One of the main trends in the world of digital music distribution over the last year or two has been the companies in this space moving into YouTube – either as a logical extension to their royalty-collecting roles, or with more ambitious plans to become music-focused multi-channel networks (MCNs). CD Baby appears to be somewhere between the two with its new Illustrated Sound division, although it’s being billed as an MCN. “YouTube offers many resources for users to make the most of the platform but they tend to be scattered in a lot of different places,” said director of strategic partnerships Phil Bauer. “We have ambitious plans for what this could develop into, but first we want to capitalise on core competencies. The first step will be distilling all the advice and best practices into actionable pieces that artists can use, which in turn will help them make more money from the platform.” The company notes that its artist clients grossed $3.6m on YouTube in 2014, but suggests many are missing out on income due to not optimising their channels.

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