The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #170423 Message #4121299
Posted By: Anne Lister
29-Sep-21 - 08:45 AM
Thread Name: CDBaby - current issues for artists
Subject: CDBaby - current issues for artists
There was a time when CDBaby was a very valuable resource for independent recording artists, including many folk performers. That was when it was started by Derek Sivers, but even after his company was first sold on they continued to offer useful services, including enabling artists to put their material with digital platforms.
A couple of years ago I was asked to decide whether my "overstock" of albums should be returned to me or destroyed. It was a small quantity of CDs, and I asked CDBaby to return them, which turned out to be an expensive shipment (which I had to pay for). Within a matter of days, CDBaby sold some of their remaining stock of my albums and requested me to re-stock. This again was an expensive business and meant the sales of my albums cost me money. I complained to CDBaby about this process, and in due course they offered me some download cards as compensation.
But they're at it again. I have now been asked to decide what to do about the current "overstock". In the interest of accuracy, this "overstock" is one copy of each of the titles they are handling, and a couple more of my most recent album. I have only ever sent them albums on their request. Postage for the last album I supplied to them was in excess of £5.00 and again it meant it cancelled out any profit margin. It seems CDBaby are no longer selling physical product directly, but via Amazon Marketplace and other third party retailers.
I know I'm not the only artist to have received this email and it's clear that CDBaby have no interest in any physical distribution any more. They claim their warehouse can't cope with the number of artists they are "assisting".
I've had an online dialogue with one of their staff, and the best offer they will make to me is to continue to hold on to the extra copies of the newest album. However, the net result of this is (a) it will cost me money to have my own albums returned to me here in the UK, and (b) any future sales of these titles via CDBaby will also cost me money rather than represent any income.
This message, then, is two things - first, a warning that if you are in the US and buying albums by your favourite performers, try to deal with them directly or via Bandcamp. Albums on Amazon Marketplace (on Amazon.com) may well be coming from CDBaby, who are not behaving well. And secondly,a request - if you don't already have all of my albums and don't object to Amazon Marketplace, it would help me enormously if you would buy the last few copies being sold via CDBaby. There are three or four copies of "Astrolabe", at the time of writing, and one copy each of "Waiting for the Hero", "A Twist in the Story", "A Flame in Avalon", "Root, Seed, Thorn and Flower" and "Singing on the Wind". If none show in stock, that means someone has beaten you to it! They make good gifts, too - just a thought!
It should be obvious that after these albums are either sold or returned to me I will not be using CDBaby for any physical sales, as it is now an expensive hobby rather than a way to recoup my costs or make a profit.