These days we have a plethora of choices for digital music proliferation. Many of the biggest being large corporations such as Amazon, Google Play, Apple Music, and Spotify. Whilst I don’t really have an issue with these in general (this is a much wider conversation I’d rather not get into here) and manage distribution to them when a new album comes out – I don’t promote my own music there. 95% of my solo music sales come from Bandcamp, as well as 95% of what I spend a year on other artist’s work. Bandcamp is not covered under my paid digital distro service, and I must spend time uploading and filling in information for each track I want to release. So then, why Bandcamp?
As you may or may not know, I was an early adopter of digital music. In fact, I one of the first artists on the web making money out of digital media. Back in the day, we had mp3.com and a few of us even had sponsorship deals with companies through that platform. It was actually fairly lucrative back then, with VC funding fueling a newly existent digital economy to the tune of millions. It wasn’t long lasting though – and soon we started to see platforms rise and fall fairly quickly and mp3.com went down just as MySpace was getting started. The issue that existed with mp3.com is that I had no way of contacting or keeping my audience there when it went down. Social media wasn’t really a thing yet, and we were beholden to the whims of people who might not have fully understood what we were trying to achieve.
- Bandcamp gives a shit about artists.
This platform was built on the advice and consultancy of many artists. It keeps getting better and better. Bandcamp responds to the needs of musicians. Users spent $4.3 million in a direct-to-artist sale on a single day in March when Bandcamp waived all artist fees, and they’re doing it again on May 1st.
- They take less of your revenue as you make more.
The normal Bandcamp fee on digital is 15% – make $5000 a year and from then on, you’ll only pay 10%.
- You have total control over your content.
Want to change out a track that you’ve remixed? No problem! Want to offer a discount to users on National Turnip Day 2020? Easy! Want to send free copies of your album out for promo? Simple!
- You can sell physical merch and digital merch side by side.
I often sell virtual tickets through Bandcamp, CDs, memory sticks and anything else related to your music that you can think of. Even bundle your entire digital catalogue easily or use your Bandcamp codes to create cool postcards to sell a digital album at gigs.
- The ‘pay more’ economy works.
You might set your digital album at £5 (I recommend no more than this for digital) I often get generous fans paying a lot more than that. You don’t need 10,000 people buying your music to make it work for you. The statistics are that around 50% of buyers pay more. Set your prices accordingly.
- Bandcamp is a community platform.
You can easily interact with other artists; leave reviews of albums you’ve purchased and recommend them on your own artist page.
- You have direct access to your audience. The Bandcamp mailing list is a big deal for me. For example – are you able to email the people who have purchased music from you on Amazon or iTunes? What happens to those fans who listen to your regularly on Spotify if it ceases to exist? I’ve been through this before and I’m not interested in building a community on a platform where I have no overall contact with my audience.
- The Bandcamp subscription service.
Are you a prolific music maker? Creating a subscription allows users to contribute to you as an artist and they get loads of content curated by you and only available through subscription. A real direct-to-fan economy that works.
- Bandcamp is audiophile heaven. Not only do they offer downloads in lossy formats such as MP3s, but all tracks can be downloaded in lossless formats as well such as WAV, AIFF and FLAC.
- Much more. I’m sticking to 10 here, but there’s also allowing your audience to purchase in their own currency, Bandcamp charging VAT so you don’t have to, real-time statistics and best of all – THEY PAY THEIR TAX (unlike some other corporations we might have already mentioned here)
So, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m totally on the Bandcamp bandwagon. I hope you’ll give ‘em a try if you haven’t already. Support platforms that support you!