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About

Home to over 1 million artists and 9 million tracks, CD Baby has paid out over $1 billion in artist royalties since its founding in 1998. CD Baby empowers emerging, niche, and amateur musicians with everything they need to successfully distribute, publish, promote, and monetize their music around the globe. Our ...

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Leila Grossman
(646) 921-0438

Current News

  • 12/17/202112/17/2021

Billion-Dollar Baby: CD Baby’s Artist Payouts Cross the $1 Billion Mark, Speak to Strength of Independent Music Ecosystem

Downtown Music Holdings’ CD Baby is announcing that it has paid out more than $1billion to its artists since the company’s 1998 founding. To achieve this, the company has empowered more than a million artists worldwide to distribute 10 million+ tracks to listeners. 

“For us, it’s not just about how much the top earners make, but also about what the payout means to all of the unique artists we work with who are charting their own course, based on their creative...

Press

  • Break the Business, Podcast, Interview, 12/26/2021, CD Baby Senior Vice President of Marketing Kevin Breuner joins Text
  • Music Business Worldwide, Feature story, 12/21/2021, CD Baby has paid out over $1BN to artists using its distribution platform Text
  • Billboard, Feature story, 12/17/2021, CD Baby Reaches $1 Billion Artist Payout Milestone Text
  • Variety, Mention, 09/16/2021, 13 Essential Music Industry Podcasts, From ‘Song Exploder’ to ‘Mogul’ Text
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News

12/17/2021, Billion-Dollar Baby: CD Baby’s Artist Payouts Cross the $1 Billion Mark, Speak to Strength of Independent Music Ecosystem
12/17/202112/17/2021, Billion-Dollar Baby: CD Baby’s Artist Payouts Cross the $1 Billion Mark, Speak to Strength of Independent Music Ecosystem
Announcement
12/17/2021
Announcement
12/17/2021
Downtown Music Holdings’ CD Baby is announcing that it has paid out more than $1billion to its artists since the company’s 1998 founding. To achieve this, the company has empowered more than a million artists worldwide to distribute 10 million+ tracks to listeners. MORE» More»

Downtown Music Holdings’ CD Baby is announcing that it has paid out more than $1billion to its artists since the company’s 1998 founding. To achieve this, the company has empowered more than a million artists worldwide to distribute 10 million+ tracks to listeners. 

“For us, it’s not just about how much the top earners make, but also about what the payout means to all of the unique artists we work with who are charting their own course, based on their creative vision and their personal versions of success,” says CD Baby President Joel Andrew. “Our mission has always been to work as hard as possible to serve musicians dedicated to doing their own thing, their way. Our success is a reflection of their success.” 

The $1-billion figure is more than a number to the artist services company; it’s a sign of the strength of the community of independent musicians and creators who have coalesced around CD Baby. Independent musicians like the ones CD Baby serves have grabbed an increasingly large market share of the music business. The independent music sector grew to more than 43% of the total global market by ownership in 2020 according to an October 2021 report from MIDiA

CD Baby has been a key player in this trend, as the first and one of the few remaining independent music distributors. Run largely by artists for artists, it has spent over two decades empowering independent musicians through industry-leading service, self-promotion tools, expert guidance, and strong partnerships with the world’s biggest music and social platforms. It has also devoted itself to in-depth education for independent artists, launching a wildly popular blog, the first podcast dedicated to DIY musician issues, and the first conference for independent musicians. 

CD Baby’s relationship with Downtown began in 2014 with the launch of CD Baby Pro, a songwriter royalty collection solution for CD Baby clients utilizing Downtown’s Songtrust platform. Downtown acquired CD Baby in 2019 and has invested significantly in enabling the company to drive innovation in the technology, tools and resources that help level the playing field for artists at all levels. 

“As business partners since 2014, we appreciated the depth of CD Baby’s organization and its incredibly loyal client base, two key drivers of our acquisition,” said Downtown CEO, Andrew Bergman. “Unique in the industry, they have long understood that not all creators are the same, each having their own story, ambition and art to share. With CD Baby now leveraging resources across Downtown’s platform, including technology, royalty collection, global licensing operations and capital, we are able to drive equity and innovation to all creators at an accelerated pace.” 

