Bandcamp for Fans

Once more unto the mailbag:

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve randomly found new artists that I like but wasn’t ready to make a music purchase. If I had a fan account it would make it a heck of a lot easier for me to go back and revisit those artists and buy their material. Nothing too intrusive, I would hate for you guys to go all Myspace on us. You could also allow fans to see the albums that other fans have purchased, and this would help spread the word about good music virally.”
–Marcus P.

Good news: we’ve been working on exactly that (and then some). Today we’re giving fans the ability to showcase their Bandcamp music collections, follow their favorite artists, explore the music of like-minded fans, add items to a wishlist, and more. In developing these features, we’ve been guided by one overriding objective: grow revenue for artists while keeping the core Bandcamp experience as simple and clean as possible. Here’s how it all works:

Collection pages

bandcamp for fans, collection pages

“I’ve always enjoyed raiding Bandcamp for new music and the fact that it now displays it all on the collection page like little trophies is ace. Makes me dead proud of actually paying for music.”
– Josh U.

Every fan gets a dedicated collection page where they can show off the music that they’ve purchased via Bandcamp (here’s a particularly excellent example ;) ). Fans can pick their favorite tracks, write a few words about why they like each record, customize the look and layout of their collection, and share the whole thing with other fans, who can then play through and purchase the music themselves. In short, collection pages turn every fan into a promoter of the artists they love. They’re beautiful, work great on mobile, and in the short time they’ve been in limited beta have already driven thousands of new sales to artists.

Following fans

Fans can follow other fans, meaning they’ll be notified whenever those fans collect new music. (These notifications currently happen via a digest email, and we’ll add a feed option soon.) Fans can discover interesting people to follow in a few different ways. First, when viewing their own collection page, a fan will see a list of suggested fans. Second, when viewing any item on any collection page, a fan can see a list of who else bought that item and what they had to say about it, and then go exploring those fans’ collections (warning: this is seriously addictive). Third, when a fan buys something that they discovered via another fan’s collection, we send the original fan a congratulatory email, so they can a) strut around the rest of the day feeling chuffed and b) explore the full collection of the fan whose life they’ve just changed for the better. Finally, fans can discover one another via artists’ album and track pages. But that deserves a section of its own…
bandcamp fans, follow fan

Supported-by

bandcamp for fans, supported by

“Just realized that this Bandcamp fan thing in effect incentivises people to pay for music as social display/status. A good thing.”
– @hatross

Back on Bandcamp artist pages, there are a few subtle but important changes. The first of these is the “supported by” section, which displays thumbnails of the fans who bought that record. These are, first and foremost, fun to explore (“I wonder who else bought this, and what other music they’ve collected”), but they also act as an important additional incentive for a fan to make a purchase, since a) it means their face appears on the sites of their favorite artists, and b) it promotes their own collection, since clicking any fan’s thumbnail navigates to their collection page. By default we show a single row of the latest purchasers, but you can expand that to see all the supporters, and read what they had to say about the record (the artist also has the option to remove any of these they wish).

Wishlisting

bandcamp for fans, wishlist

Also below the cover art there’s a new wishlist link (only visible to logged-in fans). Clicking it adds the item to the wishlist section of a fan’s collection page, so they can come back and purchase it later.

Following artists

Fans can also now follow their favorite artists, meaning they’ll get a notification from Bandcamp whenever that artist releases new music (following also adds the fan to the artist’s mailing list). The fan can either click the follow button on an artist page (like the wishlist link, only visible to logged-in fans), or simply make a purchase, which makes them follow the artist automatically.

So how does one get a Bandcamp fan account?

It’s easy: buy something and we invite you. If you’ve already made purchases through Bandcamp, visit http://bandcamp.com/fans and follow the instructions there.

I already have a Bandcamp artist account, can I sign up for a fan account too?

Yes. If you’d like your artist and fan account to be one and the same (so there’s no logging out of one and in to the other nonsense), make sure you’re logged in to your artist account, and then either a) go buy some music, or b) if you’ve already purchased music, proceed directly to sign up.

Anything I need to do as an artist?

