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 revolutionized the music industry as the first company to provide distribution and direct-to-fan sales tools to independent musicians. Now they are rolling out tools that help musicians not just sell but also promote their recordings above the noise. Finding an audience can be the biggest problem that musicians face. Ads by CD Baby, launching this month, gives their 300,000+ musician users access to targeted ads on major music destination websites.
Re-targeting, as it’s called in the online marketing world, works by showing content to web users who have already expressed interest in a particular subject matter. “In our case,” explains Kevin Breuner, director of marketing at CD Baby, “we’re re-targeting music ads to known music fans.”
“That includes people who’ve been to the CD Baby site, known buyers, and we target specific music sites, like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and many other sites,” Breuner continues. “The ads are displayed online to people who like the genre of music the artist is making.”
Ads by CD Baby has a very easy-to-use interface built into the CD Baby artist dashboard. The ads link back to the artist’s page, driving traffic there, where fans can purchase the music. Using the simple, intuitive interface, in minutes, artists can refine where the ads appear and how much they spend. It’s a system that gives real control and offers targeted advertising of the very best kind: finding fans who are very likely to buy.
“Artists have asked us for promotional tools, but we’ve always been very selective about what we’d encourage them to adopt,” says Breuner. “We want it to be worthwhile, something that will really work. It’s simple, and it’s affordable, ranging from $35-$350 a week. The more you spend, you more impressions you get.”
The program makes a good complement to CD Baby’s work with online radio promotion service Radio Airplay.
“Radio Airplay is like Pandora,” says Breuner, “and they have nine million listeners. Instead of ads, every tenth song they play is by an independent artist, so it’s a way for musicians to target an audience. That’s been very successful for us in terms of artist return. It’s another tool, and like Ads by CD Baby, it helps our users get their music directly to fans.”
“Even before we announced the Ads by CD Baby program, we had a very strong adoption rate in Beta, so we are expecting significant traction,” Breuner notes. “What used to only be available to large companies with 20-person web programming team is now available to the musician managing their own career; with just a few clicks.”