Making the Most of Bandcamp: Tips for Bands and Artists

I have a lot of experience using Bandcamp’s Discoverinator tool.  It’s great, but it seems as though some bands are just throwing their music on the service and hoping it sticks.  That’s not the best policy and here are a few ideas to improve use of the tool.

1)      Make Your Album Available – While it might seem like a loss of possible revenue to put the entire album online streaming for free (but charging for the download), it is a worthwhile investment.  Most music buyers in today’s diverse environment will not buy an album on first listen.  However, it gives them a chance to hear more than one song from you.

2)      Make Your First Song Your best – I know practical advice upsets artists sometimes.  You might want the beginning of the album to begin with a psychedelic intro inspired by an acid trip you had a few years ago, but if you’re a classical pianist that may not be the best way to go.  You can set a song other than the actual first track to be the first one that plays if people preview your album.  Do that.  Choose wisely.  Ask yourself, “what is the song most indicative of my sound?” and use that track.

3)      Tag Well – It’s amazing how many artists try to use “catch all” tags.  Don’t try to get your music into other genres.  Use tags that will perfectly describe the music.  If you need help, contact music writers (like us!) to help describe the music.  Tag the prominent instruments, stylistic influences, and even other artists, but don’t just tag popular genres.  I run into a lot of bands with the tag “folk” that are about as folk as Snoop Dogg.

4)      Choose Album Art Wisely – If you’re marketing a remix album, or an acoustic version of another studio album slap some different cover art on it.  Again, make sure it’s appropriate to your genre.  It’s amazing how much a consumers judge a CD by its cover.  While bands don’t have much control over how an image will be received, it is possible to “lose” an audience with a misleading or outrageous cover.

5)      Include Lyrics – This, again, may seem like giving too much away.  But a lot of listeners like to follow along with the lyrics.  If you’re a singer-songwriter afraid of someone stealing your work then hire a better lawyer.  This is a fantastic opportunity to extend a second level of connection between artist and listener.  When listeners can read along it helps them grasp the message of the song and increases your chances of getting tweeted or otherwise posted.  That may seem a flippant point to an artist, but it can make your work spread like wildfire.

I hope these ideas will help a few artists be more precise with their posting.  Another thing worth mentioning; please do not post eight songs off of one album as eight separate entries.   Do not, under any circumstances, make the listening experience cumbersome for people discovering your music.  If they love it they will, indeed, click each song.  But if they are on the fence, they WILL move on.  Don’t give them that chance.

The bottom line to all of this is to put your best effort forward.  Think about how you’ve put hours of effort and often thousands of dollars into producing an album or demo.  There’s no reason to shortcut now.  Be sure to share your work widely.  Get your loyal fan base buying the album (even if that is just Grandma and Aunt Sue).  Offer packages with autographed copies.  Do what you can to move up those rankings so that listeners are all the more likely to gain access to your music.  Thanks for reading and good luck.

30 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. Mick Duane Economos

    Thank you very much for the great information on Bandcamp. I really did not understand the Discoverinator. I have been trying to promote a different genre of Christian Praise music which I call Christian Remonstration. This is very helpful information.

  2. Michael

    describing this : ladylips.bandcamp.com

  3. Eddie Stone

    Not all music has lyrics: thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com

    • admin

      Thanks Eddie. We’re aware. 🙂 We’ve covered some contemporary classical and some instrumental music over the years. It’s a pleasure to have you.

  4. Xalser

    What would you consider the genre’s of Hear Me Now + More Than Clear? I have trouble with this. 🙂

    https://xalser.bandcamp.com/

    • admin

      Keep the electronic tag. That’s the most fitting. Indie is good, too, because it will help find fans of independent music, even though indie is not a genre.

  5. Spectoral

    A soulful, downtempo singer-songwriter such as myself – spectoral.bandcamp.com – Could do with some love. My brand new debut EP is just released and I’m looking for sincere blog coverage. I’m inspired by a broad range, the likes of Gotye, The Postal Service, James Blake, Portishead, Massive Attack, Adele and others.

