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.

iTunes Holiday 2017 Delays & Closures – Plan Ahead!

You read that right, folks! We’re already approaching the holiday season, and once again we’re here to remind you that it’s imperative to be prepared if you’re planning on distributing music during November and December. Like many of us, our pals at iTunes and other digital store partners take time off during the holiday, resulting in potential delays.

See below for some guidelines that’ll ensure you have a successful release just in time for the holidays:

  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Friday, November 17th and Friday, December 1st you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 7th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 2nd and Friday, December 8th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 14th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 9th and Friday, December 22nd you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 28th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 23rd and Sunday, January 7th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, December 12th.

In order to make sure that you don’t miss the release date for your song or album, plan ahead and distribute your new music as soon as you can to avoid getting caught in holiday closings/delays. The earlier you get your new music on iTunes and other stores, the more time your fans will have to buy it!

If you’re not ready to release that album just yet, we always recommend releasing a single early to garner some excitement!

Regardless of how your fans celebrate the holidays, give them the chance to use your music as a soundtrack – distribute your holiday music today!

Wednesday Video Diversion: October 11, 2017

Happy Wednesday everyone. Time to divert your attention from whatever it was you were up to before reading this entry to kick back, relax, and enjoy some awesome music videos from our ever-growing community of TuneCore Artists. What are we celebrating this week? Well, did you know that on this day just a few years back in 2009, Barbra Streisand went to #1  on the U.S. album charts with Love Is The Answer? Yeah, that doesn’t seem like anything worth mentioning, until you realize that she’s the ONLY artist to have a number one album in the States in FIVE different decades. That’s why Barbra’s the queen!

Sharon Needles, “Battle Axe”


Lucy Cavalier, “Put You Down”


Rob $tone, “Holy Grail (feat. Malik Burgers)”


Tetrarch, “Oddity”


Robbie Williams, “Go Mental (feat. Big Narstie & Atlantic Horns)”


The Ace Family, “You’re My Ace”


Kado Barlatier, “Komplete Strangers”


Falling Through April, “Desperate Measures”


Trenton, “Ghost Runner”

Getting Social Series: Astronautalis Talks Channeling Creativity on Social

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Getting Social” Series, wherein we showcase TuneCore Artists and music marketing pros who offer insight on social strategy for independents. Because after all, there’s more to social media than sharing tour dates and funny pictures!

Today we’re sharing an interview with indie MC Astronautalis (AKA Andy Bothwell). Hailing from Minneapolis, Astronautalis has been releasing albums since 2003, blending hip hop with elements of indie rock and electronic music, (among other genres). His songwriting is a force to be reckoned with – no obscure subject is off limits, and few MCs possess the topic bank and flow to make things your high school history teacher forgot about captivate an audience.  Astronautalis has built his fan base in sync with the progression of social media in mainstream culture, and was named a top Instagram follow by Pigeons and Planes. We discuss his interest in photography, using social to promote new releases and more below:

You recently released The Very Unfortunate Affairs of Mary & Earl – tell us about this ‘historical fiction’ album and how your fans have been reacting to it.

Astronautalis: Technically, it is a re-release of a very old EP I made for a vinyl only release on a small label in Germany several years ago. It was my first foray into working “historical-fiction” into rap music, and based on the rather star-crossed love affair between Mary Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, Scotland.   Hepburn is actually a VERY distant relative, and the story, (which involves murder, kidnapping, black magic, and more), has always been a point of great fascination for me. The process of writing creatively from history was such a thrill for me on this project, it became a bit of a hallmark for my next two full-length records.

Has the amount of time you dedicate to social media changed as your fan base has grown?

Yes, several times, actually. Initially, back in the MySpace era, I used social media to book tours, talk to the few fans I had, and lay the meager little foundation that I would later build my career upon. MySpace messages made things a lot more long form then they are now in the world of Twitter and communicating through the comments section. Back then, I wrote back EVERYONE who wrote me, in a true and full response. Even with my small fan base, it became quite the undertaking, and as things expanded, I found that I didn’t have the time to write so extensively to fans.

