If you’re a musician, chances are that, at some point, you’re going to want to sell your music on itunes, amazon, spotify, google play, etc.. And when you do, you will be shopping for the best distributor for the job.
So, the classic choice comes down to quality vs. quantity. If you don’t mind forking over a huge chunk of money up front then you’ll probably want to sign up with CD Baby. But, before you do that, let’s take a look at whether or not that’s the best decision.
CD Baby likes to boast and brag about the amount of money they pay out to their artists from time to time. But the question you should be asking yourself despite these numbers is: How much money is CD Baby making off the artists? So, let’s dig into that…
CD Baby recently raised their rates (again). They currently charge $12.95 to distribute a single and $49 to distribute an album. Now that’s per album per year. CD Baby is what you might deem a “set it and forget it” kind of company. Meaning once they get your money, they’ll put your album up onto the stores and that’s the last you’ll hear from them. There is no checking things and verifying things portion of their business.
A relatively new company is trying to fill that gap. ADED.US Music Distribution (f/k/a ADEDistribution) bills themselves moreso as a service company. Their prices (in the long run) become drastically lower than CD Baby’s as well. Instead of paying a big chunk of money up front, if you become a member (at $5 a month) you are instantly entitled to cheaper distribution rates. This rate starts at $3 and it doesn’t matter whether you’re distributing 1 song (a single) or up to 19 songs (an album). You also have the ability to skip the monthly payments and pay for a year’s worth of membership up front for $45, instantly saving you $15 off of what would be a $60 annual cost were you to pay monthly.
They also do something CD Baby doesn’t. They build custom artist pages and verify the store links for your music so that you can track and promote with one click, as opposed to CD Baby’s generic, non-informative, auto generated pages.
Now, ADED.US doesn’t currently have contracts with as many stores as CD Baby, but here’s something CD Baby probably won’t mention. Most of those “extra stores” CD Baby delivers to aren’t lucrative for the artist because they just aren’t that popular with music buyers. ADED.US focuses on the top selling stores (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play and some others) but does have plans to expand to include other stores in the future.
Now, let’s focus on the numbers again:
If you were to distribute 2 albums with CD Baby, it would cost you $98 over the course of a year. If you were to distribute 2 albums with ADED.US, it would cost you $51-$66 over the course of a year depending on whether or not you chose the annual ($51) or month-to-month ($66) plan.
Uodate: ADED.US has since unveiled their ‘Ultimate Package’. Artists that sign up for this package are given 12 ‘distribution credits’, meaning that they can distribute up to 12 projects every year at no extra cost. When you pay for the Ultimate Package, it covers all of your membership and store placement fees as well