There are significant pros and cons when looking at an independent artist compared to being signed by a Record Label. One difference is getting paid for sales and revenue streams.


The Independent Artist

As an independent artist, any store sales on your website is paid automatically when integrating a popular gateway like PayPal. When transferring your money from PayPal to your bank account, it takes 3-5 days business days.

When it comes to distribution companies like Tunecore, it all depends on the distributor itself.

For example, TuneCore posted:

TuneCore accounts to you 45 days following the end of each calendar quarter.

For example, the 1st quarter of a year is from January 1st to March 31st. 45 days following March 31st would be May 15th. Therefore, this is the day you receive your statement.


Paid By The Record Label

The Advance

When in contract with a Record Label, you most likely will receive an upfront advance. Do not confuse this with a signing bonus. A signing bonus will typically be offered for established artists. An advance you will have to pay back. The advance could be used for studio costs, sometimes marketing if a certain percentage is allocated (required) from the contract, as well as to survive on (rent, mortgage, car payments, food, etc). You will be living off the advance as you work on releasing material.

Royalty Payment (streams)

A typical contract for streaming revenue will yield payment every three months (quarterly) following the release of an album. Unless the contract contains previously released music, which would be three months from the date specified in the contract. Record Label contracts are not all the same and will dependant on what is offered to you by the label.

Sales (album, merchandise, etc.)

A typical contract for sales will yield payment every six months (bi-annually) or 12 months (annually) following the release of an album/single. Unless the contract contains previously released music, which would be 6-12 months from the date specified in the contract.


In a contract, you are paid by the Record Label, not from a distributor such as Spotify, Youtube (Adsense), Google Play, Itunes etc. The above noted are for typical contracts. It is essential to know the rotation payments that is outlined in your contract. Looking at the cash advance will look great, but understand the next time you get paid will be months from releasing your music.


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