No, but if you tell your fans (the ones who have supported you through Bandcamp, that is) to sign up for their free account, then you’ll have more people with more collection pages promoting your music.

I’m sensing that there’s some deeper motivation at work here. Is there?

Just over a year ago, the internet was abuzz with the concept of “frictionless sharing”: watch a video, read an article, or play some music, and the activity is automatically shared with your friends. I hated the idea (rightly and eloquently panned by Farhad Manjoo as killing taste), and we set out to create its opposite. Bandcamp for fans is a social music discovery system based on the high-friction concept of ownership. If someone simply listens to a song, I frankly don’t care at all. And if someone listens to a song and then burns .01 calories tapping a Like button… well that’s slightly more interesting, but I still don’t care much. However, if someone is passionate enough about a record to spend money on it – to actually support the artist who made it, and perhaps even write a bit about why they love it – that makes me much more likely listen to that record, and perhaps add it to my collection as well.

This high-friction approach to sharing works. During our beta, fans who created accounts increased their spending by 40% on average, and the small test group now drives as many sales to artists as all Twitter traffic to all Bandcamp sites combined. If this is surprising, it won’t be once you’ve experienced how much fun it is to browse through people’s collections. It’s a bit like you’re at a party, hear a track you like, ask the host about it, and then they say “oh, if you like that you have to listen to this and this,” and they’re right there telling you why, and every track and album becomes a portal into another person’s party/collection. It’s a blast.

So go sign up. Start exploring. Go. Go!

You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go. Jeesh, OK. Then we’re going to make you read a tiny sample of what our beta testers have been saying:

“trying out the @bandcamp fan account. this is gonna seriously dent my wallet” –@atlumschema

I love the look of the fan page and imagine it’s going to amp up my purchase rate 100x.” –Michael E.

the new-release-by and new-music-purchased-by emails are coming close to rivaling the Experimedia mailing list for their DANGEROUSNESS TO MY WALLET.” –Mike R.

Ok, you really found a way to make me spend more money on your site, way more money, which I’m totally ok with because I love good music and I love your model. I’ve been browsing other collections and finding great stuff.” –David M.

“I’m totally in love, it’s absolutely awesome. I’m now finding tonnes of new bands a second; terrible for my bank balance but otherwise great!” –Josh U.

“brilliant idea! reckon sales are gonna grow fast & your artists will be the benefactors.” –Jonathan B.

“Thank you for making a great resource even better. The new fan page is fully appreciated and brilliantly executed. My morning is already disappearing in other people’s collections. Keep doing what you’re doing!” –Barry Q.

“Just wanted to say that I love the new account feature! Like Bandcamp in general, the whole thing is unpretentious and really about the music.” –Joe S.

“The new fan account feature is amazing. So much of my time is devoted to finding new music and artists, and this setup completely streamlines this and I’m able to quickly find new material to fall in love with. Bandcamp was already my favourite way to buy music and support artists, and it’s just become better. Nice one.” –Michael M.

“i have been telling everyone about the brilliant new fan accounts, i think they want me to shut up now. but i am seriously impressed with the idea. the thought crossed my mind to re-purchase music i had bought elsewhere JUST so it would be on my profile. crazy right?? and it also made me think that i would want to make ALL my future music purchases through bandcamp when possible…just to make my profile more complete. so there ya go, props for brilliance. and for creating such an awesome place for musicians to get their music heard AND NOW for the fans to be a part of it.” –Laura B.

“Bandcamp is the best thing that has happened to music since the iPod.  I love that you are adding a social element, and I look forward to seeing comments from others and checking out collections of others with similar tastes.” –Paul G.

“I feel that you are offering a direct relationship to the artists without trying to clone/integrate the social network nonsense. It’s all about music and that’s what you understand best. I am so excited to be treated as a fan, not a consumer.” –Arnaud M.

“You guys are doing exactly what I think is important for the music industry. Whenever I discover an artist, I check Bandcamp first. Whenever I talk to artists, I ask why they don’t have a Bandcamp. I’d keep gushing but I have work. Thank you. THANK you!” –Scott R.

