distrokid or cdbaby

In the ever-evolving world of music distribution, artists today have more options than ever before when it comes to getting their music out to the world. DistroKid and CD Baby are two prominent players in this space, each offering a range of services to help musicians reach their audience. But which one is the right choice for you? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into DistroKid and CD Baby, comparing their features, pricing, and overall user experience to help you make an informed decision.

What is DistroKid?

DistroKid is an online music distribution platform that caters to independent musicians. Founded in 2013, it has gained popularity for its straightforward approach to music distribution. With DistroKid, artists can easily upload their music to various streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and more. It also provides the option to create and manage their own artist profiles on platforms like Spotify for Artists.

One of DistroKid’s key features is its simplicity. It offers a user-friendly interface that allows musicians to upload their tracks and cover art with ease. The platform is known for its efficient and transparent royalty system, where artists keep 100% of their earnings. Overall, DistroKid provides a cost-effective and streamlined solution for independent artists looking to get their music out to a global audience.

What is CD Baby?

CD Baby is a well-established and comprehensive music distribution platform that has been serving musicians since 1998. It offers a wide range of services beyond music distribution, making it a one-stop-shop for independent artists. In addition to digital distribution to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, CD Baby provides options for physical CD distribution, music publishing, and sync licensing opportunities.

What sets CD Baby apart is its reputation for being artist-friendly and offering extensive support. The platform guides musicians through the entire music distribution process, ensuring that their music meets the necessary requirements for distribution. While CD Baby’s pricing is based on a one-time fee per release, with optional yearly fees for additional services, it provides musicians with a comprehensive suite of tools to manage their music career effectively. Overall, CD Baby is a valuable choice for independent artists looking for a full-service music distribution partner.

Pricing Comparison

When comparing the pricing models of DistroKid and CD Baby, there are notable differences that can impact your choice as an independent artist.

DistroKid offers a subscription-based pricing structure, where you pay an annual fee for access to the platform. This subscription allows you to upload an unlimited number of songs and albums throughout the year. For budget-conscious musicians who release music frequently, DistroKid’s model can be highly cost-effective, as it provides a predictable and affordable way to distribute music.

In contrast, CD Baby charges a one-time fee per release, which includes distribution to multiple platforms. They also offer optional yearly fees for additional services like music publishing and sync licensing. While CD Baby’s initial fees can add up over time, it’s important to note that they don’t take a percentage of your royalties, allowing you to keep all your earnings.

Ultimately, your choice between DistroKid and CD Baby may depend on your release frequency and budget. DistroKid’s subscription model is ideal for prolific artists, while CD Baby’s one-time fee structure may be preferable if you have a limited number of releases and value comprehensive support and additional services.

For independent artists on a tight budget, DistroKid’s subscription model may be more appealing, as it allows you to release as much music as you want without breaking the bank. CD Baby’s pricing can add up over time, especially if you have multiple releases.

Uploading Process

Both DistroKid and CD Baby offer user-friendly platforms for uploading music, but their approaches have slight differences.

DistroKid prides itself on its straightforward and streamlined uploading process. Artists can easily upload their music tracks and cover art through a user-friendly interface. The platform simplifies the submission process, making it quick and hassle-free. It’s an excellent choice if you want a simple and efficient way to get your music out to the world.

On the other hand, CD Baby’s uploading process is more detailed and comprehensive. While it may require a bit more information and attention to detail, the platform provides thorough guidance throughout the submission process. CD Baby ensures that your music meets all the necessary requirements for distribution. This approach can be beneficial if you want a comprehensive understanding of the distribution process and appreciate detailed support.

In summary, DistroKid offers a quick and straightforward uploading process, while CD Baby provides a more comprehensive and guided approach. Your choice depends on your preference for simplicity and speed or a more detailed and supported experience.

Royalties and Payments

Earning royalties is a crucial aspect of music distribution, and both DistroKid and CD Baby offer different approaches when it comes to handling payments.

DistroKid operates on a transparent and straightforward royalty system. When your music generates revenue on streaming platforms or through digital sales, you get to keep 100% of your earnings. DistroKid doesn’t take a cut of your royalties, which can be highly appealing for independent artists who want to maximize their income.

CD Baby, on the other hand, has a more complex royalty structure. While they do offer options for musicians to collect digital and physical sales royalties, it may involve some intricacies and deductions. However, CD Baby has a reputation for ensuring that artists receive their royalties promptly and accurately.

Ultimately, your choice between DistroKid and CD Baby in terms of royalties and payments may come down to whether you prefer a simple and transparent model with DistroKid or are willing to navigate a potentially more intricate system with CD Baby in exchange for the comprehensive services they offer.

