At the TuneCore dinner that CEO Andreea Gleason hosted for their roster of artists.

So you want to be a recording artist, either as a singer/songwriter, or interpreting the tunes composed by others. Do you wait to be ‘discovered’, then sign a recording contract with one of the established labels – or is that the ‘old days and ways’; and you recognize how the process has now been democratized by global digital platforms, and it’s easy and affordable for independent artists to be seen and heard?

For 16 years now, TuneCore, a subsidiary of Believe, has been pushing to put artists first, and provide them with options, packages, and a platform that allows them to better access the streaming platforms and social media apps that spell recognition and popularity. It may surprise to learn that among the artists who used TuneCore in its early days are Ed Sheeran, and Chance the Rapper. And that one of last year’s breakthrough artist, then 17-year-old Lauren Spencer-Smith, was also using TuneCore to promote her Fingers Crossed single. In fact, since Lauren’s video gained so much global attention, she was subsequently signed by Republic and Island Records. 

TuneCore’s global CEO Andreea Gleeson was in Manila, and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with her and Cyrus Chen, TuneCore SEA Head. Firmly established in the region in such countries as Indonesia and Thailand, both Andreea and Cyrus were very excited to be here, as they consider Philippines one of the emerging TuneCore markets, and it was time to jumpstart that process. 

And I was quick to remind them that when it comes to singing talent, present company excluded, the Philippines is known as a nation of singers and troubadours – and that there was a time when almost all hotel lobbies of note, throughout the region, would have a show band made up of Filipino singers and musicians. Music is in the blood of most Filipinos, and it’s often more a matter of exposure, marketing, and management to get them noticed.

With TuneCore, were talking of the platform that has played a vital role in democratizing access to music distribution for self-releasing artists. It was the first platform of its kind that didn’t take percentages off the artists. There’s no annual fee, and it’s the most affordable unlimited distribution plan. The dream for TuneCore SEA is to be the premier independent music ecosystem in Southeast Asia, and for both Andreea and Cyrus, the Philippines is an important link in achieving that. To help make the platform that much more accessible and easy to use, they’ve now partnered with GCash as a payment solution.

There are four basic packages to avail of within TuneCore. First is the New Artist plan, that allows the artist to test his or her music on social platforms, and there’s no upfront fee involved. Then there’s a Rising Artist plan that’s listed at $14.99/year, and on top of the social media platforms, you’re available on over 150 digital stores globally. Then there’s a Breakout Artist plan, and a Professional Artist plan. Head to TuneCore to understand the dynamics of each of these plans in detail. 

During a dinner hosted by TuneCore, the likes of Shyr Balagtas, Flow G., Bugoy na Koykoy, and CLR were in attendance, as part of the growing family of local artists with existing, or pending, affinity to the TuneCore ecosystem. Via TuneCore, they have control over the timing of music releases, and the promotional aspect of their music. It’s freedom in creativity that isn’t normally associated when one is signed to a label. 

Asked what particular genres of music are best represented by TuneCore, Andreea said they cut across all genres, but if you had to pinpoint the top two in terms of engagement and maximizing what the platform can offer, they would be Hip-Hop and Electronic Dance Music (EDM). 

If you had to encapsulate what TuneCore represents, it’s about giving independent artists the encouragement to create, to experiment, to have fun, and not having to wait until some label ‘discovers’ them. Do I hear you tuning your guitars and stretching your fingers to attack those keyboards?

Source: Manila Bulletin (