In my mind, one of the main goals for all musicians and indie labels in the current market place should be to leverage the distribution and exposure enhancment capabilities of the internet. That being said, it takes a lot of work and a considerable amount of resources to develop and maintain a proprietary site with a good user-friendly interface and a solid content management system. We all aren’t lucky enough to have web developers as good friends and we all can’t afford to pay for sites like the recently launched (which, by the way, is a great example of what consumers can expect from all artist/label sites in the near future; a portal to not only news and samples but actual 1st party digital distribution). So, if you are an artist/indie label that is still hustlin’ and saving up doe for your own proprietary website + digistore, in the mean time you might want to opt for a close second via sites like

CdBaby is not a new service to indie artists. The site has been around for a minute and has a ton of members. But recently CDBaby started to offer digital distribution as part of their service package. When you sign up a cd/album, which includes a one-time-only setup cost of $35, you can now opt to have your music sent to a variety of CDBaby’s digital partners. The partners include well respected sites like Itunes, Rhapsody, Emusic and a whole bunch of other third party digi stores. To me this is more significant than Soundclick’s recent entry into the fray as digital distributor. Soundclick offers distro for indies but only through their own site which does not offer the significant additional exposure that comes along with having access to all the eyeballs that reach sites like Itunes. That extra exposure alone is probably worth $35 (marketing costs average more than that per album, and considering the potential exposure I would argue it is worth it. You also need a barcode by the way, but if you don’t have one it will cost you about $20 to use CDbaby’s) per album, right? By the way, can you believe Soundclick has the nerve to ask to keep approximately 50% of all sales? What’s that about? CDBaby offers more and only asks for 9% of digital sales. That’s right, you keep 91 cents on the dollar (can you spell liberation?). Too bad Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers Band didn’t have access to a service like that before they signed with Sony, they might have avoided their lawsuit (link updated) and gotten more than 4.5 cents per download. Can you believe Sony is deducting “packaging” and “breakage” fees for mp3s? What the @#$!?

Anyway, it seems the idea of providing indies with access to digital distrbution services is currently booming. Vulture Venture capitalists, are you paying attention? Some popular examples are IODA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance), Burnlounge, Musicane, and Easybe. All offer varying levels of benefits but CDBaby is probably the best I’ve seen so far. But who’s to say who will land on top of the heep? Myspace would be a logical conclusion, if they have good advice and stop dissing the original demographic that made them so popular – independent musicians. But by the looks of their recent attempt to bamboozle their users by claiming non-exclusive rights to user-created content, who knows? Itunes? Google base? Whoever it is, musicians will eventually evolve into self-sustaining record labels. Bye bye Sony BMG + friends…oh, and before you go, f u (just kidding, we appreciate all the hard work you put in over the years, but jeez, if the end is in your sights, do the honorable thing, don’t be afraid to go into the light).

How much do I get paid? We sell each single MP3 download for 0.75
USD and we pay you 0.37 USD for each of these sales. We sell each MP3 album for
7.99 USD and we pay you 4.00 USD for each of these sales. These are default
settings, you can set your own sales price from a wide range of sales prices.

For how long does the download link stay active? The link stays active for 24 hours
Can I sell my downloads with a higher bitrate than 128kbps? If you have a VIP account you can upload your mp3 songs in a higher bitrate. The download we sell will then actually have the higher bitrate. Standard accounts are limited to the 128kbps bitrate.

CD Baby keeps only 9%
Whatever income is generated from your music and paid to us,
we keep only a 9% cut, paying you 91%.
NO additional hidden fees or exceptions. NO recurring fees. NO expenses taken out of your 91%. This is a free service for CD Baby members
There is NO startup fee to get involved. You just have to be a CD Baby member, meaning: your CD has to be for sale on
If your CD is not in CD Baby already, our main $35 CD Baby set
up still applies. That $35 is for the warehousing and work to have it on
Your album needs to have a valid barcode. If you don’t have one
already we can make you one for $20.