An Artist’s New Guide To Bandcamp Success
On Bandcamp, an average of 82% of the money goes to the artist or their label. Therefore, fans using Bandcamp have given artists and indie labels over $873 million.
You might have seen the “Bandcamp” name floating around on social media due to Bandcamp Friday. But you may not be sure if you can handle another platform.
However, Bandcamp is not just another platform – it’s a truly artistic-centric platform that has been elevating artists’ careers since it first started.
So why is Bandcamp a great platform for artists? Keep reading to find out more.
What is Bandcamp?
First things first – Bandcamp is primarily a marketplace and community of music lovers who love discovering new music. Oddpost co-founder Ethan Diamond and programmers Shawn Grunberger, Joe Holt and Neal Tucker founded the company in Oakland, California, in 2008.
Bandcamp enables artists to create an artist page, upload digital music, add physical merch and social media links, and connect with their followers. Physical products are the main driver of Bandcamp. In fact, half of Bandcamp’s revenue comes from the sale of physical products.
In 2020, Bandcamp expanded to include Bandcamp Live – a ticketed live-streaming platform for artists. Furthermore, it also launched a vinyl pressing service for artists.
In March 2022, Epic Games – the company behind Fortnite and Unreal Engine – acquired Bandcamp. The company insists it still operates independently under Epic Games, but now has access to the powerful backend of Epic Games.
According to Diamond, “Epic ticks all those boxes. We share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world, and together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.”
Bandcamp tips ‘n’ tricks
Personalise your artist page
Once you have signed up for Bandcamp, the first step should be to customize your profile. Bandcamp allows you to upload a header and a profile picture. You can also tweak the colours of your profile to match your brand. It’s important that potential followers immediately recognise that the profile is yours.
Adding a 400 character bio is also crucial. This is because Bandcamp is made for new music discovery. Keep in mind that if people get a sense of who you are, and like what they see, they’re more likely to buy your music and merch.
Additionally, write down all the lyrics for each song you upload on Bandcamp. This helps fans discover you via search. It also allows you to claim your words and prevents lyrics websites from writing down the wrong lyrics.
Build a Bandcamp community
Community is key for every platform, but especially for Bandcamp. The platform automatically notifies your followers whenever you add new music or merch. Furthermore, you can also directly message your followers to inform them of new shows and upcoming material.
Think of Bandcamp as an enhanced mailing list. Your followers are already engaged fans, who are actually willing to invest in you. All you need to do is write a message and hit send.
Tag your music properly
Tagging your profile and music properly is important. This is because Bandcamp’s search function allows potential fans to find you. Whenever you upload a new track, make sure to tag your genre as well as subgenres. This enables new people to find your music.
Add physical merch
According to Bandcamp’s stats, the most popular types of merchandise are vinyl, t-shirts and, surprisingly, cassettes. Over the past five years, vinyl sales have increased 613%, t-shirts 492% and cassettes 349%. Therefore, investing in merch is a good way to ensure your musical career is more sustainable in the long term.
You may be tempted to set up your own web store instead of Bandcamp. This is a good idea if you are a big artist supported by a big label. If you’re an indie artist who is still building a following, selling through Bandcamp is a cheaper option.
In addition to using Bandcamp’s other features, you do not have to pay monthly or annual fees to keep your web store live. Instead, Bandcamp gets a commission on every item sold. Bandcamp also has merch-specific browsing tools. This allows fans of a particular genre or subgenre to find you, even if they’ve never heard of you before.
Bandcamp also has an easy-to-use merch backend that allows you to see all your orders in one place. There, you can inform buyers that their product has been shipped, or send them a message if there is a problem with the order.
Furthermore, Bandcamp has recently introduced a vinyl pressing service that streamlines the financing, production, and fulfilment of vinyl records. Best of all, fans power your pressing. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about spending thousands on vinyl that stays in your utility cupboard.
Shout from the rooftops
After setting up your profile, jump-start things by telling your existing fans that you’re on Bandcamp. Doing this has many benefits. The more people buy your items, the more benefits you get. Your release appears in your buyers’ public collections; it starts appearing in the “people who bought this also bought this” recommendations; and starts showing up in your genre’s recent best-sellers section.
Check out Bandcamp Live
In 2020, Bandcamp launched a new live streaming platform with musicians in mind. It is fully integrated into the rest of the site, meaning your existing followers will be the first to know you are hosting a live stream.
It is also a ticketed live stream, and while Bandcamp takes 10% of your income, you immediately get the rest of the profits. Best of all, fans can buy merch while watching your live stream and chat with each other.