Posted tagged ‘paypal’

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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Good Marketing for an Upcoming CD Release

August 12, 2009
TJ Cornwall

TJ Cornwall

A couple independent artists are releasing CD’s next month and have some great self promotion to go along with it. So I thought I’d highlight the efforts of a full time independent artist named TJ Cornwall.  Hopefully this information will help a few of you who might be putting out new projects or just need some good marketing ideas from a peer. 

T.J. Cornwall:

Revamped Website: Check out TJ’s myspace. The layout (created by Hidden Conspiracy Designs) is incredibly beautiful and easy to navigate.  TJ doesn’t have an official site but his myspace is professional-looking and can easily substitute as an official site.  Also notice that the design of his site corresponds with the cover art of his new CD.  Everyting matches, therefore creating consistency.

Countdown Clock: It’s always fun to build anticipation by posting something like a timer.  It might not make the world of difference, but subconsciously, there’s something exciting about counting down to a large event (think New Years Day).

Pre-orders: In addition to building hype for his CD release, TJ is also offering pre-orders of “Stepping Stones”.  People like pre-orders b/c they like to have things “now”.  Giving people the option to pre-order your project is just another way of “Thinking like a Record Label” and probably increasing sales.

By the way TJ uses BigCartel.  BigCartel helps artiststo create easily customizable shopping carts for their website. Funds go through PayPal. Check out TJ’s cumstomized cart

CD/T-shirt Bundle: If you’ve got merch, it’ll probably be easier to sell along with a new CD than on its own.  Offer bundles, 2-for-1 deals, or other special deals while there’s still a whole lotta hype around your new project. It’ll pay off!

Incentive: Now that TJ’s got a new CD, he’s offering a free download of his older CD to anyone who  signs up for his newsletter.  Many artists are doing that these days. Smart move.

Video: Last but not least, TJ has been documenting the making of  his CD, which is an excellent way to engage fans and build anticipation. Check out the first video in the series: “Stepping Stones Recording Video 1


Also check out another artist, Ben Alper. He revamped his myspace and has his CD already setup on iTunes even though it doesnt release for another month.  Nothing like having a hard copy and digital copy available at the same time.

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Selling Your Music – Setting up an Online Merch Store

March 9, 2009





Be sure to read the first two posts in this series

1.)  Starting from Scratch: What it takes to Release a CD
2.) Alternatives – CD Packaging, Production, & Distribution

So once you’ve got the recording, artwork, and packaging done, its time to decide on ways to get your music out there. We talked a bit about digital distribution resources in the above links.  Now, here’s a deeper look into paypal…an easy resource for selling hard copies of your music (other than the obvious CDBaby).  Read more about CDBaby in the CDBaby vs. Paypal post.  (make sure to read people’s comments at the bottom of the page) 


Paypal is wonderful
Ya, I’ve talked about it before…and I don’t mean to sound repetitive but  Paypal is an incredible resource for small business owners, artists, musicians…etc. It has helped me incredibly in the last 10 months…to give my music store a very clean, simple, proffessional look. My best suggestion for you is to visit their site and look into all they have to offer.  Its FREE to setup and paypal takes a very small percentage of every sale.  They currently take 63 cents from every $10 CD I sell.  This is worth it to me. 

Paypal is professional
Paypal allows your customers to pay through credit card and sends them a confirmation email to let them know that the transaction went through.  Paypal also send you and email to let you know someone has purchased your product. You then have the responsibility of mailing your product to the customer.

Paypal is simple
With Paypal you have several options of how you’d like to setup your store and you’re given the html code to do this…  Artist K-Drama  has a really excellent paypal store on his site.  You wont see that notorious yellow button paypaladd   b/c he’s simply exchanged the button image for his own creation.  But his store is very straightforward and allows you to add various CDs to your cart by clicking “Add to Cart”.  If you visit my store,  you see I’ve used a drop down box option which is great for making more space on a page and compiling information.

All the html code is provided by Paypal so its straightfoward…but if you need help incorporating into your site, ask your webmaster (its really easy on myspace).


If you are aware of other online merch stores, please post a comment. I wanted to spotlight others, but after visiting 10 random artist websites this evening, is was apparent that paypal is most popular.

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Reader Comments & Suggestions #1

January 23, 2009

MCTill & Wonderbrown = The Kings of Tradgedy
Both use humor in emails ewsletters (and videos) to keep their readers engaged.


