CD Baby, easily one of the world’s largest music distribution companies, has partnered with customizable payout platform Trolley. CD Baby pointed to more cost-effective payouts from physical albums, digital downloads, and streams ahead—with advanced automation, better invoicing, and accurate tax reporting.
The move follows CD Baby’s epic artist payout total of over $1 billion, a cumulative figure crossed in 2021. With Trolley, CD Baby aims to efficiently pay their roster of 1.2+ million artists with potentially 40% lower transaction costs, distinct revenue stream categorization, and enhanced creative autonomy, according to details shared with Digital Music News.
“This volume of artist payouts was becoming a significant challenge—until we integrated Trolley,” said Christine Barnum, CD Baby’s Chief Revenue Officer, “In the first six months of working with Trolley, we’ve not only streamlined our payout process but also improved our tax reporting workflow.”
Barnum also remarked on Trolley’s ability to meet CD Baby’s unique payout challenges. “The team at Trolley has been incredible in terms of integration, ongoing support, and demonstrating a product roadmap that aligns with both our current requirements and our future needs.”
Payouts from physical albums, digital downloads, and streaming royalties from over 150+ platforms created the need for a heavyweight payment processing system. With its 1099/1042-S tax reporting suite, Trolley also maintains accounting and tax context for every payout for simplified reconciliation.
CD Baby can now manage all payments via a single platform, streamlining its end-of-year tax process, including the production and distribution of 1099-MISCs and 1042-S forms from within the Trolley platform.
CD Baby payouts will now feature multiple line-items of individual, distinct payments from various sources, and categorizes each to a specific income type.
Recording artists almost always receive income from various sources; all these line items can now be placed within a single invoice, with potentially dramatic cost savings.
CD Baby’s earlier course of ‘one payment per income type’ resulted in a less-than-optimal payment experience for artists, with higher transaction costs and a cumbersome payout flow. Trolley says it can manage payments across “215+ countries in 135+ different currencies.”
“In general, we are solving CD Baby’s challenges the same way we do with many of our clients, with our global reach, our recipient-first experience, and the depth of our tax solution,” Trolley’s VP of Product, Barnett Klane, told DMN.