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CD Baby CEO Tracy Maddux Knows What it Means to Do It Yourself

When Tracy Maddux—a passionate fan of live music—joined CD Baby, he decided he needed to see a show by each of the new employees he worked with. Nearly everyone at CD Baby plays music. It meant ...

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Samantha Brickler

Current News

  • 08/16/201808/16/2018

CD Baby Publishing Reaches 1 Million Songs: 1 Million Songs Coming Out of the Black Boxes

Thoughts on reaching a major milestone by CD Baby's VP of Creator Services Jon Bahr

It’s true - the tides of the music business have risen in the past few years as streaming has gained a massive foothold with no signs of letting up. Alongside the rise has been a string of lawsuits, metadata/registration problems, unknown compositions, suppressed content, failed legislation (and current legislation that hopefully may soon pass), missing songwriters, royalty delays and royalties...

Press

  • Rolling Stone, Mention, 07/10/2018, Why Charts Matter, and What It Means When Drake Dominates Them Text
  • Billboard, Feature story, 06/25/2018, CD Baby Expands Operations to London, Hires Rich Orchard & Steve Cusack Text
  • Rolling Stone, Mention, 06/14/2018, The End of Owning Music: How CDs and Downloads Died Text
  • Billboard, Feature story, 03/06/2018, CD Baby, Now In Its 20th Year, Says It Paid Out $80M to Indie Artists in 2017 Text
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News

08/16/2018, CD Baby Publishing Reaches 1 Million Songs: 1 Million Songs Coming Out of the Black Boxes
08/16/201808/16/2018, CD Baby Publishing Reaches 1 Million Songs: 1 Million Songs Coming Out of the Black Boxes
Announcement
08/16/2018
Announcement
08/16/2018
We are thrilled to announce that CD Baby Publishing Administration is solving those problems globally for over one million songs and 160,000 songwriters in over 50 countries with direct affiliations at more than 30 Performing Rights Organizations worldwide. MORE» More»

Thoughts on reaching a major milestone by CD Baby's VP of Creator Services Jon Bahr

It’s true - the tides of the music business have risen in the past few years as streaming has gained a massive foothold with no signs of letting up. Alongside the rise has been a string of lawsuits, metadata/registration problems, unknown compositions, suppressed content, failed legislation (and current legislation that hopefully may soon pass), missing songwriters, royalty delays and royalties incorrectly paid out. In nearly every situation, the issue surrounds the underlying composition - the song, which was crafted by a songwriter.

We are thrilled to announce that CD Baby Publishing Administration is solving those problems globally for over one million songs and 160,000 songwriters in over 50 countries with direct affiliations at more than 30 Performing Rights Organizations worldwide. This groundbreaking milestone - with over 750,000 songs where we administer 100% of the publishing shares - is truly helping solve the industry’s publishing problem one songwriter at a time. Our global Publishing Administration service is getting these songwriters their rightfully owed money globally and emptying the often discussed many “black boxes” at collection societies.

At its core, CD Baby’s role is to help music creators both get their music into the world and make sure they collect upon every revenue stream for that music. We give artists and songwriters full choice to layer different services under creator-friendly terms as opposed to overreaching rights grabs. With 9 million recordings distributed (one million new tracks in 2017 alone!), four million songs with YouTube & Facebook monetization, three million songs under non-exclusive Sync Licensing, one million songs under Publishing Administration, 25,000 new Publishing songs registered a month, and 4,000 new songwriters a month collecting all their Publishing owed, CD Baby is getting money flowing to music creators.

At CD Baby, we educate that “No Song Should Go Unpublished.” A songwriter is inherently their own publisher, but knowing what to do usually ended with joining a performing rights organization like ASCAP or BMI in the US or SOCAN in Canada and hopefully knowing to collect as a both a writer and a publisher. In my thirteen year tenure at ASCAP, I met countless songwriters who said ASCAP was their publisher (which is incorrect). Not managing your publishing shouldn’t mean the writer doesn’t get the money owed, but it does within the international framework of how songwriting royalties flow..

In the US, for certain interactive services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Pandora Premium the album or single won’t go live - though completely delivered by a distributor - without a Publisher registration/license of their works via Music Reports Inc. (MRI).  We, as well as our artists and songwriters, certainly want their music to be available to as many listeners as they can unimpeded by their lack of publishing understanding.

