Digital distribution companies TuneCore and Believe Digital have announced a partnership today (April 16) which they hope will improve the services they provide to their customers — and give them increased leverage for negotiations with digital services like Spotify and Tidal.
“We can negotiate much better conditions combined. This gives us a size that will be a key advantage in [negotiations] with those services,” Believe Digital CEO Denis Ladegaillerie tells Billboard.
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The two companies will now be under the same organization, but remain operationally separate (requests for details of that structure were declined). “The idea is to combine forces in a way so that TuneCore remains TuneCore, and Believe remains Believe, and we leverage the international presence of both,” says Ladegaillerie. While estimates of their combined client base weren’t given, the largely U.S.-based TuneCore and the European-focused Believe claim they will now be representing, in one capacity or another, 25 to 30 percent of the new music uploaded to iTunes each day.
TuneCore — which focuses on “the artist that wants to do everything themselves,” TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman tells Billboard — and Believe — which “does more of the hand-holding,” says Ackerman, with marketing, radio promotions, project management among those services — would look to be a complimentary one-stop for a wider range of artists. Figures for Believe weren’t available at press time, though TuneCore claimed to have seen the revenue generated from streaming double, a figure that’s likely still on the increase, going by the latest numbers from the IFPI, released Tuesday (April 14).
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It’s an important benchmark as the streaming transition continues, with many (including Willard Ahdritz, CEO of rival Kobalt, in a Wired UK cover story this month) stressing that less artists would be wary of streaming if transparency was paramount. “The major labels have not done the work to explain the model to their artists,” Ladegaillerie says, explaining that “a significant number of artists in our catalog make more money in streaming than downloads.” As well, education in the sector is important — just ask Bjork.
“I had one conversation,” says Ladegaillerie, “with an artist in Europe that was questioning streaming — Bjork — because no one took the time to explain it to her. And now her album is available on streaming.”