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Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

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Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Hazer » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:37 pm

Anyone made some good cash off these services and do you have a preference?
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby DJ Hurtz » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:08 am

Pay out from these platforms can be complicated and you should check some reviews online. You might want to consider using Bandcamp which in actual percentage terms seems to be the fairest.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:45 am

I used to have material on CD Baby but I'm not a fan of them and pulled it after a while as I felt the revenue didn't reflect the play counts it was getting and I also was a little suspicious about the fact that it tailed off rather abruptly after a couple of years.

I also had to fight with them a bit to respect a GDPR data deletion request - they really want to keep hold of as much data as possible and kept citing their company policy. I ended up finding the specific part of the GDPR text that disagreed with their policy and threatened them with a GDPR complaint before they backed down but it was hard work.

I'd also recommend selling direct through Bandcamp as a better option, although they don't do the streaming aggregation thing as far as I know. Then again, I've gone right off streaming in general as it feels to me as if for smaller artists it make more money for the industry than for the artist.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:47 am

Hazer wrote:Anyone made some good cash off these services and do you have a preference?

Economically the main differentiator is whether or not they get their earnings out of a cut of your sales or via a fixed yearly fee.

CD Baby for example does the former: every time you sell / stream etc they take a cut.
Tunecore (last I checked) wants a yearly fee to keep the music in catalog, but no cut.

So it all boils down on whether or not you think you'll sell a lot per year - specifically more than the yearly fee (in which case your earnings will be all the sales money minus the yearly fee); or if you think you won't sell enough in a year to make up for the fee.

Of course there may be differences in quality of service, speed etc. I use CD Baby and I'm pretty satisfied with how they work.

Tunecore (as of the info I googled right now, so it can change) charges $50 per album per year ($30 the first year). If you plant to sell for significantly more than that, it's definitely the best option. Otherwise, a one-time distribution fee service is better.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:22 pm

Thanks all I will probably give it a shot, and stick my tracks on Bandcamp as well and see how it goes!

By the way I have a 24 bit 44.1 master can I upload it to CDBaby and let them convert it to 16 bit is there any issue with that sonically? Also in terms of ISRC codes can I subsequently retrieve the ISRC coded upload to CDBaby to use elsewhere like Bandcamp?
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:31 pm

Hazer wrote:Thanks all I will probably give it a shot, and stick my tracks on Bandcamp as well and see how it goes!

By the way I have a 24 bit 44.1 master can I upload it to CDBaby and let them convert it to 16 bit is there any issue with that sonically?

Not entirely sure as we usually distribute CD quality masters (i.e. 16 bit).. but don't think CD Baby or any aggregator would make any conversion - the point of mastered files is that they are ready for distribution.

They would have no problems distributing 24 bit masters, I think, at least to channels that accept them - but I recall a discussion some time ago about Apple accepting 24 bit masters only from certified mastering houses, so they may not be able to distribute to Apple Music. The best is to go reading the relevant pages in CD Baby website or just ask. Customer service is pretty good.

Also in terms of ISRC codes can I subsequently retrieve the ISRC coded upload to CDBaby to use elsewhere like Bandcamp?

Yes, you can get the ISRC for the recording anywhere (including CD Baby if u so whish and pay) and then you use everywhere you distribute/publish the same recording.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby RichardT » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:35 pm

Hazer wrote:Thanks all I will probably give it a shot, and stick my tracks on Bandcamp as well and see how it goes!

By the way I have a 24 bit 44.1 master can I upload it to CDBaby and let them convert it to 16 bit is there any issue with that sonically? Also in terms of ISRC codes can I subsequently retrieve the ISRC coded upload to CDBaby to use elsewhere like Bandcamp?

I don’t think there would be any issue with them converting from 24 to 16 bits. I always send masters to my distributor in 24 bits and I can’t hear any degradation on Tidal, for example.

You’ll certainly be able to receive ISRC codes from CD Baby.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby RichardT » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:45 pm

Hazer wrote:Anyone made some good cash off these services and do you have a preference?

I haven’t made a lot of money! But there are good reasons for choosing some over others.

Some distributors require you too keep paying them every year even if you don’t upload any new material. If you don’t, they will take down your music. I really didn’t like that idea!

Some charge an upfront fee and give you all the revenue, others just take a revenue share, and some do both. There’s information about this on the website ‘Ari’s Take’.