I thought I would put this blog up because alot of you have posted some really great comments in response to past blogs.  Some people might never see these comments so why not put them all in one post. Below are my favorite 5. Please continue to comment anytime you have something meaninful and helpful to say to the people who visit this blog! Special thanks to KleerStream Entertainment who has consistently given some great tips to aspiring singersongwriters and bands.


1.] Posted by Samual Lewis in response to Email Marketing – Making Sure People Read What You Write
“Make sure to provide value in every email, even a good laugh will work. You want to engage your audience and earn their trust. Also frequency of sends is extremely important. During this recession, many companies are turning to more cost effective means of marketing, and email should definitely be one of them.”

  • Samual makes such a great point!  Here is something my friend MC Till put in his last email.  It’s personal, its hilarious, and I’m sure  it definitely made people visit his website.  Chances are, you will too…
  • “ps- don’t check out my new website… It won’t be worth it. For real. Don’t even think about it. Okay, are you thinking about it? Stop. Well, uhm, I guess if you are still thinking about it then just copy and paste into your browser, hit enter, then get ready to ‘X’ out. Okay, if you really want to, check out the video or the quotes or blog or whatever, I’m saying, its whatever you want to do. Really, I’m not trying to promote it or anything. I mean, its just a website that promotes what I do. So, really, don’t even bother….unless of course…you really want to. Then, go ahead.

2.] Posted by KleerStream Entertainment in response toTake Advantage of the Holiday – Make Some Dough, Yo!
I totally disagree with you about CD Baby, especially for Indie Artist that want more exposure. The global exposure you get on CD Baby is well worth the $4 / CD they take for selling your CD. New artist need all the exposure they can get & CD Baby is but one way to gain more exposure. New artist are always told to go play for nothing to gain exposure, so, why are we worried about CD Baby taking $4 for each CD they sell? 

We recommend artist sell CD’s any place they can….if you are selling on 5 sites you are generating revenue & revenue is one of the main driving forces that keeps a artist / band playing & touring. As long as you get $2.50 – $3.00 / CD you are still making money & in the music business every dollar earned is a plus in our book. One of the worst things you can do in the music business is to ‘limit’ yourself. I would never recommend one of our artist to turn down global exposure for $4 a CD. Don’t assume all the sales you gain from any site will be pick up on another site, because they will not. 

    • In response to this post about CD Baby, Kleerstream has made an excellent point.  I think its great to have your music on CDBaby as well as on your own site.  You may make more money by selling the CD through paypal but CD Baby does in fact provide excellent connections that sometimes pan out.


3.] Posted by Teed Rockwell in response to Take Advantage of the Holiday – Make Some Dough, Yo!
CD Baby is worth the money. Don’t forget that if you do your own shipping, you have to pay for postage, packaging, take time to go the store to buy the packaging materials, and do the labor of packaging, labeling, and dropping packages off at the post office. CDbaby also prepares your inventory, which makes it easier at tax time. I hired somebody to do this before the internet existed, and it cost me a lot more than four dollars a CD. in fact, I had to quit using that person because it was too expensive. CDbaby does it cheaper because they have it automated. They also are heavily linked in. I got the best paying gig in my life from somebody who saw my CDbaby page.

    • Ya, its true that you have to handle shipping if your using a service like paypal. But if you don’t mind, then do it!  Handling my shipping allows me to be more personal with fans.  I usually leave notes in the package like “Hey, thanks for buying a CD!” or “Hope to see you at next week’s show!”


4.] Posted by Cling in response to Tips & Tricks for the Holiday and Any Day
Why not send an EPK?

    • Having an EPK through Sonicbids is a great idea.  EPK = Electronic Press Kit.  I talk regularly about having a press kit which basically includes a bio, press photo, demo (or CD), press release, and any other relevant information.  Sonicbids offers a way to create a press kit online. Saves paper, saves money, saves time.  Check out Sonicbids to learn more about creating one.  But also realize that some people like to have hard copies. I think its important to have hard copies on hand.  On Monday, I’ll talk more about Sonicbids…the good and the bad. 


5.] Posted by KleerStream Entertainment in response to Helping Yourself #3
We always tell artists, their networking / building a true fan base is much like someone campaigning for President of the USA. Artist are the ones that must meet, greet, shake hands, hand out business cards, etc. They must take advantage of any time they are out in public, whether it be in a grocery store, club, coffee house, etc. You never know who you might be shaking hand with….so network like your career depending on it, because, it really does.


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