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CD Baby Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Music Publishing Company Reviews

CD Baby Review 2 Star Rating

CD Baby

2 Star Rating
  • $9 for one song release
  • $39.99 for publishing and royalties
  • Artist earns 91%
  • 150+ partnerships for distribution
  • Offer traditional CDs and Vinyls
  • They send out your music for you

CD Baby traces its roots back to the town of Woodstock, New York, where it was established in 1998. Amidst a changing music landscape that has largely moved away from physical CDs, CD Baby has carved its niche as a thriving hub for artists. With a roster that boasts over 650,000 artists and a staggering catalog of more than 9 million tracks, CD Baby's name might evoke curiosity about their relevance. However, a closer look at their services reveals their steadfast presence and prominence within the ever-evolving music industry with promises to provide the highest number of revenue streams in the industry.

150+ services for distribution

CD Baby works with 150+ streaming and download services to help you get your music to the world. This impressive network includes giants like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Deezer, TikTok, and Amazon Music. Testimonials from accomplished artists such as Ingrid Michaelson, Paul Cardall, Aloe Blacc, and Two Steps from Hell underscore CD Baby's credibility and efficacy as a platform that genuinely empowers artists.

Full range of features

While some of their features like making CDs or Vinyl may be a little outdated, CD Baby does offer a full range of features including:

  • Monetization with YouTube Content ID
  • Your songs on discovery tools like Shazam & Jaxsta
  • Consideration for promo services & playlist pitching
  • Fast-pass verification on major streaming services
  • An easy way to claim your YouTube Official Artist Channel
  • Free UPC barcode & ISRCs
  • Access to an expert artist support team
  • Powerful music marketing tools

Easy to use with modern publishing tools

At CD Baby, musicians can distribute, promote, and manage singles or full albums right from the platform. The site offers a clean, easy-to-use, one-stop shop. You can release singles and full albums as well as engage the CD Baby "boost" for an additional fee which provides you access to their royalty assistance that includes licenses for digital performances and sync listening.

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Initial price doesn't cover royalties

CD Baby operates on a one-time payment basis per release, without any recurring yearly charges. The distribution revenue is divided with CD Baby retaining 9%, while the artist receives 91%. This structure also ensures that you won't face an escalating annual expense merely to maintain your music's online presence. After the initial setup fee, CD Baby's revenue is tied to yours, which makes it easier to come back and release again and again. There is only one cost per release (for albums and singles): $9. Now, if you want extra help through their "Boost" add-on, you'll be looking at an additional $39.99. The Boost is where you get the official publishing and royalty assistance, so for a single or an album your total cost would actually be $48.99 per release after the Boost add-on.

Commission fees might be a problem

According to some reviewers, there are some hidden commission fees with CD Baby. While the company itself doesn't take commissions, a lot of the time its partners will. Some users noted a 30% percent commission when their work was distributed by CD Baby to sites like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, which could seriously impact your revenue overall.

Help with platform setup

CD Baby achieves worldwide digital music distribution as fast as possible. Within minutes of registering and submitting your music and essential details, including track information, one of the CD Baby staff will start reviewing your work. After that, your songs and albums are sent out to prominent digital music platforms like Spotify. Additionally, CD Baby assists artists in expediting their platform setup on music channels including the accelerated artist verification. To make the process super simple, CD Baby offers a free "Release Plan Generator" to make sure you get from step one to the final release as easily as possible.

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Disappointment from reviewers

While CD Baby's website showcases a seamless process for musicians to release and market their music, the service's reputation is tarnished by an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. It's noteworthy that despite the professional presentation and the services highlighted, clients leave reviews with mixed feelings. Chief among the concerns is the lack of responsiveness in customer service noted in many of the reviews. Some customers reported instances of unreleased music despite payment and not being paid despite showing a balance in the CD Baby Account. Overall CD Baby only has a 1.5 star average out of 5. This contrast between the service's presentation and customer feedback does raise concerns.

Look for publishers who serve you

CD Baby presents an array of appealing attributes with a polished presentation and valuable artist tools. Nevertheless, the undercurrent of dissatisfaction among clients makes us ask a few questions about how safe it is to publish with CD Baby. Especially considering the low star ratings and the "F" rating from the BBB, we advise that artists check out other music publishing services with more favorable reputations to ensure that their music reaches the audience they want with the revenue they deserve. While CD Baby holds promise, the backdrop of mixed feedback keeps us from recommending the platform for music publishing.

Where is the Best Place for Music Publishing Today?

Online music publishing companies have experienced a meteoric rise in popularity due to a number of factors that have reshaped the music industry landscape. These platforms have not only revolutionized the way music is distributed, but have also provided a crucial bridge between artists and their audience.

One of the key reasons behind the widespread adoption of online music publishing companies is the democratization of the music industry. In the past, breaking into the music scene required significant financial backing, access to recording studios, and connections within the industry. However, online platforms have leveled the playing field, allowing independent artists to showcase their talent without the need for a traditional record label.

