Album Pre-orders

After you click play, below, be sure to click “HD” in the upper-right corner.


We’ve just made it incredibly simple to create album pre-orders on Bandcamp. You can give fans one or more tracks immediately when they pre-order, and then when you release the record, we’ll automatically email those fans a link to download the full album and we’ll report your pre-sales to SoundScan. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Get the album as close to its release-ready state as possible: create all its tracks, upload all the audio (or as much of it as you have), add lyrics and liner notes, etc. You’ll want to keep the album hidden during this phase, but leave its tracks set to visible.
  2. Go into the album editor and check “this is a digital pre-order”:

  3. In the new “include in pre-order” column, check the tracks that you want to give fans immediately when they pre-order. The other tracks will be shown in the track list, but only the pre-order tracks will stream and download.

Then you just set the album to visible, save it, and you’re taking pre-orders:

When you’re ready to release the pre-order, return to the album editor, choose “release pre-order now,” and save:

Now all your fans who pre-ordered will receive an email with a link to download the full album, we’ll report your pre-sales to SoundScan, and fans who buy the record from here on out will receive all its tracks in their download.

Some things you may be wondering:

How do pre-orders work with physical packages?
If you want to include a digital pre-order with a physical package (such as the vinyl or CD version of the album), then you just follow the instructions as above, and in the package editor, make sure “include immediate download of album with purchase of this package“ is checked. We’ll then give fans an instant download of the pre-sale tracks with their physical purchase, and email them a link to download the full album whenever you release it.

You can also set up pre-orders for physical versions of albums that are already out on digital. Just set the package’s release date to whatever future date you like, and that’s that.

I’m in the middle of a pre-order right now (using the old, kinda clunky method, where I email download codes out myself). Can I switch it over to this new system?
Yes, but you’ll still need to manually email codes to the people who have already pre-ordered, and existing sales won’t be part of the SoundScan holdback.

Can I set my pre-order to automatically release at a certain time so that I can just go to sleep?
What, and miss all the action? This is your big album release! If you’re not up and refreshing Twitter non-stop and talking to fans and high-fiving your bandmates we respectfully submit that YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

Please back up to the beginning. Why would I want to do a pre-order?
If your music career is just getting started, you’re almost certainly better off avoiding pre-orders and instead getting your full album out, letting people hear it, and building up your fanbase. It’s conceivable that someone who has never heard of you might pre-order your record on the strength of a few teaser tracks, but it’s pretty unlikely.

If you’re a more established artist, however, setting up a release as a pre-order can have a few benefits. First, it gives your biggest fans an easy way to make sure they get your record the moment it comes out. Second, it gives you a way to build up excitement and demand for a release, beyond just talking about it. And finally, it can increase the likelihood of your album reaching the weekly Billboard charts, since all your pre-orders are reported to SoundScan as if 100% of them were placed the week you release the record. We were as surprised as anybody to learn that that’s how the game is played, but hey, we’re here to help you play it.

43 Comments

  1. Posted May 11, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This. is. awesome.

  2. Posted May 11, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    SO sad that this wasn’t around 3 weeks ago for my release and SO excited that it is for my next. Great work! Keep it up.

  3. Posted May 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    First of all – this is terrific. Thank you Bandcamp! Question:I’ve noticed that if you have audio in one of the tracks that’s not yet available, when you “view” that track you CAN stream it. Is that as intended?

  4. Posted May 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Tom!

    > Is that as intended?

    Yep. Only you as the logged-in band see the “view” links and have access to the track. Try logging out to see what it’s like for your fans.

  5. Posted May 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Awesome, this is exciting! I think I’ll be using this next time around.

  6. Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Ruling..

  7. Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Thanks Ethan. I realized that it was only for me after I posted, which is also well thought out. Excellent job on this pre-release functionality.

  8. Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Did you guys disable the ability to change the album description? All of a sudden all I have is the option to “add more”. I cant remove the stock album description “Immediate download of 1-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.”

    :/

  9. Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi Robert: You can still customize the album description, except for that one sentence. This is because we need to change that line on-the-fly depending on whether the album is in a pre-order state or not. (This applies to new albums only, btw.)

  10. Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    You read my mind! And just in time : )

  11. Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t I set up a preorder for name your price with no minimum?

  12. Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Definitely something we’re considering for a future release Zdeněk.

  13. Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Before release, I want fans to be able to stream one of the tracks. If they order the physical CD I want to allow fans to download that 1 track.

    On release day, I want fans to be able to download the entire CD if they’ve purchased the physical CD but never be able to download the entire CD without purchasing a physical copy.

    Is there a way to set up this scenario?

  14. Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Sure Brad, you just need to uncheck “enable download” in the album editor (if we were being 100% precise, that checkbox would actually say “enable standalone digital download,” but we felt like that was too wordy). Then add the physical CD, make sure “include immediate download of album with purchase of this package” is checked, and follow the pre-order instructions here (ticking “include in pre-order” for the one track you want fans who pre-order the CD to get).

  15. Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    gaaawwd. you guys just don’t miss do you? love this! thanks!

  16. Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    You are the future of the future. Thank you for all the internet, the love and the music.

  17. Posted May 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Love this, will be using it on our next release ;)

  18. Cameron
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Is there any way to offer a pre-order discount, so that if someone preorders the album, they get it cheaper than if they buy it when it’s released?:-)

  19. Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Sure Cameron, you could either create a discount code and set it up to expire on your release date, or you could simply set a lower price during the pre-order phase and raise it when you release the record.

