Your new website: constantly in motion

By Chris Robley
October 9, 2015{ No Comments }

Got a favorite YouTube video of you or your band? Let’s put it to work.

HostBaby is home to plenty of exclusive website themes that can give your site a look as unique as your music, but our newest might be the most powerful and elegant yet.

Moving Pictures takes your YouTube video, embeds it as the background to your HostBaby site, and gives visitors an experience like no other: you and your visuals, in motion, while fans browse and interact with a clean, simple design that’s as easy for them to navigate as it is for you to tinker with, redesign, and update.

Want a website that moves with your music?

Try HostBaby today, free for the first 30 days.

CD Baby’s first DIY Musician Conference is SOLD OUT!!!

By Chris Robley
October 9, 2015{ No Comments }

2015 DIY Musician Conference sold out!We’re just two weeks away from the inaugural DIY Musician Conference and we’re happy to announce that the event is completely sold out!

Over 1,000 artists from 15 countries and 44 different states will be joining us in Chicago for a very special weekend of sessions and panels geared specifically towards independent musicians who want to take their careers to the next level.

If you’ll be in attendance, we can’t wait to see you there!

If you missed out on getting tickets, you can follow the conference events on Twitter at @cdbaby or by using the hashtag #DIYMusician on Twitter and Instagram.

We’ll also be videoing many of the workshops and plan to make those videos available after the conference concludes. Read more »

Mac Lethal’s got more invaluable (and NSFW) advice for aspiring musicians looking to get rich

By Brad
October 8, 2015{ No Comments }

(Did we mention this is totally NSFW?)

Seems like every week Kansas City’s Mac Lethal reminds us why he’s the go-to, unfiltered, unapologetic straight shooter that every independent musician needs in their life.

[Read his recent open letter to an aspiring rapper HERE.]

Having built a fiercely independent – and inspiringly successful – career in the rap-music business for the better part of the past two decades, he’s been through it all. None of it came without hard work, and every ascending step was driven, ultimately, by his pure passion for art and creativity. Read more »

The top 10 website mistakes musicians make

By Chris Robley
October 8, 2015{ No Comments }

Top 10 website mistakes musicians makeDon’t give ’em an excuse to hit the “back” button

You already know the reasons why every musician needs a website. You’ve secured your domain name, launched a site, and now someone is online checking it out. Great! But that’s only half the battle.

Now you need to keep them on your website for more than a few seconds if you want them to check out your music, buy a CD, book you for a gig, review your latest album, or subscribe to your email newsletter.

We netizens are an impatient bunch. If something on your website annoys a potential fan or music industry professional, they’re going to back out of there quick.

Here are a handful of common musician website mistakes you should avoid

1. Autoplay — Do NOT leave your audio player on auto-play. People may have their speakers turned up all the way and you’ll give them a heart attack, or they might be at work trying to hide the fact that they’re surfing the Internet, or they might just want to check out where you’re playing next and don’t need to hear your music. Read more »

Creed Bratton at the CD Baby Office

By Brad
October 7, 2015{ No Comments }

CD Baby artist Creed Bratton, perhaps best known for his incredibly spot-on portrayal of the character of “Creed Bratton” on NBC’s long-running sitcom The Office, isn’t just the guy you equate with the weirdo in the cubicle next to you. He’s first and foremost a musician, having played with The Grass Roots in the 60’s and countless bands since. Creed’s seen it all, and he shared his stories and his music with us when he visited CD Baby’s offices in Portland, Oregon. Watch the highlights in the video above!

Musicians, do you NEED to have a website?

By Chris Robley
October 7, 2015{ No Comments }

Musician WebsiteYou’re on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Vine, Instagram, and a handful of other platforms you barely remember signing up for. Maybe you’re communicating with fans with Snapchat, uploading videos to YouTube, and streaming live concerts via Periscope or Meerkat.

Yes, you have an “online presence” — but so does every other artist in the world.

