How CDbaby helped my music to survive in Iran

Salim Ghazi Saeedi

Salim Ghazi Saeedi, 2012

I grew up in Iran, a country in which artists encounter publication as a government-monopolized industry. So during days of self-teaching music and flourishing of my musical capabilities (mainly in instrumental rock context), my main concern had always been how to overcome the domestic limitations of publication. Because otherwise I had to undertake the process of obtaining permission from Iranian Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, who is known as an old opposition toward western music and art. Here is the story:

It was 2005 and at my age of 24, DIY culture was rushing into digital content production. At first I started to sell downloads directly myself and publicized my work on tribe.net. Then I found a website called magnatune.com. Their pitch caught me in fear: “We are not evil!”. I thought “Gee! Evil! I don’t like them!” I also remember reading their terms of service and it seemed a little one-way at the time. Googling for self-publication services, I found CDBaby as a cozy website with humorous tone and friendly staff. Once they even photographed my arrived CD package that was all tore up that most probably was due Iranian postal service.

During years CDBbay has always fueled my motivation for the art I produce mainly by making an easy way to overcome my publication limitations in Iran. Of course like majority of other indie artists these days, I sell in small amounts but truly every dollar that CDBaby pays, my eye twinkles! I remember reading an entrepreneurship advice in Derek Sivers’ eBook, Anything You Want that he started in the business by focusing on resolving people’s problems and gradually expanded. Of course in my case, Derek Sivers’ concern may has not directly been providing freedom of expression to artists like me, but at the end his good intention had other good side effects too!

Salim Ghazi Saeedi is an Iranian independent composer and guitarist, mostly known in avant-prog and rock in opposition genres and compared to King Crimson, Univers Zero, John Zorn, etc. www.salimworld.com