How To Play Bandcamp…And Win!

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All the tips, tricks, and cheat codes for our fave music platform.

Basics

  • Use Bandcamp. If your label/distro/bandmate(s) think putting your album up on iTunes or Spotify is a satisfactory online distribution method, consider telling them to eat a dick.

  • That’s it. Just use the fucken thing.

Pricing

  • Consider putting your album up for Name Your Price. There’s a good chance you’ll actually make more money/sell more units. Using an example from last year, Brendan from Convulsing decided to make his latest record Grievous name your price. Without using literally any avenue for PR aside from a lone post on the band’s social media, the record was able to spend something like 2 weeks in the top selling charts of Bandcamp’s front page. The first 5 of which, it was the #1 selling record across all genres. Pretty amazing. And not to diminish the fact that it was an incredible and deserving musical feat, I don’t think it would be unfair to say it had an increased stay atop the charts because people who were maybe unfamiliar with the music beforehand were able to grab it for a dollar or three without the fear of forking out a tenna for something they might not come back to for repeat listens. The money Brendan received for his work made the difference between being able to afford to pay for transport to play Convulsing’s first ever concerts, something streaming alone would never have made possible.

  • If you really have to set a price, don’t make it $10+ for a digital copy. Sure, your art is priceless and value is subjective and blah blah blah but c’mon. Once those files are uploaded, it legitimately costs you next to nothing for them to be transferred electronically to the user. Some people like to say $1 per song or 10 minutes of music or whatever is a fair going rate, but in the age of Torrents and YouTube/Spotify streaming, you’re pretty fortunate to find someone willing to cough up any cash at all for something in as saturated a market as the modern music industry. So don’t be dickhole to the few who are trying to do the right thing by charging the price of a physical album for some electrons. Have you seen the price of humility, in this economy?

  • If possible, avoid having your label/distro make you offer pre-orders for $666 or whatever absurd price-tag they insist on to try and flog physical copies. People forget.

Files

  • Label your shit. Label it correctly. Don’t use all caps, you fuckhead. Label your files. Label them correctly.

  • Don’t just upload an album without streaming ability. At the very least, allow streaming of two or three tracks. Yes, this happens. No, I don’t know why.

  • Conversely, don’t upload an album for streaming without the ability for the listener to purchase digitally. Looking @u NWN! and Shadow Kingdom Records. Is our money not good enough for you?

Extras

  • Include associated album art files and lyrics, you’ve already typed them up for printing out those CD booklets, just copy/paste them into the .zip folder for buyers to have.

  • Consider including tablature. Chances are you’re using some kind of cpu software/interface like Guitar Pro or whatever to tab out your riffs, some bands have been adding those files to their album downloads. It’s not important by any means, but it could be a nice little incentive for aspiring virtuosos to buy the record as opposed to just copping it from a ‘100% Correct Best Tab (Final)‘ YouTube cover video. For example, Serocs included tabs on their most recent techocalypse and now I’ve scored the maddest carpal tunnel syndrome for free.

So that’s me done (for now). Full disclosure, I started this draft over 6 months ago but got swept away with other stuff, be thankful I haven’t thought of more shit to complain about in the interim.

What are some things you think should be added to this?
Let’s collate them in the comments and make this a more constructive post.
Not in a band so none of this applies to you? Maybe share it to those who are

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