TuneCore Founders Exit Company Via Open Letter and Amid Rumored Ouster

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After several weeks of rumors, TuneCore CEO/President Jeff Price announced today that he and co-founder Peter Wells have left the company. 

TuneCore is an online distribution service that allows independent artists to sell their music at online retailers like iTunes and Amazon. With advocates such as Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, the Pixies' Frank Black and the band The Civil Wars, along with scores of independent musicians, it grew from its founding in 2005 to claim 10 percent of iTunes' 20 million songs and four percent of all digital sales, according to the New York Times. The company launched a publishing division in 2011. 

LIST: THR's 2012 Digital Power 50

Reports of infighting at TuneCore -- and rumors that Price had been pushed out -- began surfacing late last month but were strenuously denied by sources close to the situation, although reports of hostile relations between people at the company continued. Price's no-nonsense approach to press, which some would call attention-grabbing, has also been cited as a source of tension. 

Price announced his exit in the form of an open letter posted on his blog. In it, he boasts that TuneCore's 610 million music units netted acts some $310 million, or 25% of music giant Universal's digital sales, and "changed the global music industry." Price does not divulge his next move only to say that an announcement is forthcoming. 

Billboard.biz and THR will have more on the situation as it develops.  

Read Price's announcement in its entirety below:

August 15th, 2012

Peter Wells, Gary Burke and I launched TuneCore on January 25, 2006. Our motto and mission: for artists to “sell their music not their soul.” We envisioned changing the global music industry for artists for the better by serving, not exploiting, them. TuneCore’s impact was significant and immediate. It turned the industry on its head by removing gatekeepers, allowing all artists onto the shelves of the digital music services while not requiring them to give up rights and revenue from the sale of their music. It also provided the industry’s first transparent royalty system with easy 24/7 real time access. In late 2011, phase two of TuneCore launched with the announcement of its Global Publishing Administration service, allowing any songwriter access to a global publishing administration deal. This first-of-its-kind global pipeline permits all songwriters to access their additional royalties and enforce their copyrights while maintaining control and ownership of their songs.

With our vision, guidance, execution and hard work we made TuneCore the leader in its space as the largest music distribution and publishing entity in the world. From just three people in 2006, TuneCore grew to over 40 employees working out of the headquarters in Brooklyn, NY and the Publishing Administration office in Burbank, CA.

I am announcing today that I am no longer CEO/President of TuneCore and co-founder Peter Wells is no longer working with TuneCore.

Under our tenure, TuneCore took take significant market share away from the traditional major labels. As of July, 2012, TuneCore artists represent over 4% of all US gross digital music sales revenue and have sold over 610,000,000 units of music generating over $310,000,000 in gross music sales. More than four songs a second are sold on iTunes somewhere in the world by a TuneCore artist. Through the execution of the vision and the trust of the artist, TuneCore achieved about 40% of the market share of EMI and 25% of the market share of Universal in regards to digital music sales in the United States.

We were also able to attract artists across the spectrum: from emerging artists to the older legends and the new legends. Artists such as Drake, Soulja Boy, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Zac Brown Band, Hoodie Allen, Civil Wars, Lecrea, Boyce Avenue, Kelly, Colt Ford, Ed Sheerhan, Alex Day, Aretha Franklin, Jay Z, Girl Talk, Blood On The Dancefloor, Jason Mraz, Nice Peter, Tiesto and hundreds of thousands more used TuneCore to place number one albums and songs on iTunes, Amazon and many other digital stores, breaking the control of the traditional industry while democratizing it.

Under our leadership, TuneCore changed the global music industry, provided hundreds of thousands of artists access to digital music services, shifted the power of the industry to the artist while administering hundreds of millions of dollars back into their hands under a new model, all while growing the company into a global force.

Peter and I look forward to continuing to change the industry on a global scale to the further betterment of artists, songwriters and investors and to issuing our next announcement.

For More Information:

347-688-6451 – ph

Twitter: @THRMusic