“Love the new fan sites. It’s exactly what I’ve been saying was needed! Thanks for doing it – it’s going to benefit both fans and musicians so much!” –Aidan S.

“Really excited about what you’ve got going on here. A place for people who actually care about music to share their passion with both other like-minded individuals and the artists they love. I’m really excited for what is to come! Keep it up! Your vision is coming together!”
–Devin B.

“Great job on the new fan pages, they truly are revolutionary.” –Ryan G.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible this new beta is. I’ve been a fan (pun intended) of Bandcamp for years, and this just makes it all that much better.” –Ken K.

“This is awesome! I was so hoping you would do something like this and I am ecstatic that you did!” –Will H.

“Thanks for building a service that makes my life better. This new feature is a very welcome addition to Bandcamp, and I think it’ll make for a much richer experience. Wishlist is worth the price of admission alone.” –Dirk B.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on the new fan profile feature on Bandcamp. As usual, you guys just get it.” –Andy R.

“Oh wow, I’m in absolute love with @Bandcamp’s new ‘Fan account’ thing. Thanks for the beta invite, lovelies. http://bandcamp.com/colorization” –@robokick

“I’m thankful for @bandcamp fan pages. These are so awesome.” –@emilyhogan

“Well, @bandcamp took notice. Fan pages, and they’re sweet. Even recognized all my purchases in one shot. Support the artists people!” –@pasarin

“Just made a @bandcamp fan account. I like where this is going. One of my fav sites. All about the music/musicians! http://bandcamp.com/ryanmaksymic” –@ryanmaksymic

“Really digging the new Bandcamp Fan feature. Happy to see the site grow in this direction. http://bandcamp.com/seanmcg” –@seanmcg

“Holy shit, bandcamp fan accounts. Bandcamp is unstoppable.” –@DigitalPatrat

“Damn. This new Bandcamp fan account functionality has everything I’ve been wanting.” –@compactrobot

“Absolutely loving the new @Bandcamp “fan pages”. A history of music you’ve bought through Bandcamp, shared for friends: http://bit.ly/Y3XmK5” –@bradleysalmanac

“Stoked @bandcamp finally launched fan profiles! Best source for music from independent artists. Check out my library: http://bandcamp.com/evanbenner” –@EvanBenner

“super excited about new @bandcamp fan accounts :) been wanting these for a long time. http://bandcamp.com/apopagasm” –@_kevinallen

“@DarkHorse_Audio SO loving the new Bandcamp fan pages! What a wicked way to find new music. Followed you there :)” –@InsidiousGhost

47 Comments

  1. Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Can artists see fan reviews and other artists their fans have bought from? Or can they track how many people ‘follow’ them in any way?

  2. Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the fans who have bought from you are displayed in the supported-by section of your album pages, and you can click those to see which other artists those fans have in their collections. When someone follows you they’re also added to your mailing list, which you can export from your Tools page.

  3. Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had my fan account since I got the invite, and I love it. May I piggyback this post and add a feature request, though? The wishlist feature is solely for future reference at the moment; it would be great if we could use it to buy music for other people and have it be added to their collection (not any album at random, obviously, just music they’ve already expressed wanting for). As it is, even if you do buy it to give the link to them, it gets added to your own account.

  4. Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Yep, gifting is our to-do.

  5. Posted January 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Great innovation, hope it really takes off quickly.

  6. ydrecords
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    ¡Excellente! Do purchasers of merch (i.e. CDs) count as purchasers of an album for “supported by” purposes?

  7. Posted January 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    If it’s a great idea, Bandcamp will come up with it!

    :) DC

  8. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Good god. I love you guys.

  9. bottleimpproductions
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Fascinating! So how does this work in relation to the “name your price” option?

    On the whole, we get a fair amount of downloads with the email list subscription, and more than a few that do actually pay something higher than $0. Do these qualify? Is there a minimum?

    I’m also assuming this isn’t retro-active in any way, since people simply didn’t sign into Bandcamp previously.

  10. Posted January 11, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    > I’m also assuming this isn’t retro-active in any way, since people simply didn’t sign into Bandcamp previously.