That’s okay. Social media is integral to a musician’s success these days. But total reliance on social media is an all-too-common mistake a lot of new bands make. What these platforms do not provide you with, of course, is a website: an online headquarters for your music, a space that you control for the long haul.

Why you need to have your own band website

Earlier this year, I asked Courtney Gallagher of Club Passim whether or not bands need to have their own websites. She said:

It’s important for artists to have a website dedicated specifically to them. Personally, I promote an average of more than one show a day for our venue, so if I am sending out a newsletter to 25,000 people and I want to feature your act by including a video and you don’t have a website that makes it easy for me, I am going to have to move on to the next artist. Read more »

Who’s the real bad guy: music streaming, or the major labels?

By Chris Robley
October 6, 2015{ No Comments }

Major labels vs. streaming servicesSince its launch, Spotify has paid out over two billion dollars to rights holders. That’s a hefty sum, especially considering they’re just one player in a streaming market that also includes YouTube, Rdio, Apple Music, and more.

Yet despite bringing in more than a billion dollars in 2014, Spotify saw losses growing faster than revenues. That same year, Pandora lost tens of millions of dollars. Clearly there’s money to be made from streaming. But there’s also money to be lost.

So what’s going on? Who’s gaining and who’s losing? Why is it that Spotify can claim to have paid out X amount for the streaming of a particular song while the artist claims to have received far less?

Matthew Ismael Ruiz, in an article called “Why the Major Labels are the Streaming Wars’ True Villains,” believes the discrepancies and confusion around streaming payments are actually the result of nefarious major label record contracts, as well as the fact that the majors were granted an ownership stake in Spotify and receive giant advances that are easily untethered from an accounting of specific streaming activity.

In other words, major labels benefit greatly by exploiting their catalog as a whole without sharing the profits with the individual artists who comprise that catalog. Read more »

Don’t commit this Instagram sin (or you might piss off a fan)

By Chris Robley
October 5, 2015{ No Comments }

A photo posted by Brett Bottorff (@brettbott) on


Why it’s still important to provide photo credits via social media

If one of your fans takes a sweet picture of you, posts it on Instagram, and tags you in it, of course you want to share it with your own followers right away. You’re excited. You look like a total rock star. BUT…

(Are you ready for some common sense advice?)

… slow down for a second and make sure to give the photographer credit!

Earlier this year, Taylor Swift was in the news for allegedly making a rights grab on photos taken during her concerts (and using them without attribution). But at the indie level, this sort of thing happens all the time, and in ways that can seem innocuous. Read more »

Get more gigs with GigSalad. For real.

By Chris Robley
October 5, 2015{ No Comments }

GigSalad: find more gigs

When GigSalad signed on as one of the top sponsors for CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference, I decided it was time to finally try the service out.

What is GigSalad?

It’s a diverse online platform where entertainers can promote their talent. GigSalad has connected artists with over 850,000 event planners nationwide, and requests for musicians are increasing every day.

So put simply, it’s a way to get gigs.

Anyone who wants to book a band for their event can use GigSalad as a resource to find just the right act. GigSalad also serves as a go-between that provides certain protections for both parties throughout the booking and event-planning process. Read more »

Copyright basics of sync licensing

By Guest Blogger
September 30, 2015{ No Comments }

Sync Licensing: music libraries, exclusivity, & retitling“Sync licensing” is a buzzword in the music industry, fueled by dreams of big checks and mainstream media play. But once you start looking into it, you discover just how much of a learning curve there is, especially if you’re going at it as an independent artist.

If you’re serious about pursuing sync placements for your music, the best place to start is to understand the copyright behind the sync license, so that is what this article is all about.

After you master the copyright side of it, you can take the next step towards getting a sync license for your music by joining this free DIY Music Licensing Workshop. Kevin Breuner from CD Baby and I will be going through tips for getting your music in front of music supervisors, micro sync opportunities for indie musicians, and a whole lot more, so be sure to sign up!

What is a Sync License?

When you write or record music you automatically get copyright protection, meaning you and you alone can use that music unless you give someone else permission. When you allow someone to use your music, you’re giving them a license. Read more »

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