Feelin the Luv

Mercy! We launched Bandcamp just 30 days ago, and in that time 1,300 bands have signed on, uploading more than 4,300 tracks. Small potatoes perhaps compared to the behemoth whose shadow we toil under, but an excellent first step nevertheless. It’s particularly encouraging given that we have yet to spend a dime on advertising or PR. Instead, we owe the exposure to one great blog post and the strong word-of-mouth it sparked. The feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive, in fact, that we’re a little bit shocked. Where the haterz at, yo? (Haterz, that was a rhetorical question.) We’re thrilled you’re thrilled, and we wish to thank everyone who has taken the time to tweet, post, email or even just think Bandcamp-related huzzahs over the past month. Here are some of our favorites:

From the blogs:

“Bandcamp is, seemingly, just yet another website that allows you to sell your music yourself. But the solution Bandcamp offers is so elegant, so easy, and so compelling, that it basically leaps to the head of the pack…I now have Bandcamp as my default music page on my official site. It’s that good.”
http://songaday.co.uk/index.php/2008/09/two-new-sites/

“I do not endorse things easily, and you couldn’t even pay me to give a site/service this sort of recommendation, but here it is: as of right now, Bandcamp is officially the business. No competition, not even close. If you are a rapper, if you are in a group, if you are a producer, if you are managing one of the three, then do yourself a favor, take ten minutes, and set yourself up on Bandcamp.”
http://mixtapeshow.net/1016/are-you-a-rapper-get-on-bandcamp/

“A killer app for emerging bands. Really well done.”
http://joelaz.com/post/50520524/bandcamp-screencast-this-looks-awesome-ethan

“Great ideas are often based not on doing something new, but doing something the way most people didn’t even realize it should be done. Bandcamp, the newly launched digital music publishing platform, looks like it may just fall into this category. As a musician, as well as a developer, I’m terribly excited about its possibilities.”
http://justindriscoll.us/2008/09/bandcamp.html

“For too long, people have complained that what we talk about is too difficult because bands just want to make music, rather than focus on building websites. Well, now they don’t have to worry so much about that part.”
http://techdirt.com/articles/20080917/1441412296.shtml

“I love Bandcamp…let’s you create a free, clean, very custom mini-site without all the ads and extra junk…It’s the perfect quick solution for promoting your music.”
http://www.thedopefiend.com/2008/09/bandcamp.html

“clean, free, pretty…I love it”
http://www.wiretotheear.com/2008/10/12/bandcamp-and-soundcloud-screencasts/

From Twitter:

“bandcamp is bloody brilliant”
“Wow. Bandcamp is pretty spectacular.”
“i cant describe how much of a badass idea this is…if ur in a band go to http://bandcamp.mu/ revolutionary”
“Bandcamp looks like a fantastic set-up and far better than myspace.”
MySpace music sucked, we’re moving the roster to Bandcamp.”
“musician comrads, Bandcamp looks amazing”
http://bandcamp.mu/faq is hilarious!  Thanks for the link :)”
Bandcamp.mu is pretty serious business.”
“completely blown away by http://bandcamp.mu/
“Incredible new site for artists… seems flawless on the surface, watch the screencast”
“I watched the webcast, http://bandcamp.mu/ is killer, congratulations!  I’ll be recommending it heartily”
“Okay, Bandcamp, you have my attention (and one hell of an FAQ page)
“Bandcamp sounds incredibly right”

And the email:

“OMFG band camp is BRILLIANT! WOW! From a musician’s standpoint this is picture perfect.  I’m seriously thinking about just redirecting to bandcamp when the album comes out.  It’s just superior in every way. Letting people name their own price is just…ugh, this is just awesome. This site is going to be huge.”

“I just want to say that I am beyond excited to have found you guys. Your site answers the needs for so many grassroots bands out there. This is the tool that I have been waiting for. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful site.  I am reworking my entire web presence based on your site now.  I will be taking my music off MySpace and replacing it with your player.”

