CD Baby Is Shutting Down Its Retail Store

As if the name “CD Baby” weren’t already an anachronism, the independent distributor announced late last week that it is shutting down its retail store, although it will continue to distribute physical product through other channels.

“CD Baby’s mission is to help artists monetize and promote their music in the best ways possible,” a message on the company’s website posted Thursday reads. “In order to provide the tools and services you need to succeed in an evolving music ecosystem, we’ve made the decision to retire the CD Baby retail store on March 31st, 2020. We’re going to focus on what is making a difference for musicians today: our distribution, monetization, and promotion services.”

The company clearly addresses the reasons for this move in a message on its website. “20 years ago, when CD Baby launched the online store, it was revolutionary to help independent musicians gain direct access to their fans and the market. By 2009, sales through our store accounted for only 27% of the total revenue we paid to artists every week. By 2019, sales on our store comprised less than 3% of our clients’ total earnings. With a few exceptions, the store is no longer a money-maker for most of our artists. So, we’re going to focus on what is making a difference for musicians today: our distribution, monetization, and promotion services.”

The company stresses that it will continue to distribute physical product — just not at its own store.

“We WILL continue our physical distribution program because the majority of orders we ship are coming through Amazon and other retailers,” it notes. “Through CD Baby’s Physical Distribution Program, we partner with distributors and retailers including Super D, Amazon, and Alliance, to make your CD, Vinyl or DVD available to retail stores and online retailers worldwide. CD Baby will continue to warehouse your CDs and vinyl; fulfill orders placed through Amazon, Alliance, local record stores, and other outlets; send you re-stock requests when we need more discs,” although it notes that product must be “retail ready” than it was in the past.

“We’re going to focus on what is making a difference for musicians today — our distribution, monetization, and promotion services,” said CEO Tracy Maddux in a statement. “We’re already recognized as the only distributor to have top-preferred partner status with both Spotify and Apple Music, but we’re also making it easier for you to reach new listeners, earn more money across an increasing array of channels, and opening up new territories for your music too, including the massive markets of India and China.

“It will be bittersweet when we retire the store, the end of an era,” he concludes. “But it will enable us to better serve the growing community of independent artists making music today in a fast-changing environment.”

For more details, see the full post here.


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