Some have great customer service - and some don’t! My distributor has great customer service (Horus) and it makes a big difference.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby BigRedX » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:26 pm

I have music from 5 different bands on 3 different aggregator services, and TBH none of them make any serious money. Also I don't know of anyone in my musical circle who is doing any better.

My experience is that unless you are prepared to put in serious hours constantly promoting your music on social media and you have at least one fantastic/controversial video that goes viral, on-line sales (physical product through the mail, downloads and streaming) are virtually insignificant compared with what you can do selling physical product at gigs.

When The Terrortones split we did a final audit of all sales to date and I discovered that our on-line sales; that's selling physical copies of our records and CDs from our website and Bandcamp as well as digital downloads (nearly all from iTunes and Amazon) plus streaming; for the 6 years of the band's existence were about 5% of our total sales. Now that the band has stopped gigging we sell a handful of CDs and records each year through Bandcamp and generate enough downloads and streams to qualify for a CDBaby payment roughly every 2 years. That's for a catalogue of 2 EPs, a mini-album, and a full-length album. Yes, The Terrortones are operating in a fairly niche genre, but a good gig could easily generate over £100 of sales on the merch table afterwards.

In fact I think that all of my bands have yet to recoup the set-up fees from their aggregator services.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:40 pm

Somebody posted a really good summary of the different distribution options here recently - I've got the link somewhere on my other machine so I'll fish it out later on.
Personally, we use CD Baby for the band stuff - after two years I think we might just have got back about half of the initial fee. Unfortunately CD Baby still works on an album or single basis, which doesn't help much for EPs...
For my personal stuff I just use Bandcamp and didn't bother with the streaming sites as I couldn't see it ever paying off. However the link that I need to find and post here also shows some distributors who only take a cut of sales and don't require a yearly fee as well - so for those of us with tiny sales but who would still like to get on the distribution platforms it might be an option.
Obviously there are still other costs though in terms of ISRC codes and bar codes that you'll have to take into account - none of which you need for Bandcamp.
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:17 pm

And here's that link: https://www.whippedcreamsounds.com/best ... tion-2020/
Sorry I can't remember who posted it first. :(
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:23 pm

I think what you’re referring to is the comparison on Ari’s take?
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:49 pm

blinddrew wrote:And here's that link: https://www.whippedcreamsounds.com/best ... tion-2020/
Sorry I can't remember who posted it first. :(

Thanks for this never even heard of Ditto!
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:55 pm

CS70 wrote:
Hazer wrote:Thanks all I will probably give it a shot, and stick my tracks on Bandcamp as well and see how it goes!

By the way I have a 24 bit 44.1 master can I upload it to CDBaby and let them convert it to 16 bit is there any issue with that sonically?

Not entirely sure as we usually distribute CD quality masters (i.e. 16 bit).. but don't think CD Baby or any aggregator would make any conversion - the point of mastered files is that they are ready for distribution.

They would have no problems distributing 24 bit masters, I think, at least to channels that accept them - but I recall a discussion some time ago about Apple accepting 24 bit masters only from certified mastering houses, so they may not be able to distribute to Apple Music. The best is to go reading the relevant pages in CD Baby website or just ask. Customer service is pretty good.

Also in terms of ISRC codes can I subsequently retrieve the ISRC coded upload to CDBaby to use elsewhere like Bandcamp?

Yes, you can get the ISRC for the recording anywhere (including CD Baby if u so whish and pay) and then you use everywhere you distribute/publish the same recording.

Thanks for that info! CDBaby specify the requirement for 16 Bit, their system will automatically convert 24 bit 44.1 if you upload a WAV in that. Any degradation is the issue here really
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Re: Anyone made decent money from CD Baby/ Songtrader/ Distrokid/ Tunecore etc!

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:56 pm

RichardT wrote:
Hazer wrote:Thanks all I will probably give it a shot, and stick my tracks on Bandcamp as well and see how it goes!

By the way I have a 24 bit 44.1 master can I upload it to CDBaby and let them convert it to 16 bit is there any issue with that sonically? Also in terms of ISRC codes can I subsequently retrieve the ISRC coded upload to CDBaby to use elsewhere like Bandcamp?

I don’t think there would be any issue with them converting from 24 to 16 bits. I always send masters to my distributor in 24 bits and I can’t hear any degradation on Tidal, for example.

You’ll certainly be able to receive ISRC codes from CD Baby.

Ok cheers might just slam a track on and see what happens really
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