    • admin

      We recommend submithub.com as a way to get publicity. There are free and premium options.

  6. Bruce

    I would greatly appreciate any input for appropriate genres and tags for the music of Ambiguous End.
    https://ambiguousend.bandcamp.com/
    https://soundcloud.com/ambiguousend

  7. Revrndmel

    What do you think would be the appropriate tag for my music.

    https://reverendmelandthedeadlights.bandcamp.com/releases

    • admin

      Gothic and horror rock seem to be right

  8. Joris

    What do you think would be the appropriate tag for my music.

    https://destinedfordefiance.bandcamp.com/track/into-the-storm

    I tried all these tips but nobody even notices my tracks. If no one plays them than how can I know what they think of it.

    • admin

      Joris – I think alt rock and nu-metal are both fitting for your music. Your style does seem unique, so perhaps you need to find niche blogs for nu-metal style music. I would guess that most fans of folk music and indie rock (like our readers) will not engage with your style of music. Thanks for asking and have a great day. 🙂

  9. Solarhythmia

    If you could supply any missing or more appropriate genres for https://solarhythmia.bandcamp.com/, I would appreciate it. I have had a hard time classifying my own music. (Also, can you think of any similar artists?) Thanks for your time.

    • admin

      The tags you have are good. As for artists you sound like, put Dustin O’Halloran and Olafur Arnalds. Thanks for sharing.

      • Solarhythmia

        Thanks for the response. I appreciate your feedback! I never got a notice in my inbox, even though I requested it with the initial post.

  10. Sagana

    Good post, thank you! I’ll leave our project for you to listen! 🙂

    Tera Driver
    https://teradriver.bandcamp.com/releases

  11. Ian

    I like the overall knowledge fill. I feel like I am just doing what everyone else is doing, but you did ask. Lol i am really just getting started. what should I keep or change, tags included? Thanks.
    https://ianbeggsrectifier.bandcamp.com/

    • admin

      Thanks for sharing. I think you’re in good shape with hard rock and heavy metal as descriptors.

      • Ian

        Thanks again

  12. Anthony

    Thanks for the advice!
    Can someone please help me describe my music genre? 🙂
    https://blakboa.bandcamp.com

    • admin

      You are right on with chillwave. Your music is quintessential chill wave.

  13. Nosugrof

    I have possibly a unique question. I only have a few tracks but no single genre really fits the whole thing. My vocal coach called me a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ after first hearing ‘You and Me’ and then hearing ‘Leaving’. He said he wouldn’t have guessed both were me without me telling him. When you have two different sounds going on what’s the best approach? Do they just not belong on the same CD?

    https://nosugrof.bandcamp.com/album/tipping-point

    BTW: Nice site and thanks for the helpful advice. I was already doing most of what you suggest but it’s encouraging to hear confirmation those were good choices. Still getting almost no plays but maybe it just takes more time.

    • admin

      There are a few different ways to handle that. You can either curate different sounds – like sometimes an artist will have a mostly folk solo act and then a band project – to cultivate different sounds. Another approach would be to develop a signature sound and then reimagine one of the tracks to fit that sound. Good luck with your vocal coach.

  14. Sean

    Thanks man, this is very helpful. I’m new to this stuff, not sure if I have my songs labeled right (I know I need to get the rest of my bandcamp page looking better also). Can you check them out when you get a chance?

    https://theblissmagnets.bandcamp.com/

    • admin

      I would say alternative rock is exactly the right tag. You might throw in indie rock or singer songwriter, but alt rock is your main genre.

  15. Sean

    Thanks much! really digging your site, thanks again

  16. Javier

    Hi guys:
    I would really appreciate if someone can help me choose the right tags for my music. Thanks
    http://javierdelacruz.bandcamp.com/track/en-mi-soledad

    • admin

      Javier – I would recommend Rock, Classic Rock, Modern Rock.

      Good luck with your album.

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