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 ...
CD Baby Pro, the one-stop toolkit for indie musicians seeking publishing administration and the income streams publishing generates, is now available to Canadian artists. Canadian musicians can opt in to collect royalties via CD Baby, thanks to a new relationship with SOCAN, the Canadian Performing Rights Organization (PRO), and an ever-deepening collaboration with international rights administrator Song Trust. This means more independent artists in North America can tap into substantial, often unclaimed pools of money.
CD Baby Pro launched last year (April 2013), and unexpected payouts for independent musicians point to the importance of publishing administration. One example: NYC-based indie rockers The Orion Experience got a check for $1800 out of the blue, for UK mechanical royalties, money they had no idea they were owed but that CD Baby Pro was able to collect on their behalf.
“A lot of folks, even those who work in the music business, don’t realize that the main money engine has always been on the publishing side,” notes CD Baby’s Director of Marketing Kevin Breuner, whose background in the songwriting-driven Nashville scene helped him gain this awareness. “The recording and touring side is what the public sees and that’s what people tend to think is the main revenue driver. But it’s the copyright and the rights associated with the songs that generates the most revenue.”
Though vital to artist revenue, publishing and mechanical rights are convoluted, and the organizations charged collecting royalties are frequently ill suited to working directly with musicians and small labels. Yet publishing and mechanicals promises to be the source of new and growing streams of income for indie musicians, as the digital revolution resolves into what may be a more transparent, indie musician-friendly industry.
“More and more types of music usages are generating publishing revenue,” explains Breuner. “And a lot of musicians and rightsholders don’t realize this. On Spotify, for example, if without publishing administration, artists will get a fraction of a penny per stream. They miss out on a mechanical royalty owed to them, if they wrote the song, money they can’t collect unless they have a publishing administrator.”
That’s where CD Baby comes in, the industry leader in connecting indie musicians with the full spectrum of professional services and income opportunities. Drawing on a strong relationship with international leaders in publishing and royalties administration, Song Trust, CD Baby looks to continue its international expansion, offering publishing and other high-value tools to artists in the UK and other markets over the coming months.
CD Baby sees this move as part of its overall mission: showing how the new music environment can benefit indie artists. “In the past, a lot of publishing royalties have been swept under the rug, eventually paid out in blanket sums to major labels,” opines Breuner. “Now, it’s easy to account for things one for one. Spotify can tell us a track played, even if it’s only once. That track deserves all the same protection and treatment as something that got a million plays. No matter how many sales or streams you generate, you have the same rights.”