What is Bandcamp? What to know about the music platform

  • Bandcamp is an online music service that helps musicians post music, earn new fans, and be paid fairly for their work.
  • The site is also great for listeners, who can find new music and artists outside of the mainstream, and offer them critical support.
  • Although Bandcamp is free, there’s also a Pro membership for artists that includes new features, including more pricing options and advanced analytics.
  • Bandcamp has apps on iPhone, Android, and Sonos devices, all of which are free to download and use.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Bandcamp is more than a place to download music. Founded in 2007, the platform emerged out a desire to empower artists, by offering them a place to share and sell music to listeners, growing their fanbase while still being compensated fairly.

In the more than ten years since its launch, the company has grown steadily, notably becoming profitable in 2012. 

Here’s everything to know about Bandcamp, the music selling and streaming site for artists and fans of all stripes.

Bandcamp, explained

Bandcamp gives artists more control over their releases and sales, with support for pre-orders, offline streaming, downloading, merchandise, streaming analytics, and more. It also helps listeners find and buy new music through its ever-growing content library, and editorial services like Bandcamp Daily. 

While other platforms focus on featuring artists from traditional or mainstream genres, Bandcamp covers those and more — from video game soundtracks to spoken-word performances.

Using Bandcamp, artists can set up an online store not just for digital downloads but also physical CDs, vinyl records, posters, t-shirts, show tickets, and more. Bandcamp also helps with things like ranking higher on Google, reporting to music charts, and fulfilling merch orders. 

bandcamp band page

Bandcamp is a one-stop-shop for selling music, interacting with fans, and building a portfolio.

William Antonelli/Business Insider

To help labels and musicians with management and marketing, Bandcamp also offers a “Pro” membership tier that lets you better promote new music and performances, and see your fanbase stats. You can also set it so some songs can be downloaded for free, while others need to be bought.

Bandcamp has a website, along with a free app for iPhone, Android, and Sonos devices.

Bandcamp gives fans a community, artist interviews, and great music

Bandcamp is designed to create a simple and accessible environment for music lovers, which starts with a free and easy-to-set-up fan account.

Taking a cue from early social sites like Myspace, fans can customize their page with header images and embedded music players. Compared to other streaming services, Bandcamp provides a greater sense of community for consumers by developing a tangible link between artists and their fans through features like a comment section. This gives listeners the chance to share their thoughts and engage with fellow fans. 

What is Bandcamp 1

Listeners can build profiles that show off their music tastes.

Ennica Jacob/Business Insider

Site navigation operates from a minimalist approach, with a homepage that regularly features guides and lists; a section for top-sellers; fan spotlights; and a search tool that lets you pick tracks or albums based on genre, location, format type, and more.

And once you’ve found an artist, depending on how they’ve set up their profile, you can stream all their music right there, or buy it.

Of course, real music-nuts know that listening to music is just one part of the experience — the other is dissecting that music. Bandcamp Daily, the editorial side of the platform, offers artist interviews, “Best Of” lists, and features that give listeners a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite music.

What is Bandcamp 2

Bandcamp Daily connects you to your favorite artists through written features and lists.

Ennica Jacob/Business Insider

Bandcamp gives artists a place to sell music, and management tools to go with it

Becoming a new artist can be daunting, especially when engineering and studio costs begin to add up. The Bandcamp platform is a good start for independent artists who need to cultivate a fanbase or don’t have financial support.

Like the fan account, an artist account is free, in addition to being easy to maintain. That’s because Bandcamp helps you engage with fans, control item pricing, and organize the shipping logistics of your merchandise straight from a single account dashboard.

Added analytics tools give artists statistics on where their music is being shared, and who’s buying it.

What is Bandcamp 3

Bandcamp offers a variety of free and Pro features for artists.

Ennica Jacob

This aligns with Bandcamp’s mission. How much artists are paid for their music is a constant debate in the music industry, with some creatives suffering because their earnings don’t match with how popular the music is, or how much work it took to make.

That’s why Bandcamp offers daily updates on how much fans have paid artists in the last 30 days. Bandcamp takes 10% revenue shares on physical items and 10% to 15% on digital purchases, with artists paid daily.

For comparison, while Spotify is popular with listeners for its extensive collection of music and podcasts, Music Business Worldwide reported that Spotify takes 50% of most artists’ pay, with some exceptions.

And one thing that Bandcamp has become famous for are its pricing procedures. When you upload music, you have almost total control over how much you want people to pay for it.

This doesn’t just mean setting a price — you can also set it so buyers can choose their own price, or make it free in exchange for an email address. Bandcamp also sets alerts that encourage users to tip their favorite artists.

In 2020, Bandcamp also launched Bandcamp Live, a livestreaming platform that lets artists hold concerts remotely. These livestreamed concerts feature chatrooms for the fans, along with a digital merch table. It’s the closest you can get to an in-person concert without going outside.

Bandcamp Pro gives more features for dedicated users

Most streaming sites offer more features with a subscription. This is also the case for Bandcamp, which offers musicians and labels a “Pro” version.

Bandcamp Pro, which is offered for $10 per month, artists get a customizable domain name, demographic statistics based on fan purchases, batch uploading, and more. 

What is Bandcamp 4

Artists can build their brand and sell their music in the same place.

Ennica Jacob/Business Insider

Videos can be made for merchandise and music, adding a visual experience to the online marketplace without the hassle of advertisements.

Another promotional plus to the Pro version is more control over song pricing. With the free version of Bandcamp, you either have to make all your songs free-to-listen, or paid; the Pro version gives you the ability to let fans listen to some songs for free, while others need to be purchased.

Paired with in-depth analytics and statistics, this is great for letting artists develop a sales strategy.

The bottom line: Bandcamp is great for new artists, and all listeners

In the end, Bandcamp helps make sure that artists are compensated fairly for their work, and lets fans explore endless hours of music from their favorite — or new favorite — musicians.

If you’re just starting your music career, and want help building up a new audience, Bandcamp can help. And if you’re a listener trying to find artists outside of the mainstream, Bandcamp might be the perfect place to look.

Just remember to tip well — after all, musicians need to pay their bills too.

Source News