Twitter couldn’t have come along at a better time. It was quite the revolution to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone, but within the inherent limitations of the format it became less like letter writing, and more like text messaging, and thusly, more manageable. Lately, I find myself focusing less on Twitter, and even less on Facebook still. They are still both important tools for my business, but I get little reward from them personally. And while I am still engaging with fans on both sites, and using both as business tools, the only social media I engage in with any great passion is Instagram. I, personally, find it much more rewarding to scroll through an endless stream of beautiful photos, as opposed to people being outraged over Beyonce’s Grammy snub, you know?

Do you feel your fan base is one that is very plugged in?

Certainly! Isn’t everyone of a certain age, or younger? I think people are so plugged in at this point, they do not have an understanding of what it means to be NOT plugged in, you know? When the revolution in the Ukraine started last year, it was insane to be able to not just talk directly to people who were on the ground in Kiev, but people who knew my music? Everything about that is so bizarre to me. The reach of all things in the modern age, even weirdo rap music, is nothing short of mind blowing.

What do you like (and/or dislike?) about the process of building excitement and dropping a new release on social?

The things I dislike about the process are really only the things I dislike about social media in general, and the level of laziness it fosters in people at times. People using social media to ask questions that could be solved with a short Google search, and what not. (Which is pretty much the main annoyance faced by any artist who is really connected and involved with their social media).

Aside from sometimes feeling like a butler, pretty much every other aspect of releasing and promoting through social media is fantastic! Working on a record is arduous and exhausting work; totally mentally and emotionally draining. You spend the better part of the entire process second-guessing everything from your lyrics to your album art, to your choice to start rapping when you were 12. When the album comes out, your social media is the thing that builds you back up. It is like having every person, from every show you are about to play, all in one room at once, cheering you on; and you would have to be a total asshole to not love and appreciate that support/ego stroking.

Between Facebook and Twitter, you boast over 69K followers/fans – which of these two comes most into play during a touring stretch?

Facebook has become all about business for me at this point. I use it to post the brass tacks about shows and tours and releases, especially on and around said tours and releases. Twitter really gets the most use in my life once I hit the road, partially because it becomes a great way to interact with folks before, during, and after shows. Also there is A LOT of time to kill on those van rides, and once you have run out of podcasts and you can’t play Mario Kart anymore, Twitter is always there for you with some excellent diversion.

Similarly, how do you feel you interact with your fans differently in general when it comes to those two channels?

As I said above, Facebook is become so about business and promotion, with little personal flair, that most of the fan interaction has turned that way as well. Even though it is host to my largest number of followers, I found pretty early on that people don’t like it when you use the Facebook page like Twitter. They get annoyed if you post a lot through the Facebook page. So, I try to keep it short, sweet, and down to business. As a result, much of the folks writing me on Facebook keep to that tone as well, (i.e. asking for show/tour details). On Twitter is where the interaction becomes much more personal, and I’ll find myself discussing everything from sports, to rap, to Target’s line of “50 Shades of Grey” sex toys. Facebook is where you go for stuff about “Astronautalis”. Twitter is where you go to talk to Andy, if that makes sense?

You were named one of the top 25 indie artists to follow on Instagram – and for a good reason. Has photography/visual art always been an interest of yours?

My mother was a photographer and a photography teacher, so I grew up in a dark room. And while I have always owned cameras, and taken photos, for me, it was always a hobby. Honestly, till Instagram.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.53.30 AM

Where/when do you find yourself getting inspired to share photos most often? Or do you feel it’s more of a random happening?

One of the reasons I have latched onto Instagram was the creativity it fosters IN me. While it is a great creative outlet, and a nice distraction from music for me, the thing I enjoy the most is having an endless stream of great photos to look through all day. Seeing the world though all of those people’s eyes has pushed me to see photos everywhere and made me think more like a photographer. While the most popular photos I post are certainly the ones taken on tour in exotic locales, showing things most people have never seen, some of my favorites are the ones I take just strolling through my neighborhood in Minneapolis.

