The artist’s guide to successfully using CD Baby

The journey of music from independent musicians to consumers is often a long, windy road full of obstacles and expensive promoting. With more than 130 million people paying for streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Music and PandoraCD Baby offers great leverage for Indie artists to get their music to these platforms easily and affordably. So, what makes CD Baby different than other music distribution companies? And what is the key to leveraging this platform to the artist’s advantage? Well, let’s find out.

What makes cd baby unique?

Don’t let the “CD” name fool you, CD Baby is a global indie music distribution company that works with artists to promote and sell their music both digitally and tangibly. In fact, according to CD Baby’s CEO, Tracy Maddux, 90% of the artists’ earnings are now digital. Plus, with a cost of only a one-time $49 fee for an album and $9.95 for a single to distribute a recording, the artist earns 91% of sales.

Along with the financial benefits of the program, the simplicity makes it super user-friendly as well. Austin-based band Hooka Hey first used CD Baby for the release of their EP Little Things back in 2012, and say that they loved how simple the process was. “You literally pay and your music is out there. That’s it. You also get to choose the platforms you want to be on.” Composing and creating music is the hardest part of the process, so it’s nice to have a simple promotion process.

getting educated about the industry

No matter how talented an artist you are, if you don’t know the ins and out of the industry, you will likely crash and burn. Not only does CD Baby help sell your music, but they educate you on the industry and give you the inside scoop on how to make money off your music. The company offers a 40-person artist support center in Portland, Oregon (toll free at 1-800-BUY-MY-CD) and an award-winning DIY Musician Blog and podcast. Check out this post from their official blog for tips on playing a successful and profitable virtual show.

Maddux elaborates that “there isn’t any other distribution firm that spends the kind of resources we do educating artists and songwriters on how to make money from their music.” We have to agree with that one!

SOund mastering

As an emerging artist, you might not have all the technology to professionally perfect your music into a high-quality sound that streaming platforms will actually accept. Luckily, CD Baby offers great rates for professional level sound mastering with a service operated by Disc Makers called SoundLab and “auto-magic” mastering by Landr, which can be found in the CD Baby members dashboard. Also, it’s free to sign up (which is always a plus).

is your music ready for cd baby?

CD Baby accepts basically every type of audio for release. Once your track is at least roughly finessed, it is ready for upload. However, Maddux emphasizes that “some of [their] digital streaming partners do have guidelines and won’t accept audio with excessive gaps, pops or distortion unless it’s part of the artist’s intent.” In this case, the sound mastering services run to your rescue!

(Photo Courtesy of CD Baby)