Additional Services

Beyond music distribution, both DistroKid and CD Baby offer additional services to support independent artists in various aspects of their music careers.

DistroKid primarily focuses on distribution but does provide some add-on services. One notable service is the option to sign up for YouTube Content ID, which helps artists monetize their music on YouTube by claiming revenue from user-uploaded videos that feature their music. While DistroKid’s additional offerings may not be as extensive as CD Baby’s, they can be valuable for artists looking to maximize their online presence.

CD Baby, on the other hand, is renowned for its wide array of supplementary services. These include physical CD distribution, music publishing, sync licensing opportunities, and more. CD Baby’s comprehensive approach means that artists can turn to them for various needs, making it a one-stop-shop for managing multiple aspects of their music careers.

Your choice between DistroKid and CD Baby should factor in whether you require additional services beyond distribution. If you’re looking for a more holistic solution that covers various facets of your music career, CD Baby’s extensive offerings may be appealing. However, if your primary focus is distribution and you want a straightforward approach, DistroKid could be the better fit.

Customer Support

Customer support is a crucial factor to consider when choosing between DistroKid and CD Baby.

CD Baby is known for its responsive and dedicated customer support team. They provide extensive assistance to artists, guiding them through various aspects of their music careers. Whether you have questions about distribution, publishing, or licensing, CD Baby’s support team is there to help. Their commitment to artists’ success is one of their defining features.

DistroKid, while generally reliable, may not offer the same level of personalized support as CD Baby. Their emphasis is more on simplicity and efficiency in music distribution. While they do provide customer support, it may not be as hands-on as what CD Baby offers.

Your choice here depends on the level of support you desire. If you value having a dedicated team to assist you throughout your music career, CD Baby’s customer support might be the deciding factor. However, if you’re comfortable with a more independent approach and prioritize a streamlined distribution process, DistroKid’s support may still meet your needs.

User Experience

The user experience is a critical aspect to consider when choosing between DistroKid and CD Baby.

DistroKid is known for its user-friendly and straightforward interface, providing a quick and hassle-free experience for independent artists. The platform focuses on simplicity and speed, making it easy for musicians to upload their music and get it distributed to streaming platforms efficiently. If you prefer a no-frills approach and value a quick and easy process, DistroKid’s user experience may be appealing to you.

On the other hand, CD Baby offers a more comprehensive suite of tools and services, which can be both a strength and a potential complexity. While their platform may require a bit more time and attention to detail during the uploading process, it offers a more in-depth understanding of music distribution and various additional services like physical CD distribution and sync licensing. If you want a more comprehensive approach and appreciate having access to a range of tools and services, CD Baby’s user experience might align better with your goals.

In conclusion, the choice between DistroKid and CD Baby in terms of user experience depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize simplicity and speed, DistroKid is the way to go. If you prefer a more comprehensive approach with additional services, CD Baby’s user experience may be the better fit for your music career.


In the ongoing debate between DistroKid and CD Baby, it’s essential to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Both platforms offer unique features and cater to different needs, so your choice should align with your specific goals and budget as an independent artist.

If you’re a budget-conscious musician who frequently releases music and values a straightforward approach, DistroKid’s subscription model might be your best bet. With DistroKid, you can upload unlimited music at an annual fee and keep 100% of your earnings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I switch from DistroKid to CD Baby or vice versa?

A1: Yes, you can switch between these platforms, but it may involve re-uploading your music and managing your releases separately on each platform. Keep in mind that transitioning your music from one distribution service to another may require some effort to ensure a smooth transfer of your catalog.

Q2: Are there any hidden fees with DistroKid or CD Baby?

A2: Both platforms are transparent about their fees. However, it’s essential to review their pricing pages and terms of service thoroughly to avoid any surprises. While they may not have hidden fees, understanding their pricing structures will help you make informed decisions about your music distribution costs.

Q3: How long does it take for music to appear on streaming platforms after uploading?

A3: Typically, it takes a few days to a couple of weeks for your music to go live on streaming platforms after uploading, depending on the platform and any potential delays. It’s advisable to plan your releases in advance and consider these timelines when scheduling your music launches.

Q4: Do DistroKid and CD Baby offer marketing services?

A4: While both platforms primarily focus on music distribution, they may offer basic promotional tools. However, for extensive marketing and promotion of your music, you may need to explore other options or employ additional marketing strategies to reach a broader audience effectively.

Q5: Can I remove my music from streaming platforms if I change my mind?

A5: Yes, you can remove your music from streaming platforms if you change your mind or wish to take your music down for any reason. However, keep in mind that it may take some time for your music to be completely removed from all platforms. The specific timeline for removal can vary depending on each streaming service’s policies and processes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top