The Short Answer:
CD Baby is the largest online distributor of independent music. CDBaby.com (the site you’re on right now!) is our quaint little record store where you will discover your next favorite artist.
[In•de•pen•dent: (adj.) Not having sold one's life, career, and creative works over to a corporation.]
The Long Answer:
From our humble beginnings more than a decade ago as a small, one-man operation in a garage, to our current standing as the world’s largest online distributor of indie music, CD Baby has always been a company run BY musicians FOR musicians.
Inside the fortified walls of our warehouse (a virtual Wonka-world of music) in rainy Portland, Oregon, we listen to every single album we carry before it is posted for sale so that we can help you find other new artists you’ll love, too.
No distributors. No major labels. We only sell music that musicians send us directly. We ship CDs from our warehouse. We sell downloads from our site. And we also deliver our artists’ music to other download retailers, as well (iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, many more.) We sell you the music and then we pay the artist right away.
Cool thing: in a regular record deal or distribution deal, musicians only make $1-$2 per album, if they’re ever lucky enough to get paid by their label at all. When selling through CD Baby, musicians make $6-$12 per album and get paid weekly.
360,000 different albums sold by artists at CD Baby
Over 3 million tracks in our digital distribution catalog
$157 million paid directly to the artists
CD Baby primarily carries music by independent artists (artists without a major label or major distribution deal). Occasionally, we carry albums by artists who were once on a major label if the rights to the recording have reverted back to the artist (thus, they’re now INDIE!) But seriously, you can turn on classic rock radio any day of the week to hear Jimi Hendrix. Check out our site and find some new music by undiscovered artists that are just as good! To find other artists that share similar musical qualities to your favorite famous artists, use our sounds like search function.
Absolutely. We make 30 second streaming audio clips available for you to preview the music. The artist determines which tunes they want to make available for preview.
Unfortunately, you can’t. Because of the whacky ways of the file sharing public, we need to protect our artists’ copyright and ensure that the music is only available for download inside the account of the purchaser.
The most likely reason is that the artist did not send us enough stock to cover multiple purchases coming in on the same day. If you’d like to cancel the order and be refunded, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to take care of that.
However, artists are generally very quick about getting us restock. If you would still like to receive the out-of-stock items you purchased we will notify you the moment they ship.
Debit or Credit (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover), Check or Money Order in US Dollars, PayPal, Chocolate (Well, maybe not chocolate. But we do like chocolate. Lots of it!)
Yes. Check out our reseller program for information about wholesale distribution.
We have a $5 Sale that artists can elect to place their albums in. Artists opt into this sale with the goal of reaching music fans who want to sample a few indie artists. The $5 price only takes effect if you order 3 or more DIFFERENT titles from the sales bin. Otherwise, each of those albums will be listed at their normal selling price. Try adding 3 titles to your cart from the $5 Sales Bin and see if the listed price changes to $5 at that point.
Because we receive product directly from the artists, we sell music that comes in a variety of formats and packaging types. Some discs are shrink wrapped. Some are not. Some discs are gold-pressed CDs. Some are CD-Rs. We display the product type (CD, CD-R, Vinyl, etc.) on the album page, so check there if you need to know ahead of time what kind of item it is.
As cheap as we can possibly make it and still keep the shirts on our backs. Our shipping/handling rates are listed here.
Absolutely! Every day. Click here to see our shipping/handling rates.
Several ways. Click here for our shipping options. As far as the shipping materials, it depends on your chosen method and the quantity, but we always use sturdy, environmentally friendly, protective packaging that will keep your order safe.
Once you’ve added items to your cart and select the “checkout” button you’ll be able to give us a billing address (that’d be YOU) and a shipping address (the gift recipient).
It all depends on what shipment method you choose and how far the package has to travel. Check out our shipping/handling chart here for details.
However, please be aware that these are expected delivery times only. We can’t be responsible for the actions of the postal and delivery services of the world, customs offices, foreign governments, or other acts of God.
If you place your order by 3pm (Pacific/California time) it will ship the same day. Otherwise, we’ll get it in the mail first thing the following morning.
We do have an office on Neptune but it was abandoned eons ago. Unreliable space cadets! Besides that, we pretty much contain our mess to the CD Baby warehouse and office facility in Portland, Oregon.
Go to the album page on cdbaby.com of the album you’d like to review. Towards the bottom of the page click on the link that says Please log in to review this album.
Please remember to keep your comments specific to the album you’re reviewing.
We let the artist see who is purchasing their music. So if you buy an artist’s music they will see your name and email address (unless you elect to remain anonymous in your account). Besides that, we will never sell or give away your personal information to anyone for any reason- EVER!
Nope. We’re an online company trying to save trees.
Not yet. But we are toiling away to make gift certificates available soon.
CD Baby does not distribute content that intentionally promotes violence against persons of a specific race, color, religion, nationality, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We reserve the right to refuse submissions of this nature, or to cancel submissions that fall into this category at any time.
