Paul Diamond Blow's Rock Musician Resources

How to Sell Your Music on
Want to sell your CDs and get digital distribution to sell your music on the web and iTunes? CDBaby is the place you need to be, baby!

by Paul Diamond Blow

If you are an independent musician or band and you have recorded music to sell, CD Baby is the place you need to be,baby! CD Baby is the number one online resource for buying or selling independent music, and if you or your band have a CD to sell, the FIRST thing you should do is sign up with CD Baby and get your CD on their site. You should do this BEFORE you send out copies for review, to radio stations, or give a copy to your mom... get on CD Baby first! Not only can you sell your CD through CD Baby, but they also have a digital distribution plan where they get your music on all the major and minor digital music distributors: places like Apple iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, etc. etc, etc. I've been selling my CDs on for a while now myself and CD Baby really is the only place you NEED to sell your music on the web.

Here's how CD Baby works for you, the independent musician:

1) Signing up/selling CDs on CD Baby: The first thing you do is sign up with CD Baby at and type in all the info about your CD plus your contact info and other info for direct deposit payments. You then pay them a $35.00 one time fee and mail them five copies of your CD. They will open one copy and use it to rip the songs into different digital formats. They make a nice page for your CD complete with cover pic, a description (which you supply), a listing of the songs with lo-fi previews (you choose which songs are previewable), links to whatever other sites you have (which you supply), and even a review section where buyers can review your CD or you can submit reviews that have been published elsewhere. You choose the price your CD sells for, and CD Baby takes a $4.00 cut from each sale. If you sell your CD for $10.99, you get $6.99 for each sale, and you can edit the description on your page or change the price of your CD at any time! CD baby does all the work taking the orders and shipping the CDs out, and they email you each time you have a new sale. The $35.00 fee covers all the work they do and they never hit you up again for "maintenance fees" or anything else. Pretty simple!

If you don't have your CD mass-produced at a factory you can also sell CDRs of your music on CD baby, as long as they look semi-professional. They don't even have to be shrink wrapped. These will be listed on their site as CDRs. CDs and CDRs do need to have a barcode to sell on CD Baby, so if you don't have a barcode for your product CD Baby will make one for you for a one time $25.00 fee.

2) Selling mp3 albums through CD Baby: When selling a CD through CD Baby, you also have the option to sell your album as a "digital release," which is an mp3 collection of the album's songs. The mp3's do NOT sell individually, only as the entire album. You set the price for the mp3 album (it can be a different price than the physical CD sells for) and for each mp3 album sale CD baby takes a 9% cut and you get the rest. (CD Baby only takes the four dollar cut from the physical CD sales) You can also sell your product as a "digital release only" if you choose not to sell physical copies at all. This is a nice option since it seems today more and more people are downloading their music instead of buying actual CDs, plus having a 1000 copies of a CD mass produced costs about $1200 on average. You still need to have a barcode for your product even if you go the "digital release only" route, which you can get from CD Baby for $25.00.

3) Digital distribution through CD Baby: When you've got your product up on CD Baby you also have the option of joining their digital distribution plan, where they get your music up on all the major and minor online digital distributors like Apple iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody,, etc. etc. This costs NOTHING extra, and I highly recommend you do this! When your product is made available on these other sites, CD baby gives you a monthly report of all digital sales. For each digital sale through these other sites, CD Baby takes a 9% cut, you get the rest. There are many other online sites that can also get your music on these sites, but most of them charge yearly "maintenance" fees. Through CD baby, the one time $35.00 fee you pay covers all this...

A word about digital sales: Apple iTunes, being the number one digital distributor at this time, accounts for over 90% of all digital sales through CD Baby, according to the CD Baby website. I personally have two CDs for sale on CD Baby right now, and my own experience is that 98% of all digital sales are from iTunes, the other 2% through Napster. In fact, one of my CDs generates more income through iTunes downloads than it does actual CD sales!

4) CD Baby stats: One thing I love about CD Baby is the stats they give you to look at... They have stats for daily page hits, where the hits came from, who bought your CDs (including addresses and emails in case you want to send a "thank you" email), plus stats for all your digital sales through outside sites, and an accounting page where they itemize all income your product has generated. They really cover all the bases here, and f you love stats the way I do, you will love CD Baby.

5) Getting Paid: You set the minimum dollar amount for getting paid by CD baby (starting at ten dollars) and when your income reaches that amount they will send a direct deposit to your bank account and send you an email letting you know how much they've sent you. You do NOT have to request a payment, they do this automatically! I've been getting paid each month for the last year I've been on the site, so I can verify that CD Baby is trustworthy and reliable as far as getting paid.

6)Buying music through CD Baby: There are roughly 70,000 artists selling music on CD Baby, so if you're looking for music new music that you probably won't find anywhere else, CD Baby is the place to shop. Also, CD baby does NOT rip you off on shipping charges the way a lot of other places do... they charge $2.25 shipping for a CD shipped in the USA, which is a very fair price. They also ship worldwide, in fact, one of my own CDs sells more internationally than it does in my own country!

CD Baby: the Final Verdict: CD Baby will do it all for you, the independent musician/band. They'll sell your CD for you, get you on all the digital distributor sites, and they PAY you on time! Not only that, but founder/head honcho Derek Sivers has posted many helpful articles with tips for increasing sales and other advice for the independent musician on the site. This really is the place to be if you've got music to sell, and if you sell your music on only one online site, make it CD baby! I give it three thumbs up...