What tips do you have for an independent artist who’s trying to tighten their Instagram game up?

I think it starts with what is in your feed. If you just follow your friends posting pictures of themselves at parties, or shots of food they eat, chances are that is what your feed will end up looking like as well. Think of Instagram differently then other social media. Use Twitter and Facebook for socializing, but use Instagram for inspiration. If you follow great photographers, you’ll start thinking more like a photographer, just by osmosis. But, take it from me, when you start unfollowing your friends because their pictures suck…you better think of a nice way to explain it to them. People take this stuff SERIOUS!

Your career has really progressed almost parallel to that of social media’s presence in mainstream culture. Do you feel this gave you a leg up in terms of how you engage fans now?

I think so. For myself, and a lot of artists who adopted social media early, we were already sharp on a lot of the ins and outs, while most of the big guys and major label artists were still scrambling to figure out what the hell a tweet was, you know? Social media is not the real world: there is a whole different set of social morals to live by online, and a lot of which are still being written. I think the early adopters have proven to be more nimble in adapting to change, and more innovative when it came to making change in how this relatively new set of tools can be used.

What newer opportunities do you see for independents in hip hop when it comes to marketing their music online?

Rap music is going through a really exciting stratification right now. Rap has replaced rock as the language of pop music, and as you see rap coming out of all these strange places and faces, it is producing an infinite amount of sub-genres within the framework of “rap”. From a creative standpoint, I think this is astoundingly exciting. Thankfully, we live in a technological environment that allows artists to use the pinpoint marketing power of social media to find fans for their version of rap, no matter what obscure sub-genre of a sub-genre they occupy. And as the technology grows and improves, our power in that realm will only grow and improve as well. It is in exciting time for democratization of the business of art.

What’s in store for Astronautalis in 2015?

Well, I finished a new record (shopping that to labels now). I am re-releasing my entire back catalogue of rarities (about 8 EPs or so?) in the coming weeks. I have been working on a performance art piece with some British artists at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Starting on a couple of rad musical side projects. Sketching some ground plans for a top-secret non-musical project this summer. Touring a bunch in the states and Europe. And hopefully riding the hell out of my motorcycles as soon as the snow thaws…if not sooner.

Maximizing Facebook Ads On an Indie Budget

[Editors NoteThis is a guest blog post written by Don Bartlett, owner of No Door Agency, an Austin, TX-based boutique management and marketing agency. Don also hosts a monthly seminar titled “Facebook Marketing For Musicians.]

Independent artists are constantly looking for ways to eke maximum value from very limited promotion budgets. As Facebook continues to solidify its position at the center of the social media ecosystem, many conversations revolve around taking advantage of their incredibly powerful advertising tools.

The primary hesitations about the platform tend to be some combination of “it’s too expensive” and “we don’t see results”, but by sticking to a few core targeting and budgeting strategies you can take advantage of Facebook’s promotional benefits without going broke in the process.

In our experience you don’t need to spend a lot of money on Facebook advertising to get concrete results. However, if you’re working with a modest budget, it’s even more critical to structure your campaigns in a way that delivers the most value.

To this end, start with a premise: The bulk of your “results” – ticket sales and album sales in most cases – are going to come from your existing fans. Using Facebook ads to increase this pool is a separate topic entirely, but once a show is on sale your focus should shift to those who have already identified themselves as fans.

The most effective way to spend money on Facebook by a wide mile is reaching this group of people. On the surface this seems like a very easy concept and in many ways it is. So why do so many bands have a tough time getting results from their campaigns? In many cases, they’re spending too much.

Let’s look at an example…let’s say a band has 500 Facebook fans in Chicago, and they have an upcoming Windy City show scheduled that they’d like to promote:

Assuming a typical ad cost of about $10 per 1,000 people reached, a budget of $10 will reach all of those fans, likely twice each.