Downtown, which has a global team of 600 employees in over 20 cities, is the world’s leading music services provider. Today, millions of artists, songwriters and enterprise clients from over 145 countries, including many of the largest music, entertainment and gaming companies, manage over 23 million music assets on its platforms. 

While they have access to top tier rates, for many CD Baby artists, the money they earn means more than mere income; it gives them direct encouragement and a tangible sense of validation for their artistic endeavors. “Earning money has helped me in the sense that I can replace equipment when things go faulty,” says East Coast-based soulful pop/R&B artist Lee Wilson. “But beyond the practical, the money has helped me focus more on music and has enabled me to go down to part-time in my day job, instead of full-time. Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to transition full-time into music alone.” 

“It feels very good to have substantive rewards for my work, as part of a positive feedback loop. It gets hard to be creative in a hermit-like vacuum—especially during a pandemic, when live performance is not an option,” explains ambient/electronic artist Robert Rich, who’s been working with CD Baby since 2004. “Seeing some income is a reminder that people do actually listen and care about the music.” 

It can also encourage an artist to keep pursuing their creative vision. As UK trance vocalist and songwriter Natalie Holmes puts it, “Earning money from what I do has helped me to improve my own confidence, which in turn spurs me on to get better with everything I create.” 

About CD Baby 
CD Baby, a Downtown Music Holdings company, is a comprehensive artist-services platform that makes it easy for independent musicians to distribute, promote, and monetize their music so they can thrive outside the major-label system. Built on the belief that every artist should be able to pursue their vision without compromise and have an equal opportunity to be heard, CD Baby’s distribution services, self-promotion tools, and educational initiatives are designed to increase artist autonomy and empower independent artists to build their audiences without corporate assistance. Home to over 1 million artists and more than 10 million tracks, CD Baby has paid out over $1 billion in royalties to artists since its founding in 1998.

 

Announcement
12/17/2021

11/09/2021, Every Artist Needs a Canvas: CD Baby and Soundrop Artists Get First Crack at Rotor’s New Tool to Make High-Quality Spotify Videos
11/09/202111/09/2021, Every Artist Needs a Canvas: CD Baby and Soundrop Artists Get First Crack at Rotor’s New Tool to Make High-Quality Spotify Videos
Announcement
11/09/2021
Announcement
11/09/2021
Artist services providers CD Baby® and Soundrop®, both owned by Downtown Music Holdings (Downtown), have teamed up with UK-based Rotor Video to offer artists a better, easier, and cooler tool to make Spotify’s Canvas videos, the engagement-boosting 8-second loops that artists can add to their tracks. MORE» More»

Artist services providers CD Baby® and Soundrop®, both owned by Downtown Music Holdings (Downtown), have teamed up with UK-based Rotor Video to offer artists a better, easier, and cooler tool to make Spotify’s Canvas videos, the engagement-boosting 8-second loops that artists can add to their tracks. Based on Rotor’s popular products, the enhanced, sleeker tool (available November 9, 2021) will let CD Baby and Soundrop artists quickly and inexpensively make these videos, turning them into truly eye-catching visual companions to their music.

Artists can upload their own video or choose from a million clips, then add visual filters, effects, and looping styles. This specialized video creator will let artists preview their creation exactly as it will appear on Spotify, even how it will look on different devices and smartphones. Rotor plans to expand to other short video formats soon, as more and more streaming services offer video with tracks. CD Baby and Soundrop artists are the first to gain access to this tool. 
 
“Our artists put their hearts and souls into their art, and we want to build partnerships with innovators who care about quality, who understand that even a seconds-long video matters when it comes to expressing an artist’s vision,” notes Joel Andrew, CD Baby and Soundrop President and lifelong musician. “This partnership with Rotor will help us help musicians do more of what they love.”

“Our companies share similar roots and we really admire CD Baby and Soundrop’s artist community. They are completely dedicated to their art,” says Diarmuid Moloney, CEO of Rotor. “Musicians have faced mounting pressure to create more and more vid content, but the majority of musicians and even major labels don't have the tools or the means to keep up. The old method is too expensive, costing hundreds of dollars for a Canvas video on average. These new tools are matched to the pace and quality fans expect. They give time back to musicians to let them make more music.”

