How do you get your music on iTunes? People have asked me this before, and I have had to say, “I have no idea.”
I found out this morning: You either have a contract with a record label that puts your music on iTunes (and/or the many other music services on the internet), or you pay an aggregator to store your works, and make it available to the various music stores.
This process will only take 9% to 50% of the profits of your music for the first few years. Which means that, after the iTunes' cut of about 20¢ on a 99¢ track you might, if you got a good deal, make 71¢ per track. Conversely, if you got the 50% contract, you might make in the neighborhood of 40¢.
Considering that it costs around $5000 to record and master a twelve track album, one would have to sell a ton of product to recoup costs. And that is a “budget” album.
If you are a musician who would like to try a different route, check out tuneCORE™. This service lets you send in your album, EP, or single for distribution on iTunes US store, Rhapsody, and any combination of four other iTunes stores around the world.
tuneCORE™ does cost something, but you don't surrender your rights and ownership of your music. It is also non-exclusive. Fees look like this: 99¢ for a one time delivery fee to iTunes US, and if you want to go to other stores, it is 99¢ per store. After that, there is a yearly $7.98 fee per album, EP, or single for maintenance.
They also handle your album artwork, and the liner notes, so that those are available to your adoring fans.
Sound cool? Check out tuneCORE™, and if you decide to try it, let me know how it works out. I don't have an album yet, but I am thinking hard about it, and this looks like a good way to distribute.