Posted tagged ‘bandcamp’

Is Bandcamp Really Worth It?

October 13, 2010

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.

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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“How Do I Get My Album Sales to Register with Soundscan?”

May 24, 2010

Today’s Ask Grassrootsy question…

THE BAND: Laura Harrison
THE QUESTION:  Hi Grassrootsy, I was hoping you may know the answer to this. My only motivation, at the moment, for selling my CD through CdBaby is because of Soundscan. I want the sales reported to Soundscan. Is there any way that Paypal can do that? I went to Nielsen website and they said that the dealer needs to have a Point of Sales (POS) inventory system…does Paypal do that? I went to Paypal and can’t find it on their site. Thanks so much for your time.

Hey Laura. I couldn’t find anything about this through PayPal either. I honestly don’t think PayPal does this. While many musicians use PayPal, I think it was originally created for
traditional small business owner. So my guess is that Soundscan isn’t one of their top priorities.

BUT there is a backdoor way to make sales through Paypal and still have payments registered through Soundscan. The answer, of course, is Bandcamp!  When you sign a new project up with Bandcamp, they will ask you to enter your album’s UPC Code and ISRC codes. ISRC codes are just like UPC’s except they are assigned to individual tracks…instead of a whole album. Your customers purchase is setup to go to your Paypal. Here’s a great article on all this code stuff.  It’ll also help you understand the importance of reporting your sales.

In any case, Bandcamp wrote an article last July about Reporting to Soundscan through their platform. My assumption is that, since the article is nearly a year old, they are now in fact reporting to Soundscan. I could be wrong. But according to their feature’s page, they say, “We submit US, Canadian and international sales reports to SoundScan each and every week.”. So that lets hope so!

It’s not a bad idea to stick with CD Baby and also sell your merch elsewhere. There have been countless PayPal vs. CD Baby discussion on this blog  (see comments); but I personally like the DIY approach where I can personalize and mail out my CDs to fans, collect more from sales, and have more control over pricing.  In addition, while Soundscan sales are

If anyone has more insight into this topic, please add your comment.

Might Want to read these too:

Bandcamp – A Great Place to Pitch Your Tent
Selling Your Music – Setting up an Online Merch Store
CDBaby vs. Paypal

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Bandize: A Tool for Band Management

February 15, 2010

Not able to post anything thorough today, but i want to make you all aware of something a friend passed on a few days ago. It’s a new band management tool called Bandize. It’ll be introduced at this years South By Southwest and it’s extremely appropriate for the readers of Grassrootsy. Here’s a great introduction: Bandize: Manager Your Band Like a Business

I’ll do some more reading up on it in the next few months and likely post an in-depth review or “analysis”. In the meantime, here are some past reviews on other notable resource. Read up!

Oh, and in a matter or weeks, I’ll begin guest-blogging for Artist Data.

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Bandcamp – A Great Place to Pitch Your Tent

January 27, 2010

Colonizing the Cosmos

I first really got into Bandcamp when Pittsburgh Indie band, Colonizing the Cosmos, launched a digital release of their brand new album The First Frontier.  Just when you think there are too many online digital music websites, another pops up. But Bandcamp is unique for several reasons. Here’s why you’ll love it and why it should be an active part of your marketing…

The short end: Bandcamp helps independent artist sell their music.

  1. Layout: If a website is not easy to navigate, it is losing business. Bandcamp has a super clean layout and makes it extremely easy for your fans to listen to your tunes, download specific songs (or whole album), or learn more about you.
  2. It’s FREE: Less Output. More Input. Surprisingly, Bandcamp does not charge its users a thing! I won’t be surprised if they change this policy some day. But for now, 100% of the profit goes to you. However Bandcamp deposits those funds through Paypal; so you must have a PayPal account. Standard PayPal charges apply. You should have a PayPal account anyhow and here’s why: Selling Your Music – Setting up an Online Merch Store.
  3. Emails: First its important to know that you can offer your music for free or for sale. This can vary on each individual song. However, each time someone gets a free download of your music, BC allows you to collect their email address – like a trade. Its a clever way to collect a very important piece of information that will surely keep the connection going between you and your newest fan.
  4. Stats: Bandcamp will tell you how people found out about your BC page – where they’re clicking, what songs they listen to most ofen, what songs have been downloaded, and a host of other things. Over the holidays, I launched a free download of a new song of mine and discovered that most people had heard about it through Facebook and Twitter. Yes, even more proof that MySpace is dead 🙂 I also discovered that  a few people had snagged the widget BC offered for my song and put it on their own blogs.
  5. It’s the sign of the times: If you have music for sale, but you’re not focusing on digital distribution, then you’re losing out on income and a fanbase that is too lazy to go to the store and find you. Besides, you’re music probably isn’t in the store.
  6. The Alternative: If you’re an artist using iTunes (especially if you’ve been setup through CDBaby or another third party), you know that you only see roughly $0.65 of every dollar. Yea, everyone has to make their money. but its great to have options.

