing too much can lead to a mix that’s too thin.

In this step you may have to sacrifice some good frequencies on a track in order to benefit your whole mix.

DIG DEEPER TO CUT YOUR MUD

Like all audio production, It’s important to start with the basics.

These tips will get you started with corrective EQ. But dig deeper into your mix and make changes on a micro level.

There are no overall best practices for EQing of this type.

Your music is unique. The only way to find your best sound is to tweak these concepts to your tracks.

That means listening to your mix on a deep level and applying corrective EQ that suits your track’s specific needs.

Free your sound from that nasty mud. Your mix will sound punchier, clearer and overall better.

Which is what everyone wants at the end of the day: better sound.

Why Cover Songs Are Great for Indie Artists – When Done Right!

The term ‘cover song’ evokes various feelings from music fans and creators alike. Say you head out to a bar or restaurant with friends only to find the night’s entertainment is a cover band of some sort – while the snobbier music fans may roll their eyes, for a majority of patrons it means one thing: fun! They already know the words, they can sing along, the songs are familiar and they might even bring out fond memories.

The same goes for recorded versions of cover songs: whether they’re on iTunes or Spotify or being performed and streamed over YouTube, as an artist, you’ve likely already won over a large audience of fans who already happen to love the original.

TuneCore is psyched to be introducing our newest service, CoverSong Licensing. We’ve partnered with Royalty Solutions, to allow independent artists to quickly acquire the necessary licenses to share and distribute their recorded cover songs with the world – without having to worry about whether they’ve taken all the correct legal steps, because we’ll have taken them for you. You never know how your cover song might take off, so it’s best that you have your ducks in a row legally so that you can play nice with the rest of the music community if your cover starts to gain some attention.

What’s particularly cool about cover songs are the various strategic benefits to sharing them with fans. Maybe you’re readying new stuff in the studio – why not offer a piece of content to those who are patiently waiting for new music? In between releases entirely? Gift your fans with some new music without having to rush to complete a single. Or perhaps it’s just been awhile since you posted a new YouTube video – cover songs are the perfect way to show that you, like your fans, are a fan of others’ music, too.

Not to mention the opportunities we’ve seen TuneCore Artists take advantage of when it comes to covering popular songs. During Taylor Swift’s controversial late 2014 removal from Spotify, punk group I Prevail seized the opportunity to release their own version of “Blank Space” – the result? Over 22 million views on YouTube to this day. I Prevail was also able to introduce their sound to tons of new ears by covering a song that is almost the polar opposite of their style.

Similarly, TuneCore Artist Karen Rodriguez has created big waves on the iTunes Charts with her Spanish language covers of massively popular hits like Adele’s “Hello“, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself“.

Now with TuneCore’s CoverSong Licensing, you can take that would-be one-off cover and distribute it on iTunes, Spotify and beyond – legally.

UK singer/songwriter Hannah Trigwell (who knows a thing or two about managing a YouTube Channel) has seen the benefits of covering other artists’ tunes, too: “Recording cover songs certainly helped to draw in an audience,” says Trigwell. “Playing covers was a way to initial introduce my sound and say, ‘Hey, look – this is what I do‘ before dropping my original material.”

When it comes to building a following, too, Hannah weighed in, “If there is a song that an indie artist feels passionate about and can get creative with, putting their own spin on it, I think it’s really beneficial. It becomes possible to reach the audience of the artist or band that you are ‘covering’ – and then if they like your sound or can even just connect with what you are doing then you are winning.”

Have we got you thinking about recording that next cover song yet? If you’re planning on trying to make some money with it on iTunes and Spotify, be sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s withTuneCore’s  CoverSong Licensing.

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Wednesday Video Diversion: March 23, 2016

It’s Wednesday again, and the dust from SXSW 2016 has settled. But guess what? That doesn’t mean you need to ‘settle’ with being bored in the middle of the afternoon. Wherever you are, turn up the volume and enjoy this eclectic round-up of TuneCore Artist videos:

Jessi Teich, “Wildfire”

Bugsy, “Hometown”

Gersey, “It Means Nothing”

Sarah Monique, “Te Quiero Solo a Ti”

George Ducas, “Party With Your Boots On”

Adore Delano, “Dynamite”

JoJo The Deity, “Don’t Lie”

Dylan Jakobsen, “Working Man”

Glass Gang, “Believe”

HOST, “All Night Every Night”

Interview: Pr0files – New Album, SXSW Trip, & More

Longtime pals Lauren Pardini and Danny Sternbaum originally collaborated on music under the moniker The Boy Traveler, alongside Sonny Moore (who’d later to go on to be known as Skrillex). After going on to create music separately – Lauren working with DJ Khalil, Danny with his band Baby Monster – it wasn’t until 2013 that they came together to once again write and record songs.

Thus birthing the project known as Pr0files who, “write songs about sex addiction, hypnotherapy and love.” If that description isn’t enough to keep you reading, we don’t know what is. They just released their debut Jurassic Technologie in February, and we’re excited to have the duo joining our TuneCore Showcase Day Party on Friday, March 18th at Vulcan Gas Co.

 

Danny and Lauren were kind enough to answer some questions for us regarding the collaboration, their new album, and their plans for 2016 after SXSW:

How did the two of you meet, and when/how did you click musically?

Lauren:  We can’t exactly pinpoint it, but we think we met in New York first when I was in college working at a recording studio. Friends of Danny were making a record there and we’re sure we met then; but we finally gelled when that band came out to LA and it just so happend we were both living there. Danny was running a recording studio, and we both loved Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. He’d practice learning to record on me when I played piano and sing! We literally grew up together in our music technique, it’s pretty wild.

