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“Buy Digital Album” vs. “Free Download” on Bandcamp

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  • “Buy Digital Album” vs. “Free Download” on Bandcamp

    A question came up under a post I made in the member release section. I thought it had a wider appeal, so I'm opening a new thread here.

    I posted my latest release on Bandcamp as a “free download”. My thinking was: this is my first release, I don't have any fan base that is going to clamor for the download. What I want to do is get some exposure and encourage people to listen to the music, or download if they so choose. Frankly, most of the listeners will be friends and family and I'm not keen to ask those folks to pony up the few dollars to listen to my latest release. Plus, asking to enter their credit card and go through that hassle is a turn-off, and just another reason someone won't actually listen to my music.

    On the other hand, when I played in working jazz bands, I was mindful of the disregard working bands paid to others who were willing to play for nothing in bars just to get exposure and to get out and play. We of course felt it hurt the community of musicians, bypassed union regulations, and was just generally bad for business. I get that. Is posting my album as a “free download” similar?

    Then I read this article, referenced from Bandcamp: https://hi54.blog/content/bandcamp-m...-free-download

    This made me change my mind (a little). I have now changed my album on Bandcamp to “Name Your Price (no minimum).”
    Latest release: whispersinspace.bandcamp.com

  • #2
    I swear this is crazy... within, literally, five minutes of changing my album to "Name Your Price (No Minimum)" and posting above, I got a "Cha-Ching" from Bandcamp telling me someone had purchased the album ($4.00). Holy Cow! For me, it's not the money, it's the recognition and vote. I'm grateful.
    Latest release: whispersinspace.bandcamp.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Bill,

      Over at SoundCloud I used to make all of my tracks available for download.

      Then, when I started treating Bandcamp a bit more seriously I put my first album up for what might be considered to be a hefty price. My thinking behind that, at the time, was to see if anyone would actually be will to pay for my stuff. I was certainly getting a lot of downloads at SoundCloud and I thought, why would peeps bother. And did my stuff have any real appeal. Making something available for a price kind of helps to answer that question, I think.

      I then put my next four releases up as "name your price," this time thinking, will peeps still pay for my stuff or will they just download for free, which you can still do with "name your price."

      Now, the way Bandcamp works, for the "name your price" albums/tracks, you have to pay at least fifty cents for that album/track to appear in your collection. At least that's how I think it works. And your Bandcamp avatar is visible below the album/track picture, showing that you have paid something for it.


      For my latest I decided to give it a nominal cost of £0.50 per track. I wasn't getting much interest for my "name your price" albums anyway, so I thought I might as well charge a price again and see how that goes.

      Anyway, thanks for changing your album to "name your price" as I have now added it to my collection
      I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

      Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

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      • #4
        Originally posted by whispersinspace View Post
        I swear this is crazy... within, literally, five minutes of changing my album to "Name Your Price (No Minimum)" and posting above, I got a "Cha-Ching" from Bandcamp telling me someone had purchased the album ($4.00). Holy Cow! For me, it's not the money, it's the recognition and vote. I'm grateful.
        LOL! Yeah, it's great when those Cha-ching e-mails arrive, although they must be a bit of a pain for the guys that are selling hundreds of copies. I can only assume that they turn off notifications haha!
        I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

        Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

        Comment


        • #5
          @whispersinspace 'For me, it's not the money, it's the recognition and vote. I'm grateful.'

          Of course it's not just about the money, otherwise you would had chose another style than ambient and drone!! ...No money to make there for 99.9% of us.

          Now regarding your question, I think it is totally up to the artist to set its price and I don't think it'll 'hurt' the business as mentioned in your past jazz experience, as the ambient scene is so small, much more mellow full of free thinkers and genuine artists. Not saying people doing ambient music in general are more wise nor anything, but I think their vision & mindset on the business and all is probably different and on another spectrum than let's say rock, or pop or jazz or other more traditional type of music.