For $9 or less, artists can transform their tracks into impressive videos ready for upload to Spotify in a matter of minutes. This new tool is the latest to join CD Baby and Soundrop’s artist-driven solutions for simplifying marketing and promotion, tailored for independent music makers at all career phases.

“When artists get in touch with us looking for help or advice, marketing and promotional support is often what they’re looking for,” explains Alex Trevino, Strategic & Partner Manager at CD Baby. “We always let artists’ needs and requests guide what tech and tools we develop and offer, and that’s what led us to this new enhanced tool from Rotor.”
 
About CD Baby
 

CD Baby is one of the largest distributors and rights administrators of independent music on the planet, home to almost 750,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks, getting independent music to more than 150 digital services and platforms around the globe and allowing artists to monetize their presence on YouTube. Artists using the CD Baby platform have earned more than $730 million since its founding. Its Publishing Administration service allows over 200,000 songwriters/artists to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry.
 
About Rotor
Rotor is an audio/visual technology company that enables video content creation at scale for artists, labels, rights holders and services companies. Using proprietary software and an exclusive video content library, they make it fast, easy and affordable to regularly create videos for every song released. The Rotor team is made up of musicians, engineers and video directors who’ve built video tech for Google and YouTube; created music videos for Primal Scream, DeadMau5 and Underworld; and who’ve managed major record labels.
 

Announcement
11/09/2021

02/15/2021, CD Baby Brings on First Representative in Africa
02/15/202102/15/2021, CD Baby Brings on First Representative in Africa
Announcement
02/15/2021
Announcement
02/15/2021
CD Baby is expanding its international artist services team to Africa, bringing on seasoned music business manager and independent music advocate Sakhele Mzalazala. Mzalazala is CD Baby’s first hire in Africa where he will be responsible for growing CD Baby in South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Namibia. MORE» More»

Seasoned independent music advocate Sakhele Mzalazala will support artists across Southern Africa as CD Baby builds out its operations on the continent  

CD Baby is expanding its international artist services team to Africa, bringing on seasoned music business manager and independent music advocate Sakhele Mzalazala. Reporting to VP of International Development Heli Del Moral, Mzalazala is CD Baby’s first hire in Africa where he will be responsible for growing CD Baby in South Africa and other markets across Southern Africa, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Namibia. Based in Johannesburg, Mzalazala will spearhead strategic partnerships both locally and internationally, building networks with young and established artists in the process, as well as developing and implementing a number of programs to increase visibility and adoption of CD Baby services, and establish strategic industry relationships in the region. 

“African artists have impacted music around the world, and we’re thrilled to find the right representative to help them understand how CD Baby can support their careers and creativity,” says VP of International Development, Hel Del Moral. “This step is part of our overall vision to bring the best artist services and rights administration to independent creators worldwide.” 

Mzalazala has more than 20 years of music industry experience, including roles with Yourself Management, Xhentsa, and Koloni, working directly with artists Mahlatse Vokal and Lisa Good, and overseeing the publishing team at the prominent South African label Mathaland/Ghetto Ruff, where he worked with Zola 7, Dj Cleo, Pitch Black AFRO, and Morafe. With his own roots in the music industry as a an artist before transitioning to the business side, Mzalazala has a strong track record of supporting independent artists’ work, including a double platinum-release from Zonke Dikana’s Ina Ethe, the late Sfiso Ncwane’s multiple award-winning Gospel album Bayede Baba. He has also worked with Sizwe Zako, Tshepo Tshola, Lawrence Matshiza, and many more, experiences he has distilled into a guide book for independent musicians.

“Working for an international organization like CD Baby has been a dream of mine and I am very excited to have been given such a big opportunity, which in turn comes with bigger responsibilities,” Mzalazala says. “I look forward to impacting positively on the careers of independent artists and labels, where they will have full control and ownership of the works.I have always strived to do what is best for my artists and clients and CD Baby is just that and more. I am excited and cannot wait.”

