CD Baby is the largest online music store for musicians and bands. It allows them access and exposure to millions of music fans through the distribution of their music. It boasts of a community of over 650,000 musicians and over 9 million downloadable music tracks distributed to more than 100 digital music outlets worldwide.
It is the only music distribution platform that has successfully secured a partnership status with Apple Music and Spotify.
CD Baby offers a large number of services all under one platform, making it pretty hard to find a worthy alternative.
Here are some of the things that make CD Baby hard to replace:
Conducts educative conferences
CD Baby holds two conferences annually where independent artists can attend and learn about networking, performance and education opportunities.
CD Baby gives you the power to license your songs. This service also allows content creators to incorporate your songs in their crafts like games, commercials, and movies, allowing you to make even more money.
CD Baby staff try to make the effort to listen to every album they sell so as to give a detailed and informed guide to the customers.
Promotes you to numerous stores globally
CD Baby promotes your music to a large number of popular online retailers like Spotify, Pandora Radio, Amazon Music and Spotify, among other 150+ online stores.
CD Baby allows your fans to buy your song before you officially release it. Once you release the song officially, the fans who preordered it become the first to listen to it. Fans can pre-order at no extra cost.
Offer physical distribution
There are various forms of physical distribution offered, including;
- Physical CD printing with various options of packaging styles to choose from like wallets, jackets or jewel-cases
- Vinyl distribution through its partnership with Alliance entertainment and Super D,
- Download cards, which are small cards imprinted with download codes of your music.
Ensures that you earn from your music
Through their Pro publishing administration tool, you start to earn from your work from the moment it goes live. You earn through the downloads and streaming done on your music or even through other artists doing covers of your song.
What are some of the downsides of CD Baby?
Charge commission from the royalties
You don’t receive 100% of the royalties collected. CD Baby takes 15% commission of the net revenue for themselves.
Setback on the pre-order tool
Fans who wish to make a pre-order of your music are restricted to only Amazon and iTunes as these are the only two platforms that avail the pre-order tool.
Heavy commission on sync licensing
Once you start earning from sync licensing, CD Baby cuts off a 40% commission from the earnings.
Limited licensing of cover songs
You may opt to release a song previously done and written by another artist and CD Baby enables you to achieve that. However, there is a $14.99 one-time fee incurred.
Plus, you can only release a cover song for singles. This hurts you if you wish to release one or two cover songs included in a full album.
Extra charges on barcodes
A UPC barcode is entitled to your song for purposes of tracking. It is normally offered for free by most distributors but with CD Baby, it goes for $5 for a single and $20 for an album.
Best Alternatives to CD Baby
Apart from CD Baby, there are several other platforms aiming to bridge the gap of music distribution. Some of them include companies like Tunecore, iMusician and Distrokid.
Here is a closer look at each of these alternatives to CD Baby.
Tunecore is a great music distribution platform for solo musicians and bands that allows them to upload and sell their music to massive online audiences. It eliminates the stress of having to go through record labels for you to get your music out and instead does the distribution work for you.
What makes Tunecore stand out is its the solid establishment and the tremendous level of professionalism exhibited for over two decades
Pricing and plans
Charges incurred are determined by the type of release you want.
An album bills at $29.99 in the first year and $49.99 each subsequent year. A single goes at $9.99 annually and a ringtone bills at $19.99 per year.
To enjoy Tunecore services for more than two years, you will be required to pay $49.99. This is inclusive of a unique plan called the Social Pro plan billing at $10.99 per month and $118.99 annually. Tunecore allows you to keep 100% of your revenue.
For the YouTube monetization service, Tunecore charges $10 one-time fee. This is quite remarkable especially when you compare it to the recurring fees charged for the same service by competitors.
Tunecore also offers music publishing administration services at $75.
- You earn 100% of your sales. Tunecore does not incur any commission on your sales.
- Has global reach availing your music to hundreds of digital music stores.
- Supportive and reliable customer care service.
- For common services like YouTube and publishing, Tunecore incurs a one-time fee.
- Serves as a conduit exposing your music to more than 200 online music outlets growing a fanbase for you.
- Exposure to a wide array of social media tools – oversees your interactions via social media platforms aiming to grow and maintain your relevance in the music field.
- It provides a music analysis compilation to help you keep track of your music and how it is trending in the music market.
- Artist payout is guaranteed anytime you wish to request to withdraw your earnings through either PayPal, EFT or check.
- It allows you to make modifications to previously uploaded tracks without re-uploading.
- Since its prices are a bit higher, they have put thought into that and introduced pre-purchase distribution credits to reduce the spending of uncalled for amount of money.
- It requires you to pay a subscription fee which often is much higher compared to its competitors.
- Tunecore awards itself a 20% commission of the revenue earned from YouTube monetization.
- Failure to pay the required annual fees sees your music dropped from the Tunecore site.
- Requires you to pay annual recurring fee including most products.
