CD Baby Is No Longer Distributing CDs

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"We person amended opportunities and things to attraction connected on nan integer side," says president Scott Williams.

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CD Baby has mostly exited nan beingness distribution business: “Going forward, we won’t person a warehouse, we won’t banal CDs, we’re nary longer doing message orders and that benignant of thing,” says Scott Williams, president of CD Baby. 

“We don’t return a determination for illustration this lightly,” he adds. “But it’s conscionable not arsenic not arsenic applicable for america and not arsenic valuable to nan artists that we serve. And truthful it’s clip has come.”

That said, CD Baby isn’t exiting nan beingness business completely: Artists tin still get CDs and vinyl manufactured through nan company, CD Baby conscionable won’t storage them. “We will still waste them, but those will beryllium shipped to nan artists that person purchased them,” Williams explains. “They tin usage Bandcamp; they tin group up their ain Shopify site. We person a batch of overlap coming pinch Bandcamp — a batch of group that usage america for integer distribution for illustration to do their ain beingness distribution done Bandcamp, and they tin still do that.”

CD Baby was founded astir 25 years agone to waste compact discs for independent artists. (Downtown Music acquired CD Baby’s proprietor successful 2019.) But CD income started to diminution successful nan 2000s, falling for 17 years consecutive until experiencing a mini uptick successful 2021. Sales of vinyl, nan different superior beingness euphony product, person traced nan other path, precocious celebrating their 17th consecutive twelvemonth of growth. 

In nan first 10 weeks of 2023, CD income ran somewhat up of 2022 — 6.8 cardinal successful 2022 to 6.9 million, according to Luminate. CD prices are much affordable than vinyl, which often pushes past $30, executives say, and location are less accumulation delays. Stars often waste them arsenic a collectible item, and for touring acts, CDs are easier to return connected nan roadworthy to waste astatine shows.

Some distributors person seen nan maturation of nan vinyl marketplace arsenic an opportunity to get into nan beingness distribution broadside of nan business. Symphonic Distribution announced that it was adding beingness distribution capabilities successful business pinch AMPED successful 2020. Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA, told Billboard past twelvemonth he was excited astir nan company’s caller introduction into nan beingness distribution space. (Downtown besides owns FUGA.)

But Williams says nan CD has “fade[d] successful relevance” for galore of CD Baby’s acts. “Operating nan fulfillment broadside of it isn’t going to beryllium portion of our halfway strategy going forward,” he continues. “I deliberation we person amended opportunities and things to attraction connected on nan integer side.”

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