Southern Africa has long been a musical powerhouse, with artists like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo shaping international music for decades. New generations of artists have continued to make an impact, including independent cross-cultural groups like Cape Town’s Freshlyground, who racked up billions of YouTube views worldwide. South African independent house DJ and singer-songwriter Black Coffee helped turn the world on to African techno and club music, winning Breakthrough DJ of the Year at the DJ Awards in Ibiza in 2015. Hip hop artists from the region like DJ Nasty C have gained international audiences and exposure. At the same time, other culturally important voices remain strong, including Gospel performers like Benjamin Dube and young torchbearers for traditional genres like Zulu maskandi such as Khuzani Mpungose. Though international music continues to dominate the market (80% of market share in South Africa), the independent sector is growing as the entire music market expands by 5-9% a year, according to data reported by Music Ally. 

“Independent artists' biggest challenges in our region are the lack of information or knowledge, lack of income from their works, and the long-term agreements they sign,” explains Mzalazala. “But artists are becoming independent by owning their masters and getting access to most digital platforms. There is a lot of reason for optimism now.”  

Mzalazala joins the 22-person CD Baby international team active in markets across Europe, North America, South America, East Asia, and South Asia.

 

Announcement
02/15/2021

11/24/2020, Independent Latin artists win big at Latin GRAMMYS
11/24/202011/24/2020, Independent Latin artists win big at Latin GRAMMYS
Announcement
11/24/2020
Announcement
11/24/2020
The 21st Latin GRAMMY nominees exemplified diversity; yet, fourteen of those musicians that evening shared one thing in common: they are all musicians represented by CD Baby, the largest digital distributor and retailer of independent music in the world, dedicated to supporting independent artists at every stage of their career. MORE» More»

The 21st annual Latin GRAMMY nominees exemplified diversity, from the virtuoso Flamenco guitarist in bustling Madrid to the school-teacher turned Peruvian folklorist 5,000 miles away.  Yet, fourteen of those hopeful musicians that evening shared one thing in common:  they are all musicians represented by CD Baby, the largest digital distributor and retailer of independent music in the world, dedicated to supporting independent artists at every stage of their career.  The fact that five of those artists now share another thing in common - a 2020 Latin GRAMMY - speaks to the success of those efforts.

“At CD Baby, we celebrate indie artists every day.  We celebrate their passion, their talent, and their thirst for opportunity,” explains Heli Del Moral, VP of International Development.  “Today, we congratulate CD Baby artists being recognized by their peers for their outstanding achievement.” CD Baby’s award-winning artists include:  Susana Baca’s A Capella as Best Folk Album, Antonio Rey’s Flamenco Sin Fronteras as Best Flamenco Album, Tina KidsCanta y Juega as Best Latin Children’s Album, Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra’s Puertos: Music From International Waters as Best Jazz Album, and Paulina Leisring and Domingo Pagliuca’s Eternal Gratitude as Best Classical Album.  

The recent achievements, however, have not come out of nowhere; over the last decade, CD Baby has pushed hard to support LATAM and Spanish-speaking artists, striving to pull Latin music from the corners of digital space (like YouTube and Pandora) to mainstream streaming services; streaming services are finally taking notice, adding tracks from CD Baby’s roster to cross-Latin playlists.  For example, one of the labels in this space, Deluxe Music Group, has quadrupled their streams since 2019, and the audience is responding.  Nielsen/Billboard data show that Latin music listening overall was up by 16% year over year in the first half of 2020.  

Yet, for CD Baby, it’s not just about selling music, but building careers.  “The Latin GRAMMYs are within reach for those making music from “el corazón” (the heart).  CD Baby is proud of our commitment to Latin artists around the world.  We have invested in creating a platform that educates and enables Latin artists to do much more than sell their music,” Del Moral explains.

