TuneCore or CD Baby? Which is Better?

The digital revolution has changed the landscape of the music industry, with most consumption coming through Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services. So how do you navigate this online world to get your music out to an audience?

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Here’s a look at TuneCore and CD Baby, two of today’s most popular digital music distributors for independent artists.


Founded in 2005, TuneCore counts Pixies lead singer Frank Blank, Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy among its customers. According to current figures, TuneCore has paid out $1.5 billion to its artists to date.

TuneCore’s pricing structure is relatively simple. For album distribution, first-year fee is $29.99 and $49.99 for each year thereafter. Unlike many digital music distributors, TuneCore charges no commissions on sales and streams. Distribution credits are available for purchase at discounted rates to cover multiple releases.

If you need help collecting royalties, TuneCore has a music publishing administration program. Submit an unlimited number of compositions for a one-time $75 fee. While you retain all copyrights, TuneCore collects 15 percent commission on royalties and 20 percent on syncs.

CD Baby

CD Baby has a unique musical pedigree. In 1998, musician Derek Sivers started CD Baby in the iconic town of Woodstock, NY as a way to sell CDs created by himself and his friends. Over the last 21 years, CD Baby has grown and evolved along with the industry to become the world’s largest online distributor of independent music.

CD Baby’s business model is the opposite of TuneCore. The standard distribution plan is $29 per album, while the Pro plan at $69 per album includes music publishing administration. Fees are one-time only and CD Baby collects nine percent commission on sales and streams. 

Want to go old-school? CD Baby operates its own independent-only online music store. In addition to downloads, listeners have the option to buy vinyl or CD copies. Set your own price on physical media and CD Baby charges a flat $4 fee per unit to cover expenses.

Cost-Effective and High-Quality Professional Services for Independent Artists

No matter what genre of music you create, reach your highest potential with the help of our experienced team and state-of-the-art equipment. Bookings are available 24/7 to accommodate your busy schedule. Contact Clear Lake Recording Studios for more information.

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