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Music Publishing Company FAQ

Music publishing refers to the business of copyrighting and distributing songs. A music publisher helps you register your songs, protects your copyright, and gets your music out to the public in various ways.
It's not strictly necessary, but it's a much more efficient and effective way to push your music out to the world - and to get paid for it! Do you want to spend your time making music or handling administrative tasks? If you're like most musicians, it'll be worth the fees to work with a publishing service so that you can focus more on the former and less (if at all!) on the latter.
Each provider uses a different fee structure. You could have a royalty share format that also has one-time set-up costs, or you might choose a service that gives you 100% of your royalties in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.
Not necessarily. Many of today's most popular providers let you keep full copyright on any music you publish through their platform.
Most services do not require you to commit to a long-term business relationship in order to get your music published. However, it's always wise to read the terms and conditions before you make a commitment to any publishing platform.
Absolutely. In fact, that's one of the reasons most musicians choose to use a music publisher. There's no better way to streamline the process - and start getting royalty money! - than to use a service that knows exactly how to get your songs out to the public.
Yes! There are a few platforms that specialize in marketing musicians' creations for commercials, TV shows and movies, etc.
Your best bet is to look at client reviews. Are they happy with the service? Has their music been successful because of the publisher's efforts? Have clients been able to get help from customer service representatives when needed? If a music publishing service has a good track record with other musicians, chances are high that you'll be satisfied too.
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Continued from above...

This democratization has led to a diverse array of music being accessible to a global audience, fostering a more inclusive and varied musical landscape.

The advent of digital technology has also played a pivotal role in the popularity of online music publishing companies. With the rise of streaming services and digital downloads, music has become more accessible than ever before. These platforms offer a convenient and instantaneous way for listeners to discover and enjoy a vast catalog of music across genres. The ease of access has not only broadened the audience for established artists, but has also provided emerging talents with a platform to gain recognition.

Furthermore, online music publishing companies have redefined the concept of music discovery. Through sophisticated algorithms and personalized recommendations, these platforms introduce listeners to new artists and genres based on their preferences. This dynamic approach to music discovery has created a more engaged and adventurous audience, willing to explore a wide range of musical styles beyond mainstream offerings. As a result, artists who might have struggled to find a niche in traditional channels now have the opportunity to connect with a receptive audience eager for diverse sounds.

Modern music publishers play a crucial role in the music industry by bridging the gap between artists and their audiences. These companies specialize in the business side of music, handling tasks such as licensing, distribution, promotion, and monetization. Music publishers serve as intermediaries between songwriters, composers, and performers, ensuring that their creative works reach a wide audience.

In today's digital age, music publishers have evolved to adapt to changing technologies and consumption habits. They work closely with streaming platforms, social media networks, and digital stores to ensure that music is accessible across various online channels. These publishers have a deep understanding of copyright laws and licensing agreements, enabling them to negotiate fair deals for their artists.

Music publishers help artists navigate the complex landscape of rights management and intellectual property protection, allowing musicians to focus on their craft while the publishers handle the business aspects. Additionally, they provide valuable insights into market trends and audience preferences, helping musicians tailor their content for maximum impact.

Music publishers offer a range of services that are immensely useful for both established artists and newcomers to the industry. For established musicians, publishers provide a broader reach and help maintain a consistent presence in the ever-expanding digital music landscape. So whether you're an emerging artist or a musician with a longtime career, a music publisher can offer support to fit your needs with legal concerns, promotion of your work, or even just some industry advice. Whether through traditional publishing, self-publishing, or a hybrid model, the world of modern music publishing offers a range of opportunities for artists to showcase their talents and connect with audiences worldwide.

If you're on the lookout for a place to publish your tunes, where can you go? Fortunately, there are tons of music publishers available online, designed to cater to your unique musical needs. Whether you're looking to publish pop, rock, metal, or synth-wave hits, there's a publisher out there that fits the bill. If you don't know where to start, don't worry. We've compiled a set of criteria to help you narrow down the options and find the perfect fit for your musical journey:

Here are some factors you should consider when choosing a music publishing company:

  • Price: When you're looking for music publishing there are lots of factors that can affect the price. So, knowing what you need and what you want to spend can change how you narrow down your options. Do you want to pay an annual fee or make a one-time purchase? Are you only looking for services with free publishing or free trials? Keep your budget in mind as you browse.
  • Royalties: Whenever you work with a music publisher there's going to be royalty commissions. The best platforms will give you, the artist, the majority of the revenue. But some options do more work on the back end and take a little more of the royalties. So, keep in mind how much you want to make. Some services take as much as 50% depending on the tier. Keeping an eye out for companies that only take 15% or 10% of royalties can help you be sure you're getting a good deal.
  • Distributor network: Not every publisher has the same network. Check out which companies you want to send your music to and how much of the distributor network is exclusive to a particular publisher. Most companies offer standard options like Spotify or YouTube, but if you want something specific like Sony Music or TV channels like The CW, you may need to browse for publishers with particular partnerships.
  • Customer feedback: At the end of the day, the music industry can be a little hit or miss. So, check out the customer reviews and BBB scores to make sure that the publisher you like is doing right by the musicians already signed with them. This can be a great indicator to help you decide between two close picks.

Top Consumer Reviews has assessed and ranked the best online music publishing services to help you find the right spot to take your tunes and turn them into a platinum record. Whether you're seeking help with new music at the beginning of your journey, or you need an experienced publisher to support your career to the top of the charts, the right music publisher is out there waiting for you. We hope this helps you take the stress out of publishing and get back to what you love: making amazing music.

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