Bandcamp is NUMBER ONE in my book for artists to sell their music. Of course, if you have your own website, you could go ahead and set up your own shopping cart to sell your music. BUT, there are quite a few services that Bandcamp offers which many other companies just can’t compete with. Sorry iTunes, but until you give artists, for example, an option to set their OWN price for selling albums, then you will not be in the forefront.
I’m sure most artists already know what Bandcamp offers, and I’m only going to highlight just a few of the features. In the hip hop realm, I see more of us offering free downloads than actually “selling” anything on Bandcamp. No matter if you’re an underground or mainstream artist, if you have a connection with your fans, they will support you…period. Free doesn’t always guarantee new fans, and you should offer free music strategically in order to be most effective.
Back to Bandcamp…I like how Bandcamp gives you so much control over virtually every aspect of your store. Not only can you sell digital music, like iTunes, but you can sell CDs, vinyl, T-Shirts, stickers…you name it. Since you would be handling the shipment of these physical goods, you can offer whatever items you have available. In addition, you can set up bundles or packages for a special price. So you could sell a CD, T-Shirt, and offer a free download as a part of the package! There’s even a “hidden track” option, which you can offer with each sale of your digital album, along with adding a pdf of your digital booklet! I know some other places like iTunes offer some of these services, but it seems like Bandcamp wanted to give you every possible service that would help you build that connection with your supporters. And for any artists, especially independent artists, this should always be your primary focus…your fans!
Another nice feature is the “name your price” option. You can have a price set to a bare minimum (say $5 for your album), but if a fan wants to buy the album for more, they can do so. Bandcamp says there are many fans that pay more than the minimum, so it’s definitely a good option to consider.
The preorder option is also nice. Bandcamp reports all sales to Soundscan…But the interesting part is that all of your preorders will count toward your first week sales after the album is released. So if you could have a better chance of getting on the Billboard charts if you utilize preorders correctly. They say this is how the music game has always been played, and now independent artists are getting that same opportunity. Dope, dope, dope.
There are a slew of other features, but I think you get the point. Bandcamp can be a great way to engage your fans in a way that will be beneficial to you, as an artist, and to them, as great fans. Any service that tightens this artist-fan bond is something that I wish more artists would grasp. Bandcamp is a step in the right direction, so I applaud them.