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CoF
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:25 pm
Posts: 462
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:36 am 
 

To make things clear: I want answers from MA users, who actively use Bandcamp as artists, not just links to statements that were already made on other pages.

I'm writing an article about Bandcamp, and I'd like to include the opinion of one artist/band using the site actively - maybe even selling their stuff on it - so I have a couple of questions for those users who do so. The article is in German and rather limited in its length, so I won't use direct quotes, which means you can write as much or little as you want. In exchange for your answers I can offer the user whose opinion I would like to include a little feature in the article: this includes linking your Bandcamp page (and regular page if you have one) and even integrating a Youtube video to one of your songs. However, this offer is restricted to artists/bands whose music is guitar-driven (it's for a rock page), not too extreme (also in the lyrics, no gory stuff) or obscure and unpolitical. You can also answer me via private message, and of course this thread may as well turn into a discussion thread, but I'm in a bit of a hurry with this, so if someone's interested he should reply very soon.

So, here are the questions for the artists:

1. Why did you decide to use Bandcamp? What's its greatest advantage for you?
2. Do you feel there's anything left that needs improvement?
3. What were your experiences with selling stuff on the site? Do you think the portion of money Bandcamp gets from artists' profits is appropriate?
4. If you're an independent artist: How good can you manage your life as musician without label support (e.g. organizing concerts, promote yourself etc.)? Did you make any contacts over Bandcamp that facilitated things for you? Do you think label support is essential for becoming really big? Do you plan to get signed to a label in the future?
5. Have you ever been featured on the front page? If so, did it make a noticeable difference to your selling numbers or was it in any other way positive for you?
6. Do you have a problem with political bands being allowed on the site?

Again: It's not about giving lengthy answers (but yes, you're invited to do so), or answering all the questions, but of course I won't feature someone who only gives simple yes/no-answers.

I also have one general question, that I also sent directly to Bandcamp, but haven't got an answer back yet:

Does anybody know if bands with extreme political views can be part of a feature on the front page (including Fan Spotlight)?
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PhilosophicalFrog
The Hypercube

Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 7:08 pm
Posts: 5541
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:32 am 
 

1. I started using Bandcamp around...uhh, 2009? I originally used Soundcloud and Last.fm and would upload individual tracks and artist information. Those sites worked for that purpose, but it was hard to rack up a following with impersonal pages and a lack of consistency. So, after forming a cohesive vision with house of Dagoth, I decided to establish a page dedicated to a singular idea. Bandcamp is incredibly personal, has wonderful tweaking options, and a surprisingly effective tagging system.

2. A Bandcamp "radio" would be incredible. Just typing in a tag and being able to listen a la Pandora or Last.fm would be really awesome. Imagine how easy it would be to find unsigned bands! The potential is huge.

3. I've sold a fair amount of digital work, but I'm working on some physical copies as well, and I've only had good experiences selling vinyl/cassettes with my older band on Bandcamp. I think Bandcamp is one probably the most generous of the music sharing sites - and the fact that they give you a customized layout and an effective streaming service and let you keep the vast majority of money is amazing.

4. I have a fairly successful gig routine here in DC because I've been pimping my Bandcamp over the last two years, I met a lot of other local musicians through my job, but Bandcamp certainly helped meeting people and staying in touch and sharing music. Label support definitely is essentially for becoming really big, because physical distribution and booking larger gigs is a hell of a lot easier with label support, not to mention less stress on the artist. I do plan on it, I have some cassettes coming out soon, but nothing too big, just some small releases.

5. I've yet to be on the front page, but I did make it on the "recommended artists" page for drone. So that was cool. No noticeable sales increase, but definitely a massive listener boost. I did get a slight increase in sales over the next month or so, and I'm going to say that came from the exposure, but it definitely wasn't overnight.

6. None at all, let them all speak their minds, the fanbase will decide who rises to the top.

Hope that helps!
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
Posts: 7309
Location: Innsmouth
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 11:11 pm 
 

CoF wrote:
1. Why did you decide to use Bandcamp? What's its greatest advantage for you?


Pretty much everything about it rules. Really simple and easy to use. Really clean, simple interface that can be customized into a simple but elegant page that focuses on the music. I wasn't interested in social networking for my artist pages, so Facebook and the like were out, and bandcamp is both free and much easier to use than setting up a page myself. I also liked the ability to put up digital content for pay-what-you-want, and to simultaneously use the site as a shop to sell CD's. Basically it had everything I wanted and nothing extraneous to detract from the experience.

Quote:
2. Do you feel there's anything left that needs improvement?


Sure: I think it's a little obtuse for fans in terms of being able to download stuff you've lost. It would be nice if, on the fan end of things, it was something more like a Steam interface where you can stream stuff you've added to your library, re-download things you've already bought or downloaded as often as you like, etc. I know a lot of this functionality is already there, but it's hidden behind some obscurity and paywalls.

Quote:
3. What were your experiences with selling stuff on the site? Do you think the portion of money Bandcamp gets from artists' profits is appropriate?


Hmm. This is a tough one. I've made more selling physical CD's than digital downloads, and as a result almost any time anyone actually gives me money for downloads it goes toward paying off my revenue share balance rather than into my PayPal. Not that I'm being greedy here - I understand that Bandcamp needs to make its money off the service it provides - but I think it could be more transparent for the fans. Kind of bums me out when a fan graciously sends me a couple bucks for a download instead of snagging it for free, thinking he's helping me out, when in reality the entirety of his generosity goes straight to Bandcamp.

Quote:
4. If you're an independent artist: How good can you manage your life as musician without label support (e.g. organizing concerts, promote yourself etc.)? Did you make any contacts over Bandcamp that facilitated things for you? Do you think label support is essential for becoming really big? Do you plan to get signed to a label in the future?


