The announcement that distributor CD Baby was ending its longtime bread and butter CD and Vinyl distribution shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, and yet many long-time users were still caught off-guard. The company has been a go-to tool for physical product distribution for bands and artists for many years, but streaming has made that part of the business less and less feasible.
If you look at it from CD Baby’s perspective, the company is now able to cut overhead by closing its warehouses (there has been no announcement of what will happen to warehouse staff as of yet), shipping and distribution services for CD and vinyl. According to the company, this will end on June 22nd.
The company will continue to distribute digital music to the streaming services as it has done for a number of years. In a statement to clients posted on Twitter, CD Baby said, “Digital distribution to places like Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music will continue, as will our support for artists at any stage of their journey. We will even have some exciting new features and offers to help you manage your music career coming soon that we can’t wait to share with you.”
Artists who still have inventory with the company will be given the choice of having it returned or recycled, and will be given a 60 day grace period to decide. If no decision is made by the end of that period, the inventory will be recycled.
As for recycling, CD Baby said, “When recycling is chosen, we work with a company to pick up the CDs and break them back down into their raw materials. The recycling company can then resell the raw materials, keep CDs out of landfills, and prevent CDs from showing up at retail stores or online as used or discount merchandise.” More information on the procedure can be found on the company’s support page.
Many artists have relied on CD Baby for CD pressing through the years, and those services can still be obtained from Discmakers or Kunaki. That said, CD and vinyl distribution to retailers and wholesalers is about to get harder for the average artist.