Aug 112012

As if there weren’t already enough reasons for metal bands to set up camp on Bandcamp, there’s now one more.

On August 1, Bandcamp launched new functionality that allows bands to create a separate, dedicated merch section for their site, through which they can offer shirts, posters, and other shit indepenently of the music. But it also allows bands to create music+merch bundles, and it allows checkout through the same shopping-cart function that exists for music.

The merch sections can be tabbed in the navigation bar at the top of the band’s Bandcamp page — though I suspect fans will need a bit of training to realize it’s there. Bandcamp is also planning to have the merch feature added to the Bandcamp app that can be integrated with Facebook, so merch sales can be processed directly from within the Facebook band page.

Yes, Bandcamp will take 10% of the revenue, but they’ve got some pretty reasonable-sounding arguments about why bands will still make more money using Bandcamp for merch orders than standalone sites.

And while I’m on the subject of Bandcamp, it’s worth mentioning that a couple of months ago they rolled out a Discover feature that allows fans to browse for music by genre. The “Metal” category is further sub-divided into “new arrivals”, “best selling”, and “artist-recommended”. The “artist-recommended” category is further sub-divided in a way that allows you to see the albums most-recommended by artists. When you click on an album cover in these sections, you get to hear a sample track immediately, without leaving the Discover page.

The merch feature is new enough that I’m sure a lot of bands haven’t yet taken advantage of it — but at the top of this post I included a screen shot of what Cormorant’s merch page looks like. You can see that while selling CDs, they’re also offering free, immediate digital downloads.

And since I reviewed Autarch’s new EP this morning, I’ll include a shot of their merch page, which includes a shirt as well as a physical version of their EP:

This new feature seems pretty damned cool to me, though I’ve been a Bandcamp supporter from the early days — and no, they don’t pay me to sing their praises. I’m just getting the word out there because it seems like another step ahead for DIY bands, and the more options, the better.

  18 Responses to “MERCH ON BANDCAMP!”

  1. Nice to see that Bandcamp is branching out and hopefully bands can better make use of this and make a little money from this. 10% for Bandcamp sounds more than reasonable; good luck finding that kind of rate for anywhere else that serves as a broker, regardless of what you many be selling. The recommended by artists feature could also be very helpful. Browsing Bandcamp wasn’t all that great, but I guess it’s time to see how things have improved since last time I was there.

    I already have Dwellings on CD, but I’d like to have The Last Tree and Metazoa on CD. I already have them as downloads – both from when Cormorant offered them for free – but they’re good enough to get again.

    • I haven’t tried to browse Bandcamp in ages, mainly because it was virtually impossible to do. This Discover feature is an improvement, thought it could be improved even more by subdividing the Metal category in Discover among genres. You can search by tags, using the genre (eg, “black metal”), but you get a giant, unsorted list of hits. It would be nice to find the genre category in Discover and then see that sorted by “new arrivals”, “best selling”, and “artist-recommended”.

      • The tag system is really a pain in the ass. On the other hand, I have made some nice discoveries just by browsing. It really puts the onus on the bands to market themselves. Which, surprise!, was pretty much the only thing traditional labels can get half right. It’s a brave new world in which a band needs a business major AND a solid rhythm section.

        • True, tags don’t always get you where you want to go, especially if you have a band that can fit under more than one description. Or say, if someone decides that something’s death metal instead of black metal because of the vocals. It’s still a lot better than it is with some places that place metal under rock or alternative. Bandcamp does list metal as its own entity, even if it doesn’t get listed first and/or with larger letters than the rest. Can’t have it all, I guess.

          • Very true. I do appreciate that BandCamp seems to be very metal friendly. I just wish there were formal categories to make browsing easier. On the other hand that could lead to shit like on Amazon where Slayer ends up under death metal. (I may have gotten the band wrong, but I know there a lot of thrash bands grouped under death metal. It made me giggle.)

            • iTunes has some head-scratchers like that as well. Worst is when some metal band gets dumped in pop, when there’s nothing remotely close to justify the location.

              Bandcamp is indeed very metal friendly. Amazon and iTunes are more open to metal than in years past and ocassionally a metal band (or the metal section as a whole) does get brought to the forefront. Can’t really speak for other online music stores, but of the ones I have used or looked at, metal sections seem non-existant. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s alright, but simply browsing doesn’t get you anywhere. Bandcamp’s Discover feature should help, just as Amazon’s recommendations and ‘customers who bought this’ sometimes yield some great selections.

              The only drawback is there’s a lot of crap at Bandcamp. Sure, it gives bands, solo artists and one man “bands” a place to be seen and heard, but it also means strolling past some awful material. Sometimes the album cover – or whatever’s been selected for the thumbnail – can be used as an indicator of what you may be subjecting your ears to, there are many good covers hiding shitty music, as well as shitty artwork representing awesome music.

              One thing that could help with Bandcamp is to implement something like what Amazon does – or even with its neighbors function – showing results based on customers’ buying and not just what tags or band’s suggestions might lead to. If someone else bought MWOP’s new album, maybe there’s something else they picked up recently that you might also like.

  2. I’ve kind of ignored Bandcamp this month. Thanks for reminding me that I’m a fucking idiot.

  3. I want more labels on Bandcamp. Metalblade, Century Media, Earache! Why aren’t you on Bandcamp?!

    • You can add Nuclear Blast and Napalm to that list, too.

      • that would be awesome if they did!!! that would be awesome

      • Yeah I wasn’t sure if it was Nuclear Blast or Prosthetic who had the Bandcamp (I get those two mixed up). Napalm sounds familiar but isn’t really ringing a bell so much as tying pillows to it and then hitting it with a giant piece of cork. Now to go look them up.

  4. This is fucking awesome! I love Bandcamp, even if finding new music on it is like trawling for deep-sea walruses.

  5. Actually really enjoy bandcamp…its.a really great place to get hard to find demos and split releases. The last few times Ive browsed it though Ive been unable to go back more than 10 pages (I usually dont have too hard a time browsing…you can guess a lot of styles by their covers)

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