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Tips for bands: Get the most out of Bandcamp

I buy LOADS of music on Bancamp these days, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on pricing and marketing on this awesome platform.

First up pricing

In the old days artists earned £1 out of every £10 because of label stuff. It was a rip. Now you are selling directly to your audience you do not need to give any money to a label - so don't charge £10 for an album we can stream for free!

CDs too. You need to find a price point that's appealing enough to a random listener to want to support you and own it in their collection - either as a download or physical merch - knowing they can also get it for free elsewhere. CDs are CHEAP to print! Don't be greedy.

On this note, as a musician I am aware of the cost that goes into a release including recording, rehearsing, videos, and so on. And the significant time investment of course. But you have to spread your total cost across all of your sales outlets to measure overall ROI here. Don't factor all of that into the price of a CD - people will just stream it instead.

Similarly with postage! Come on guys! Charge what it actually costs to post something. We know!!

This is how you build a real audience. 10k streams pays around £60 - or in real terms fuck all. But 100 people buying an album at $5 gets you $500. Play the numbers and develop a small dedicated fanbase rather than a large fickle one.

Secondly marketing

I think Bandcamp offers a really unique opportunity to connect directly with music fans and build an audience - but you have to put a bit of work in... As a music fan here are some of the things I see bands doing on Bandcamp that makes me want to buy their stuff:

  • An obvious one - but I read Bandcamp Daily most days, so it's well worth submitting releases to at least 4-6 weeks before your release date to at least have a shot of getting onto the 'New & Notable' or a featured article on the site.

  • Fill in all the details on the page. Again sounds obvious but people don't. This isn't a case of "if you build it they will come" the internet doesn't work like that sadly! Add things like genre tags to make you searchable and include credits, lyrics, the story behind the release and so on. Think of the album page as the liner notes in a CD / Vinyl sleeve. People want to read that stuff and they will remember the good stuff. Check out the 2 examples in the post I wrote earlier this week here.

  • Give away free download codes to potential fans. I cannot tell you the number of albums I have bought by an artist who I found via a free download code first - it's a lot! Trust me on this one.

I really enjoyed this podcast with Andrew Jervis from Bandcamp by Other Record Labels and recommend checking it out for loads more Bandcamp tips.

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