If Tunecore can't be legitimately described as a scam, of unimaginable proportion, it certainly can be described as a business that performs so badly for the majority of its customers - considering the promotional rhetoric, you have to wonder on its survival, which may be entirely dependent on its "Go see a Lawyer stance" when dealing with complaints from customers, Lawyers that they cannot afford.
From the 'July Artist Revenue' figures posted by CEO Jeff Price in 2011, it's fairly straightforward for any Statistician to estimate an overall picture of the Tunecore business model, using sophisticated charting software.
The figures published depict the top 5938 artists' July earnings, $100 being artist 5938's revenue up to $145.283,56 for artist number 1, that month. Tunecore's total artist count at that time can be estimated at around 620,000, from an official figure of 600,000 given in April 2011, and a figure of 700,000 given recently.
So in the data supplied we're looking at 0.958% of Tunecore artists, less than 1%.
Artist 3559 in the list had a revenue figure of $199.93, the figures then run down incrementally to the aforementioned artist 5938's revenue of $100. Now we can use these 2380 artists to plot a chart, and then predict fairly accurately the number and earnings of Tunecore artists that earn less than $100.
We have predicted that 7938 artists earn $5 - $100, and 794 artists earn $0.01 - $5.00, again on an incremental scale. We've separated out the 794 because it costs around $5 a month to place an album with Tunecore.
In summary therefore, we can say that 13921 Tunecore artists earn more than $5 a month, and 686,079 artists don't make enough money from their music sales to cover their Tunecore costs.
Even if we allow for a sensible factor of misprediction of the charting, we can comfortably assert that around 97% of Tunecore artists don't cover their Tunecore fees from their music sales, and expect the actual figure to be worse, or only very marginally (0.02%) better.
On current figures, based on artists paying an average of $5 a month, Tunecore's revenue from artists' fees for the next 12 months could be $42 million, therefore, $41,160,000 will come from artists that will never recover their costs in this 'venture,' and by far the vast majority of these artists will make very little indeed, if anything at all.
When you also take into consideration that a significant proportion of Tunecores big earners are established artists and artists that are signed to labels, and, its not an uncommon story to hear that artists are refused payouts because of alleged licensing issues, the bottom line value of Tunecore to the DIY artist is at the very least 'questionable.'
Jeff Price has been asked directly in his Tunecore forum to clarify the number or percentage of Tunecore artists that don't make enough from their sales to cover his fees, he has so far ignored these requests.
Our figures have been passed on to the relevant national bodies for their investigation.