[Note: I’m still working on pt 2 of my Marketing Your New Music blog, but in the meantime some thoughts on a new website we’re all pretty excited about.]
Amongst quite a few of us indie artists the new site www.bandcamp.com is a near godsend. You upload your music, set your price, and every penny of your sales go to your PayPal acct (minus PayPal’s fees…maybe they own bandcamp? Hmm, no idea). You can let people have pretty much any available format of sound file for your music and they can listen to EVERY track in its entirety and, well, it’s kind of incredible.
It’s also very humbling and an interesting change to get your head around, as since you can give your music away FREE people can just have it, and you can’t hide if your album, minus one or two solid tracks, is shit. This is precisely how music fans were ripped off by labels for decades, since there was little way of knowing what an album sounded like unless you or someone you knew bought it…most likely based off a single. And believe me, I’m STILL kicking myself for buying that fucking Winger tape in 8th grade because of it, so I FEEL YOUR PAIN.
The playing field was levelled by downloading, and unsurprisingly the music industry’s sales lost out. But that’s an entire other blog, so back to this one.
Of the three CDs I have had time to upload: Unicorns, Kittens, & Shit, Booze Up and Riot, and the way out of print split High Art for Low Expectations, roughly 15% of those were actually given a donation. Does this mean people don’t enjoy my music? Not really. It simply means right now 15% of people can spare a few bucks to pay for it.
I’ll point out now that I’m not complaining, but I’ll also say I obviously wish it were higher (cuz, y’know, money’s cool and all), but this is a great promotional tool more than anything, as it doesn’t condescend or try and pull a fast one with potential new fans. You know EXACTLY what you’ll be getting if you download the music.
It’s a true epiphany to realize that you’re 100% at the whim of each individual fan on how they decide to support you (and there are many ways), and while I have always understood that “nobody owes me nuthin'”, seeing one site where a person can choose whether to have my music for money or free and seeing the decisions made…well that’s mindblowing in some ways to me.
And while it’s still mildly disappointing in the “call the waaahmbulance” perspective on sales (and believe me, I’m not terribly butthurt– if I was I wouldn’t be writing about it at all), it’s incredibly empowering otherwise and that far outweighs the pangs of “is this a good idea?”. Unlike all the torrents and filesharing that takes place, bandcamp actually lets you know what people are listening to, how MUCH of it they’re listening to, and tons of other amazing information. Most importantly, unlike filesharing and torrents I WANT people to check my music out here and *I* am the one who made the decision to give it away free (with the backing of my incredibly cool label), so all control is back to me for once. This is win-win for Caustic and fans alike.
So thanks to those who have been taking the time to check my stuff out, download and enjoy it in whatever form. If you do enjoy it please please PLEASE tell other people about the site, as that’s truly what I want and need as a small artist. If you have a favorite song just buy that one (asking price for them is only .75) as everything adds up.
And thanks in advance for taking the time to give it a listen.
Change isn’t always easy to deal with and sometimes the truth isn’t the easiest to accept, but I’m loving the freedom AND control I get as an artist from sites like bandcamp.com. I hope you do too.
Time to evolve…