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TuneCore is aiming to do for music publishing what it has done for digital distribution: make it easier for independent artists to get paid. Its new TuneCore Songwriter Publishing Administration Service, unveiled Wednesday, gives songwriters an easy way to sign up for global publishing administration. The service's president is Jamie Purpora, the former EVP of Music Publishing Administration at Bug Music Publishing.
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A songwriter who registers with TuneCore's songwriter service will have his or her songs registered with organizations that collect publishing royalties. TuneCore is not taking the place of organizations like BMI and ASCAP, but will work with those and other organizations to make sure its clients' royalties are collected. And through TuneCore's in-house licensing department, the company will handle requests for sync licenses on behalf of the songwriter.
The pricing is straightforward. The songwriter service will cost songwriters a one-time payment of $49.99 plus a 10-percent fee on all royalties collected. The service is currently open only to artists who use TuneCore for distribution, but the company says it plans to open up the service to all rights holders in the near future.
TuneCore claims several hundred songwriters - including digital distribution client Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails - already signed up for the service during its beta period.
Publishing is so ripe for a disruptive business model that TuneCore isn't even the first to launch an independent-minded publishing service. Songtrust launched to the public in March 2011 as a way for songwriters without publishing deals to register their songs, collect royalties and take advantage of sync licensing opportunities. It charges only an upfront fee - it can range from $50 to $200 - and returns all royalties to songwriters. The company is a division of Downtown Music LLC. It was founded by Justin Kalifowitz, President of Downtown Music Publishing and Josh Deutsch, Chairman/CEO of Downtown Music.
A staff full of publishing veterans will help Purpora: Nicholas Boski is Executive Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel. He practiced at his own firm, The Boski Law Firm PLLC, and also worked at Warner Music Group. Julie Foist, formerly of Windswept/Bug Music Publishing, is Manager Film & Visual Media Licensing. Two other former Bug employees are also on board: Registration Specialist Jeremy Crowther and Publishing Administrator Megan Grosz.
In addition, Fred Bourgoise, co-founder of Bug Music Publishing, began working with TuneCore's publishing service an as advisor and now is on TuneCore's board of directors.