Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big fan of Bandcamp. Truth-be-told, on the same day I found out about Bandcamp, I joined the site, set up my own page, and started making online sales on my new page – all the while thinking to myself: “this is freaking awesome!” So, just in case you aren’t exactly sure WHY Bandcamp is so great, I’ve got ten reasons below for your perusing pleasure. If you’re not convinced of BC’s foretold awesomeness by the end of this blog post, then maybe you were never really that interested in selling your music online in the first place?
1) You pay NOTHING until you make a sale.
No fee to join. No fee to upload music. It’s totally 100% free to sign-up and start using Bandcamp. The only time they make money is when you make money. Simple as that.
2) They take the lowest cut of any music-selling third party service on the web.
Currently Bandcamp takes 15% of whatever music sales you make on your personal BC page (and only 10% of what you make on merch). To put this in perspective, Apple takes 35% of all sales on iTunes, and it’s my understanding that Amazon and other companies take a similar cut.
3) You keep total ownership of your music.
The only rights Bandcamp has are the obvious ones, such as the rights to sell your music on their website. They hold no copyright over any of your music. On the same token, you are responsible for making sure you have ALL the rights to be selling your recorded music. That means if you’ve done arrangements of other people’s compositions, you’re responsible for making sure that either those songs are public domain, or that you’ve paid the necessary mechanical license fees.
4) You get a free URL (and it’s mobile friendly!)
Your Bandcamp page will be viewable at your free URL of yourname.bandcamp.com. And the really excellent news about your free URL is that it’s automatically responsive and will customize itself to the platform a viewer is using. In other words, whether someone is viewing on a desktop computer or on a mobile phone – your Bandcamp page will look awesome on both. NOTE: If you want to change your URL to a custom URL such as music.yourname.com or yourcustomdomain.com – you’ll need to sign up for a Bandcamp PRO account ($10/month and offers you a whole bunch of additional features).
5) You can customize your page design.
Bandcamp lets you customize your page in two ways: via your color scheme and a custom header. In terms of color scheme, you can choose the page background (be it a solid color or an uploaded image), text color, heading color, and link color. The custom header will stretch across the top of your BC page (the ideal width is 975 pixels and the ideal height is between 40 and 180 pixels). My advice is to have one of your Photoshop savvy friends put together your header so it matches the vibe of your website. This header can be made a live link to any URL of your choosing (a popular choice is to link it back to your full website). You also can create separate links within this singular header image if you’re hip to creating image-maps.
6) The customizable embed options.
I really love Bandcamp’s embed options. They’re all totally user-friendly, and there are options to cater to your needs. You can choose between three sized players, and in addition you can choose a light or dark theme, link and text colors, whether or not you want to display the album cover or track names, and you can also define the width of the embed. BC makes it really easy to embed your music to stream and purchase anywhere on the web.
7) The pricing system is about as flexible as it gets.
First of all, you set the prices for both your full albums and your individual tracks. There is no minimum or maximum price. You can even give them away for free if you’d like. In addition, you can opt for visitors to name their price. With this option, you can name a minimum price, so for example visitors can pay $5 for your album or name their own price. This is a nice way to let generous and giving people be, well, generous and giving!
8) You can sell digital and physical music in one sha-bang.
If someone purchases your album digitally, they will automatically receive their download of the album while you’re at the movies or sleeping or whatever – you need to do nothing. And while Bandcamp doesn’t actually SHIP your physical CD’s for you – each time someone opts to purchase one of your physical discs, BC will send you an email with all the information necessary for you to ship it off yourself. They make it pretty easy. One added feature that I love is that you can offer people buying the physical disc the option to also get an immediate download of the music they’re buying. This gives people more of an incentive to buy the physical copy because they know they won’t have to wait four days to receive the CD in the mail to hear your tunes. Cool, huh?
9) File types are taken care of.
When you’re setting up shop, you will upload WAV or AIFF files of your music, and then Bandcamp converts your files to a whole bunch of other formats for customers to choose from. Site visitors will have the option to purchase your tunes in these formats: MP3, FLAC, .m4a, or OGG.
10) …and you can sell MERCH too!
This is new as of Summer 2012. What started out as being the option to add “bonus items” to an album or track for sale has now become an entire merch section on your Bandcamp page where you can sell T-shirts, vinyl, or whatever other physical stuff you can think of. The one downside: currently, BC does not offer the option to sell a digital (but non-musical) merch, such as PDF’s of your sheet music. But seeing as Bandcamp has over the past few years consistently added the features that artists have been asking for, I’m guessing that this will be added within a year or two.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Bandcamp Website and get started if you haven’t already.