Since these 500 people are our most-likely ticket buyers, we always suggest reaching them three different times leading up to a show. However, these three campaigns should to be separated from each other by some “dead air” time where people won’t be seeing your ad.

Think of it as a reminder. This is a group of people who already likes your band, so they don’t need to be persuaded – they just need to be reminded. And if you remind someone about something five times a day, they’ll be annoyed. If you remind them every week or two, they’ll appreciate it.

So ideally, the band creates three different campaigns budgeted at $10 each, for a total of $30. It’s important to note here that this is very different from a single campaign for $30.

With the 10/10/10 model, they’ve got 100% coverage of their fans a few different times, but not to the point where they’re being bombarded six times a day for a month.

So to reach the 500 fans in this example $30 is not only all you need to spend, it’s all you SHOULD spend. Unfortunately many bands think that by pushing the budget up to $100 is going to give an extra push to ticket sales, when the reality is that it won’t help – and often it hurts. When people see your ad too many times they often will block or hide the ad posts, which negatively affects your page’s organic reach down the line.

There are certainly ways to put an additional $70 to good use, but that isn’t one of them. And the bulk of actual ticket sales are always to your existing fans so spending the $30 is critical, but spending the additional $70, even when done correctly, is far, far less critical.

Which brings us to another critical component of campaign structure: Your ads to existing fans should always be separate from any other targets.

As your most-likely ticket buyers, you want to ensure 100% coverage of this target. With other targets, you’re just looking to reach as many people as possible within your budget. So instead of running one campaign to “fans of our band, fans of Band X and fans of Band Y”, you should run one campaign to “fans of our band”, budgeting to ensure full coverage, and then a separate one to “fans of Band X and Band Y”.

To be sure, there are plenty of other elements that go into successful Facebook Ad campaigns. But following these targeting and budgeting strategies will put any campaign in a much better position to maximize the value of limited budgets.

Making That First Sale: 5 TuneCore Artists Sound Off

By Dwight Brown & Kevin Cornell

Jay Z, The Civil Wars, Nine Inch Nails, Ed Sheeran, Drake, Sara Bareilles, La Santana Cecilia, Joan Jett, Hunter Hayes, Boyce Avenue… What do they all have in common, besides having had their music distributed by TuneCore at some point?  They all had to sell their first single or album to start their recording careers.

Just like these successful musicians, you have to get started somehow. And when you finally make that first-sale, you’ll never forget it.

These 5 TuneCore Artists recently talked about their “First Time.” Check it out:

“I sent out emails to my fans letting them know if they set up a PayPal account and didn’t like my song, I would refund ‘em a dollar or $8.99 plus taxes, all to make my fans happy. I haven’t had to refund a song yet.”
KoBoogie (Hip Hop)

“I was a senior in high school and I had just released my first single. I remember anxiously checking my TuneCore account to see how many songs I had sold. When the report came in, I was blown away by the amount of support the community had shown.”
Dylan Russell (Country)

“I put my song “Dreamin” on iTunes. I was so excited, I told everyone at work. A sweet lady bought it. So exciting!”
John Scott (Singer/Songwriter)

“My first album sale made me feel like I was Michael Jackson… I ain’t a gospel artist, but when I saw that sale I was singing ‘Hallelujah, thank you Jesus & praise the Lord.’ It’s a good feeling when the time you put into an album gets rewarded with a sale.”
Great Grand Daddy (Hip Hop)

“Shortly after I began distributing music via TuneCore, I began performing at concerts, doing small tours, etc. After I finished my very first show, I was asked about my music, and it felt good to have people go in iTunes and have access to my records.”
Lmntry (Hip Hop)

When you sell your first single, EP or album it’ll be a euphoric moment you’ll never forget.

Making that first sale? You will get there. And if you remember that ‘first sale feeling’, whenever it was, share ’em with us below in the comments – don’t be shy!