There is perhaps no better example than GRAMMY winner Susana Baca.  As the first Peruvian woman to receive a GRAMMY, Baca is regarded as a central figure to the revival of Afro-Peruvian music.  Far from being a talented singer-songwriter, Baca has been called a poet, a historian, and an educator, founding the “Instituto Negrocontinuo” (Black Continuum Institute) to foster the preservation and creation of Afro-Peruvian culture, music, and dance.  Much like the culture that produced it, Afro-Peruvian music had previously been little recognized; yet, with the explosion of Baca’s international popularity, both the Afro-Peruvivan culture and its folk music traditions have gained widespread recognition and respect across the country.   

This dedication to elevating diverse independent voices and traditions is central to CD Baby’s mission; from the north of Mexico to the southern tip of Chile, local reps open doors for the next generation of Latin artists.  For international artists like the 2020 Latin GRAMMY winners the Emilio Solla Tango Jazz Orchestra (based in New York), Spanish and Portuguese speaking staff are on-the-ready.  As Heli Del Moral concluded, “Parabéns to this year’s CD Baby Latin GRAMMY winners.  The results of your efforts are inspiring to all Latin artists pursuing their dreams.” And thanks to CD Baby’s efforts, so many more Latin artists will have that opportunity, no matter their background, country, or community.

Announcement
11/24/2020

10/19/2020, CD Baby Publishing Collections Now Exceed $10MM
10/19/202010/19/2020, CD Baby Publishing Collections Now Exceed $10MM
Announcement
10/19/2020
Announcement
10/19/2020
CD Baby’s music publishing service, CD Baby Pro Publishing, has collected more than $10MM on behalf of its songwriters and performing artists. Powered by sister company Songtrust, CD Baby Pro Publishing now manages 1.7MM songs. MORE» More»

The leader in independent musician services fosters true creative freedom by collecting every penny due creators, worldwide
 
CD Baby’s music publishing service, CD Baby Pro Publishing, has collected more than $10MM on behalf of its songwriters and performing artists. Powered by sister company Songtrust, CD Baby Pro Publishing now manages 1.7MM songs. 
 
The millions of dollars in royalties is money music creators would otherwise struggle to collect in full on their own. The company’s global collections infrastructure supports an increasing number of artists and songwriters who strive for true independence and want to forge their own careers with complete creative control.
 
“It is extremely important to be collecting all income sources as an independent artist, especially if you write or compose your own music,” explains Jon Bahr, VP of Business Development & Licensing at CD Baby. “The time has come for all artists, no matter what their career stage, fanbase or geographic market, to get paid promptly and fairly for their work.”
 
CD Baby and Songtrust have pushed hard to create the conditions allowing independent and self-managed artists and songwriters to collect all publishing revenues earned by their work, something remarkably difficult for a music creator in the past. Songtrust’s publishing administration goes beyond simply collecting royalties and paying them out to creators, but also analyzes global pay source statements to ensure that all money is being properly collected and paid out to the rights holder. Songtrust’s catalog database can efficiently  ingest tens of thousands of new songs a month, and collects royalties from its pay source network that spans more than 215 countries and territories; the largest open-access royalty collection network in the industry. 
 
“When CD Baby Publishing launched a few years ago, we were the first music distributor to bring Publishing Administration directly into the distribution process,” Bahr notes. “Publishing is complicated, fractured, granular and global. As our hundreds of thousands of songwriters from dozens of countries know, CD Baby Publishing allows them to focus on their music and career growth while we proactively collect what they’re owed.”
 
One of these artists, Peachy!, released an RIAA and NMPA gold single (“Falling for U,” the track that launched buzzworthy vocalist mxmtoon) while still in high school. Prolific and creative, Peachy! benefited from CD Baby Publishing’s business expertise. “Before I started collecting publishing income with CD Baby, I didn’t really understand what publishing was,” he explains. “With their services, I not only began collecting more than I expected, but with ease. Every project I’ve released with CD Baby has collected publishing income.”
 
CD Baby’s expertise will guarantee the continuity of artist and songwriter revenues as the US prepares for a major transformation of its music licensing and royalty distribution regulations with the implementation of the MLC. “In 2021, with the launch of the MLC in the United States, CD Baby Publishing’s songs will already be registered and earning,” says Bahr, “as we continue educating the tens of thousands of unpublished songwriters on the value of collecting every penny of song royalties.”

Announcement
10/19/2020