Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Bandcamp Platform: Selling directly to fans is the name of the game.

Established in 2007, Bandcamp gives independent artists a full store, to sell digital downloads, subscriptions and merchandise directly to the public without any setup fees. It's a straightforward concept that is uniquely customized for the independent musician. There are many companies out there that focus on distributing music to the top global retailers (iTunes, Amazon, etc … ) Bandcamp is not one of them, focusing more on direct sales and fast payments to the artist. Digital sales on Bandcamp are deposited into your paypal account within 48 hours minus their 15% commission. This feature can be incredibly useful, considering payments from iTunes or Amazon, filtered through your digital distributor (cdbaby, Tunecore, etc …) can take 3-6 months to finally wind up in your bank account. Also, if you are running some kind of marketing campaign, you can see fast results which will let you know if your campaign is effective or not.

Bundling physical merchandise with music or concert tickets is very smart. Your digital music downloads can become a kind of 'value add' when bundled with physical merchandise. Your customers probably won't mind paying $25 for that cool t-shirt you designed if the are getting a free 5-song EP with it.

Dealing with customers directly, having the ability to save all of their information for future use and having very little “Bandcamp” branding to deal with, are all huge advantages to using this service. Reverb Nation was notorious for putting huge Reverb Nation logos on every little thing website, link and widget you used. Reverb Nation has improved a lot, but Bandcamp is the opposite. They allow you to customize your header and background so that you can brand your Bandcamp store like your own website.

Bandcamp also has a cool feature, where you can give away downloads on their website in exchange for customer email addresses. This feature is not as cool as the Topspin Email for Media Widget, but it's still very useful for collecting data.

Bandcamp has been around for almost a decade and they are well established. Their website boasts that fans have spent $137,000,000 USD over the last nine years on their site. That is a staggering number which is almost half of the GDP of the nation of Palau.

I created a Bandcamp page for 303infinity long ago, but never really promoted it. I think I'll set it up with some music and merchandise and post about my experience in a few months. It is hard to ignore such a powerful tool that I feel should be used simultaneously with a distributor that reaches the major digital music retailers.

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