          Also, you worked hard to craft you sound, build your skills and your style, etc. So I think it's just fair to ask for a little something for those you truly love your work. People buy $7 for those freakin' coffee lattés without hesitation every day, why they could't spend a little $3-$4 on the music they love?
          http://soundcloud.com/red-fog
          http://landofthedrones.blogspot.ca

          Comment


          • #6
            Congratulations on your first sell and I want you many more to come .Recently I joined bandcamp with my new project and had a bit of dilemma about what to do with download option. Should I set it for free download or put some small price on it. I thought about, as you mentioned above, how is the main goal to reach the people and introduce them with the music and not making them angry with prices and everything but I anyway put 2€ on it ... I have not actually thought about name your price option but I think it's good especially for anonymous.
            Sunday Meditations:
            Bandcamp | Youtube
            Life-Giving Light:
            Soundcloud

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            • #7
              I was for a long time on "Musiczeit" and the price was fixed by this site. Is it fair that some people pays on this site and it's free on Bandcamp for the same music ? Certainly, the people is not the same. But I don't no, I was never comfortable with this question. At this time I have one album on i-Tunes, Spotify and so on but I chose "Name your price" for the complete collection of albums. To give myself a reason, I think on my definition of what is a "professionnal" ... it's someone who can live off the fruits of his job. I'm too old to begin a real carrer in music. I'm musician like my neighbour rides his bike in the mountains : it's difficult and "work" for him, he don't sale the fruit of his passion, so I'm not doing it either. The cha-chings are welcome however, sure, and I'm alway grateful, but that's not what motivates me.
              Last edited by Aïma Dust; 06-12-2019, 02:18 PM.
              https://espaces-sonores.bandcamp.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Aïma Dust View Post
                The cha-chings are welcome however, sure, and I'm alway grateful, but that's not what motivates me.
                Same here, Bernard.


                As an aside, I took the decision yesterday to make all my albums on Bandcamp cost at least £1... No more "name your price" for me, and it is nothing to do with the money... It is more of a test, to see if the albums that were "name your price" continue to be downloaded now that I have stuck a price on them.

                I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                Comment


                • #9
                  I could live off the proceeds of my music; by selling all the stuff I've collected to make it, over the years.

                  I can sympathize with those who feel that giving music away for free devalues the marketplace for all, but then again, one going and helping a friend build a shed or remodel a bathroom devalues my profession of carpentry. I certainly hope there's room for plenty of us no-names to continue to give away our music without killing an industry.

                  Drop that screwgun, buddy.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aoVI View Post
                    but then again, one going and helping a friend build a shed or remodel a bathroom devalues my profession of carpentry.
                    Another good point, well made, aoVI ​​​​​​​
                    I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                    Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      An approach that I haven't yet seriously considered would be to set the price of my next album at $1000 and watch the cash come rolling in.

                      Then I would disappear gracefully, perhaps to the Cayman Islands.
                      Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
                        An approach that I haven't yet seriously considered would be to set the price of my next album at $1000 and watch the cash come rolling in.
                        That ha been done already. I remember someone posting on Twitter about it a couple of months ago...

                        I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                        Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i listed my albums for 1000 pound each but nobody was biting...
                          https://soundcloud.com/quietist

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Quietist View Post
                            i listed my albums for 1000 pound each but nobody was biting...
                            Peeps probably thought it was a typo, with the $ exchange rate
                            Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
                              An approach that I haven't yet seriously considered would be to set the price of my next album at $1000 and watch the cash come rolling in.

                              Then I would disappear gracefully, perhaps to the Cayman Islands.
                              bwa ha ha ha ha!

                              I give most of my music away- IDC.. grateful for those who have dropped some pennies on my work, but truthfully the money is no longer going to me, but straight to bandcamp since I closed out my paypal account some time ago.

                              I just post to get attention. The only 'paying' album I've got out is on CDBaby.com.
                              https://metapop.com/sonic-bodhi
                              https://www.youtube.com/user/SonicBodhi1
                              https://sonicbodhi.bandcamp.com/
                              https://hearthis.at/sonic-bodhi-iw/

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