From Goblin Guts’ Global Cuts [vol.1]:
Hi, this is Moni, I’m the designer here at Bandcamp. I frequently come across examples of fantastic design on the site (in the form of album art, page design, merch, bio photos, and so on) and share them around internally. You may find some of it as interesting and inspiring as I do, so now and then I’ll be posting it here. Hope you enjoy!
From JP Haynie’s The Sand:
All artist sites on Bandcamp now work and look great on mobile. We’ve optimized everything for the smaller screen and touch interface, so your albums look fantastic, fans can browse through your merch store with ease, and the checkout flow is fast and intuitive:
Does this mean you expect my fans to launch their mobile browser and peck out dubya-dubya-dubya myband dot bandcamp dot com? No. But for all those fans checking their Facebook or Twitter feed on their phone, and who then see a link to your latest release, they’ll be able to listen and purchase immediately:
Is there anything I need to do to get all this goodness? No, all of this is working now, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you’d like a mobile-specific header image (like the ones you see in the screenshots above), you can upload one from your profile page.
Am I excited about this? We flipped on the mobile-optimized view a few days ago and sales from mobile devices immediately doubled. So if you’re just streaming on Bandcamp and linking to a non-mobile-optimized site for your sales, no, you’re not excited at all. But if you’re selling digital on Bandcamp, yes, you are fired up. And if your merch is also on Bandcamp, you are excited++.
One of our most frequent feature requests is for a standalone merch section, so you can list t-shirts, posters and so on, independently of albums. Plenty of you have done clever things to work around this deficiency, creating, for example, one-track “albums” titled “t-shirt,” or painstakingly adding dozens of merch items to whatever is your latest release. Ridiculous, we know, and we’ve been eager to do something about it forever. So today we’re launching the merch page, a dedicated section of your Bandcamp site that allows you to present your merch side-by-side with your music, all in a single, beautiful, unified storefront. It’s easily customizable, integrates with the same great shopping cart, and you can even bundle any of your tracks or albums with any of your merch items. Want to give fans your latest single when they buy your new hoodie? Include an album with one of your posters? Doing so is trivial. Here’s how it works:
Up at the top of your Bandcamp site there’s a new command, “add merch”:
Clicking that launches the merch editor, where you describe the item, set its pricing, add images, and if you like, pick a track or album to bundle with it:
Items are added to your spiffy new merch page, where you can drag and drop things around however you like (if you have existing merch, you’ll notice it’s already there too):
Clicking any merch item navigates to its page, where your fans see the full description and can view more images:
The new navigation bar, located just beneath your header, lets fans move between your music and merch sections. You can easily modify the bar’s colors from the design dialog, or edit it to change the link text or hide it entirely:
If you already have your site navigation in your custom header (using an image map), just hide the navigation bar and use yoursite.bandcamp.com/merch to link to your merch section, and yoursite.bandcamp.com/music to link to your music:
And that’s about it. While many of you are now thinking “Awesome, finally!,” we suspect some may be wondering why you’d put your merch up on Bandcamp. There is, after all, a 10% revenue share, and perhaps you’ve got your merch on another storefront already. The simple answer is that you’ll earn more money. Here’s why:
- Having your music and merch side-by-side means your fans can purchase any or all of it in a single transaction. If half your store is on a separate site with its own checkout flow, you’re losing out on sales.
- Fans buying through Bandcamp are more likely to complete their transaction. Our checkout completion rate is 75%, far higher than most stores where this is the typical fan experience.
- Offering an immediate download of an album or track is a strong incentive for a fan to make a purchase. If you’re instead asking that fan to wait for their record to arrive in the post so they can redeem an included download card, or for you to email them a download code, you’re missing out on more sales still.
- Though we only launched it a few months ago, Discover is already making more money for artists than all sales driven by links from Twitter. Fans can browse by merch type, viewing, for example, the best-selling ambient vinyl this week:
Still more reasons to list your merch on Bandcamp include the fact that we handle the inventory control (tricky business when it comes to limited edition items and shopping carts), you can integrate with a fulfillment partner, and we report your sales to SoundScan every week (and merch items that include albums do count).
A few questions we anticipate you may still have:
I already have a bunch of posters, buttons, and t-shirts on my album pages. What should I do?
