CD Baby tops $200 million in commissions to musicians

Posted on November 17, 2011


The Pioneer of the DIY Music Distribution Model Experiences Escalating Growth as Large Labels Continue Revenue Decline

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — CD Babythe largest distributor of music by independent artists in the world, has now paid over $200 million directly to musicians. At the current rate of well over $40 million in commissions paid to unsigned artists each year, the company expects to cross the quarter billion dollar threshold in 2012.

On October 3rd the company announced its Music Store for Facebook, a free app that allows CD Baby artists to sell MP3s, CDs, and Vinyl directly to fans on their Facebook page. In the first five weeks, there have been over 250,000 monthly active users utilizing the music store.

“CD Baby was there in the beginning of the internet music boom. We’ve grown along with technology and along with our artists. We’ve become the model for the new music economy,” says CD Baby president Brian Felsen. CD Baby has emerged as the only CD-based business model ever to successfully transition to a digital download based business, while continuing to grow revenues and profits each year. In 2011, only 12.8% of the company’s revenues will come from CD sales and CD distribution, with the bulk of revenues coming from music downloads and streaming.”  CD Baby currently distributes over 200,000 independent artists, and manages a music catalog totaling 3.5 million songs. CD Baby will release an estimated 100,000 new music titles in 2011 and has over 100 million unique website visitors per year.

“We’ve made worldwide music distribution affordable and available to all artists,” Says Felsen.  “Musicians have long criticized the revenue share they receive from traditional record deals.  We turned the record label model upside-down and gave the lion’s share back to the artist. Now artists can sell their music to a worldwide audience, and receive 91% of all revenues.” The royalties we pay artists are between $6 and $12 per CD and $7.50 per album download vs. the $1 to $2 per sale for a major label artist. This business model allows independent musicians to pursue their creative vision and careers without becoming indebted to a label.  In 2011, this is how artists get their music out there.”

In its decade-long history, CD Baby has served as the launching pad for many musicians who have achieved widespread notoriety and success, including award-winning artists like The Fray, Jack Johnson, Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor.  Increasingly, CD Baby is helping both established artists and those with dedicated cult followings, from 80s icons like Rick Ocasek and John Oates to 60s legend Martin Balin of Jefferson Airplane.

“As major labels continue to consolidate and shrink, CD Baby plays an increasing role in cultivating and building vibrant careers for emerging artists,” says Felsen. “We provide unsigned artists with the biggest sales channel available anywhere, which includes distribution to major digital outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and now their own individual Facebook music stores in addition to other key sales platforms.”

About CD Baby

CD Baby, founded in 1998, is the largest digital distributor of independent music in the world, with an inventory of over 360,000 physical titles and over 3.5 million tracks available digitally.  In the face of the music industry ‘s 50% revenue declineCD Babyhas emerged as the only CD-based business model ever to successfully transition to a digital download based business, while continuing to grow revenues and profitability each year. CD Baby artists can sell music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and dozens of other digital retailers. By offering real value to artists at low cost, CD Baby has been the go-to music distributor for unsigned artists for over a decade. Artists decide where their music is sold and how much it is sold for, and make the biggest margins of any other distributor. The company also offers other services to musicians such as the ability to accept credit cards at shows,musician web hosting through their sister company HostBaby, and eBook publishing through BookBaby.  For more information visit

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