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Warning about re-releases

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Warning about re-releases

Postby connorhawke » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:05 pm

So I just found this out recently. Before releasing your music via a distributor, make sure you will remain 100% happy with your artist name and track title. iTunes / Apple Music locks in this metadata when your track is initially released. If you later pull the track and re-release it under a different artist name or track title, their system will flag the track as a duplicate with different metadata if it doesn't have any significant content differences, and the entire album containing the track will be hidden even it initially appears on the store - and yes, even if you had already cancelled distribution of the original and the original had been removed from the store. In order to have a chance at the track becoming visible again, the duplicate with different metadata must be pulled and the track must be released under the original metadata.

Seems like a silly policy and Apple/iTunes is the only store I've seen practice this. Spotify/Amazon/Google/etc do not have this issue. After all, what's the point of requiring consistent metadata if the originals had been pulled?

I found this out from CDBaby and their confirmation with Apple, as well as reading Apple's store terms: https://help.apple.com/itc/musicstyl...oj/static.html. CDBaby reports they are unable to request Apple to make an exception. Reportedly Apple's scanning system has recently become more efficient.

Questions I still haven't answered:
- How significantly does a track need to be altered to not count as a "duplicate"? For example, would adding an additional second of silence suffice, or does it need major editing?
- If a track was originally released under the new artist name and the album containing said track was hidden due to other tracks in the album being "duplicates" of tracks originally released under an older artist name, and the hidden album is the only album under the new artist name, will said track then be permitted release under the old artist name?

Hopefully this helps anyone thinking of re-releasing their own music if they care about the music appearing on Apple/iTunes.
connorhawke
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Re: Warning about re-releases

Postby connorhawke » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:21 pm

Sorry it looks like the link to Apple's store terms broke. Couldn't find a way to edit my post above so here's the correct link: https://help.apple.com/itc/musicstylegu ... tatic.html
connorhawke
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