They’re already on your merch page too. You can leave them on your album page, or you can remove them by editing the album and clicking “detach” next to the merch item.
I’m one of the people who made one-track albums for my posters and t-shirts, what should I do?
Double-check that the item is on your merch page, and go ahead and delete the album.
How does this work for music-related merch, like vinyl, CDs and cassettes?
We automatically show your vinyl, CDs and other music merch on both your merch page and the page of their associated albums. If someone clicks your vinyl from the merch page, that will take them right to its album page.
I don’t see my merch section.
That means that you either don’t have any merch yet, or that all your merch is music-related (e.g., vinyl, CD, etc.) and on a single album (in which case we display it on that album’s page).
I want another picture.
We can do no better than The Oatmeal.
Thanks, be sure to check out your Bandcamp site, verify that everything is dialed in how you like it, and drop us a note in the comments if you have any questions.
Update: Ben cooked up a little tutorial, check it out here: http://bandcamp.com/merch_how_to
We’re launching lots of new stuff today, let’s get right to it:
New Album Editor
We’ve dramatically streamlined the album creation and editing process. You can now modify an entire album’s worth of tracks in a single UI, and save drafts of your albums as you work on them. We’ve also switched uploads to use HTML5, so you’ll no longer see that annoying Flash permissions dialog every time you add new music. And you can now specify any track in your album to be featured, meaning that track will be cued up first when fans visit or embed your album, and will also be the one that plays in the new Discoverinator. It all looks like this:
A sentence or two and a simple screenshot can’t convey all that’s improved here, so go edit your albums, set your featured tracks, and check it out for yourself!
We also now have a Pro option that includes batch upload, private streaming, Google Analytics, optional streaming and (coming soon) deeper customization features. Rather than tell you about all the goodness here, we’ve put together a dedicated page where you can learn more and sign up. Pricing is $10 USD/month, but if you’ve already got an account you get Pro for half off ($5 USD/month) for the first year.
If you’ve ever searched for music on Bandcamp, you know that we’ve always just bailed out to Google for our results. Highly effective, but not the most elegant experience. So we now have our own integrated search, and it’s quickly paid off: since quietly rolling it out a few weeks back, there’s been a significant bump in sales generated from Bandcamp-initiated searches. You can try it out from the front page, the results look like this:
This is just the first of several big feature drops we have lined up for this summer, leading up to our fourth anniversary in September. We’re incredibly excited to show you guys what’s next, and thrilled to provide a service that in just a few weeks will hit $20 million earned by artists around the world. From all of us at Bandcamp, thanks for being a part of it!
On May 17th, pre-orders opened on the $60 4-LP triple-album set, and a $120 deluxe edition. It sold out in four days. We caught up with Andy to learn more…
First off, congratulations. You signed up for Bandcamp the day before your record went on sale, so we were pretty surprised when your pre-sale just blew up.
Yeah, that was crazy. The Bandcamp front page had the real time sales updates and we could see what was moving. That was my home page for a couple of days.
How did you come to release a 4-vinyl set?
For me it was a pretty intense decision to print up all three of those albums, especially on a four-LP set with colored vinyl. We’ve done extensive packaging before with the other bands that I’m in but there’s always been a label who’s helped to do it all. This time it was truly just me on my own, with a little bit of help from Jeremiah [Edmond, former Manchester Orchestra drummer]. It’s an investment in yourself, and it’s daunting to put down enough money to print that many.
When the day came to finally put it on sale, I was hoping that in the first hour we’d have 10 to 15 sales overall, of anything. By the time I got back home I think we’d sold 60 of the deluxe package and 70 of the regular, and within two hours the deluxe was gone! I hit a point where I’d made a profit and it was a total relief. It had been an eight-month waiting period to see if it was going to work.
I’d never printed a Right Away, Great Captain! vinyl and I’d only printed 500 CD copies of each of the two first albums. I figured there were fans because people were talking to me about it but I didn’t really know if they were serious, if they were going to be able to drop $60. It’s a pretty expensive package.
You’ve really concentrated on the physical product here, and created something quite extraordinary. Did you make your ideal package or did you try to figure out what your fans might want?
