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BandCamp: What Is BandCamp And Is It Any Good?

Photograph of the blog post author, Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

14.8.2020

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Among various other platforms designed for artists and labels to share music and make money, there is BandCamp. Also a platform that is highly popular with fans and buyers, BandCamp is pleasing both creators and music enthusiasts all around the world. With fans having paid artists on the platform $15.8 million in the past 30 days alone, it is safe to say that the platform is thriving, and that artists are reaping the rewards. So, are you wondering whether to sign up and if BandCamp can help you? In this article, we will take a look at what BandCamp is, how it can benefit artists, features, pricing and more. Let’s get started!

BandCamp logo

What Is BandCamp?

BandCamp is an online platform where artists can create their own online store to promote and sell their music, as well as merchandise. Artists can sell digital downloads, physical copies such as vinyls and cassette tapes, and merchandise. This music distribution and merchandising company was founded in 2007, and has grown extensively since its inception.

The company’s mission statement is “to create the best possible service for artists and labels to share and earn money from their music, and for fans to discover and enjoy it”. The platform is used by millions of artists, fans and more than 3,000 labels around the world! A company that delivers on its promise to artists, BandCamp is renowned for putting the artist first, and giving fair treatment, allowing artists access to more of their royalties than competitors.

Why Is BandCamp Great For Artists?

man with saxophone BandCamp

Let’s take a look at why BandCamp is great for artists, and some of the best parts about the platform.

Artist Centric 

Firstly, BandCamp (more than other similar platforms or streaming services) do genuinely seem to have artists at the centre of what they do. All artists are treated equally, no matter their fanbase or recognition. The platform is especially helpful for independent artists without financial backing or support with music promotion. Having a professional looking page to send fans to instantly allows artists to engage with fans and direct them towards music and merchandise. 

Instant Payment

Unlike other digital distributors, artists don’t have to wait to receive their payments. With other means of distribution such as DistroKid or CD Baby, you will usually be waiting to receive quarterly payments for your royalties. However, with BandCamp, artists get the returns straight away and don’t have to wait for digital distributors.

Reputation For Undiscovered & Underground Music

A lot of artists only upload their music to BandCamp rather than the usual streaming sites like Spotify or Apple Music, as they receive a higher percentage of the royalties, and have more direct interaction with fans. This means that BandCamp has a ‘cool’ reputation for finding undiscovered and rare gems. 

Building Fanbases

For independent artists looking to start building their fan base, you can upload tracks that are free to download, but ask for donations in order to get fans interested and earn a few tips. This allows artists to test the waters, begin interacting with fans, and building their brand. Plus, it is a more personal experience, with fans feeling more like they are supporting the artist themselves rather than a large conglomerate. Fans can, in fact, get in touch with artists directly via their BandCamp accounts, allowing for a closer relationship and personal touch.

Why Is BandCamp Great For Fans?

BandCamp fan page

BandCamp isn’t just about artists having a great experience – the platform makes sure to cater to fans, too. 

There is a reason why there are so many active fans purchasing music and items from BandCamp. Fans receive instant streaming of their purchases, the ability to follow their favourite artists. They can also curate a wishlist, showcase their collection, and explore the music of and connect with like-minded fans. This creates a sense of community, and allows fans to discover new music through connections made on the site. Among some of the great features for fans, BandCamp offers unlimited mobile streaming, a customisable page to share the music you love, and the ability to redownload past purchases. Sound good, music fans?

BandCamp’s Features

BandCamp artist site

Okay, so this all sounds great. But what features are actually included from BandCamp? We have picked a few highlights. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so be sure to check out what else is on offer on BandCamp’s website.

Customisable Page

BandCamp allows you to design your own page to make it as appealing and attractive to fans as possible. This involves custom headers, images, album artwork, alignment, a range of colours and more. Check out BandCamp’s guide to designing your page for more information.

Tipping And Customisable Pricing

Fans can listen to music, decide if they like it, and then pay the artist. This allows for easier discovery with no commitment, and if the listener enjoys it, they may tip you or download the track. According to BandCamp’s website, fans pay more than the amount requested a whopping 50% of the time, which goes to show what a supportive community this platform creates.

Embedding Options

Bandcamp gives artists, press and fans access to customisable music players to embed online. Artists can highlight and showcase cover art, merchandise and, with a Pro account, even videos

Promotion & Showcases

In 2016, Bandcamp launched an editorial branch to work alongside purchasing and streaming, Bandcamp Daily. This publishes articles promoting upcoming artists on the site, and is a great way to get noticed by audiences. In addition to this, BandCamp also has a record store and performance space in Oakland, California. At this site, they showcase the more than 5 million albums available on Bandcamp. This is open Mon–Fri from noon–7pm at 1901 Broadway, Oakland, California, if you fancy stopping by!

