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CDBaby and Walmart

Dan Schatz 09 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM
JedMarum 09 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Dec 08 - 04:35 PM
JedMarum 09 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM
Maryrrf 10 Dec 08 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,The Truth 31 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM
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Subject: CDBaby and Walmart
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 02:36 PM

Here's a different CDBaby issue. I'd been aware, although not happy, that CDBaby included Walmart in their digital distribution list. Walmart is apparently now offering "Custom CDs," in which they burn an audio CD for anyone who wants it for a little under $5, plus $.88 per song. You can apparently select your own playlist for this CD, or just make a custom CD of an individual album (by making that album the playlist).

Now, I'm fairly unhappy with the idea of doing business with Walmart to begin with. But I was surprised that CDBaby allowed Walmart to do this without going back to the musicians and asking them. After all, what they're doing is making an audio CD out of .mp3 files (which is a lower quality format) and without the written liner notes that give context to the songs. This doesn't seem like digital distribution to me; it's being sold as a hard format.

That said - is this a way that people who don't have ipods and computers can still get individual .mp3 files? Is this maybe a way of reaching those who have fewer resources? Or is it just a way of overcharging customers while underpaying musicians?

I wrote CDBaby about it and am pleased to say that they have offered to have my album removed form Walmart's site. I might have chosen to do this in any case, since I find them a reprehensible company. But I'm interested in what other musicians think about this. Were you aware of this practice? Have you excluded Walmart from your digital distribution?

Now, I recognize that I don't sell very many CDs, and that digital downloads aren't a big deal for me. But there's a principle here that concerns me.

What do you think?


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Subject: RE: CDBaby and Walmart
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM

I earn pretty well from digital and MP3 sales, through CDBaby. I have sold very few actual CDs through their relationship with Walmart - and previously with Tower Records (I think it was). As far I am concerned, my digital sales amount to a slightly greater profit then a CD sale (albeit often one track at a time) - I don't care who the CDBaby partner is who sells the actual track. I have OK'd the relationship for each one of the digital partners.

On the other hand, I am actually pleased to sell to customers through Walmart. I love the store and I am pleased to be listed among their inventory.

But I wouldn't want to sell my product through a store that I didn't like. I wouldn't license my music to porn films and I wouldn't play for KKK meetings (I've been asked) and I wouldn't want my music sold through those events. So I understand where you're coming from.

The good news is, through CDBaby, you can pick and choose your distribution partners.

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Subject: RE: CDBaby and Walmart
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 04:35 PM

Wow. When you compare Wal-Mart to the KKK, it sure puts things in a different perspective, doesn't it?

I never go to Wal-Mart, but I think I have seen this type of service being offered somewhere. I think it may have been a Shopko. (I wouldn't normally go to Shopko either, but I was out of town, and I needed something, and it was handy.)

I'm no fan of Wal-Mart, but I suspect Wal-Mart gets an unfair share of the blame for everything that's wrong with our society, just because it's so big. Other than size, what's the difference between Wal-Mart, Shopko, Target, Kmart, etc.? If they aren't all doing this, they will be doing it soon, if it's profitable.

I don't think they're doing anything that people couldn't do on their home computers. Maybe they're doing it—or trying to do it—more cheaply and conveniently.

My guess is, Wal-Mart hopes to make their system attractive to customers by designing a user-friendly (i.e. dumbed-down, idiot-proof) interface. Remember, a lot of people aren't as computer-literate as you and me.

Do you get any less money when somebody buys through Wal-Mart than through some other channel?

I don't think your boycotting Wal-Mart will make any difference in the big scheme of things. Do whatever you think will benefit you most in the long run.

If you want to combat Wal-Mart and its ilk, try lobbying for better labor laws, zoning practices, taxation schemes, etc.

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Subject: RE: CDBaby and Walmart
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM

It sounds like this "create your own CD" thing is what they can actually do from their own computer. You can buy almost any track as a single MP3 and save your own list of MP3s to a disc for the car, if your car plays MP3 files - maybe they are saved in CD format, though ... anyway - the idea is OK with me. It is just another way to sell more MP3s, and as I said, I'm happy for Walmart to sell my songs.

When you sign up for digital distribution through CDBaby, you can pick and choose who, among their list of services you want to do business with. Each service spells out their payment and licensing detail - and they are similar - and pay in about the same range.

For me the iTunes services (there are six that I am signed with) sell by far the most - and pay the best. There is a list another 30 or so that added all together don't sell what iTunes does. But that is changing. Still - the Walmart thing is pretty small for me.

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Subject: RE: CDBaby and Walmart
From: Maryrrf
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 10:18 AM

I have done this several times with Amazon - browse around and select tracks that I like (sometimes I have a 'theme' in mind and sometimes not). Download, burn onto a CD for a custom albumn. I love it. So yes Walmart is just offering this for people who can't figure out how to do it themselves.   Unfortunately, I think the days of the traditional albumn concept may be numbered. More and more people just load the songs directly into their Ipods or MP3 players and shuffle the tracks randomly anyway. I say unfortunately because I believe many artists put a lot of thought into selecting and arranging the tracks on their album in order to produce a coherent and pleasing group of songs or tunes that 'flow'. I know I did.

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Subject: RE: CDBaby and Walmart
From: GUEST,The Truth
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 06:55 PM

If you're unhappy with Walmart selling your music, it would be a good idea to read any agreement you sign. CDBaby clearly lists their digital partners. You're not alone, most people don't read what they sign.

Lesson learned.

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