Is Bandcamp Really Worth It?


THE ARTIST: Caleb Pogyor (Pittsburgh, PA)
THE QUESTION: I was just wondering if Bandcamp has been good to you in terms of fairness and profit. Is it worth signing up and selling a $5 record? I’m releasing my new album on October 25th and was trying to find a good site to sell through.

THE ANSWER: I really love Bandcamp and I’ve written alot about these guys in the past. Here’s one of those posts: Bandcamp- A Great Place to Pitch Your Tent. But is it worth it financially?  Here are my thoughts…

1. Bandcamp has the artist in mind. Most download sites take roughly 30% of your track sales. On Bandcamp you can set the price of downloads and it routes through your paypal. Bandcamp takes 15% and then paypal takes a cut as well…but it still doesnt add up to 30%.

Bandcamp is also a good place for doing  promotionals. The site allows you to get people’s email addresses in exchange for a free download.  Things like this will help you build your fanbase. You can also run special promotional code discounts and other promos that you wouldn’t be able to run through iTunes or the bigger download stores.

Bandcamp will also give you a good platform for allowing people to hear your full CD before they decide to buy it. Some people might never buy it if they can hear it anytime for free, but some will.

2. iTunes has more customer loyalty. The reality of it is that most people will get your music from iTunes no matter what. Use Tunecore for this. Tunecore is a platform that allows you to submit your music to big dogs like iTunes, Amazon, Napster…etc. Read this post for more on that:  Alternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution.   iTunes is pretty much a monopoly in this game of digital downloads. So if you’re looking for a spot where 95% of people are already visiting, put your stuff on iTunes.

3. Who says you can’t do both? iTunes in great, BUT  Bandcamp is awesome for the folks who dont want to submit to “the man” 🙂 and folks who are looking for unconventional ways to do what they do.  So who says you can’t do both. Put your eggs in multiple baskets and they’ll both benefit you in different ways.

SOMETHING TO SERIOUSLY THINK ABOUT:
You might want to apply for Paypal’s “Micropayments Rate“.  According to Bandcamp, if the items you sell are under $12, it’ll be more advantageous to go the micropayments route so you get the best bang for your buck.  Think of it this way:

If you’re selling a $.99 track through bandcamp, Paypal will still take 30% of that and bandcamp will take their 15%.  You’ll get roughly $.55 of every dollar. That’s not exactly ideal. But if you set up micropayments, Paypal will take a much much smaller percentage and you make more to the dollar.

This is yet another reason why i love working with Paypal and Bandcamp.

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3 Comments on “Is Bandcamp Really Worth It?”

  1. Billy Says:

    The problem I have with Tunecore is you have to pay more per store you add, and you have to pay a renewal fee. CD Baby just takes a one-time fee (that, granted, might be higher at first), and it doesn’t have any renewal fees. CD Baby also distributes to all it’s e-partners, not just the ones you pay it to distribute to. CD Baby’s customer service is terrible if you stick with e-mail, but if you actually call and talk to someone, the turnaround is incredibly better.

  2. DC Cardwell Says:

    I love Bandcamp and I’ve set up my own domain (www.dccardwell.com) to redirect to it. (BTW, if you’re doing that, check the info on the site and follow the instructions carefully for an even better experience than just simple forwarding.)

    And for some reason I’ve sold more CDs and downloads through Bandcamp than any other site. There’s just something about the simplicity of the interface that makes it easy for the artist and easy for the fans.

    And yes, they take a relatively small cut as well, which helps!

    Also, if you post your Bandcamp address to Facebook it automatically appears as a neat, streamlined little widget that will play your music and lead to the site (eg see my profile at http://www.facebook.com/dccardwell).

    You can even post the link to one particular song from your album and that will appear first on the widget.

    Another neat thing about Bandcamp is that you can add all kinds of enticing files to your album, including lyrics, videos, sleeve notes, whatever. I think it’s up to 100MB, and after you’ve sold a certain number that increases as well.

  3. Eric Says:

    I, too, like CD Baby better than TuneCore, and for the same reasons listed above. Yours Truly has had sales on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Napster, and Lala (before it was killed) – we would’ve had to pay more on TuneCore to have that sort of distribution, plus, until we got our Square credit card reader for iPhone, CD Baby offers a 100% refundable credit card swiper, which alone made us probably about $80 worth of revenue that we would’ve never made due to “man, I love your stuff but I don’t have any cash” syndrome.

    We have a Bandcamp site, and initially, I thought it was ridiculously cool, but since the popularity of Facebook and MySpace (somehow, still), the Bandcamp site has become redundant. Hence, we’ve almost entirely abandoned it, leaving it as merely a placeholder/another hit on Google. I will say that everything that has been said about it is true and really cool, though.


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