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Amazon joins with TuneCore for on-demand CD pressing

Physical love joins digital licensing

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Amazon.com is striking a deal with independent music-licensing startup TuneCore to offer artists CD-pressing on demand.

TuneCore is probably best known for being tapped by Nine Inch Nails to distribute digital copies of their double-album "Ghosts" on Amazon's MP3 store. Beginning June 1, Amazon is expanding the pact to include punting physical CDs via the online store's CreateSpace unit.

The TuneCore service on Amazon will cost musicians $20 a year for the maintenance and storage of physical CDs, 99 cents per song, plus a flat fee of 99 cents to hawk the album online. All tallied, making an unlimited number of a 10-song CDs available through the service would cost roughly $31 per year (£19.50).

The catch is that only 40 per cent of the CD's generated revenues pass to the artist. Amazon pockets the remaining 60 per cent. Not exactly a great take for the artist, but it's still a low-barrier entry for up-and-coming musicians, or even those just looking to avoid major record labels. A 10-song album priced at $9 (£5.70), for example, would only require about four albums to be sold to break a profit.

Amazon currently offers on-demand CD pressing on CreateSpace for a flat fee of $5 per disc, plus either a 15 per cent share for sales on eStore or 45 per cent share for sales on Amazon.com.

TuneCore says that when a physical CD is ordered through Amazon, CreateSpace makes the disc, complete with a CD booklet, tray card, and jewel case. The offer is presumably designed to compliment TuneCore's digital distribution service - which, let's face it, is probably the best format for indie artists these days. ®

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