Despite the vinyl resurgence, CD Baby is exiting physical distribution and closing its warehouse

After a round of layoffs in October and a reorganization within the parent company downtown in April, CD Baby is exiting the physical distribution business.

The Portland-based distributor detailed the operational hub (which, contrary to the company’s name, will extend to both vinyl and CDs) in a short help post on its website recently. And while CD Baby doesn’t seem to have taken note of the development with a formal announcement at the time of writing, some on social media say they’ve received an email with additional information.

On the help area Managers have made it clear that their company is “closing” its warehouse and “terminating” its “physical distribution service.” Businesses whose products are stored in this warehouse can choose to recycle the inventory – which is obviously not an ideal option – or have the items shipped back to them “for a fee”.

“Shipping is our standard price per CD, depending on the method you choose,” explains CD Baby, which closed its online retail store back in March 2020. “You can see this information if you log into your CD Baby account and click “Inventory” from your account dashboard.”

In the above email, the text on a screenshot shows that CD Baby’s physical distribution program will end on June 22nd; Those who have stored products have 60 days to decide whether they prefer to recycle or have the items shipped. Meanwhile, the succinct message also states that the 25-year-old company is “coming soon with some exciting new features and offerings to help you manage your music career.”

Notwithstanding the continued global growth of streaming, CD Baby’s decision to move away from physical media comes as vinyl is building on a decade-long sales resurgence.

2022 has reportedly seen more vinyl CD sales for the first time since 1987 in both the UK and US. There is evidence that vinyl’s positioning in Japan and other markets is also strong, with more recent sales data suggesting the format is still gaining momentum. Predictably, however, the increased revenue from vinyl has led to greater interest from creators and the emergence of one-stop production and distribution providers such as Qrates.

To take the points even further, Metallica bought a 70,000-square-foot pressing plant in March, while Taylor Swift this month presented Target with an exclusive vinyl edition of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which costs a whopping $48.99. And Warner Music’s Rhino last week launched a limited vinyl series featuring hi-fi reissues by The Cars and John Coltrane.