Berklee Today: Indie Musician Advocate

Mark Small
December 10, 2007
Derek Sivers
CD Baby staff members Chris Robley, Lindsey Collins, and Craig Hennecke in the aisles of the Portland warehouse complex that houses more than one million CDs by independent artists.
Singer/songwriter and CD Baby client Teri Untalan '90: "My CDs have sold to people in Japan, Norway, Italy, the Czech Republic, and elsewhere that I would never have been able to reach on my own."
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon

Derek Sivers never set out to become the largest distributor of independent music in the world. Back in 1997, he simply wanted a way to sell his own CD from his website, which few artists were able to do at that time. Then a full-time musician, Sivers agreed to help a few of his friends sell their CDs through his site. Soon word spread, and other artists approached him about carrying their CDs on the site. By 1998, Sivers had brought 100 artists into the fold and hired an employee to help him handle the volume. As the number of artists releasing independent CDs exploded, Sivers realized that there was a large, unserved clientele out there. He quit performing and created a musician-friendly internet distribution service that turned prevailing music-business practices upside down.

Read more about Derek Sivers '91 in Berklee Today.