CD Baby, one of the largest distributors of music by independent artists in the world, has now paid over $200 million directly to musicians, according to new stats provided by the company. At the current rate of $40 million a year, CD Baby expects to cross the quarter billion dollar threshold in 2012.
In another sign of growth, it's Music Store for Facebook, a free app that allows CD Baby artists to sell mp3's, CDs and vinyl directly to fans on their Facebook page, has reached 250,000 monthly active users in the 5 weeks since launch.
In the decade since Derek Sivers founded the company, CD Baby has helped serve as a launching pad for many musicians including The Fray, Jack Johnson, Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor. Increasingly, CD Baby is also serving established artists going indie like Rick Ocasek, John Oates and Martin Balin of Jefferson Airplane.
But digital music distribution is a crowded space with constant downward price pressure. CDBaby's major advantage has been warehousing and shipping of physical product, and as that corner of music declines declines, continued innovation will be essential for survival.