Access To Stats

Bandcamp’s stats system reveals who has linked to your music, where your music is embedded, which tracks are most popular, what’s being purchased and when, and even things such as which search terms and blogs are directing fans to you.

Pricing

money bandcamp pricing

We know what you’re thinking – this all sounds great, but how much does BandCamp cost? Allow us to answer this for you now!

The great news is that BandCamp accounts are totally free! The company makes its money through revenue sales. So, in theory, artists can sign up for nothing and begin earning money for their music straight away. For those wanting access to more features, BandCamp Pro costs just $10. Pro plans include batch uploads, targeted messaging, private streaming, ad-free video hosting, even more in-depth stats and more! For more information and to see if upgrading is worth it, check out BandCamp’s exhaustive list of what’s on offer with a Pro account.

BandCamp In The Music Industry

With The New York Times calling Bandcamp “one of the greatest underground-culture bazaars of our time,” it is safe to say that BandCamp has a great reputation in the industry. This is due to growth of the company, the artist-centric approach and the ability to download, purchase physical copies and merchandise from artists in one place.

During the CoVid pandemic, BandCamp waived their share of revenue and donated all sales to the artists for a 24 hour period every month between March and July. Gestures and initiatives such as this demonstrate that this company truly cares about the livelihood and well-being of their artists.

Let’s take a look at some stats to show just why this growing company is turning so many heads:

  • Fans have paid artists $564 million using Bandcamp (this was $270 million in 2017), and $15.9 million in the past 30 days alone. 
  • In terms of merchandise, fans have purchased 12.1 million merch items through Bandcamp, totaling $194 million

Finally, to encompass the industry’s general thoughts of BandCamp, here is NPR Music’s Andrew Flanagan thoughts:

“Bandcamp serves as an honest-to-goodness, proof-in-the-pudding bulwark against the creep of artistic monoculture fueled by the consolidation of digital life into the hands of a few companies”.

BandCamp Vs Competitors

A big plus point of Bandcamp is that they only charge 10-15% commission for downloads, and 10% for merchandise or physical goods. This means that artists earn more from their hard work. Also, artists can charge whatever amount they want to for their music or merchandise – there is no default setting to abide by. BandCamp has one of the lowest commission rates, with almost all of artists’s royalties going straight into their pocket.

BandCamp Vs Spotify

bandcamp vs spotify

Spotify is generally the most popular music streaming service, and takes the top spot in a lot of rankings. However, Spotify doesn’t quite match up in terms of artist revenue – as they pay 50% to BandCamp’s 85-90%. Spotify has 20 million_ songs and arguably the largest collection out of its competitors. It also usually has the fastest access to new music, which listeners love. Spotify also has features such as Weekly Discover playlists, curated playlists and so on. In comparison, BandCamp’s discovery site has multiple filters so that listeners can find exactly what they want. For example, if you’re looking for Best-Selling Pop albums on vinyl from 3 weeks ago, Discover has you covered.

In terms of pricing, Spotify has both a free version and a Premium version. Premium is $9.99 a month, so the pricing is almost identical to BandCamp Pro.

BandCamp Vs SoundCloud

bandcamp vs soundcloud

BandCamp and Soundcloud draw a lot of comparison in the industry. This is because both platform’s purpose is to help upcoming artists grow fanbases, rather than established artists. To give you an idea of scale, SoundCloud has content from more than 20 million creators and 175 million people listen on SoundCloud each month. On SoundCloud, you are more likely to find DJ mixes and underground hip-hop, whereas (as a generalisation), BandCamp is more Indie based. SoundCloud also tends to favour singles, whereas BandCamp contains more albums.

SoundCloud offers three account types: Free, Pro, Pro Unlimited and Premier. In regards to revenue, SoundCloud Premier pays artists a revenue share of 55% for their recordings.. SoundCloud is free and easy to upload tracks, but charges $8 a month for a Pro account, or $16 a month Pro Unlimited account. However, there are some strings related to monetising music with SoundCloud. In order to qualify for Premier, you must be an independent creator with a Pro or Pro Unlimited account. Also, you must have at least 5,000 plays in the past month from SoundCloud-monetised countries.

Sidenote: Check out our Streaming Royalty Calculator to see how much your music has earned across streaming platforms. 

Closing Thoughts

CDs and headphones music vinyl

BandCamp has risen in the ranks, and provides artists with a great platform. They can showcase their music and merchandise, reach new fans and nurture existing ones. With the commission percentage being low, the artists really are at the heart of the company, which is refreshing to see!

In our opinion, this platform is definitely worth a shot. Why not head online, or download the BandCamp app for free? You’ve got nothing to lose but so much to gain as an artist, fan or label!

If you are looking for a platform that offers everything you need in one place, why not try Music Gateway? We can help with promoting your music, improving your streaming presence and providing Sync opportunities. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.



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