Most unpublished songwriters aren’t aware of all of the royalty streams going uncollected. Though royalties should flow better if the Music Modernization Act becomes law, songwriters will still need to proactively get their mechanical royalties in the US or work with a partner/publisher that will. If not, their royalties will be given away after three years.. Writers still wouldn’t collect their mechanicals for streams of their music in the rest of the world.

Each songwriter that chooses to use our Publishing Administration when distributing their music with CD Baby gets more money for each stream or download and solves countless global data problems. In a streaming era, where mechanicals account for roughly half the publishing royalties owed, songwriters have royalties sprinkled in every country in the world where someone pressed play and they don’t realize it. In a real world example, a CD Baby published writer collected over $25,000 in just one country from a foreign online gaming platform that one wouldn’t think pays out directly.

The CD Baby songwriter community is truly global with 45% international releases. Our administration partnership with the great folks at Songtrust / Downtown Music Publishing allows us to collect at the source for our songwriters via their direct global affiliations with over 30 PROs covering in over 75 countries and territories where we have clients. In just 5 years in operation, we already have well over 50,000 songwriters administered at both ASCAP and BMI. We make it easy to get full global songwriter royalty collection with a simple 1-year term followed by a quarterly renewal and a fair 15% administration fee. In the US and Canada, a writer can even join a PRO as a songwriter without leaving our website. We are trying and succeeding at getting music creators their royalties, making it easy in the process.

What’s our next act? There are some rights left in this neighborhood of music.

Announcement
08/16/2018

07/17/2018, Creative Fulfillment, Real Livings: DIY Musician Conference Offers Career Boosts and Camaraderie for Music’s Most Diverse Community
07/17/201807/17/2018, Creative Fulfillment, Real Livings: DIY Musician Conference Offers Career Boosts and Camaraderie for Music’s Most Diverse Community
Announcement
07/17/2018
Announcement
07/17/2018
In a few short weeks, more than 1,500 musicians from all over the world will gather in Nashville for one of the few truly indie artist-centric conferences out there: CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference. (August 24-26 2018) MORE» More»

In a few short weeks, more than 1,500 musicians from all over the world will gather in Nashville for one of the few truly indie artist-centric conferences out there: CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference. (August 24-26 2018) Unlike many industry events, DIY Musician equips working musicians of all backgrounds and genres with tools, inspiration, and networking opportunities to take their creativity and careers to the next level.

“Along with our musician community, we work with a lot of digital platforms who serve this community,” says Kevin Breuner, VP of Marketing at CD Baby and host of the popular DIY Musician podcast. “Every time someone from a digital service provider, say, has come to the conference, they’ve walked away amazed. They simply never guessed how diverse and engaged the independent musicians of the world are.”

The conference regularly attracts participants from all fifty states, as well as several dozen countries. These are musicians brand new to the scene and seasoned veterans making a living from music. They are all ages, all ethnic backgrounds, all musical styles and approaches you can imagine, from hip hop MCs to old-time one-man bands.

The 4th Annual DIY Musician Conference
Omni Hotel, Nashville, TN
http://diymusiciancon.com/


This year, the conference is hoping to further boost this community energy, planning even more chances to meet each other, play together, and exchange ideas about what’s working in this new, wide open era. Expanded jam rooms and showcases, as well as places and times to hang out and talk, will be one of the cornerstones this year.

DIY Musician will also tackle some of the toughest problems confronting musicians at all points in their careers: marketing and audience building in a saturated market. There will be sessions on Facebook ads for musicians on a budget, to using special marketing campaigns via sites like show.co to promote a fresh release. “A lot of what will be discussed lies at the heart of what got me interested in the DIY Musician podcast years ago,” explains Breuner. “It’s the idea that you can reach anyone and you can start building an audience just by engaging with people online and writing good music. You can be anywhere and still make it work for you.”

In addition to cutting-edge promo practices, the conference also offers a bevy of opportunities for artists to hone ever-important skills like mastering live performance. Expert and popular speaker Tom Jackson will be back this year with his live music makeover, a chance for selected groups to get a whole new way to approach their stage game.

