My Experience on CD Baby

Jakob from heatstrokerecords.com wrote in to ask about my experience on CD Baby:

I know you use CDBaby for your CDs, and I was wondering, do you think it's worth the upfront cost and the cost per disc? I now own a small independent record label and I was wondering if it would be good to put our current CD in there. We aren't really popular right now, so we're looking for ways to expand our market. Has CDBaby garnered any extra sales for you? How many discs have you sold through CDBaby? Has site traffic increased at all since you started using it? And, granted my position, do you think it'd be worth it for me? Thanks.

The precious answers:

1. CD Baby has garnered only one extra sale that I know of (the person bought the CD from me and told me they found out about me through CD Baby).

2. I have sold zero of the original 5 CDs that I mailed them.

3. I only get the very occasional visitor from my CD Baby page so I'm pretty sure it's done almost nothing for my traffic.

And before I tell you what you should do, let me say that despite how grim that sounds, I'm very happy with CD Baby. CD Baby doesn't promise promotion and I think it would be a mistake to pay them money hoping it will boost your traffic. They just promise to facilitate the selling of your CD, which they do well. I'm even in Tower Records thanks to CD Baby. That combined with the potential of the upcoming digital distribution makes me very happy indeed. These are things I just couldn't have done on my own and it cost me maybe $60 US all said and done for the signup, barcode for digital distribution, shipping and CDs.

You also have to take into account that I undercut them in price ($5 US including shipping here, $6 plus shipping there), I don't have a link to them on my I Don't Know What I'm Doing page (though I should probably add one now that I think of it.) If it was the primary means of getting my album, I'm pretty sure my CD Baby sales would be way higher.

So from the looks of your page you're only offering mail order, which I'd say is a pain in the neck for just about everybody. I'd say either Paypal or CD Baby are your best bets for being able to simplify the process for customers a bit. I think I get away with Paypal okay because I have a pretty net compatible audience, but you may have more non-geeks in your audience who don't know what Paypal is, I have no idea.

Basically if I were you I'd just try to figure out if there are people who want to buy your record but are being scared away by the mail order process. CD Baby (and Paypal) will simplify this process for people. But don't expect getting listed on CD Baby to make your CDs fly off the shelves. The promotion will have to be done by you. Hope that helps!

businessBrad