Bandcamp

by Levi Ray

Web programmer Ethan Diamond derived inspiration from frustration after encountering some trouble with an independent musician’s online store. On September 16th, 2008, Bandcamp was born from his desire to provide a better alternative for independent artists and labels who wanted to host their own online retailers. With the aid of some fellow coding and web design gurus, he established one of the most accommodating online music sales services available today.

Bandcamp is one of the most valuable sales tools for recording artists and labels of all statures. The features of this website provide a myriad of options for downloadable tracks and extensive tools for monitoring sales and streaming activity. With no signup costs or subscription fees and only a 10-15% revenue share, this service is an obvious choice for many musicians.

The Bandcamp store differs from other online retailers in that it provides the purchaser several options for downloadable file formats. FLAC, AAC, Apple Lossless, and Ogg Vorbits are available download alternatives, so music connoisseurs don’t have to be bound to the constraints of limited audio fidelity afforded by mp3 file formats (although if they want to, that is also an option). All the user needs to do is upload a singular lossless file format, and Bandcamp takes care of the rest.

Selling physical product is also an option on Bandcamp. The site allows the user to upload images for the product, set price and shipping data, and even calculates tax application per consumer. This is really handy for artists who want to sell physical and digital product in conjunction with each other (I.E. Vinyl and Digital Download packages, Deluxe Edition CD’s, T-Shirts, and exclusive downloadable tracks, etc.).

Bandcamp allows the user full control over the price of his product and allots the user 200 free downloads per month for distribution. The website charges 1.5 to 3 cents per free download after the 200 allotted free downloads are used, or additional free downloads can be earned through sales. Bandcamp initially charges 15% on all singular purchases with a $100 cap. If an artist makes $5,000 in sales over a 12 month period, the revenue share drops to 10%. Revenue is distributed through PayPal accounts.

What really distinguishes Bandcamp from other online store services is that Bandcamp allows the user to create a custom domain within the user’s website. The store page can then be customized to match the rest of the website and provide a professional looking custom store for the artist. The Bandcamp music player is also customizable and can be distributed virally as a promotional tool.

All of these features are magnified by the website’s monitoring tools. Bandcamp maintains statistical observation of plays, buzz, and sales within the site. Beyond this, the website calculates visits and pull-ins from embedded players and hyperlinks on other sites. Bandcamp also allows the user to export email contact information from purchasers to a mailing list.

Services like Bandcamp are the future of the recording industry. The features of this website have removed many exuberant hassles that independent artists face when they attempt independent online distribution. The website handles copious amounts of coding that most artists would have to hire a web-designer for. The website is constantly evolving: features are updated and evaluated with some frequency so that the services provided will operate smoothly and stay current with the ever-adjusting climate of the modern music business. Bandcamp is a huge step towards leveling the economic playing field of the recording industry, and it’s one of the greatest assets an independent artist can have.

Site Link: http://bandcamp.com/

Sources:

  1. http://bandcamp.com/faq
  2. http://bandcamp.com/features
  3. http://bandcamp.com/pricing
  4. http://blog.bandcamp.com/
  5. http://www.indieave.com/bandcamp/
  6. http://hip2besquare.net/2010/07/16/self-promoting-bands-take-notice-of-bandcamp/
  7. http://cultureandcommunication.org/tdm/nmrs/fa1/2010/10/10/bandcamp-the-future-of-digital-music-distribution/
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