CD Baby

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CD Baby, Inc.
CD Baby Logo Black.png
Available inEnglish, Spanish, Portuguese
FoundedMarch 10, 1998; 22 years ago (1998-03-10)[1]
Woodstock, New York, U.S.
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Derek Sivers
IndustryDigital distribution, music publisher, online music store
ProductsDigital distribution, promotion
ParentAVL Digital Group (Downtown)

CD Baby, Inc. is an online distributor of independent music. The company has been described as an "anti-label" by Tracy Maddux.[2] CD Baby is the only digital aggregator with top preferred partner status with both Spotify and Apple Music,[3][4] and it is home to more than 650,000 artists and 9 million tracks that are made available to over 100 digital services and platforms around the globe.[5]

The firm, as of 2018, operates out of Portland, Oregon, with offices in New York City and London.[5][6] CD Baby's direct competitors include TuneCore, Ditto Music, Reverbnation and Mondotunes.[2]


CD Baby was founded in 1998 in Woodstock, New York, by Derek Sivers.[7] Sivers was a musician who created the website to sell his own music. As a hobby, he also began to sell the CDs of local bands and friends. Sivers originally listened to every CD he sold (the company later employed people specifically to do this, but today,[when?] CD Baby no longer listens to every submission). Sivers eventually hired John Steup as his vice president and first employee.[citation needed]

Sivers partnered with Oasis Disc Manufacturing[8] to distribute the complete Oasis artist roster.[9]

Although the majority of artists who use CD Baby are North American, about thirty percent of orders for CD Baby are overseas.[citation needed]

In 2001, the firm moved to Portland, Oregon, where they remain headquartered today. In 2004, CD Baby began offering an digital music distribution and became an early partner of iTunes.[10]

In August 2008 Disc Makers, a CD and DVD manufacturer, announced that they had bought CD Baby (and Host Baby) for 22 million dollars following a 7-year partnership between the two companies.[11]

In 2012, CD Baby added YouTube monetization to its services that come included with music distribution.[12]

In 2013, CD Baby Pro Publishing was launched as an add-on that assists independent songwriters in administering their composition rights and collecting global publishing royalties. The service is now available to songwriters in more than 70 countries and territories.[13]

In March 2019, Disc Makers sold CD Baby (as part of the AVL Digital Group) to Downtown for $200 million. AVL's physical product divisions, Disc Makers, BookBaby, and Merchly, were acquired in a separate transaction by the Disc Makers executive team as part of the newly-formed DIY Media Group.[14]

On March 31, 2020, CD Baby ceased its retail sales of music, in any format, but continued to manage wholesale music distribution for its musician clients.[15]

Technical history[edit]

Until 2009, CD Baby ran on PHP and MySQL.[6] Sivers announced in 2005 that he was rewriting all the systems in Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL.[16][17] After about two years of work, he felt that the rewrite was still less than half done, and he threw the new code away and rewrote it again in his original programming language, PHP, and database, MySQL. Sivers noted that "Rails was an amazing teacher" but he concluded that PHP was up to the task once he had learned the lessons Ruby on Rails taught him.[18]

CD Baby relaunched the website with major infrastructure changes (using ASPX) to support future growth, including redundancy that protects the original material on the site in a way that initially was not available to the artists. The website is no longer being run with the original or revised PHP. The new site experienced significant glitches initially, but this did not prevent the company from continuing to pay its artists as sales were reported to CD Baby by partners and others, monies received, and artist-chosen payment points reached.[19][20]


For its clients, CD Baby offers digital music distribution, worldwide publishing rights administration, monetization of music use on social video platforms, sync licensing, music marketing and online advertising, cover song licensing, and physical distribution and order fulfillment for CDs and vinyl records.[21] By opting into their online distribution service, artists can authorize CD Baby to act on their behalf to submit music for sale to online retailers such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora Radio, and 150+ other streaming services.[12]

The company also hosts two annual conferences for independent musicians looking for education, networking, and performance opportunities. Described as "the only music conference geared specifically towards the needs of independent artists in charge of their careers," the DIY Musician Conference took place in Chicago in 2015 and 2016, Nashville in 2017 and 2018, and is scheduled in Austin for 2019 and 2020.[22]

In 2018, CD Baby paid over $100 million[3] to its artist community (a 25% increase from 2017[23]), bringing its total artist payouts to over $700 million. In addition to the services the firm offers under its own name, CD Baby also now owns and operates HearNow,, Illustrated Sound Network, and HostBaby.[24] HostBaby closed in 2019.[25]

Notable artists at CD Baby[edit]