Nope. With our guest checkout process you don't have to create an account. You'll be able to download digital files at any time using the Sales Order number for your purchase.
But keep this in mind: in the same amount of time it takes to do the guest checkout, you could create a CD Baby account (because you're going to buy more great music in the future, right?). Once you've created an account, all your future download links and purchase history will be housed in one place, and you won't have to provide the same information every time you shop with us!
With CD Baby, your info is totally secure, and we won't share it with any third parties —with one exception: we let the artist know who supported their career with a purchase. We give them your name, email address, and city/state information. If you don't want the artist to have that info, you can easily opt to make anonymous purchases on CD Baby.
Yes. We encode our MP3s using the default setting of the LAME encoder. This creates roughly 200kbps VBR files.
Yes! We do accept purchase orders for libraries and schools.
To order using a purchase order:
1) Go to http://www.cdbaby.com to start an account with us (If you haven't already).
2) Once you have started the account, begin to place an order for the CD(s) as if you were going to pay for them upon checkout by adding them into your shopping cart and proceeding to the checkout process.
3) When you get to the payment screen, click on the link that says "MAIL IN" for payment. Once you're on the next screen, please click the link that says, "PLACE YOUR ORDER" which will then take you to a page where you can view a sales order number. The sales order number begins with a SO.
4) Then just e-mail me (email@example.com) with:
a. Your name and school/library name
b. Your CD Baby sales order number
c. Your purchase order number
d. How you would like to be invoiced (e-mail, mail, fax)
5) Upon receipt of the item(s) you ordered, please send us payment by check to fulfill your purchase order agreement within 30 days upon receipt of the complete order.
***Also, if you are located in any of the states listed below and are tax-exempt, please fax or e-mail me a copy of your tax-exempt form so I
can void any sales tax charges that occur:
fax: 1-503-296-2370 Attn: Ashley
Our site is secure, but only the pages where you would enter any personal information. The secure pages on our site use a full 256-bit secure SSL connection to protect all of your private information from snooping eyes. This is the same kind of online security system used by banks, so your info is totally secure!
When you go through the checkout process, you should see a padlock icon appear in address bar or the upper or lower right hand corner of your browser (depending on whether you're using Internet Explorer, AOL, Firefox, Safari, etc.). That is your browser's indication that the page you are viewing is secure.
Please know that keeping your personal information secure is a top priority here at CD Baby. We will never give out or sell your personal information.
You have two options:
1) Place an order now. Once we receive more copies from the artist we’ll charge you and ship it at that point.
2) Sign our waiting list and we’ll email you the moment we receive more stock. You can come back to the site at that point and place an order.
Your tracking number, UPS or USPS, will be provided in your shipping confirmation. There is a UPS link provided in the shipping confirmation where you can track both UPS and USPS orders. You can also access your tracking number in the Order History section of your CD Baby account."
All transactions are in US currency. However, your credit/debit card company (or PayPal) will handle the conversion to your local currency for you. CD Baby is not responsible for any conversion fees your bank may charge.
Step 1: Starting your download
After you finish the checkout process you'll be taken to the "Your Digital Download History" page in your account. From here, you should see the album or tracks that you just purchased with a "download" button next to them. Click that button to start the transfer and you'll be prompted to either "save" or "open" the file. You'll want to select "save" and take note of the target location that your browser will save the file to.
If you're not getting the dialogue box asking what you'd like to do with the file, take a look at our "Digital Download FAQ" for some common issues.
Step 2: Completing the transfer
Once the download starts, it's important that it finishes in its entirety before attempting to open it. Single track downloads will be saved to your computer. Full album downloads will be stored as a compressed .zip file which will need to be unzipped.
Step 3: Locating files
Once the transfer is complete, you'll need to find the files that you've just downloaded. In Windows, most browsers will save files to the "downloads" folder which you can find inside "my documents." For Mac, the default destination is the desktop. If the files aren't in those default locations, you can find the target location from that dialogue box that was discussed in the first step.
Step 4: Extracting files (full album only)
If you've bought and downloaded a full album, you'll need to extract or "unzip" the files before you can play, burn, or import them into your media player. The unzipping process will vary depending on what software you use to handle .zip files and what operating system you're using. In most cases, simply double-clicking on a file will begin extracting the contents. In some cases you'll be prompted to select a destination for the unzipped folder. Otherwise, it'll typically be unzipped to the same root folder as the original .zip file.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Once everything is saved and extracted, you can use your MP3s in any way you like. All digital downloads are DRM free and can be burned to disc, stored in your media library, or synced with your mobile MP3 player for you to take with you.
Also, feel free to email us with any questions you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Typically if the file transfer didn't initiate at all, it means that the dialogue box was blocked by your browser. Log into your account and try that download one more time. Keep an eye out for a pale orange/yellow bar at the top of the browser window (just below the address bar) that says "To protect your security (internet explorer, Firefox, etc) has blocked a pop up, click here for more options."
Click that bar and you should have the option to "download file." once you've selected to download the file, you'll need to click the green download button once more to start the transfer.