    We key off the email addresses the fan uses for payment, so yep, we recognize all past purchases.

    > So how does this work in relation to the “name your price” option? Do these qualify? Is there a minimum?

    If the item was paid for it shows up, it doesn’t matter how much was paid, or if the item was name-your-price or a fixed price.

  11. Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been loving the feature as well! But what if I want to “upgrade” my fan account to artist somewhere down the line?

  12. Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey Gargaj, we support adding a fan account to an artist account now, but the reverse isn’t supported just yet. Create your artist account separately, and we’ll provide a way to link them up soon.

  13. jasonswe
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    A real nice article. I sense a watershed moment for digital music. :) Indeed, I am one of those who has been spending/supporting more from BC artists since the “Fan pages” thing dropped into my mailbox. As a professed professional FB-hater, I knew this thing was instead a good thing. It’s amazing what one can has discover. Where to go from here? I highly recommend working on the pairing of similar tastes part of this until you have it down to a science (or until my pockets are empty, whichever happens first), not that you haven’t done a bang up job already. Thanks for being an honest community resource fighting for air in a pile of social-networking dung.

  14. Kasuyoshi Hitano
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, all we fans have to do for a music inheritance is slow and steady,and familiar kind of support like this. Good job, Bandcamp!

  15. Lee Lucas
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Well since trying the beta I for one would like this to include artists who put their albums up for free, and not just the albums I have to pay for. I love the idea that one can write a review of the album one likes, and it should not matter if the album is free or being sold. There are several albums I would like to include in my collection, and cannot cause they are albums that given away freely. I would love to see this side implemented.

  16. Posted January 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely brilliant. As per usual.

  17. Ross Richardson
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I love the new fan accounts (at first I was apprehensive – is this a social network? – but I should have known you guys would do it right. Great UX.)

    One small but hugely important request – I’m already getting a bit overwhelmed with email notifications for new releases seemingly every day (which is kind of a good thing). I’d love to be able to disable email notifications entirely, or even on a band-by-band basis. Preferably, for me at least, I’d like to have these notifications on a separate page I can visit that collates them all. Right now I’m using Google Reader and just loading the RSS feeds for all the bandcamps I want to keep track of in that – but this would replace it entirely :)
    Thanks again, and great job on the new feature.

  18. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Is there an option for an artist on Bandcamp to act as a fan also or would that require a new account to have a fan profile.

    I like the idea of artists being fans of other artists too.

  19. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Yep, see “I already have a Bandcamp artist account, can I sign up for a fan account too?”, above.

  20. bandwidthbandito
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    God Damn this is an awesome idea, I think it is so great to see independent music getting such innovative support systems to connect fans with artists and the music they create; so an ordinary bloke in Australia can find and listen to music he would never have discovered / encountered without such venues and be accordingly enriched with aural goodness. You are a bloody legend Band Camp.

    Bandwidth Bandito (I like to download)

  21. Albert K. Nelson
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I was able to get in early on this. It functions in a very modern & positive way. So far there appears to be no down side, as it’s totally customizable.

    I see bigger things happening for Bandcamp. Rock on ladies & gentlemen.

  22. ronjouch
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    You guys rock. The idea and execution are just perfect. Keep it up.

  23. Matthew Risi
    Posted January 13, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    My dream come true. I want you guys to sell more music than iTunes. Any stats on how many new members (and new dollars) have joined since opening the fan pages?

  24. Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible to change the email address one is identified by? The one Bandcamp has for me is one only linked to my PayPal account, and never used as an online login elsewhere.

  25. Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Not just yet, but we’ll add that soon.

  26. Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Happy to see you finding new ways for artists to expand their fan base and showcase their music,

    Thank you!

    http://mrarchive.bandcamp.com/

  27. Posted January 15, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    This is a great idea guys. It would be great, as an artist if I could search for new fans in our genre demographics

  28. Posted January 15, 2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    yeayyyy!!
    thankyouu bandcamp..

  29. Posted January 15, 2013 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    What an awesome idea! Loveeee it. :)

  30. Posted January 15, 2013 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    Wow… just WOW!! Huge thanks to Bandcamp! What next? Probably the ability to show-off the supporters (fans who paid) in the album widget (if artist chooses to), and a decent integration of comment-sections for tracks / albums; and I wouldn’t need anything else for my music profile.

