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TuneCore vs CD Baby: The Truth About These 2 Distributors

tunecore vs cdbaby

The music industry has undergone a myriad of changes in recent years. As a musician, if you haven’t placed your music on streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music, then you’re missing out on a very large listener base. To get your music to these platforms, you will need a tool called a digital aggregator, the most common ones being Tunecore and CD Baby.

If you are planning to release your music for streaming, then you might have stumbled across these two platforms. In this article, we shall discuss the features of both Tunecore and CD Baby, their similarities and differences. Eventually, you can identify which service provider will be best suited to distribute your music.

What is Tunecore?


Read MDG’s full review of Tunecore

This is a website that provides both established and upcoming artists a platform and tools they require to distribute their music to fans around the world. By signing up for an account, you will be able to distribute your music online without the use of a music label.

When it comes to the distribution and sales of music, Tunecore is one of the best platforms can utilize. It gives users access to a larger network of popular online music stores such as Google Play Music, iTunes, Tidal, YouTube Music, Amazon, and Spotify. These music stores receive millions of visitors across the world every day.

Most artists prefer using it because it does not attract any commissions on earnings generated by the music, unlike most online music distribution platforms. Artists retain 100% of their royalties. All their earnings are deposited to their respective accounts and can be withdrawn at any time.

Features of Tunecore

Their website comes with several outstanding features to give you a pleasurable experience while interacting on the platform. These features are meant to boost the music careers of its users by exposing them to the international market.

Account-holders get publishing administration rights. It is the only online music distribution company that provides this kind of high-security service to its musicians. Through it, musicians can collect the full amount of earnings that their music has generated anywhere in the world. Artists can, therefore, distribute and sell their music without the fear of making losses.

To know how your music is performing, you can use the analytic and reporting platform. This helps artists to know how well listeners have received their music. Such data is obtained from websites like SoundCloud and Spotify. This analytic and reporting platform also provides users with demographic data, including where most of your listeners come from, helping you plan on potential events, tours, and concerts. It also helps you keep track of the number of downloads made by listeners.

Another key feature it has is its sync and master licensing. This platform has an interface that is tailored to help you get your content played on video games, TV commercials, and films and ensure that you earn royalties from them. This feature is unique because it introduces your content to a different audience and generates additional income for you.

Tunecore has a renowned social media tool that connects musicians to many social media platforms where you can be allowed to showcase your content and introduce yourself to the entire world. This social media tool enables you to update your social media pages with information about music such as album releases, video launches and many more.

Its subscription to the Social and Social Pro Plans enables artists to make unlimited posts on Twitter and Facebook. Artists also can make media posts twice per month on SoundCloud and Mixcloud to stay relevant on the forums.

Check the Plans of Tunecore (25% OFF for Our Readers)


What is CD Baby?

cd baby

Founded by Derek Sivers in 1998, it is a website that helps artists to sell and distribute music to the global market. Just like Tunecore, it is one of the leading online music distribution companies in the world. It has also formed partnerships with a wide network of online music stores and streaming services, including Pandora and Apple Music to give artists a larger audience. Artists can, therefore, create a strong fan base and establish themselves as musicians.

Features of CD Baby

Through pro-publishing administration, CD Baby can protect, promote and account for your music. This platform ensures that they register your content with collection agencies around the world. Once all the royalties are collected, they charge a commission of 15% and deposit the balance to your account.

The CD Baby Music Store creates a platform for independent and new artists to sell their content. Fans can purchase music directly from this store and bypass the mainstream platforms. This gives artists an added advantage because they get to keep up to 91% of sales income, unlike the 70-85% obtained from conventional online stores.

One of the main features of this platform is CD distribution. It facilitates the distribution and sale of physical CDs in their website and other partner record stores (over 15000) around the world. Musicians can sell their CDs at any price they wish.

It also comes with a reporting and analytics feature which helps musicians understand the origin and demographics of their fan base and listeners. It presents this data in a manner that is easy to comprehend.

Apart from CD distribution, subscribers get access to disc manufacturing services. Artists can have their physical CDs printed and packaged as per their preferred specifications. They can also do the artwork for albums can also upon request.

Users get to enjoy social media video monetization. Here, users can earn ad revenue generated from any music or video that’s played on YouTube. CD Baby’s standard and pro-plan users are eligible for free YouTube monetization services but are charged a commission of 30% on all earnings. They can also collect similar revenue on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Signing up for the pro-plan is however optional.

Vinyl distribution services are also available on the website. It facilitates the distribution of your musical content in vinyl form through its partner stores.