Along with actionable tactics and strategy, the conference has made a practice of presenting success stories from unexpected corners of the music-making world. Folks like songwriter and guitarist Lance Allen, one of this year’s featured speakers, who figured out how to craft and pitch music to key streaming service playlists--and pay his mortgage. And Ariel Bloomer, whose blend of indie rock star and life coach spirit has inspired countless musicians and fans, and built her a satisfying life and viable career.

Everywhere at the conference, not just behind the podium, however, you can find tales of artistic satisfaction--on musicians’ own terms. “Every year it feels like there’s no better time than now to be an artist entering the marketplace. At the conference, I hear so many inspiring stories, from talking to people randomly. We’ll strike up a conversation, and then suddenly I have to start taking notes. That’s a great idea!” says Breuner. “You get so many artists from places around the world, with so many background and genre pursuits. You hear so many varied stories of success and creative fulfillment. It all has one underlying message: You can create the art you want and find an audience.”

About CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the largest distributors of independent music on the planet, home to 650,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks that are made available to 100+ digital services and platforms around the globe. Artists on the platform are empowered to monetize their rights while maintaining control of their own careers, and have collectively earned over $600 million since the company’s founding. CD Baby’s Publishing Administration service allows over 140,000 songwriters to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Twenty One Pilots, and Macklemore had their start on CD Baby, while others like Ingrid Michaelson and Gregory Alan Isakov have maintained independent and highly successful careers while partnering with CD Baby. The CD Baby umbrella of business units also includes CD Baby Publishing Administration, CD Baby Licensing, distribution platform Soundrop, CD Baby Manufacturing, marketing suite Show.co, CD Baby YouTube Administration, multi-channel network Illustrated Sound, website host HostBaby, the CD Baby Store for downloads and physical sales, promotional tool HearNow. CD Baby is a division of AVL Digital Group, which is also the parent company of Disc Makers.

Announcement
07/17/2018

06/25/2018, CD Baby Opens UK Office, Creates New Roles to Support EU Indie Artists
06/25/201806/25/2018, CD Baby Opens UK Office, Creates New Roles to Support EU Indie Artists
Announcement
06/25/2018
Announcement
06/25/2018
CD Baby has opened a new office, its first east of the Atlantic, in London, headed by Rich Orchard. Orchard joins CD Baby as Director of Market Development, EU. He has more than 15 years experience in music and tech, most recently at Absolute Label Services as Head of Digital. MORE» More»

CD Baby has opened a new office, its first east of the Atlantic, in London, headed by Rich Orchard.

Orchard joins CD Baby as Director of Market Development, EU. He has more than 15 years experience in music and tech, most recently at Absolute Label Services as Head of Digital, where he worked with a wide range of independent artists and labels. Prior to that, Orchard spent six years at Activision, where he dealt extensively with publishers on games like Guitar Hero Live.

“I’m extremely pleased to welcome Rich Orchard to the team. Given his experience in independent music distribution, music licensing and technology development, Rich is one of the most well-rounded candidates we considered for the role,” says CD Baby CEO Tracy Maddux. “He’s a great fit with the team and understands every perspective on how we make the CD Baby platform valuable to our users. I am sure he will prove a valuable resource to the 40,000+ artists we support in the UK and EU.”

“In what is undoubtedly a golden age to be making music and self-releasing, I am thrilled to be joining a team that embodies the DIY ethos and everything it means to be independent,” says Orchard. “I am hugely looking forward to our deeper relationship hereon with the UK and European artist community, as we support and empower them through our platform and services to grow their audience, maximise revenue streams, and take their career to the next stage.”

Working with Orchard in the UK office will be newly hired Artist Relations and Promotions Representative Steve Cusack. Cusack has a background in artist relations and music promotions across digital and radio. Cusack has been running his own independent song pitching company, PluggerBeatz.com . He has landed many featured placements on New Music Friday and other notable outlets for bands such as Dusky Grey, Newton Faulkner, The Sherlock’s and Allman Brown to name a few. Across Europe, Cusack has deep relationships with both music service editors as well as the radio community.

Cusack joins the newly formed Creator Services department, which brings together Artist Relations & Promotions, Publishing, Sync Licensing, and Music Service Relations. The Creator Services department is an eight member team spread across the US, Argentina, Brazil and the UK.

