In law school, a bunch of us formed "The Learned Hands" and laid down some tracks. I had seen an ad for TuneCore somewhere on the web, so we uploaded our album for distribution. Sadly, having graduated school, the band no longer exists, but it's cool to say that our original music has been heard in Germany and the UK (Someone streamed "Ten Point Buck" and "Sleepy Hollow").
My experience with TuneCore was great! The initial costs were very low - I think it's like a dollar per track, and a dollar per online music store. And what do you know, our music is available on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, eMusic, all over the world! Depending on the vendor, you get one or two cents every time the song is streamed, and for downloads, it's usually 65% or 70% of the purchase price. Uploaded the tracks in FLAC format too, actually, and everything turned out swell.
This is the type of innovation that is changing the music industry, and I don't think the RIAA knows how to, or even can, keep up.
1. Record your album in your garage/basement
2. Upload your tracks to TuneCore for distribution
The problem for my band has been step three, since we no longer officially exist (Singers are in CO and Philly, bassist in VT, and I'm moving to BFE), but we did sell 3 copies on AmazonMP3 and a few tracks on iTunes, plus about $0.76 worth of streaming on Napster and Rhapsody.
In conclusion, TuneCore allows Joe Sixpack to (sort of) achieve his rockstar dreams, at least in terms of getting the music out there and making it available.