While definitely possible, I still think label support is a huge deal. While Bandcamp does make it much easier for independent artists to get their music "out there", it's not a replacement for good labels, even small ones.

Quote:
5. Have you ever been featured on the front page? If so, did it make a noticeable difference to your selling numbers or was it in any other way positive for you?


I'm not sure, as I rarely look at the front page. I have seen people come to my band pages directly from the front page though, so I guess I have? The numbers weren't huge though; so much stuff gets added to Bandcamp that you get knocked off that front page pretty quick I think.

Quote:
6. Do you have a problem with political bands being allowed on the site?


Nope. That would be much too difficult to judge/moderate.

Hope that helps. Links to my Bandcamp pages are in my forum signature here.
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CoF
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:25 pm
Posts: 462
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:46 am 
 

I've already given the spot in the article to PhilosophicalFrog, and there's really no place for a second example in it (I hate space limitations like that, but what can I do), but thanks, the answers have been really helpful.

iamntbatman wrote:
Quote:
3. What were your experiences with selling stuff on the site? Do you think the portion of money Bandcamp gets from artists' profits is appropriate?


Hmm. This is a tough one. I've made more selling physical CD's than digital downloads, and as a result almost any time anyone actually gives me money for downloads it goes toward paying off my revenue share balance rather than into my PayPal. Not that I'm being greedy here - I understand that Bandcamp needs to make its money off the service it provides - but I think it could be more transparent for the fans. Kind of bums me out when a fan graciously sends me a couple bucks for a download instead of snagging it for free, thinking he's helping me out, when in reality the entirety of his generosity goes straight to Bandcamp.


I'm not sure if I understand you correctly here: If the share is 15% fixed, how can the revenue almost all the time entirely go to Bandcamp? Also, I would rather see it in the way, that this fan is paying your costs at Bandcamp for you, so of course he's still helping you out, isn't he?
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themicrulah
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:00 am
Posts: 1167
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:36 am 
 

Your revenue balance adds up over time and once it hits a certain point your profits from selling music on the site go to pay it off. Once it's paid off, it starts building up again.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
Posts: 7309
Location: Innsmouth
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:35 am 
 

The revenue sharing is actually 15% for digital, but only 10% for merch (i.e. CD's). However, the way the revenue sharing works, Bandcamp only takes their share of a sale if the sale is less than or equal to your share balance. For example, I sell my CD's for $5 + $4.30 shipping, so if my revenue share balance is $0 and someone buys one, it goes up to $0.50 (they don't take anything from your shipping costs, which is nice). Sell another CD, it goes up to $1. So if I sell anything less than ten CD's and then someone throws a couple bucks at me for a download, typically all of that goes toward to "paying off" my share balance.

Of course it would work differently for people who only sell digitally, but for me at least it seems that typically 100% of the revenue from CD sales go directly to me, while every time someone pays for a download it goes to Bandcamp. Again, not that that's a bad thing, but more transparency for the customers might not be a horrible thing.
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Pippin_Took
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:28 pm
Posts: 593
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:45 am 
 

So, are you saying batman that the best way to support artists on bandcamp is to buy the physical release wherever available? I'd've thought many artists would bypass the costs of producing physical versions and stick to digital content only...?

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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
Posts: 7309
Location: Innsmouth
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:03 am 
 

Well it definitely depends on the artist and their ability to price their physical stuff in a way that works. It just works out that way for me. Even still, though, the revenue share is 15% for digital and only 10% for physical, so on a basic level the answer to your question is yes, it is better for the artists for you to buy physical rather than digital.
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CoF
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:25 pm
Posts: 462
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:50 am 
 

Good to know that merch includes CD's. This makes much more sense to me now, because I already wondered if there was no share for physical releases at all.

Alright, more transparency may be fine, but I'm not sure if buyers would really care about this. After all, it's only a matter of convenience for Bandcamp to take their share not from every single item, but collectively from one. Still, an interesting issue, though I'm afraid I won't be able to include it in the article.
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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11675
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:06 pm 
 

1. Why did you decide to use Bandcamp? What's its greatest advantage for you?
Far the easiest way to spread my music in aconvenient form both in streaming it for anyone who wants to check it and for anyone who wishes to purchase it or the cds themselves. I've gotten so many sales through this than any other online presence.

2. Do you feel there's anything left that needs improvement?
There is always room for improvement but I'm fine enough with how it's set up now. My main complaint was how long it took some stuff to upload esp my longer songs. That seems to be corrected now.

3. What were your experiences with selling stuff on the site? Do you think the portion of money Bandcamp gets from artists' profits is appropriate?
It's the easiest thing ever. I don't mind so much the cut they get. Like was stated before by batman.. kinda sucks when I sell some digital downloads I might sell 10 for a buck each but I don't see any of that. it all goes to bandcamp due to selling the physical media far more.

4. If you're an independent artist: How good can you manage your life as musician without label support (e.g. organizing concerts, promote yourself etc.)? Did you make any contacts over Bandcamp that facilitated things for you? Do you think label support is essential for becoming really big? Do you plan to get signed to a label in the future?
I've had no issue with no label support, I started my own to release my own material. bandcamp helps as what I described in question one. I don't plan on anything, if something happens that's great if not I'm not bothered cause it still comes out on my own terms.

5. Have you ever been featured on the front page? If so, did it make a noticeable difference to your selling numbers or was it in any other way positive for you?
I have no idea, i rarely visit the frontpage. I usually can hotlink right into my own account. I have no clue who is ever on the frontpage, nor do I really care.

6. Do you have a problem with political bands being allowed on the site?
I don't care about other bands on the site. none of that shit pertains or has anything to do with me. Until it does somehow as in somehow preventing people from listening to my music or buying my music they can talk or sing about whatever.
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