Artists control their rights, masters.

TuneCore, a new online digital distributor targeting indie labels went live today (Jan. 25). The new company offers a different business model from existing indie-friendly digital distributors--a point of differentiation that TuneCore founder and CEO Jeff Price is happy to explain.

“A lot of these (digital distributors) are merely Fed Ex,” says Jeff Price, who also founded (and still co-owns) the indie label SpinART. “If you had to drop your cd in a package to send it to Apple, Fed Ex would charge you a shipping cost. You wouldn’t turn to Fed Ex and say I’m now going to give you a percentage of revenue from the sale of my music moving forward. That’s ridiculous.”

Acts signing up with the digital distributor will keep control of all of their rights, their masters and 100% of the money from the digital sale of their music. TuneCore charges a one-time delivery charge of $0.99 per song to get music in the TuneCore system and a yearly maintenance fee of $7.98 per album. Included in these costs is delivery to iTunes U.S. To add music to other services, users are charged a one-time delivery charge of $0.99 per store/service per album.

Price says the company has deals in place with Apple's iTunes store and Real's Rhapsody, with other deals to be announced "in the next few weeks.”

Price's spinART, currently home to artists such as Frank Black, The Apples in Stereo and Richard Thompson, may offer some synergy for his new business. "I could offer a production and distribution deal through spinART," says Price, speaking of artists who may want physical distribution as well as digital.

Frank Black is the first artist to sign with TuneCore. More information can be found on their Web site.