Oh and Bandcamp is not paying me to write this. So if the above sounds like one big advertisement, its probably because I really like them. p.s. Grassrootsy will begin accepting advertising in the very near future. You can inquire about that.

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A Few Last Minute Ideas for the Holidays

December 16, 2009

“If you are selling CDs, downloads, and merch then you’re in the same business as the stores where you do your holiday shopping! Problem is you may not fully realize this. You need to compartmentalize if you’re going to maximize your success as an independent artist. Learn to think like a marketer, a salesperson, and a strategist. You shouldn’t sell shirts or CDs like a musician any more then you should play guitar like a retail executive. Play guitar like a guitar player and sell your products like a salesperson.”  – Scott James, “What’s Your Holiday Plan?

There’s technically one more week before the world shuts down and much of the United States stops to celebrate Christmas.  You might have missed Black Friday and other opportunities to promote yourself and your music during this season, but here’s your saving grace – a few ways to create buzz before (and even after) everything goes quiet.

Forget Hard Copies
At this point, mailing out merch in the hopes that it will arrive before Christmas is a gamble. On average, a shipment takes 3-5 business days so you’re cutting it close. You might want to focus on mp3s. But don’t forget to tell your fans that you can’t guarantee their package will arrive before Christmas if they’re fixed on getting a hard copy.

Mp3’s are Easy
They’re immediate!
It’s why mp3’s are so popular. You might not have much control over how much your music is being sold for on iTunes or Amazon mp3, but with the help of resources like Digstation and Bandcamp, you can set your own digital download prices and change them whenever you like.  So try it.  Do a two-day sale – make all downloads just 50 cents and see if anyone bites.

Note: Digstation is only available to artists who have had their CDs duplicated through Oasis or Discmakers.

“Pay What You Want” Pays
Let people pay what they want.  Tell your fans that, as a Christmas gift,  they can have your CD for whatever they are willing to give. My personal opinion is that this is the best way to go this late in the game. I highly recommend using Bandcamp for this.  Bandcamp allows you to upload audio files of your tunes, and offer it to fans in exchange for a fixed cost, a donation of any level, and/or an email address. Bandcamp doesn’t take any percentage of sales but simply requires that you have a Paypal account.

Set specific dates for this sale.  Consider making it an after-christmas sale where people can pay what they want for your CD, but only on Dec 26th. Be creative and clever.

If you have any other ideas on how your fellow musician can still make a bang for their buck during this season, please leave your comments below.

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Free Things Your Fans Will Love #2

December 2, 2009


Joel Rakes

 If you’d like to show your fanbase a little love this year, here are some ideas.  After you try them, leave a note in the comments section and let us know how they work. And here’s the first post in this series: Free Things Your Fans Will Love.  

A Christmas Card
Think of Christmas time as a way to thank your fans for everything they’ve done for you throughout the year- their support, coming out to shows, buying your music, spreading your name. Put a pretty bow on your thank you.  Send your subscribers a digital card with a picture of yourself and friendly note.  Some people will read it. Some won’t. But those who read it will definitely appreciate it. 

A Free Christmas Tune
Nashville Artist Joel Rakes takes the cake on this one.  For three years, Rakes have been giving away a free download every week during the Christmas season.  That’s 3 years of free Christmas EPs!  This year he’s on Festive.Mood.Inducing.Music Vol.4

Think of this season as an opportunity to really build your fanbase. Free tunes are a great way to do this.  It’s much like a free concert.  You’ll earn the ear of people who might not go out of their way to discover you, otherwise.  Once you’ve earned their “trust” or their fanship, their likely to pay to see your or buy your music in the future.   

Joel Rakes also started an event invite on Facebook for his free tunes. With currently 207 people subscribed, that’s alot of people to send a free song each week.  And the number keeps rising.  What a great way to get you name out. But don’t get stressed, fans will appreciate one song a season just as much as a full EP. 

The Moral of the Story
Take a break from asking asking asking.  As artists, we’re continually asking people to give us money, vote for us in competitions, and come to our shows. Throw your fans a curve ball and do something nice for them. 


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