When I was planning the whole thing it would have been easy to decide to print it up on standard vinyl and not do the tri-fold packaging (which is really expensive!). But I wanted to make it worth the $120, which is a totally ridiculous price. So the deluxe edition is made by my mom and me in my basement with a Dremel tool, drilling holes in these books. I wrote all the lyrics out by hand and we’re hand-stitching them with yarn. There are 120 of them, and everything’s numbered and signed. It’s totally crazy the amount of work that’s gone into it.
For me it was such a labour of love to finish this trilogy of albums (it’s been six years in the making), and this was the coolest way to release it. Make a limited run of 1000, make sure everything’s top of the line. The fact that it sold out proved that people like something tangible, especially if it’s done well, and that they are willing to pay for it. It’s up to us as musicians to create something that’s cooler than they could imagine.
How did you go about promoting the release?
I partnered up with one website called Property of Zack, who’s a nice kid who lives in Philadelphia. It’s a site that gets some traffic, and that might get reposted by one or two other sites. I just needed someone who puts out good stuff online to partner up with. So we did an interview about three months before the release, talking about this last chapter of the trilogy. Then about a month and a half after that we released the first song from the record and let that sit for a couple of weeks. Then we announced the record, the track listing and the release date. The next week the pre-order date went up.
So it was probably about six weeks of just dropping stuff on the Favorite Gentlemen site, Manchester Orchestra’s site and on Property of Zack. But very little press at all. People just knew that it was coming and they wanted it, I guess.
How valuable do you think the pre-order process is?
Massive! Massive. It was so easy. I’m going to sound like a commercial for Bandcamp, but it literally was the easiest thing to do, and the numbers were right there in real time.
I’d paid for the vinyl and was waiting for it to be shipped, and the pre-order was way helpful for me because it really gave me an idea of how fast I needed to move on everything. I was fully prepared to be moving about ten records a day for a while, but it didn’t work out like that.
In the end you sold 820 vinyl records in four days.
That’s right. Along with another twenty that we bundled with pre-sale tickets that’s 840 in four days, which is pretty cool for such a big package.
You’re welcome. I appreciate everything you guys did to make it possible!
The Church Of The Good Thief is out today on Favorite Gentlemen Recordings. The vinyl is all sold out, but you can still buy the digital album.
Some things you may be wondering:
Why? What? There are hundreds of thousands of albums on Bandcamp, but no easy way to browse through them and find your new favorite band. So we set out to build something that would take what we love most about traditional record stores — the serendipitous discovery that happens when we go to our favorite section and just flip through covers — and combine it with elements that are uniquely Bandcamp: the ability to listen to full streams, browse through every artist’s merch, see what the bands themselves recommend, and explore a deep and constantly expanding catalog of great independent music. That’s the Discoverinator. Want to hear the best-selling metal on vinyl this week? Recent indie cassette arrivals? The electronica most loved by the bands themselves? The Discoverinator delivers all of it and more. We’ve found it produces new and interesting results far more reliably than the barrage of what-our-friends-are-listening-to-right-now, and is just a hell of a lot more fun. Try it out at bandcamp.com/discover.
How do I control which track from my album plays in the Discoverinator? In a few weeks we’ll launch a new album editor that allows you to pick a featured track (which not only means it becomes the one that plays here, but is also cued up first whenever your album is embedded). Until then, your featured track is picked automatically based on popularity. (Note that some accounts have the new album editor already — if you’re one of them, just edit your album, and click the star icon next to the track name you want to feature.)
What about mobile? Working on it!
Is there anything I can do to maximize my presence in the Discoverinator? First, make sure you’ve picked your genre, otherwise you won’t appear in it at all. You can do that from your Profile page. And if you want your merch to show up when fans browse by format (and who would not?), then edit your albums, choose “add package” and get to it (including photos of your vinyl/CDs/etc. is key — they look great here and will boost your sales). We also encourage you to add a bio image and make your own recommendations.
Why can’t I browse by? Good question, please tell us more in the comments. Thank you!
We’ve got a new staff picks section on the home page, you can check it out here. It’s updated daily with favorites from the Bandcamp crew, and covers a seriously wide range of musical taste. The now-retired Album of the Week was a good start, but we wanted to feature more music, and everyone here was itching to share their own selections. The whole thing is powered by Twitter, so if you don’t feel like checking the home page every day you can simply follow @bcstaffpicks.