  20. true wisdom
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    i love u guys no doubt! how long i have to wait to start “selling” my music videos?

    once again, i love it!!

  21. Posted May 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Ethan. This is perfect! Exactly how I want it to work! I’m generating great buzz in allowing fans to pre-order the CD.

  22. Deaf Tune
    Posted May 14, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    some good ideas tend to pop up a bit too late. still some good feature, will definitely work for many of us.

  23. Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Bandcamp I sincerely love all of you

  24. BRandon
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    YOU’RE AWESOME!!

  25. tippysdemise
    Posted May 21, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    this is brilliant, guys, thank you.

    now how is that shopping cart coming? <3

  26. Posted May 22, 2011 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    hi guys,

    what a fantastic feature, really.
    there is one thing which would make it a bit more perfect and unique (for artists AND for fans).

    let’s call it “UPDATE BUTTON” or “NEXT STEP BUTTON” or whatever.

    artists should be able to update the state of an ongoing album with a new song, or a better mix from a just prereleased track, or a more detailed artwork or a finally finished press-info ….
    AND while doing this there should be a “BUTTON” which automatically sends an PRE-RELEASE-UPDATE-email exclusively to all registered fans who already preordered, to download the new update for free.

    this means: fans who are paying quite early for a prerelease will receive ALL follow-up versions of a track, if they want.
    i know that this is sometimes really interesting for a couple of fans and nerds and maybe can finally produce a few “rare” and sought after PRE-VERSIONS of a track.

    artists should be able to describe the UPDATE in a few words, so that customers can decide whether they want to download the new one or not.

    this means: a pre-order would become quite more interesting for customers as the “early bird fan” can collect the complete metamorphose of an upcoming album exclusively.
    there is NO such a system on the ww-web, which brings such a goodie to the fans.

    especially in my case, i know that it would be a damn pleasure for my fans, that they would get an instrumental version first, which later would become a rearranged vocal-version on the album.

    ok, it is possible to do this update service right now as it is actually on bandcamp, but only, if customers would pay for each update and only if artists would send emails.

    GIVE UPDATES FOR FREE AND PRE-ORDERS WOULD INCREASE RAPIDLY !!
    it’s just a BUTTON.

    all the best,

    oliver

  27. Posted May 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for being the most awesome place for me to share my music with the world…you put the roll in my rock (well, folk) is what I’m trying to say!

  28. Kharisma
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    This may sound like a VERY pointless question. But can you set up pre-orders for free downloads?

  29. Posted May 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Not pointless at all! But no, you can’t.

  30. Posted May 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Will the bonus items be included in the pre-order or will they be released once we release the full album?

  31. Posted May 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steffen, bonus items will only be included in the album release — they won’t be included in the pre-order download.

  32. jakobvase
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    This is so awesome :)
    Totally shamelessly I will plug the things I miss the most on bandcamp here:
    1. PDF scores for download (I’m a classical composer, and this is what I want people to buy).
    2. Donations button – I guess one could just implement the PayPal one, but it’s so ugly…
    3. Recurring payment option – where people get access to everything on the page because they’re paying what they want or something I decide every month. Possibly even recurring donations?

    I love BandCamp!

  33. Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Glad you like it! Regarding PDF scores, you can do that today — just include them as bonus items in the album. More info here: http://blog.bandcamp.com/2009/08/24/bonus-download-items/

  34. Kass
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Great feature! Will I be able to add/alter tracks and their info after the preorder is visible, but before the actual release? Or do I need to create all of the tracks prior to making the preorder visible?

  35. Posted June 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Sure, you can add/edit to your heart’s content right up until you release the pre-order.

  36. thunderloops
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    I’d like to let people stream all the tracks for the preorder. it seems reasonable. im gonna try a workaround for this (unchecking “enable download” in all the tracks and adding them all to the preorder)

  37. Posted June 17, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Awesome.. Was waiting for this feature for my next release!

  38. Posted July 22, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    …except is the pre-order function not running yet? The option is on the page, but it won’t let you click it.

  39. Posted July 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mary, if your album is set to free then the pre-order checkbox will be disabled. Switch to “set price” or “let fan name price” and you’ll be able to to click it.

  40. Posted August 6, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I want to second jakobvase’s request for PDF scores being downloadable independently of the music download. For now, I’m planning to create a separate package with the sheet music included, but I’d like to sell it as its own entity. Seems like it would be easy enough, though I can see how it might shift the focus of bandcamp.

  41. Posted August 7, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    It would be great if we could add an ‘up-sell’ option to the release email.

    Eg. The release URL goes out with an offer that for an extra $x they can have [bonus item/s].

    This would allow for offering an autographed copy of the album & potentially other exclusive items related to the album (a broken drum-stick, autographed in-studio photo, copy of the producer’s notes…etc).

  42. Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Max, that is a great idea! Also, a coupon code for $X off a certain item’s price — particularly, one that works in tandem with the pay-what-you-like option, so effectively it would lower the minimum price for whoever received that code. Could be unique codes or could be a blanket one for ease of use.

    Basically, I’d like to be able to reward certain loyal/long-time supporters of my music by lowering the minimum for them. They may still choose to give more, but I’d like to use this as a way of acknowledge the support they’ve given so far.

  43. Posted August 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    On this topic i have a recommendation:

    you should def implement something like kickstarter or other founding platforms directly within bandcamp so that fans could be collected and as soon as you got enough to produce a record hitting break-even right away from the start… think of it!

    i’m a big fan of your work by the way! keep it up! you’re designing the future of what used to be the record-market!

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