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CD Baby Paid Indie Artists $80M In 2017, Up 33%

As part of its 20th Anniversary celebration, CD Baby shared stats showing substantial growth. In 2017, CD Baby paid their indie clients $80 million, up 33% from the previous year.

The bulk of the income for CD Baby distributed artists came from three sources last year: Spotify (35%), iTunes (24%) and Apple Music (13%) followed by Pandora (8%), Amazon (7%) and Google Music (4%).

$80 million paid and a 33% CD Baby growth rate reflect similar growth in the broader recorded music industry, driven by streaming. For CD Baby, streaming revenue has grown from 1.7% in 2011 to 58% in 2017.

$123 Per Artist

While impressive in the aggregate, CD Baby's income stats are, like other large scale d.i.y. and independent distributors, less so when viewed through the lens of the 'average' independent musician. With 650,000 artists using the platform, that $80 million averages out to just over $123 paid per CD Baby artist or band last year.

A Culture Of Service

That stat aside, it remains impressive that the one-man operation founded by Derek Sivers 20 years ago is still thriving and serving hundreds of thousands of independent musics from more than 200 countries. I have followed the company closely since its inception, and fit it equally impressive that CD Baby has continued to innovate while still staying true to its core mission.

Very few companies in music or tech have done so much good for independent musicians; and even fewer have done it for so long.