How do these two companies compare for online distribution of your digital music?
cdbaby asks for a one-time fee of 35$ for each album and takes a 9% cut of each download. tunecore charges a relatively similar amount and also charges 20$/album/year. However the good thing about tunecore is that they don’t take a percentage of your sales.
If you are an indie band with a small fan base and minimal tours, you probably don’t sell many tracks in a year. So for each download you will take home about 0.60$ out of the 0.99$ that music download sites, including iTunes’s, charge. cdbaby charges you a 9% commission, so you get only $54. Contrast that with tunecore that lets you keep the whole 60$. So tunecore is going to be better for you during the first year.
However, in the second year, you are going to have to pay TuneCore 20$ per album even if they don’t end up selling. As for cdbaby, you are going to fork over 9% of your gross from digital online sales. If the 0.60$ per download is a correct amount, you have to sell 370 downloads to break even: that means you have to sell over 370 downloads if you want to have a better return with tunecore rather than cdbaby. For big names like Public Enemy or Trent Reznor, both distributing their latest album through TuneCore, that’s a no-brainer. But for all the unsigned bands out there it might not be the best option.
If you’re signed with a label, they’ve probably already covered digital distribution for you so you don’t have to worry about these fine details. But if you are trying to sell your stuff on your own, each of these options is valid, but you really have to weigh your options carefully!