CDBaby

CDBaby: The Ultimate Review

We're on a mission to discover the best music distribution platform available to musicians.

Today we’re going to discuss CDBaby – Giving you all the details you need to know when selecting the right distribution service for your music.

What Is CDBaby?

Launched 1998, CDBaby is one of the most established music distribution platforms, worldwide. It’s used by over 650,000 artists with over 9,000,000 releases. Not only do they distribute music to over 150+ stores, they offer a bunch of other features too. 

Their pricing structure is competitive, and it’s a one-off fee per release, instead of a monthly/yearly subscription. Unlike EmuBands and iMusician though, they don’t offer any plans that allow you to keep 100% of your royalties. CDBaby will take 9% of royalties across stores and through YouTube Content ID.  

Who Can Use CDBaby?

Both artists and record labels can use CDBaby, however if you’re running a label at scale we would recommend RouteNote – Because they allow unlimited artists/releases, split pay functionality and monetisation through SoundCloud/YouTube Content ID. 

Do You Have To Pay To Use CDBaby?

Yes, there are no free option with any plans. Their pricing plans are nicely structured, with artists able to get their music into stores for only $9.95 (one-off fee).

Lets go over the pricing in full: 

Standard Single – $9.95 / Pro Single – $29.95 | Standard Album – $29 / Pro Album – $69.

All plans include:

  • Digital Distribution to over 150 stores.
  • YouTube Content ID
  • Get your music on Facebook & Instagram.
  • Sync licencing for TV, Films, and games.
  • Free Pre-Saves (Using Show.co)
  • Instant verification with Spotify and Apple Music.

Pro Plans have these added benefits:

  • Worldwide publishing royalty collection.
  • Direct song registration with global royalty collection societies.
  • Performing rights organisation affiliation.

Although it’s great to see extended features with the Pro Plans, we should note that all of these services can be done outside of CDBaby – Giving you complete control.

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What We Love About CDBaby:

  • It was launched over 20 years ago, meaning it’s stood the test of time and it continues to be one of the leading distribution companies available. You know you’re dealing with a professional team, who care for their customers.
  • They cover over 150 stores, which is always a good thing. The more stores, the more your potential reach, alongside royalty income. 
  • Customer support is good. Not the best we’ve encountered but definitely acceptable. You won’t be left scratching your head if anything goes wrong. 
  • Analytics are fantastic – In-depth and give you all the information you require to track your royalties, placements, and streams.
  • You can also sell physical CDs, and distribute them to stores through CDBaby.
  • The extended ‘Pro’ features makes it hassle free for artists to collect worldwide publishing royalties, alongside global registration, and performing rights.

What We Don't Like About CDBaby:

  • Although it is only $9.95 to get your music into stores, they still take 9% of royalties. If you’re an established artists with a large fan base, that 9% can add up. Which means you’d probably want to look at alternatives that allow you to keep 100% – Like EmuBands (doesn’t have YouTube Content ID), or, iMusician (does have YouTube Content ID). These distributors also offer one-off payments for distribution.
  • CDBaby was launched over 20 years ago and they have stood the test of time, as thousands of artists continue to use their service. But, they haven’t taken much consideration to updating their interface. It doesn’t feel modern and this can put people off – Especially if you have a lot of releases each year. 

Does CDBaby Promote Your Music?

No, they do not offer any in-house promotion, but they do have external services: Bandzoogle & HearNow.

Final Notes on CDBaby:

As a whole, they cover pretty much everything the modern day musician would need when it comes to music distribution. It all depends on whether you agree with their pricing plans, and if you’re content with allowing them to retain 9% of your royalties.

CDBaby is a great service, and it has been for many, many years. They’re keeping up to date with stores, and features, but we do feel new distribution companies are more intuitive where features and promotional tools come into play. One of which, is split-pay – Which we go over a lot throughout our distribution guide. 

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