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We want to hear how TuneCore has influenced your career! Tell us your story on Instagram using hashtag #IndependentAF and tagging TuneCore.
KenTheMan was driving for Uber and delivering for Door Dash just one year ago. After TuneCore distributed her song “He Be Like,” she was able to quit those jobs. She commented “TuneCore straight up changed my life. I would write songs in between deliveries and when I started being true to myself, being real, that’s when I blew up. I’m not trying to get any kind of record deal where artists only get a small percentage and they have to give up rights to their own music. Why would I, when TuneCore pays me 100% of what I’ve earned and I get to keep my rights.”
As the first artist signed to TuneCore and Believe’s PIVTL Projects, Joey has been able to exercise his right to ownership while receiving label support that so many independent acts are missing out on. “The platform itself makes you want to keep making music and it’s so easy to put it in front of people,” says the New York and California based rapper. Once he began distributing with TuneCore, he went from struggling rapper to successful businessman. Today, with the support from TuneCore and PIVTL Projects, Joey has exceeded over 50 million streams on Spotify alone and even started a label of his own, Young Rich Squad.
Ghana native Kwesi Arthur exploded into the music scene back in 2016 with his single, “Grind Day”. The 25-year-old became the youngest Ghanaian to be nominated for a BET Award for ‘Best New International Act’ in 2018. Since his viral single, Kwesi has expanded international reach and continues to grow his fanbase. “[With TuneCore] I can decide when to put out music and do my shows and not wait for someone else to tell us what to do because they’re giving us money.” By using TuneCore to distribute across all streaming platforms, Kwesi can focus on his artistry and expanding his fanbase.
TuneCore artist Yung Gravy went from a rapping jokester to a meme-ified EP in 2016 to a label deal with Republic Records by 2018. Along the way, the 24-year old has used TuneCore to fund his career and support him along his creative journey. “I researched which music distribution was the best, and it was the most respected, most used one. So I ended up picking Tunecore.” Yung Gravy’s ability to have full control over his creativity and direction in his artistry has been supported by TuneCore since day one. His latest release, “Gasanova”, has already exceeded several million streams on Spotify alone, with impressive collaborators including Chief Keef. His advice to his fans? “Be super unique and don’t follow the trends. Create your own lane and don’t follow what everyone else is doing.”
Kota the Friend is a Brooklyn-based MC with a cult following and a mission to use his platform as a way of speaking up on issues that matter to him. At a time when socially and politically driven lyricism is needed more than ever, Kota has also been outspoken about the freedom he's benefitted from by owning his masters. "It’s freedom. When you own things, it’s like holding the key to your destiny," he says. "Being independent allows me the freedom and flexibility to be genuinely myself and to talk about the issues that are important and be vocal when I wanna be vocal, and be quiet when I wanna be quiet."
OutKast. Waka Flocka Flame. Bun B. Jeezy. These are just a few of the artists rapper/producer Drumma Boy has collaborated over a celebrated career. But aside from the hits and awards, Drumma attributes much of his success to owning what he's created. "Ownership is just key," he said. "Having something to stand on. All my publishing checks, percentages, royalties, residuals, those are things that are constantly in rotation while you sleep." When it comes to his ability to get releases live and collect 100%? "TuneCore has been huge to allow me a platform to be on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, any online music platform. You name it, we’re there, and it’s been through TuneCore."
TuneCore can be an alternative to a traditional record label, but we know our artists all have different relationships and label-aspirations. Take Snow Tha Product, for example: the hip hop artist was signed to the iconic major Atlantic Records for several years before parting ways to become her own boss. What Snow found most freeing about her transition back to being an independent artist was a newfound ability to drop music whenever she feels like it. "For seven years, I never released music because it wasn’t good enough, or there was no plan, or the people at the label left to another label," she recalls. "A lot of times, when I’m releasing a song, I’m tired from shooting and editing my own videos. But the freedom of getting the song up and not having to hear from a label…The freedom to be an independent artist would be nothing if you didn’t have the freedom to drop whenever you want."
Last year, the Perth-based singer, rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist committed to releasing 26 singles and videos over the course of 26 weeks. Jaycee’s work ethic, DIY approach, and ability to utilize all the resources at his fingertips reinforce the concept of what it means to be independent in 2020. “I saved up a small amount of money, purchased the bare essentials required, and set up a small home studio in a spare bedroom,” says Jaycee. His hit single, ‘Time To Go’ held the number #1 spot on the Triple J Unearthed Hip-Hop charts for two weeks in a row. With TuneCore, Jaycee has received label level artist services-- “but without any strings attached.”
Like many TuneCore artists, PRISCA balances time working on her own recordings and songwriting ‘behind the scenes’ in the studio. In 2015, PRISCA was chosen to join the legendary Kelly Clarkson onstage during her Piece By Piece Tour. For the Atlanta-based vocalist, success in this regard amounts to the freedom she’s given. “Success is the freedom to work with who I want, the freedom to create constant masterpieces while listening to my heart, and the freedom that you feel when you find yourself amongst a community of creative artists who all push each other to be better.” Between writing, recording, using social media to engage her fan base, TuneCore has supported her through it all.