Back when we first started working on Bandcamp, we had no desire to create another online music community. Like many fans, we were turned off by the way the noise in those communities often drowned out the thing that matters most: the music. So we decided instead to focus on being the best possible home for that music, setting aside many of the social features that seemed mandatory for any consumer internet startup at the time.
Apparently a lot of you were also suffering from thanks-for-the-add fatigue, because over the past year and a half, artist signups have steadily accelerated, and today we host a large and diverse pool of music. But every Bandcamp-powered site is still an island, and not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions we now get is “How do I find out about other [industrial mariachi | new-age horrorcore | death ragtime | etc] artists on Bandcamp?”
When there were just a few hundred artists using the system, our answer was “Why on earth do you care?” When there were a few thousand, it was, “Uh, use Google?” But by the time there were tens of thousands, it was clear we were neglecting a big opportunity: the opportunity to leverage the power of every individual artist’s site to help fans discover new music — your music.
So we sat down and pondered whether there was a way to seize that opportunity without completely screwing up the good thing we had going. Could we somehow activate this large, dormant community while keeping the integrity of every Bandcamp site intact? We think the answer is an emphatic YES, but we’ll describe how it works, and then you can decide for yourself and let us know.
Starting today, you can specify your genre and location, and tag up your tracks and albums with relevant keywords, and fans can browse all the music on Bandcamp by those attributes. You set genre and location in the Account Details section of your Profile page, right here:
Note that location is geocoded, meaning every artist on Bandcamp will have a real location. Stuff like “Mars,” “stepdad’s garage,” “back of beyond,” and “the ionosphere” is fun and all, but only puts you at a disadvantage in terms of fan discovery. So here you enter your city, state, province or country (even misspellings are AOK), and we map that to a discrete, browsable location.
Tags are set on the individual edit pages for both tracks and albums, here:
and finally those tags are displayed on your track and album pages, just below your cover art, here:
When a fan clicks one of those tags, they’re taken to its page, where we show other music by you with that tag, as well as a sortable list of music across the system with that tag:
By clicking the “browse all tags” link, fans can browse by popular tags and locations, like this:
And that’s about it. Pretty simple and obvious really, but we think it has the potential to build a community in the best possible sense of the word, where every individual contributes to its strength. It won’t, of course, be built overnight. At the time of this writing, there are exactly zero tags in the system, but with your help (and the help of the screaming yellow nag-bar that you’ll see next time you log in), it shouldn’t be long before the solitary goal of these new features is realized: make every artist on Bandcamp more successful, by making it easier for fans to find you.
P.S. Search is coming soon.
P.P.S. If you’re one of the many generous artists who have recently released Haiti relief fundraising records, please tag your album with “Haiti relief” and we’ll promote the centralized tag page for it shortly.