Ready to get your music out to everybody in the world? Looking to conquer the charts and climb to musical success? Well let’s figure out how to distribute your music to the masses!
I will be using CD Baby to cover this as I have been a fond user and supported of their company for over a decade. I will include direct links and screenshots along the way to assist you in your journey.
First and foremost, let’s head over to https://members.cdbaby.com/sign-up and sign up. Let’s skip ahead to “Adding a title”. From there you’ll want to choose whether you’re releasing an album (ep, lp, etc.) or a single song. I’m going to continue with a single song for this tutorial.
From there you will be able to choose whether or not you want to use their “Standard” or “Pro Publishing” options. As one cost more than the other, the differences are very key and need to be addressed. If you have your own publisher and have the tools they will provide, then you can select the “Standard” option. If you do not have a Publisher and require those tools, then I would select the “Pro Publisher” option for sure. I’m going to select the pro option since that will end up requiring additional steps and will allow me to cover most of everything.
The “Basic Single Information” should really be a no brainer. Tapping the person with the plus sign next to “Artist” will allow you to add more names, like Featuring, Producer and/or even a Remixer. Be sure to pay respects accordingly here. As far as a UPC barcode, if you have one then you don’t need it. However, 9 out 10 you don’t know how to get your own and paying CD Baby $5 to supply one isn’t the worst. “Terms of Service” should be an obvious one so I’ll bypass that as well. Plus if you don’t agree, you don’t get so (haha). Moving along.
“Publishing Agreement” should definitely be reviewed as this is what you’re agreeing to with them as your Publisher. They take 15% of your “Gross Receipts”. Just a little, right? Anyways... Let’s skip down to Songwriter Information under the “Track Information” tab. Fill this out accordingly and accurately. Also, if you have features or others you will be collecting for, it’s $10 per added Songwriter. This area will also go over ownership percentages and such as well.
Skipping down to “ISRC” tab... THIS ONES IMPORTANT. You’ll need this code for so many things and you’ll definitely want it registered correctly. They can assign one, for free. Or you can supply your own. That’s a whole other conversation. But those are the options. “DD Options” or Digital Distribution Options is where you’re going to choose where the song gets sent to. iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Tidal, etc. But there’s also a crazy amount of platforms you probably never heard of either. If exposure and sales are both positive things, then choosing “Do it all, even unpaid” sounds like the obvious choice. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be a star, a few freebies here and there isn’t going to end your chances or break the bank..
“Sync Licensing” is a vital tab as well. Be sure to read through it and fully understand what you will or will not be granting them rights to do with your music. Honestly, licensing can be a whole career. You could make crazy money and still be low key if that’s how you wanted it. Anyways, be sure to check out the options they give you. To dumb it down and simplify it, if you would rather collect your YouTube money directly and not allow them rights to the Content ID, then don’t select YouTube. Same for the Facebook/Instagram option. But the Sync Licensing should be there anyways unless you really don’t want any extra income from the song.
Submit Artwork and Audio are pretty basic. But let’s cover the important pieces to those. Artwork needs to be 1400x1400 minimum. Audio needs to be a 16-bit .wav file. Just double triple check that you are submitting the material that is mastered and of professional quality and standard. Right? (Haha)
“Title Overview” and then you’re ready to pay and get hyped! My suggestion is submit everything at least 2-3 weeks before it’s release date. It’s a lot to confirm and review and then they have to send it out to the streaming services and platforms. So be patient and use the time to find marketing strategies and promote your release correctly!