2 Minutes With ... Christine Barnum, Chief Revenue Officer at CD Baby

On farm life and partnering with Trolley

Christine has an extensive background in finance and accounting in the music industry, including e-commerce and fraud prevention, royalty reporting and auditing and M&A activity. Currently, she brings that experience and leadership to her role as CD Baby's chief revenue officer, responsible for business development and partnerships, marketing, product and safety. 

Christine holds a bachelor's degree in music business from NYU, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in forensic accounting. A transplant from NYC, Christine now lives and farms in Oregon.

We spent two minutes with Christine to learn more about her background, creative inspirations and some recent work she's admired.

Christine, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up primarily in Connecticut and now live in Oregon.

Your earliest musical memory.

My earliest memory is watching countless hours of the very early days of MTV with my cousin while he babysat me. This was long before "screen time" was a thing.

Your favorite bands/musicians today.

I am almost always in the mood to listen to Alabama Shakes.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on, and why.

As a college intern, I had the opportunity to work with the Estate of Jeff Buckley, mostly handling fulfillment for the fan club. It was at the same time that his mom, Mary Guibert, was putting together Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, and she thanked me in the liner notes! To this day that is probably my coolest accomplishment. 

A recent project you're proud of, and why. 

In early 2022, we were seeing a growing number of artists looking to us for help monetizing their passion for music. I knew we needed a partner to help reach more global audiences, and still keep our promise in delivering consistent weekly payouts to artists. Since integrating with Trolley as our payouts partner, we’ve been able to streamline our payouts process and improve our tax reporting workflow. 

One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.

Fandom is becoming more valuable, even for niche artists. You no longer have to be selling out stadiums and releasing hit records to have a rabid audience to engage with and delight.  

Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.

The launch of Apple Music Classical! I am a big fan of classical music, and being classically trained in flute myself, this is a wonderful advancement for those in the classical music sector. 

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Clarkson’s Farm is my most recent favorite TV show. The hurdles of everyday farm life for a later-in-life farmer are highly relatable. It's also eye-opening and soul-crushing to learn about the bureaucracies and red tape that farmers face—feeding people should not be so difficult! I am also a big fan of the recent reboot of All Creatures Great and Small.

An artist you admire outside the world of music.

My friend, Jesse Reno who is a self-taught, self-supporting artist. I met him shortly after he quit his day job and have watched his career and talent grow over the years, to the point where I can no longer afford his paintings. Amazing!

Someone worth following on social media.

My neighborhood Buy Nothing group is worth a follow. Beyond that, I don't spend much time on social media.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I don't consider myself either of those things, but one of my strengths is curiosity and imagination. I like to ask questions and think about problems from a variety of angles. 

Your biggest weakness.

I think this question may be part two of the last question, but the first thing that came to mind was whiskey. I collect it, but rarely drink it (an irony that my liver surely appreciates). 

One thing that always makes you happy.

Watching my sheep bounding around and doing their funny little hops with all four feet off the ground is always enjoyable. Gets me every single time. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

Thinking about my childhood cat that had to be put to sleep and I didn't get to say goodbye to her.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.

Shortly after my undergrad, during peak-Napster industry meltdowns, I almost went back to school to become an auto mechanic with dreams of opening my own shop where people felt comfortable bringing their cars in for repair, so maybe I’d do that. Or, I'd focus more on farming. I find that working with my hands and creating a tangible benefit through that work is incredibly rewarding. 

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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