Danny: Lauren often reminds me that I may have been dressed up as a dinosaur when we first hung out in LA. Don’t worry, it was Halloween.

After the departure from The Boy Traveler, you each went on to maintain successful music careers in different areas. What was the energy like when you began making music together again?

Lauren: It was so refreshing when we started working together again because we were always into electronica, and working with other people you don’t always end up working on your choice style of music. Danny was fresh off of touring Europe so he was really driven to get our project going because he wanted more of the same in his life.

Danny: After The Boy Traveler project came to an end I started a band called Baby Monster with another friend of mine. I had been doing a lot of studio work at the time, engineering, writing and producing for other artists, but being in that band really helped shift my focus to working on my own music. With Baby Monster I learned a lot about being an independent band. All of this really helps with Pr0files since we do virtually everything ourselves. We started Pr0files knowing just how much we could do on our own, which was – and still is – exciting and liberating for us.

Do you feel that after being apart musically in between the two projects gave you each a chance to collaborate in a whole new way? 

Lauren:Absolutely!

Danny: Yes, definitely! We were already fans of each other’s music so we went into this with the idea of just making some music together for fun and seeing what comes of it.

How do you use living in LA to influence or impact your songwriting and production styles?

Lauren: I truly believe that our music fares well in a car. I am ALWAYS in my car in LA, ha. Our studio is in downtown LA and it’s one of the coolest driving cities because there are a lot of hills and the freeways wind in and out of skyscrapers and mansions. I listen to our mixes and demos often at 1:00am on the ride home and the lights and the eerie emptiness LA nightlife has to offer really inspires me. I want our stuff to sound like driving in a video game or a movie and I do think our production goes there.

Danny: LA is such a multi-dimensional city with a lot contrasting elements, one obvious one being the beautiful weather with the grittiness of the city. I think our music reflects a lot of these contrasts.

Speaking of LA: as musicians, what do you consider to be some of the pros and cons of living in such entertainment-soaked city?

Danny: I moved to Los Angeles a week after I finished high school, so it’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like doing this anywhere else. One thing that is a pro as well as con is that it’s really easy to be seen and heard in this city. Many artists and musicians don’t get enough of a chance to develop their own identity before getting music industry people involved.

Lauren: It’s mostly pros. It’s definitely soaked, but it’s also a small world once you’re in it. I grew up in Philly and it’s much more difficult to get your music going there. Once I moved here, meeting the right people was so easy and meeting other people who love music as much as I do is a dream. I honestly, can’t think of any cons.

You’ve been accused of evoking happy and sad feelings simultaneously by more than one critic. Did this anecdote come as a surprise, or was it something you were going for? 

Lauren: Yes, we always say- we make “depression or disco.” I love to dance so even when I’m upset I make myself push through and socialize. I remember reading a quote once that said something along the lines that the point of life is to not to feel happy or sad, but to feel. That’s our whole mentality in this band.

Danny: Hah! I think that describes our music perfectly. Isn’t that what life is all about? It’s the contrasting emotions that keeps it all exciting.

What has gone into developing and mastering the right kind of live performance as a duo with so much sound?

Lauren: We spend a lot of time honing the live show. We want it to be theatrical with lighting and the set while incorporating our music talents which takes a lot of planning since we’re a DJ hybrid set-up. Danny designed all of our lights and then we remix the tracks for live too so we can play keyboards, guitars,bass and drums ourselves on a lot of it.

Danny: For us, the live show is just as important as the music. We try to create our own world and bring the audience there as well. There’s quite a theatrical element to it, lots of lights, fog, weird stuff. We’ve looked to some of our favorite bands for inspiration such as The Knife and NIN.

How do you plan to take advantage of all the opportunities abound during your debut SXSW as Pr0files? How can you draw on previous experiences with other music projects you’ve traveled there with?

Danny: So much incredible music happening this year and excited to try and see as much as we possibly can. Also l’m really looking forward to hearing Tony Visconti speak. I’m a fan of so many of the records he’s produced.

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The cover art for your debut full length Jurassic Technologie is awesome. Where did the name come from, and how do you feel the art represents you as a duo?

Lauren:  We named the album after “The Museum of Jurassic Technology” in Culver City. It’s a museum of oddities that is filled with some of the the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen. I went there on an epic date with my muse for the album and Danny went there with a friend.

In the end, my muse and I ended our relationship and Danny’s friend sadly passed away. We had the title for the album before we started making it, so it definitely ties into the whole happy-sad vibe for us. We both had great memories there and both of the people we experienced it with are no longer in our lives. We changed the “Technology” spelling to “Technologie” in an homage to our favorite French Touch bands like Daft Punk, Air & Justice.

Danny: We wanted the “Jurassic Technologie” cover art to reflect this modern  – mixed with 70s/80s –  sound of our record. We had this album title chosen long before we had even written a lot of the music on this record. I think it helped guide us in the overall sound and direction of the album in terms of having the classic feel paired with a modern approach.

What are your plans for riding the momentum of Jurassic Technologie’s release into the rest of 2016?

Lauren: We plan to tour. Getting lots of fans hitting us up everyday asking when we’re coming to them. It’s our number one priority.

Danny: Yes! Definitely touring and trying to get in front of as many people as we can. It already feels amazing to us just knowing that people are listening to and enjoying this record.