- Opting into the sync licensing feature sees you get charged a 20%commission.
- Despite charging a $10 one-time fee for the YouTube monetization service, they also cut a 20% on YouTube commissions.
- Devoid of Sound Exchange.
This is an online music distribution platform favoring independent labels, bands, and solo artists. It works in partnership with most popular online music stores like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.
It offers services like YouTube Monetization, CD and Vinyl press, mastering and synchronization, cover songs just to mention a few.
The company is located in Zurich, Zurich and co-founded by Shigs Amemiya, who is the current CEO.
Pricing and plans
Joining iMusician is absolutely free. However, there are subscriptions that determine the number of online stores you reach, divided into four plans.
Plan one is called the starter billing at $2 and presents you with just one store.
Other plans include Regular billing at $5, the Rockstar plan billing at $20 and finally the pro unlimited plan billing at $299.
- The Regular, Rockstar and Pro Unlimited plans give you access to more than 250 stores enabling you to amass a large fanbase worldwide.
- New members register and create an account for free.
- Offers an easy pay per release package for dilettante artists.
- Offers the pay-once fee option avoiding the annually renewing the fee. Once you fulfill the pay-once fee, your music gets to stay in music stores forever sorting you out even at times when you don’t have the money to pay any fee.
- Timely responses via email within 24 hours and super-fast delivery.
- Earn through YouTube through monetization of your music. This enables you to earn revenue.
- Partners with 100 vinyl which partakes in the distribution and sale of physical copies of your music enabling you to gain discounts from Vinyl pressing and physical CDs.
- Updates you on a daily basis on how your music is fairing and performing.
- You get paid every penny that your music earns regardless of the amount and allows you to make monthly withdrawals via PayPal or bank transfer.
- Flexible in terms of language and is equipped with an international team providing you fast support in English via email.
- Charge a commission of 30% on the net revenue.
- The starter plan which is the cheapest and most affordable only gives you access to one store forcing you to upgrade to more expensive plans.
- YouTube Content ID which enables the tracking down of your music played on other YouTube videos costs $0.5.
- Charges you for every music track that you upload.
- Bears extra charges– if you wish your music distributed faster or the commission on royalties reduced, you have to pay an additional cost.
Distrokid is an independent global digital music distribution platform that aims to empower musicians by helping reduce the workload involved in the distribution of their music while at the same time enabling artists to earn from their craft.
Pricing and plans
The prices involved start from $19.99 annually. This plan allows you to upload unlimited music tracks and albums. There are other three subscription packages to choose from; the musician plan billing at $20 per year, the musician plus plan going at $36 and the label plan billing at $80 per year.
- Supports lyrics input
Distrokid allows you to add lyrics to your music track and goes ahead to distribute your lyric incorporated music for you.
- Extremely quick uploading and timely responses
The process of uploading your music to their site and distribution of your music to stores only takes about 1-7 business days, which is amazingly fast. Plus, if you have any issues, they can quickly be addressed and you can expect to get feedback really fast.
- Ease of usage and interactive user-interface
You need not have any level of expertise as it is easy to navigate and get things done.
- Pocket-friendly prices
Signing up to become a Distrokid customer is free. They further extend the favor by setting their prices at fairly affordable prices. You can upload either unlimited singles or albums at only $19.99 annually.
- Supports cloud backup for your music
- Enables you to earn from your music
All the sales made from your music are accounted for through 100% of the revenue earned awarded to you.
- Utilizes Hyperfollow
This feature creates a personal pre-save marketing page soon after you upload your music. Links can be added once your music goes live on all stores to your pre-save marketing page automatically.
- Automated division of revenues
As a musician, collaborating with other musicians is part of career growth. To reduce the cumbersomeness of seeking help from financiers in order to split earnings made from a collabo, Distrokid has automated the process and you will be needed to just inform them who to pay and what to pay and have the revenues automatically divided.
- Worldwide opportune release dates
Once you upload a track, the moment it will go live will be timed and the release will be out at the same time all over on Spotify. Topping this up, Distrokid notifies you via email once your songs go live on other platforms.
- Earn through YouTube
Distrokid has put measures to see to it that it tracks down YouTube videos incorporating your music through YouTube’s Content ID database and gets to pay you the ad revenue generated. This brilliant mechanism in a way gives you the power and sense of ownership to your music.
- Has several hidden charges
For example, you don’t earn through YouTube by just becoming a Distrokid member. There is a hidden fee of $4.95 dollars if you want to enjoy this service.
- Consistent bid to upgrade
This platform is always pushing you to upgrade to other costly plans regardless of how happy you are with your current plan. This can be quite annoying.
- Annual fees for most services are recurring instead of a one-time fee
So there you have it. The best alternatives to CD Baby. These three platforms perform the same job that CD Baby does, but each one of them has a unique selling point that makes it stand out in the industry.
I hope this guide will help you choose the best one and help you take your career to the next level. Good luck!