Frequently Asked Questions
TuneVault.com was founded by Stephen K. Donnelly and Michael Lawson of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Both have extensive musical backgrounds including a five-year stint together in nationally-renowned celtic-rock band Jimmy George. Jimmy George released two albums, was signed to Cargo Records of Montreal, had two videos appear in rotation on MuchMusic and appeared on CBC Television's Rita & Friends program, among other things.
Mike currently plays in a band called The Patsies and Steve plays in bands Laguna and The Lowbellies. Our musical backgrounds help keep us in touch with current artists and trends and allow us to think like an artist rather than strictly as a business, although our Information Technology and entrepreneurial experience gives the business side of TuneVault.com a solid foundation.
1. We are musicians, so we understand the financial realities of the music industry and how hard it is to start at the bottom of the ladder. We understand how difficult it is for most bands to come up with money for rent, let alone extras like t-shirts, posters, etc. This is why we do not charge any up-front fees. As artists ourselves we would not be too enthusiastic about spending money without any guarantee of some sort of return. By charging only a commission, we can guarantee that you pay strictly based on results, rather than speculation.
2. Everything we do is in Canadian dollars, for two reasons: since the majority of our artists and customers are Canadian, no one has to do any conversion in their heads to figure out the real cost of an item; also, for our American customers, everything is an even better deal because the CDN$ charges will be converted to US$ on their credit card statements, saving them some money.
3. The site is live now! You can see what we offer, suggest things we don't, and get a good idea for exactly how your material will be presented. We have seen at least one other site that is asking you to send CD's before the site is even live. All we can say is, beware.
There is no sign-up fee or any other up front charge. If your product does not sell, you pay nothing. If it does sell, we will take what we feel is our reasonable commission. After consulting with many artists, the commission scheme we have devised is the following:
1. You set the selling price for your product. This can be as low as $5 (say, for an EP) and up to whatever you consider reasonable. There's no point in trying to sell your CD for $25 unless it's rare or in demand, but ultimately it's your call.
2. On each CD sale, we give you the first $2 to cover your pressing costs, then we split the net profit beyond that. For example, if we sell your CD for $12, you receive $7. If we sell your EP for $5, you receive $3.50. The maximum commission we will charge is $5.
Ultimately our goal is to keep prices reasonable for the customer and pay you fairly for your product.
We initially ask for 5 CD's for our inventory and one promo CD to give away as part of our contest. When four of your five CD's sell, we will pay you and ask for four more (we like to always keep at least one in stock). If you ever need your CD's back for any reason, we will happily oblige. As we've said before, our goal is to do what we can for you, while we can.
Our startup costs included the registration of the domain name, design and hosting of the web site, and a fairly substantial investment in the credit card processing service. The credit-card megacorps take their cut of each sale, as does our third-party credit-card processing provider. Ongoing costs include promotion of the site (e.g. purchase of banner advertising on other sites and paid placement in search engines such as Goto.com), printed material such as business cards, stickers and postcards to promote the site (feel free to ask for some to hand out at shows), sponsorship of shows, advertising, etc. We also pay for packaging materials, labels etc. when shipping product. We are also constantly networking, asking other sites to add links to TuneVault, and establishing partnerships with venues and other businesses. As the site grows, so will traffic to your pages and subsequently, sales of your product. Add to this all the time we spend maintaining the site, communicating with customers and artists, and networking with venues, other sites, etc., and we feel that we are certainly earning our commission!
We do ask you to agree to our contract but it is a simple, common-English agreement between us and you, outlining what you can expect of us and vice-versa, and giving us a record of the agreement for our files, to protect us in the off-chance that someone sues you (say, for copyright infringement) and tries to implicate us. Hopefully that will never happen!
The agreement is a non-exclusive one, meaning you are always free to sell your product off the stage, in stores or anywhere else. The contract can be cancelled by either party at any time for any reason. Basically there is no commitment or risk of any kind for the artist, other than the one CD we ask you to donate for our contest. Heck, if we haven't given it away yet, we can even give that CD back to you too, if you cancel. We understand that if a band gets signed to a major label or some other exclusive contract, they may not be able to sell their product through us any longer. If that happens to you, we will simply congratulate you then continue looking for new acts to sign on.
Thanks for your time. If you have any other questions or concerns feel free to email us.
The TuneVault Team.
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