Head of Creator Services Jon Bahr commented, “We are thrilled to bring Steve onboard the team at the inception of our new Creator Services department. The team serves our priority artists with marketing and label services to further propel their releases. Steve brings an expertise in music promotion and relationships at the streaming services to hit the ground running and be a big asset to our growing team.”

About CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the largest distributors of independent music on the planet, home to 650,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks that are made available to 100+ digital services and platforms around the globe. Artists on the platform are empowered to monetize their rights while maintaining control of their own careers, and have collectively earned over $600 million since the company’s founding. CD Baby’s Publishing Administration service allows over 140,000 songwriters to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Twenty One Pilots, and Macklemore had their start on CD Baby, while others like Ingrid Michaelson and Gregory Alan Isakov have maintained independent and highly successful careers while partnering with CD Baby. The CD Baby umbrella of business units also includes CD Baby Publishing Administration, CD Baby Licensing, distribution platform Soundrop, CD Baby Manufacturing, marketing suite Show.co, CD Baby YouTube Administration, multi-channel network Illustrated Sound, website host HostBaby, the CD Baby Store for downloads and physical sales, promotional tool HearNow. CD Baby is a division of AVL Digital Group, which is also the parent company of Disc Makers.

 
Announcement
06/25/2018

03/21/2018, Where the Fans Are: CD Baby’s Show.co Puts Major Label-Strength Spotify Marketing Campaigns in Easy Reach of all its Artists
03/21/201803/21/2018, Where the Fans Are: CD Baby’s Show.co Puts Major Label-Strength Spotify Marketing Campaigns in Easy Reach of all its Artists
Announcement
03/21/2018
Announcement
03/21/2018
Thanks to CD Baby’s recent new offerings via marketing platform Show.co, artists have more ways to reach listeners and build an audience. The coolest feature: pre-save campaigns that automatically convert post-release to “save,” a feature unique to CD Baby and show.co. MORE» More»

Spotify has proven vital to emerging and independent artists for distribution and income--and now as a launch pad for serious marketing efforts. From a tiny fraction of overall listening ten years ago to a huge slice now, streaming platforms provide a new place for independent artists to actively engage fans.

Thanks to CD Baby’s recent new offerings via marketing platform Show.co, artists have more ways to reach listeners and build an audience. The coolest feature: pre-save campaigns that automatically convert post-release to “save,” a feature unique to CD Baby and show.co. It’s like the beloved iTunes pre-sale links, but for a new streaming reality.

CD Baby offers a set of tools that opens up possibilities once only within the reach of major labels--free to all CD Baby artists. “We work to support our artists’ efforts to reach fans where they listen, and Spotify is one of these crucial places,” says Kevin Breuner of CD Baby. “More than 30,000 labels and artists have already used Show.co’s services, so we know it works. We are really proud to offer this to our artists as a part of their already comprehensive toolbox.”

In the hands of each CD Baby artist, Show.co can launch numerous campaigns to drive audience growth and list building, promote new music and videos, and more. These calls-to-action can include following the artist on Spotify, subscribing to the artist’s YouTube channel, engaging in a contest, premiering a music video and more. Artists also have the opportunity to trade music singles for a fan’s email address. Once the fan submits their email address, their city and country are also automatically collected, providing valuable information for marketing efforts such as tour promotion.

Pre-saves are the streaming music-era answer to the pre-sale link. Via Show.co, these campaigns roll over automatically to “save,” once the album is released. “The automatic pre-save is a proprietary feature,” explains Rebecca Bateman, Senior Marketing Manager at CD Baby. “Pre-saves are not built into Spotify. We figured out how to both create a pre-save campaign and then turn it into a regular save campaign automatically once the release goes live, so the campaign stays relevant,” with no action required from busy artists.

Show.co had quietly attracted the attention of major labels (Universal) and big indies (Rounder, Nettwerk), as well as others. But since the acquisition by CD Baby, its 650,000 independent artists are able use the service for free to share content and collect important audience data. For artists and labels who do not use CD Baby, Show.co’s marketing services cost up to $99 per month.

Pre-saves are more than a gimmick; it’s a way to grow a fanbase and gain full access to fans. “Show.co provides an amazing direct-connect for our artists and their fans,” says Breuner. “Indie musicians can not only build their email lists, but also track what platforms their fans are using to consume their music, thus guiding the artist on what music streaming and video services to focus on.”

About CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the largest distributors of independent music on the planet, home to 650,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks that are made available to 100+ digital services and platforms around the globe. Artists on the platform are empowered to monetize their rights while maintaining control of their own careers, and have collectively earned over $600 million since the company’s founding. CD Baby’s Publishing Administration service allows over 140,000 songwriters to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Twenty One Pilots, and Macklemore had their start on CD Baby, while others like Ingrid Michaelson and Gregory Alan Isakov have maintained independent and highly successful careers while partnering with CD Baby. The CD Baby umbrella of business units also includes CD Baby Publishing Administration, CD Baby Licensing, distribution platform Soundrop, CD Baby Manufacturing, marketing suite Show.co, CD Baby YouTube Administration, multi-channel network Illustrated Sound, website host HostBaby, the CD Baby Store for downloads and physical sales, promotional tool HearNow. CD Baby is a division of AVL Digital Group, which is also the parent company of Disc Makers.

Announcement
03/21/2018

03/06/2018, Indie Millions: CD Baby Paid Out $80mil to Independent Artists in 2017
03/06/201803/06/2018, Indie Millions: CD Baby Paid Out $80mil to Independent Artists in 2017
Announcement
03/06/2018
Announcement
03/06/2018
It’s been a banner year for independent music and the artists from all walks of life who make it. CD Baby has seen similar growth, with its artists earning around $80 million payout on a catalog of more than 9 million digital tracks. CD Baby added around 1 million digital tracks in 2017 alone. MORE» More»

It’s been a banner year for independent music and the artists from all walks of life who make it.

Independent artists continue to make up an ever-growing share of the music business overall, with the proportion growing year over year (for 2017, it was around 40% of total industry revenue). CD Baby has seen similar growth, with its artists earning around $80 million payout on a catalog of more than 9 million digital tracks. CD Baby added around 1 million digital tracks in 2017 alone.

Much of the growth in the market for independent music comes from new platforms like Spotify and YouTube, where it’s easy to discover and listen to indie artists. At the same time, physical sales and downloads remain important for some styles, pointing to the diversity of models among independent artists. It all adds up to an increasingly vibrant scene that’s come a long way since CD Baby was founded twenty years ago.

The majority of this vibrancy comes from completely new distribution platforms: streaming services. “Just six years ago, iTunes downloads were the main source of sales revenue for our artists,” explains Kevin Breuner, VP of marketing at CD Baby. “Now, large amounts of money are generated by streams on Spotify and Apple Music. With this shift, we’ve seen revenue increase dramatically. The overall pie is growing, and indie musicians are getting their slices.”

For example, in 2009, when earnings from Spotify made up only around 1% of artist revenue, total income from the DSP barely scratched $500K. Now, as that Spotify’s share of revenue has grown to 58% of total earnings, artists are taking home almost $47 million from the streaming service alone.

“We’re excited to see average artists’ earnings grow for a third consecutive year due to millions more consumers engaging in music discovery on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora,” says CD Baby CEO Tracy Maddux. “YouTube is also a playing field-leveling platform that is contributing hugely to artist royalty growth. We’re very optimistic about the trend as we continue to lobby for higher per stream rates.”

“I’m so proud of what we see the artists in our community accomplishing everyday,” enthuses Breuner. “We’re committed to supporting and boosting their accomplishments.”

About CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the largest distributors of independent music on the planet, home to 650,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks that are made available to 100+ digital services and platforms around the globe. Artists on the platform are empowered to monetize their rights while maintaining control of their own careers, and have collectively earned over $600 million since the company’s founding. CD Baby’s Publishing Administration service allows over 140,000 songwriters to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Twenty One Pilots, and Macklemore had their start on CD Baby, while others like Ingrid Michaelson and Gregory Alan Isakov have maintained independent and highly successful careers while partnering with CD Baby. The CD Baby umbrella of business units also includes CD Baby Publishing Administration, CD Baby Licensing, distribution platform Soundrop, CD Baby Manufacturing, marketing suite Show.co, CD Baby YouTube Administration, multi-channel network Illustrated Sound, website host HostBaby, the CD Baby Store for downloads and physical sales, promotional tool HearNow. CD Baby is a division of AVL Digital Group, which is also the parent company of Disc Makers.

Announcement
03/06/2018