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CDBaby vs. Tunecore: Which's worth your money?

CDBaby vs. Tunecore: Which's worth your money?

In today’s modern music world, it seems like most music distribution platforms like Tunecore or CDBaby are offering the same thing for artists - "free distribution, no royalties fees". However, behind this marketing slogan, Tunecore and CDBaby have different features and pricing structures that they don't often point out directly to you.

If you’re thinking of signing up with one of these music distribution services, it’s essential to know the differences between the two before choosing a platform. In this article, we’ll compare CDBaby and Tunecore to help you decide whether you should go with one or the other.

What is the difference between CDBaby and Tunecore?


The significant difference between these two is their different payment structure. While CDBaby offers 'pay per track', Tunecore offers 'pay per year'. This means that CDBaby charges customers for each track/album you release, while Tunecore charges you a yearly subscription fee for unlimited releases. 


Different from Tunecore, CDBaby provide a pay-per-release service that you only pay for each time you want to distribute your music, whether it is a single or an album, you will only need to pay every time you have a new release that you want to distribute. 

Standard single: $9.95 

Pro single:$24.99

Standard Album: $29 

Pro Album: $69 

With the Standard option, you will not be covered with the registration for your music with the royalties collection, and will not be able to make money from your royalty in this case. To able to register your music, you have to sign up for the CDBaby Pro option. Check our article on CDBaby Review to see more details about CDBaby’s packages and what are they included. 

However, one big difference between CDBaby and Tunecore is that CDBaby does take commissions from every release. Their commission fees could go from 4% for physical sales, 9% for streaming and download revenues, and 30% for Youtube, Facebook and IG collections. However, you will only have to pay one time to have your music on stream forever. So keep that in mind before you decide to choose which distributor to go with. 


Tunecore’s main service is Music distribution - which helps independent artists to sell and stream their music while keeping 100% of sales revenue and rights for a low annual charge. These are the options they have: 

New Artist: FREE 

Rising Artist: $14.99/year 

Breakout Artist: $29.99/year 

Professional: $49.99/year 

With the New Artist free option, you will be able to distribute your music, but only on a limited streaming platform, and Tunecore will take 20% of your music royalties. 

For the paid options of Tunecore, they all have the features to distribute your music without taking any commission from it. 

To compare, Tunecore is the less expensive choice if you anticipate selling a decent amount of copies of your music because their yearly charge would be minor in comparison to the amount you would lose to CDBaby due to their cut of your royalties. CDBaby is less expensive if you simply plan to sell a few copies of your music. We are going to have an article coming next: Tunecore Review, subscribe to our blog now to learn more about their packages and features!


Customer Support


CDBaby provides 24 hour-chat support with a virtual agent and live chat with the artists’ services team. CDBaby live chat is available from 9 am to 4 pm PST Monday to Friday only. 

Besides that, you can also submit a request with the problems you can not find the answer to yet with a waiting time of up to 5 days. 

However, there have been multiple complaints from CDBaby users on how unresponsive they are and almost seems like their customer support system does not even exist 


Tunecore has a support system where you can choose what kind of support you need in what field (music distribution/publishing royalties) and then the specific type of request you want from them, in addition to their support page, which addresses almost all potential problems and solutions for them. You can also provide them with your UPC code so that Tunecore can solve the issue more quickly and effectively.

One day of support is only promised for the Professional package. Others will receive assistance within three days. 

Distribution Features


Given that CDBaby is a pay-per-release music distribution service, besides more than 150+ online platforms that CDBaby will publish your music on, they have also partnered with Alliance Entertainment, Super D and Amazon to get your broadest physical distribution possible, whether it be on CD or Vinyl. CDBaby gives you a choice of which platform you want to upload your music on so you will pretty much be able to control your music distribution platforms. 


Tunecore is a pay-per-year music distribution service. You only need to pay one time to stream an unlimited amount of music on more than 150+ platforms. You can also choose which exact platform you want your music to be on during this distribution process, Tunecore will then review your music and then stream them based on the platforms that you have chosen previously. Once again, they don’t limit the amount of music you can release, so this will be a huge benefit of choosing Tunecore. 


Why go for CDBaby? 

  • No annual fee 

CDBaby promise that they will not charge any more extra fee during your whole distribution time so you don’t have to worry about having to pay more than the one-time price that they have given. 

  • Song registration with royalty collection societies

For the Pro package, your music will be registered with the royalty collection societies, this will bring you a lot more chances to make money from people streaming your music. 

  • Physical music distribution

If you are looking to distribute your music in the physical forms, CDBaby is the one for you. They are one of the very least companies that provide this service, and they are known for being very trustworthy in this industry too. 

Why go for Tunecore? 

  • Zero commission

Tunecore will never take a percentage of your earnings. The only commission Tunecore will only charge is only if you sign up for the Publishing Administration from them. So 100% of your revenue will go back straight into your pocket, unlike CDBaby with their various commission fees.

  • Have a better chance of being featured on streaming platforms

Previous customers of Tunecore have remarked that the company is able to keep up with technological advancements and changes in the music business to improve your chances of being heard as widely as possible on more than 150 streaming platforms in more than 100 different countries. 

  • Make money from your music

With the same context as how royalties collections work, you will get a royalty when the original compositions are sold, downloaded, streamed or publicly performed. This feature by Tunecore works through licensing, registration and worldwide royalty collection. Artists can keep 100% ownership of copyrights and collect songwriter royalties.

Moreover, if you are still stuck between whether to choose CDBaby or Tunecore, here is an example that can help you make an informed decision: 

Each artist will certainly receive a different split; nonetheless, the majority of unsigned musicians who own all of their songs earn a specific amount of money per stream. 

And so on, depending on your stream, sometimes the amount of 9% commissions of your revenue for CDBaby could cost a lot more than a one-time fee of $59,99 for Tunecore. 

So, if you are a small artist who is making less than 100,000 annual streams, you should go with CDBaby since 9% of their commission won’t affect your income much.

But if you are having more than 150,000 annual streams, Tunecore is preferable since you only have to pay $59,99 to keep 100% of your revenue.

Although it will be different in each situation, maybe this provides you with a rough notion of where to turn for publishing companies.


We understand that the music distribution and promotion process might be difficult for artists, especially young independent musicians. So we are here to provide you with information to choose the most suitable distributor for you. 

In the next step of this, Base For Music could also help you with boosting your release’s visibility to the target audience. By using strategic advertising, we can make you stand out on streaming platforms like Spotify, Youtube, TikTok and Facebook… Base For Music is a trusted complementary service to promote after your distribution. Sign up for your free account with Base For Music now! 

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