The Bottom Line
CD Baby is a good choice for bands and labels who want to get their music out there but aren't in a position to get their albums into the shops. CD Baby is one of the best known online record stores, so music fans turn there in droves to look for new albums. Also, the staff is stacked with music lovers who listen to every album they sell, so they can advise their customers. If the band/label is willing to completely take on the task of promoting their releases and giving the people some reason to find their album in the CD Baby pool, then this distributor can be a great choice.
- An easy route to distribution for unsigned artists and labels just getting started
- Payment is made weekly
- Bands/labels get a larger percentage of the profits than through typical distribution deals
- The staff listens to everything, so they can make recommendations to users
- Albums can be bought in physical or digital form
- It's a big pond, and it can be hard to get noticed
- The front page of the website lets customers choose to shop by artist name, genre, sale items, local area or mood.
- Security is tight - credit card numbers are never saved, so customers need their card numbers every time they use the site.
- Part of the site showcases album cover art.
Guide Review - CD Baby Online Music Distributor
CD Baby solves a lot of the distribution problems faced by indie labels and bands who are putting out their own albums. Especially for an upstart label without a proven track record or a band working on their own release, finding a distribution deal can be next to impossible. Generally, distributors want to see some kind of assurance that they'll be able to shift your music once they take it on board, and when you're getting started, that kind of proof is hard to give. CD Baby gives distribution to anyone who wants it, which means making your music available is easy. Availability is only part of the battle, however, and it is the rest of the battle in which CD Baby can get a little dicey.
To give them their dues, CD Baby does everything it can be sell all of the albums they distribute. The staff listens to everything they sell, so they can give knowledgable advice to customers and write decent descriptions of the music. They file everything by genre, and albums are also cross filed so that there are many chances for fans to stumble across it - such as "sounds like" categories that allow users to look for bands that sound like their favorites or a tool that allows people to shop for music by mood. There is little else they could do - but that doesn't mean in the end it's going to be good enough for you. Promotion is the key to getting people to buy your music in any large numbers, and when you sell via CD Baby, you'll have to be especially proactive in promoting your releases and making sure people know where to find them.
That being said, CD Baby lets you set your prices and they pay you every week, a great thing when cashflow is a problem. They also let you keep a much larger portion of your profits than traditional distributors. Best of all, deals are non-exclusive. With that in mind CD Baby is someplace your music should be.