    Cheerz to everyone!

  31. hej
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    I thought this was awesome, then I read a comment that you can’t include free music. That’s not good. I guess you’ll introduce this further on. The next step would be a good free player for android and ios. We independent musicians need a good alternative to spotify that makes it as easy as that to stream music so we don’t have to put our music on greedify. Keep up the good work!

  32. Posted January 15, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    As an artist the thing i love most about Bandcamp are its clean lines. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication , and the minimalist approach is bandcamps strength. Without deviating from that , a few simple tools for artists to promote their music more , from within bandcamp itself , would be greatly received. To an artist , promotion is king , so bc , if you can help……do what you do best , and thanks for new addition of collection pages.

  33. Posted January 15, 2013 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    This is great news, this is probably the only thing I found lacking in Bandcamp.

  34. Posted January 15, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on RANO and commented:
    Love the Bandcamp Fans! This concept has brought many new people to our page who may have never found us otherwise. I encourage anyone who’s purchased music on bandcamp to set one up. Your page will be a positive force to support the music you love!

    PS: Looks like this article quotes our pal @hatross from Spoonful of Tar music blog.

  35. wouter
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    sounds like a cool idea. I have a question though, wouldn’t it be a good idea if the tags for the genres were visible on the profile, so that when you’re browsing someone’s profile, you can immediately see what genres the different albums belong to.

  36. Posted January 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Seriously Cool!

  37. Posted January 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been impressed with the new innovations that Bandcamp rolls out, but this is pure genius.

    The collector in me now has a way to show off my music collection without suffering the implication of not supporting artists that I like.
    And as an artist, I’m excited to see what other albums are in the collections of people that like my stuff.

    Great job Bandcamp!

    raikamishiro.bandcamp.com

  38. Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys, great work! I love the idea.

    Just wondering if there’s any way to invite people to create a fan account who can be identified by the email address they used to purchase my music.

    Most people download my music for free but there are a few who have paid, and at this point it’s “low friction”, as they don’t have Bandcamp fan accounts.

    If inviting retrospectively is not a feature it should be.

    Great job though, keep it up.

    -Angus Maiden (The Peach Tree)

  39. Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Hi Angus, just direct those people to http://bandcamp.com/fans and tell them to click the “Create your account” button. They’ll then be prompted to enter the email address they used for payment.

  40. Posted January 16, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! I can’t wait for this to gain momentum. It’s really nice that users can see other people who bought the music.

  41. Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I am brand new to bandcamp as of late 2012. As I was setting up my artist account I was amazed at how efficient and well planned EVERYTHING was. It was an anal-retentive-bastard’s dream. I was want for nothing except a way to connect better with other artists and fans with similar tastes to my own. What ever you guys have planned next, I am all ears :)

  42. Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I was posting my newly found faves to FB yesterday so I could find them again later. This will be great! – Mike Biskup.

    mikebiskup.bandcamp

  43. Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Bandcamp rolls out never fail to surprise and impress me. They have done it beautifully and professionally. Their work is great! Excited to see what’s been there to offer.

  44. Posted January 20, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Absolutely love the enhancements to Bandcamp – the best music site on the Net just got a whole lot better!

  45. Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    A friend introduced me to bandcamp last year, and I recently signed up for a fan account (thanks for adding this feature). I like discovering new bands, and finding old favorites and spend hours on bandcamp doing so. The Name Your Price option is my favorite. It’s empowering (and affordable) to be able to support artists in this way. Long Live Bandcamp!

  46. Posted February 14, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The Bandcamp innovation is impressive. The idea and execution are just perfect. You guys rock. Keep it up.

  47. Posted March 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting integration. I’ve just started trying to surf around and get my head around it all. Looks like cool new ways to interact and (hopefully) meet new fans though. nice one

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