Normally you think of CD Baby as a great place to get indie music that you might not otherwise have access to. The amount of worldwide talent that is there is incomprehensible.
However I recently discovered that CD Baby has a policy of destroying music from indie artists. Now, I am the first person to do everything I can for our planet, ecology and recycling but I don't believe that someone's hard work should be recycle because of lack of shelf space. Let me explain, what happens is this. The artist sends CD Baby a total of 5 CDs after paying CD Baby for the privilege of selling their product on their website. CD Baby then takes one of them to digitize the music and the artwork and then puts 4 of them in stock for sale.
I have just discovered that they now only keep a total of 6 months worth of sales in stock. What that means is that if you have a bad 6 months (or you sell more digital downloads than physical CD's, which most artists do) and you sell no product then CD Baby categorizes your account as a limited seller and sends you a short email that tells you that your product will either be returned to you at your cost or destroyed at no cost.
Now, keep in mind that you originally paid for your product and then paid for your product to be in their online store and paid to have your product shipped to their online store so you have paid 3 times for your product to be carried in the CD Baby Store.
If somehow you miss that email or it ends up off in cyber land then your hard work is summarily destroyed and life goes on.
This, in my opinion, is a travesty. You pay to put the music on the site, you pay to ship it to them and then they think they have the right to charge you to send it back or to just have it destroyed in the name of “recycling”.
CD Baby was sold to Discmakers in 2008 by the original owner Derek Sivers who started the company in 1997. I remember actually emailing and getting personal responses from Derek back in the good old days, When he sold this company he thought he would be bettering the CD Baby brand and the claims were made that no demonstrable changes to the processes would be made. Apparently that is not the case. Currently, it cost $49.00 setup fee to get an album/CD uploaded to the CD Baby website. You can upload a single for $9.99. Now those fee's do get you a ISDN if you don't have one and that will get your product submitted to many other download online outlets. Ironically, that will lead to you selling more downloads than hard copy product and will lead to the demise of your product off the CD Baby crowed shelves.
How many CDs has CD Baby destroyed in the name of “recycling”. Oh and by the way, since CD Baby is owned by Discmakers, if you need to order more CDs, nine times out of ten you will have to order the replacement stock from Discmakers to then turn around and send them to their subsidiary CD Baby who will then destroy them again.
They claim that they have so many artists that they just don't have the room to store 4 CD's. You know what, eventually those CD's will sell down to the new recognized back stock which by the way is 1 to 3, 1 for the artists who don't promote their music on CD baby as they probably have it on iTunes and promote it there because iTunes is more worldly recognized and certainly more prestigious. They will keep three in stock for the artists that sell 3 CD's in up to 3 months is what I can tell after doing many months of investigating. This then requires those artists to spend money on sending 3 CD's to them every 3 months or so rather than sending them 6 for 6 months and saving some costs on shipping.
To me that just sounds like a great way to ensure that your business has a steady source of product. That is nothing less than planned annihilation of your hard work, time money and effort to keep the big wheel turning. Something is very wrong with this picture for the Independent artist for whom every penny matters.