- March 10, 2021 at 12:34 pm #37516
This is really a 2 part question about publishing when working with non exclusive distributors.
First, when putting music that’s being distributed by a company like CD Baby on other non exclusive sites, how do you properly list the publisher? This has been a confusing one for me because I know that CD Baby is non exclusive but they’re listed as the publisher on ASCAP for the works that I distribute through them. If I’m working another deal on my own, it seems odd to me to list them as the publisher considering they seem to emphasize the “it’s your music, do what you want” concept.
Second, does anyone know if it’s possible to collect everything on your own that distributors like this offer or are they a necessary middleman? I’m fine with taking the time and effort to do whatever needs to be done in order to keep as much of my earnings as possible but I have no idea where to start or if it’s even possible. I know that there’s a way to administer your own publishing with PROs, but what else is there in the big picture?
I’ve used CD Baby for several years now and have had a mostly good experience but now that I’m getting deeper into the library world, I feel like I’m leaving money on the table and want to do everything I can to make this endeavor work.March 10, 2021 at 12:58 pm #37517Art MunsonKeymaster
Well, that’s a terrible deal for distribution. There are other distributors out there that do not take any publishing.
I use Level Music. It was free but now they charge $20 a year. I would look for other options than CD Baby.March 10, 2021 at 1:19 pm #37518
That’s what I’m confused about. I’m not exactly sure what they’re doing exactly. Their help center has a topic “Is CD Baby my publisher is I am listed at the Pro level?” and the answer reads to me like “no, but also yes.” They say:
“CD Baby is not like a traditional publisher; we’re closer to what folks in the biz call an ‘administrator.’ In our role as a publishing administrator, we register songs with Performing Rights Organizations and collect publishing royalties on your behalf. This is different from a traditional publisher that may also provide a full suite of creative and legal services (e.g. sync licensing, copyright).
In order for CD Baby to collect royalties on your behalf, you will need to select “No” when asked if you have a publisher for all tracks; our system will automatically list “CD Baby Publishing” as the publisher.”
So if I’m understanding that correctly, technically they do take publishing for those tracks and It looks like they take a 15% commission for publishing.
Thanks for the lead on Level Music, I’ll give them a look.
When I was starting out, CD Baby seemed like a great option in order to get my stuff out there with the least amount of hassle but now that I know more, it’s not sounding so great.April 3, 2021 at 12:35 pm #37627tobytuneParticipant
I have been using catapultdistribution.com/ for many years. I think they are the best. Take a look at their offers.April 8, 2021 at 12:49 pm #37671MahavitesGuest
Thanks tobytune, I’ll give them a look.April 8, 2021 at 7:48 pm #37672MichaelLParticipant
CD Baby Pro and their publishing admin option involves YouTube Content ID, which can be a problem for libraries, especially some of the Royalty Free libraries.April 9, 2021 at 1:11 pm #37673
That’s something I was wondering about. Good to know. Thanks MichaelL!April 10, 2021 at 10:36 pm #37680Happy EarsParticipant
Although this info is 3-4 years old, at least in the past CD baby’s admin option was exclusive. This was problematic for a friend who wanted to sign that music to a non exclusive pub deal. Also they register your titles with Cd Baby as an admin then when you withdraw from that deal you are stuck with the job of removing CD baby from the PRO registrations, which at least with BMI involves mailing a letter signed by all parties to BMI, then it can take several quarters before BMI updates the registrations. If it’s cues yes you can just retilte them but in my frinds case it was songs where the titles was mentioned in the lyrics and referred back to copyrights so he wanted to keep the original titles. This was again problematic since even though the deal with CD baby was canceled the company who he wanted to sign couldn’t publish it the music before the registration was clear of CD Baby’s ghost on the registrations Also assuming their admin deal is still exclusive then you technically owe CD Baby their admin share on sync you place yourself. Also I’m not sure how active their sync pitching is so why give them anything for doing nothing…I’m quite happy with Distro kid because on cover song their take care of mechanical royalties distribution to original songwriters.September 16, 2021 at 9:12 am #38887MarianneGuest
Is there an opt-out on CD Baby for sync licensing for YouTube and Facebook so that it doesn’t interfere with other non-exlclusive sync deals on a song?September 16, 2021 at 2:07 pm #38888
Sorry for the late reply Happy Ears, I don’t know why I’m just seeing your post now!
That sounds like a nightmare for your friend.
From my understanding, CD Baby’s sync licensing is non exclusive now but I’ve been getting mixed answers on how that applies practically. For example, they’re listed as my publisher in ASCAP for my tracks released through them. When I had music accepted into another non exclusive library I contacted CD Baby to see what to do when listing the publisher. One of their support team members said that because the deal is non exclusive but they handle admin for me, I needed to list them as the publisher with the new library. Another support team member answering the same question said that because the deal is non exclusive, I could list myself as the publisher with the new library. Extremely confusing.
I had a good experience with CD Baby when I was starting out releasing music but now that I understand the business a bit better and am more focused on production music/sync, needless to say I don’t think I’ll be releasing through them anymore.
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