“Loving your site. I plan to use it for Super Extra Bonus Party’s forthcoming remix album…SEBP won the prestigous Choice Music Prize – Irish album of the year in 2007 so there should be a bit of a buzz about it.”

“I’ve been seeking a home for my solo album for several weeks, and your fledgling site is suiting my needs awesomely – great work!”

“i think your service is an awesome idea! its just what i need my band is releasing an album, a track at a time on blogs”

“wonderfully fantastic in its excellence”

All right, well in addition to bowing, we’ve spent most of the first month working on basic reliability and scaling of the service. That will continue into month two, but once we iron out a few remaining kinks, you’ll start to see some very cool new features that we’re all excited about. Please follow our progress on Twitter or just stay tuned to the blog. Thanks again everybody. We’re honored to have been entrusted with the propagation of your art, and we’ll keep cranking every day to make Bandcamp an important factor in your success.

What’s Bandcamp?

Earlier this year, one of my favorite bands left their label, recorded a new album, and released it as a digital download from their own website. The hour it was due out, I headed to their site, and after several minutes of watching the page struggle to load, concluded that they were just slammed and made a note to check back the next day. But when I did, the site was, once again, excruciatingly slow. This time I was a bit more patient, made it to the checkout page, entered my billing info, and…the download didn’t start. I checked my credit card statement, saw that I’d indeed been charged, and emailed the band. A few days later, the lead singer sent me an apology, along with a direct link to the album’s zip file. I did not then forward that link on to my 200 closest friends, but I wondered how many did, and couldn’t decide whether it was a good or bad thing that most fans had probably given up before getting this far.

Well the new record turned out to be even better than I’d hoped, but now, months later, I’m still running into other fans who don’t have it. This just kills me, because here’s a relatively unknown band that deserves all the success in the world, made the admirable decision to do an entirely independent release, yet was tripped up by the sorts of aggravating technical issues familiar to anyone who’s ever tried to build out their own website. What choice did they have though? They could have put their music up on MySpace or any of its dozens of imitators, but all of those services offer bands what is essentially a sharecropping arrangement. They host your tunes, and in exchange it’s their logo, their ads, their URL, their traffic, their identity. What if you want to build out a site that’s very clearly yours? The only choice seems to be to do what the band did: hire a designer and engineer, buy or rent some servers, spend a lot of time and money, and risk ending up with something that either works poorly or not at all. Does it not seem crazy that if you’re a blogger, you can create a rock-solid site that’s your own in a matter of minutes (and for free), but if you happen to create music instead of text, your options just suck?

Seemed nuts to us, so we created Bandcamp, the best home on the web for your music. We’re not yet another site wanting to host your tracks alongside the trailer for High School Musical 4: I’m Pregnant. Instead, we power a site that’s truly yours, and hang out in the background handling all the technical issues you dread (and several you’ve probably never even considered). We keep your music streaming and downloading quickly and reliably, whether it’s 3am on a Sunday, or the hour your new record drops and Pitchfork gives it a scathingly positive review. We make your tracks available in every format under the sun, so the audiophilic nerderati can have their FLAC and eat mp3 v2. We adorn your songs with all the right metadata, so they sail into iTunes with artwork, album, band and track names intact. We mutter the various incantations necessary to keep your site top-ranked in Google, so when your fans search for your hits, they find your music long before they find bonkersforlyrics.com or iMyFace. We give your fans easy ways to share your music with their friends, and we give you gorgeous tools that reveal exactly how your music is spreading, so you can fan the fire.

So what’s Bandcamp then? We’re a publishing platform for bands, or, anthropomorphically/arthropodically-speaking, your fifth, fully geeked-out Beatle — the one who keeps your very own website humming and lets you get back to making great music and building your fan base. If this all sounds as highly satisfactory to you as we hope, we invite you to check out the screencast, read the FAQ, peruse a site already powered by Bandcamp, or cut straight to the chase and sign up for a free account. Welcome!