TuneCore founders Price and Wells exit

Tom Pakinkis

Tunecore founders Jeff Price and Peter Wells have left the online distribution company.

The news was confirmed by Price, who is also CEO and president of Tunecore, in an open letter (below).

Although no clear reason for the departures is given in the letter, Price does suggest that the pair will remain in the music industry saying, “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.”

Billboard sources suggested that the Tunecore board voted to oust Price from his position of president and CEO on July 20, although Price denied to the publication on July 26 that the board had taken that action.

Speculation points to dissatisfaction from the board over the company’s financial situation or Price’s refusal to close deals with digital service providers unless they agreed to pay Tunecore the publishing for the music distributed.

In an email to Billboard, Peter Wells said, “Regarding my leaving TuneCore: I wasn't terminated: my position was dissolved. I'm saddened that, at the time, TuneCore didn't find a way to keep me on board, I know I have a lot to contribute. And I'm dismayed I wasn't given the chance to carve out a place for myself either. But I left with handshakes and good-feeling all around, and Jeff was still very much CEO.

"That being said, I certainly didn't want to go. Now that Jeff's terminated, I'm seeing things in a new light, and I'm deeply concerned. My very first title at TuneCore was 'Customer Advocate' -- something we made up, because we wanted someone at the root of the company ready and able to go to bat for the artist. When my position was dissolved, I at least knew Jeff would still be there to fight for artists. We'll have to see if the company stays with the principles Jeff and I worked so hard to instill."

Jeff Price’s letter on the matter can be read in full below:

"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."


Tags: distribution, Digital, People, Tunecore, jeff price, peter wells

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