It also offers sync licensing, which helps to get your music played on YouTube, movies, commercials and video games. The unprecedented exposure gives users an extra revenue stream. However, CD Baby will demand a commission of 40% on all the income obtained through these means.

In this platform, users can obtain licenses for releasing cover songs. They charge approximately $15 for this service and ensure that royalties are paid to the original owner of the song.

YouTube video

What are the similarities between the two?

Both offer new and independent musicians with a powerful platform to distribute and showcase their works. These platforms give equal opportunities to both upcoming and experienced artists, unlike most mainstream platforms. New artists can build their careers and achieve relative success using these platforms.

Each platform utilizes sync-licensing, which is an innovative way of generating revenue for musicians by playing their music in commercials, films, and YouTube videos. Sync licensing also helps to expose content done by musicians to new audiences.

They all have a reporting and analytics feature. This feature is particularly useful for research and planning purposes. Through it, musicians can evaluate the demographics and some background data of their listeners and fans. Using this data, musicians can potentially plan their shows, tours, and concerts accordingly.

Tunecore and CD Baby all make use of social media networks to market and distribute content. Social media is a powerful tool these days as there are millions of subscribers on popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These subscribers form a global market for the sale and distribution of music.

Both service providers have partnered with more than 150 online music platforms, including the respected ones such as iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. It guarantees users a wide distribution of their music on a global scale.

tunecore statistics

What makes them so different?

Tunecore has a more appealing web design than CD Baby. It has a more user-friendly and interactive interface than its counterpart.

Users do not pay any commission on the income generated by their music on Tunecore; the musician gets a 100% payout. Conversely, CD Baby users’ part with a 9% commission on income generated.

Only CDBaby offers CD and vinyl warehousing. It does distribution to over 15000 of its partner music stores.

If your latest release performs well on Tunecore or if you get widespread media coverage, you stand a better chance of being featured on various sections of Apple Music, iTunes or Spotify. This might not be possible on CD Baby.

Musicians can make unlimited withdrawals on their Tunecore accounts without any payment thresholds. Users on CDBaby have to set a threshold for themselves and payments are done once a week, usually on Mondays.


As an artist, you invest a lot of time, resources and effort into writing songs. And since these compositions make the foundation of your music career, you want to ensure that you reap fully from your investment and fulfill your dreams. Tunecore’s publishing administrators will represent all your compositions and ensure that you earn 100% of the royalties owed to you from your music.

By obtaining a publishing deal, you will get a reliable team on your side, giving you opportunities and fighting on your behalf to maximize your revenue and royalty collection around the world. To make this possible, they will register all your compositions with digital stores and societies in over 60 countries. This is the main reason why it’s a better option than its competitor.

Check the Plans of Tunecore (25% OFF for Our Readers)


10 thoughts on “TuneCore vs CD Baby: The Truth About These 2 Distributors”

  1. Theres a tunecore discount marketed on this page but, when you click on it theres no discount. it simply directs me to the page to sign up. If its shady like that already then whats next???? That sux bc tunecore is the one I am interested in

    1. Music Distribution Guru

      Hi Kelly, the discount is applied at the checkout after you click the link! Let me know if you have any issue and I’d be happy to help

  2. I was reading that CD baby is eliminating it online store. When is that happening and how does that affect the comparisson between Tune Core and CD Baby?

    I’m new at this: Do both offer streaming services and downloading services of a song?

    thank you for your insight.

    1. Music Distribution Guru

      In the age of streaming, CD Baby’s store is not really relevant or popular, so it makes sense that they stop it.
      However all big distributors nowadays distribute to music streaming and downloading services.

      1. Hey! Speaking of the same release, is it possible to distribute digitally with Tunecore and just physically with CD baby so CD and Vinyl can be be sold in stores too? Wouldn’t here be a problem with the UPC or ISRC codes?

  3. Just a quick couple of questions. I know Cdbaby, subscribes to itunes and major sources.. Does tunecore have accounts with similar companys Do they carry spotify and itunes etc.. I just want to make sure be honest CDBABY hasnt’ been that helpful setting things up.. I used to be with several labels and not a novice,,but the internet and online sales was not my thing… Thank you for your help
    Dennis Wilson

  4. Can I put my cover version of a song on Tunecore or crabby? or do they only take the original artist’s tune or song?

  5. I have used CD baby for years, but they have the worst customer support. They never get back to you and they will not answer the phones or emails. It’s really astonishing. I have a need to distribute and warehouse my CDs. Are there any other companies that not only manufacture CDs but warehouse and distribute them? For example selling a CD on Amazon?

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