CD Baby has a catalogue of more than 350,000 albums and over nine million downloadable song tracks. Music created by these acts, ranging from part-time hobbyists, to full-time musicians with successful careers, spans all genres, from avant-garde to world music. Dave Matthews has an album for sale on CD Baby, recorded with Mark Roebuck before the inception of Dave Matthews Band, released under the name Tribe of Heaven. Other notable artists releasing their music via CD Baby include Ingrid Michaelson who has used CD Baby for digital distribution for every release[26] as well as Twenty One Pilots, Gravity Noir, Viper, Aloe Blacc, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heads and the Heart, Bon Iver, Sarah Barreilles, and The National. Americana acts Mary Gauthier, Marshall Chapman, Gretchen Peters, and Tom Russell; blues musicians Harmonica Hinds, Jeremiah Johnson,[27] and Liz Mandeville; American Italian pianist and composer Richard Aaker Trythall; Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe; the UK duo Nizlopi; and Italian-born, American classical violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra; Iranian Pop Star Mohsen Yeganeh; South African Concept Artist Alessandro Batazzi; Russian American opera singer Elena Zoubareva; and Big Sur. American singer-songwriter Grayson Hugh sells his music on CD Baby, as well as on his website. Grammy Award-winning artist Janis Ian, a pioneer among independent musicians marketing online, sells her CDs on the website as well as through her own website. Indeed, CD Baby has served as the distributor for dozens of Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning titles.[28][29][30][31][32]

American alternative rock band Lazlo Bane stayed as an independent band after their initial success with theme song for TV series Scrubs and went on to sell their music through CD Baby.[33]

The midwest punk rock bands Degenerates and Spite also sell their music on CD Baby.[34][35]

Hong Kong based singer Wing, best known for guest starring on an episode of South Park, also sells her music on CD Baby.[36]

Norwegian singer/songwriter Stig Gustu Larsen, have released two top charting EP's through CD Baby. The latest EP "Lifelines + Echoes" debuted at number one at the Norwegian iTunes charts.[citation needed]

World music artists who sold their albums on CD Baby also include Kaysha, Soumia, and Julio D.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  2. ^ a b Rohter, Larry (2014-08-12). "CD Baby, a Company for the Niche Musician". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  3. ^ a b Dukoff, Spencer. "Spotify, Apple Music Helped CD Baby Artists Earn Over $100 Million In 2018". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  4. ^ "Apple names The Orchard, Kontor and CD Baby 'Preferred Plus' music distributors as part of new program". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  5. ^ a b "CD Baby Expands Operations to London, Hires Rich Orchard & Steve Cusack". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  6. ^ a b "About | CD Baby Music Store". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  7. ^ Sivers, Derek (2011). Anything You Want. United States of America: Do You Zoom, Inc. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-936719-11-2.
  8. ^ Soloman, Micah. "Oasis Disc Manufacturing (Choose a package that radiates quality and eco-friendliness!)". Oasis.
  9. ^ Soloman, Micah. "Sell your music worldwide with CD Baby". Oasis.
  10. ^ "Indie artist payments from CD Baby increase 33% in 2017, and other numbers you'll want to see [INFOGRAPHIC]". DIY Musician Blog. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  11. ^ "CD Baby sold to Disc Makers - news, torrent, wikipedia, free MP3, download, lyrics". Archived from the original on August 13, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ a b "Worldwide Digital Music Distribution". CD Baby. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  13. ^ "CD Baby now publishes over a million songs - and says it's 'helping solve the industry's publishing problem one songwriter at a time'". Music Business Worldwide. 2018-08-15. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  14. ^ "Downtown buys CD Baby owner for $200m". Music Business Worldwide. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  15. ^ Rodríguez, Andrea (2020-04-13). "What you should know about the retirement of CD Baby's retail store". cd Baby. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  16. ^ "CD Baby rewrite in Postgres and Ruby, Baby!". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  17. ^ "Migrating to Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL: An Interview with CD Baby". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  18. ^ "7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  19. ^ "Sell Music Online - Sell worldwide on iTunes, Amazon, and More!". CD Baby. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  20. ^ "Sell Music Online - Sell worldwide on iTunes, Amazon, and More!". CD Baby. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  21. ^ "Sell Your Music Worldwide". CD Baby. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  22. ^ "CD Baby DIY Musician Conference Moves To Austin, TX". Music Connection Magazine. 2018-09-04. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  23. ^ "CD Baby, Now In Its 20th Year, Says It Paid Out $80M to Indie Artists in 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  24. ^ "Tools & Resources To Promote Your Music - Music Promotion". CD Baby. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  25. ^ Silva, Marsha (August 18, 2019). "Bandzoogle Takes Over Artist Page Hosting for CD Baby as 'HostBaby' Gets Transitioned". Digital Music News.
  26. ^ "Ingrid Michaelson Discography;". CDBaby. Archived from the original on January 1, 2018.
  27. ^ "Brand Spank'n Blue - Jeremiah Johnson, The Jeremiah Johnson Band, The Sliders | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  28. ^ "Exciting year for independent musicians nominated for Grammy Awards". DIY Musician Blog. 2018-12-13. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  29. ^ "Congratulations to all CD Baby artists nominated for a 2018 Latin Grammy". DIY Musician Blog. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  30. ^ "Strong independent showing for 2016 Grammy nominations". DIY Musician Blog. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  31. ^ "Impressive independent showing for 2017 Grammys". DIY Musician Blog. 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  32. ^ "Big independent showing for 2018 Grammy Awards". DIY Musician Blog. 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  33. ^ "Lazlo Bane". CD Baby. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  34. ^ "Spite; The Emotion Not the point; CD Baby Music Store". CDBaby. 1985-02-23. Archived from the original on May 20, 2018. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  35. ^ "Degenerates by Degenerates; CD Baby Music Store". Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  36. ^ "About Wing". June 30, 2015. Archived from the original on April 18, 2016.

External links[edit]