When asked what you'd like to do with your download, you'll want to select "save." Regardless of whether you download a full album or a single track, you'll want to actually save the file to a place thats easily accessible (like your "documents" or "my music" folder) before importing it into your media player. The default location for downloads in windows is the "downloads" folder (which can be found in "my documents"). The default location for Mac is the desktop.
Full album purchases are stored in a .zip format, meaning they're compressed and have to be "unzipped" before you can burn them to CD or import them into your media player. You may need to log back into your account and select to "save" the file rather than open it with a specific program. Once you do you'll be able to unzip the file.
Depending on your operating system, unzipping the files should be as simple as just double clicking on the downloaded file. You may need to follow some prompts to select the location of the unzipped folder or click the "Extract All" button in newer versions of Windows.
If you’ve downloaded our standard MP3 or hi-res MP3-320, tracks and albums, when unzipped, will be compatible with any platform, browser, or media player that supports MP3 playback.
Some media players do not support FLAC files. If your media player cannot play FLAC, download a free program like Media Monkey, Songbird, or xACT to play/convert your files
In most media players you can import music by simply dragging and dropping the MP3s into your music library. Just open both iTunes and the folder that your music is stored in. Select the files you want to transfer and drag them to the "Library" in iTunes. Alternatively, you can click "file." If you're having trouble, check your player's help section for specific instructions about how to import audio.
You can re-download tracks or albums that you've purchased at any time by simply logging into your account as a returning customer and then clicking the "digital downloads" link on the left side of your "my account" page. Once there just click the "Download" button for that track or album again to start the transfer again.
Typically, this is caused because the transfer got interrupted, or if you've tried to unzip the file before the download is complete. The best solution is to just delete the existing file or fragment and log back into your account to download the file again. Allow the download to reach 100% before trying to extract the files and you shouldn't see that error message anymore.
Standard MP3s available through CDBaby.com are encoded by us using the standard preset of the lame encoder. This means that you get Variable Bit rate MP3s with a target bit rate of around 200kbps.
MP3-320s are higher resolution. According to ISO standards, MP3-320 is the highest bit-rate MP3 file that audio decoders are required to produce (though some encoders can create MP3s up to 640 kbit/s).
FLAC files are “lossless,” meaning they’ve been compressed without any loss of audio information. They’re CD-quality!
No, all MP3s are DRM free and, once purchased, can be used just like any other standard MP3.
Yes. In most cases audio artifacts are just a by-product of the encoding process and, while it isn't common, it does happen from time to time. If you find digital blips or skipping in your download, it can most-likely be remedied by us. Just get in touch with us via email at email@example.com and we'll get your audio fixed as soon as possible.
In rare cases, the artifact could be part of the artists' original recording, which is a little trickier. In any case, getting in touch via email is still the best course of action and we'll do our best to find a solution on a case-by-case basis.
Currently, no. If you would like to load the album artwork into your media player, feel free to copy the image from the CDBaby.com album page.
It depends. When you buy digital music from CDBaby.com, the download is delivered as a zip file. Most mobile devices don't support the ability to download zip files directly to the device, so you may need to use a desktop or laptop computer to download and extract the file, and then sync it to your device manually.
If you are on an Apple device (iPhone, iPod, iPad) please see the next question.
You can purchase music from CD Baby on your Apple mobile device (iPhone, iPod, iPad), but will NOT be able to immediately access your downloads, as these devices do not support the ability to download zip files from the internet.
However, all the music you buy from CD Baby can be downloaded at any time on a desktop or laptop computer. Once you download your music, you can import it into your iTunes Library and sync to your Apple device.
When you are at a desktop computer, log back into CDBaby.com and download your music from the Digital Downloads section of My Account. In most media players, you can import music by simply dragging and dropping the MP3s into your music library. Just open both iTunes and the folder that your music is stored in. Select the files you want to transfer and drag them to the "Library" in iTunes. Alternatively, you can click "file." If you're having trouble, check your player's help section for specific instructions about how to import audio.
When you buy a song from CD Baby, you will be able to access it and download it from your account no matter where you are. Just log into your account and click on the “Digital Downloads” link in the My Account section.
We scaled down the CD Baby website to make it easier for visitors who are on mobile devices. We hope it will now be easier to access, discover, and purchase music on devices with smaller screens. If you prefer the look or functionality of the website you’re used to seeing on your desktop, click on the “full site” link at the bottom of any mobile page.
You can access our mobile-optimized site from any mobile device or desktop computer by visiting http://www.cdbaby.com/m.
You can still access the full version of the CD Baby website on your mobile device. Click on the “full site” link at the bottom of any page.
Debit or Credit (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover), PayPal, Chocolate. (Well, maybe not chocolate. But we do like chocolate. Lots of it!)
Full-album downloads are delivered as zipped files. Many mobile devices and tablets cannot open zipped files, so you will need to download and open the file on a desktop computer. From there, of course, you can move those files onto any tablet or mobile device.
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