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A League of Their Own: CD Baby Keeps Independent Musicians Paid in a Dog-Eat-Dog World

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Aug 15, 2014 01:25 PM EDT

Of record labels in an ever-changing musical landscape, one company seems to take on a new label of its own, more of an "antithesis" to a more musical question. This, of course, being a well-known online distributor called CD Baby, a quiet force that's been putting so much music out it would astound even the most ignorant of music goers.

Believe it or not, some 325,000 recording artists, from genres touching on folk, rap, polka and bhangra have to pay respect to the service and, for a fee, the company not only sells digital and physical copies but also helps artists without a label or publisher collect royalties.

According to The New York Times, one of every six songs in the iTunes catalog is there because of the Baby. The service has also expanded to about 60 other music-downloading sites and with the explosion of streamed music and user-uploaded sites like YouTube, CD Baby has kept its recording artists paid.

"We're the antilabel in a lot of respects," says Tracy Maddux, the company's chief executive, to the Times.

"We've been doing this longer than anyone else, and with five million tracks in our catalog, we're a lot bigger than anyone else [in the same niche]. But we know that things are changing rapidly and that we can't stand still," she continued.

Some of its recent artists have included Bon Iver, the National, Jack Johnson, Sara Bareilles, the Antlers and Macklemore. Major players like Macklemore have used the Baby as a jumping off point for their early releases.

And with a resume so heavy it could sink a ship, how could CD Baby not succeed among its peers?

Well, it remains a major force on the internet and is highly endowed to its earliest contributors.

So with a nod to the Baby from an artist himself, we salute you and all you continue to do for us recording artists in the music world.

A CD Baby band and band to recurring feature Bryce Dessner, The National, can take us out.

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TagsCD Baby, The New York Times, iTunes, Tracy Maddux, Bon Iver, The National, The Antlers

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