A few months ago, we began tracking the starting point of every sale that happens on Bandcamp. In the course of looking at the data (which we’re using to help us plan out what to do next), we’ve noticed something awesome: every day, fans are buying music that they specifically set out to get for free.
For example, just this morning someone paid $10 for an album after Googling “lelia broussard torrent.” A bit later, a fan plunked down $17 after searching for “murder by death, skeletons in the closet, mediafire.” Then a $15 sale came in from the search “maimouna youssef the blooming hulkshare.” Then a fan made a $12 purchase after clicking a link on music torrent tracker What.CD. Then someone spent $10 after following a link on The Pirate Bay, next to the plea “They sell their album as a download on their website. You can even choose your format (mp3, ogg, flac, etc). Cmon, support this awesome band!”
We see these sales as proof that Bandcamp can effectively compete with filesharing and other free distribution platforms by a) giving fans a clear, easy way to directly support the artist, and b) offering them a better user experience. Our favorite recent example of this was an $8 sale that started with the search “milosh flac -torrent.” So here was a fan looking for a Milosh record, wanted a high quality flac, but didn’t want to have to sift through a bunch of torrent sites. And that led them right to Bandcamp, and right to putting money in the artist’s pocket. Beautiful.
A little more uplifting info to ring in the new year:
- In the month of December alone, Bandcamp artists raked in more than one million dollars in music and merch sales (bringing the total to-date to $12.6MM).
- 22% of those sales happened because of Bandcamp, driven by things like tags, the home page, recommendations, and search.
- 40% of the time, fans pay more than the asking price for name-your-price albums.
- 53% of all purchases are made by fans located outside the U.S. (Check out the countries in this recent snapshot of the live sales feed.)
When we first launched Bandcamp, the conventional wisdom was that music retail was moribund, and that artists’ futures were all about those terrifically lucrative tours you guys go on, supplemented perhaps by trickle-down advertising revenue generated by millions of listeners enjoying your tunes while doing their best to ignore ads for toothpaste. Fortunately, it appears there’s still a thriving community of fans who understand that the best way to support the artists they love is by handing them money. We aspire to present this truth as clearly as possible, and provide a service that respects both the integrity of the artist, and the intelligence of any serious music fan. Thank you for being a part of it!
Three great things about S.P.T.A. Said Person of That Ability are the intelligent rapping, the skilful scratching, and the superb production. Better than those is the fact that it’s just one person doing all three. Even better still is that J-Live (aka Justice Allah) performs those roles on the album as three separate characters who actually interact with each other: they joke with each other, they lose patience with each other, and they reconcile. Best of all is the fact that it works – and it works brilliantly.
S.P.T.A. (pronounced “Spitta”) is essentially a concept album in which the artist is divided into his component parts, and his history, lifestyle and values are aired and examined as a dialogue between the three Justices that we meet on the record.
There are archetypes at work here – it’s a discussion between Id, Ego and Superego (Producer, DJ and Rapper respectively) and while Justice the Rapper gets to think out loud about what it all means, he also has to deal with the easily led-astray Justice the DJ and the unreliable Justice the Producer.
The recurring themes for J-Live, after fifteen years in the music business, are ideas of sustainability in a changing industry (“My very first single titled ‘Longevity’”), motivation for making art (“The difference between me and you is I know why I do this / If you think this’ll make you rich, then you’re stupid”) and the hubris of hip hop superstardom:
It’s like that brand new rapper with instant mass appeal
He caught a break with that big major record deal
Acting like the rest is already history
But the release date remains a mystery…
The personal figures large on this album too. Family, fatherhood and responsibility are examined in the light of the ability to make a career. How do you be good at being a hip hop artist and good at being a human being?
S.P.T.A. is an honest, powerful album that rewards close listening. It’s thoughtful, and open in a way that a simple monologue perhaps couldn’t be. But it’s also a lot of fun: entertaining, funny, and woven together with killer grooves and solid funk. It’s not the sound of someone doing some deep searching and beard-stroking, but rather the sound of someone likeable and relatable who’s come into some maturity and wisdom and is enjoying sharing it. And that makes it a masterpiece.
Listen to the full album and explore more from J-Live.