Dec 092012

We’ve been singing the praises of Bandcamp since its very early days. It no longer really needs the publicity: Metal has discovered Bandcamp in a big way, with dozens of record labels and thousands of bands now having established Bandcamp pages, where they stream, give away, and sell their music (and other merch). I’ve seen some writers calling it “a piracy killer”, and although that’s probably more optimism than reality, it certainly gives fans an effective way to hear and acquire digital music without having to enrich some douchebag torrent site with their visits.

Bandcamp’s creators have always said that over time they would add new features, and so they have. The most recent enhancement was rolled out in beta test beginning the week before Thanksgiving. It’s called the Bandcamp Fan Account, and for now it’s an invitation-only trial. I got my invitation on November 21 and intended to write something about this new development then, but I got distracted by something important, like the sound of a passing car, and forgot. Thanks to NCS reader Booker for reminding me.

The Bandcamp Fan Account allows you to establish your own customizable page on the Bandcamp site and to populate it with a list (with album art and recommended tracks) of all the music you’ve downloaded from Bandcamp, as well as a “wish list” of what you’d like to get. You can share your page with other people on Bandcamp, which allows them to explore the collection of what you’ve acquired. If you don’t want other people to see that Katy Perry album you got, Bandcamp also gives you the ability to hide selected albums from public view.

You can “follow” the fan pages of other fans and receive e-mail alerts when they download new music, which is how I know about Phro getting that Katy Perry album. The Fan Account also gives you the option of following bands and labels on Bandcamp, and if you do that you’ll get e-mail alerts when they add new music to their own pages.

Other features are being added, and I noticed a few new ones when I visited my personal page this morning: I can now add comments about the albums in my collection and I’m getting links to other people whose own collections include albums that I’ve got in mine.

Bandcamp undoubtedly has plans to make this Fan Account feature even more robust, but for now its main value (as I see it) is to provide yet another way of discovering new music — by seeing what other users have in their collections and what they add to it, as well as finding out immediately when bands and labels add new music for streaming and/or download.

My own collection isn’t as good a representation of what I’m listening to as it would have been a couple of years ago. Because I’m a lucky asshole, I get so many albums via promo links that I don’t buy or download as much music from Bandcamp as I used to. But I’ve sure been having fun browsing the collections of other people who are in the Fan Account beta test, and I think this new feature is a definite plus.

I haven’t yet seen when Bandcamp is going to make Fan Account feature available to everyone, but I suspect it won’t be long.


  27 Responses to “BANDCAMP FAN ACCOUNTS”

  1. Your collection makes mine seem like a tiny pile of crumpled tissues next to your towering monolith of crusty socks.

  2. Here’s mine

    According to Ethan Diamond (Co-founder/CEO at Bandcamp) it is one of the largest collections. He said that the collections are also about the bragging rights, and in that spirit told me “you are now in 3rd place, and only one away from 2nd. Clearly we need to make this data public…”

  3. someone please send me an invite

  4. This sounds great. I love the idea of following bands on Bandcamp and being informed when they release something new instead of having to manually check their band page every month.

  5. PS. I wasn’t trying to nag you into writing something.. ha ha. But now that you have….

    Yes for me the possibility of seeing other people who have purchased the same albums is a plus – “Griseus is in 8 other people’s collections.. hmm.. who are these chaps or chapesses”.

    One thing is that obviously it’s only collecting your Bandcamp purchases – for example I got the Ne Obliviscaris pre-order direct from the record label, but see they’re on BC as well (which I only realised after seeing it in some other people’s collections), so someone looking at my collection might think I hadn’t heard them/didn’t like them.

    I see two sides to this – on the one hand, BC are obviously only interesting in promoting music that’s on BC. I certainly don’t think having a BC profile as a repository for your whole CD collection would be worthwhile. On the other, maybe it would be useful (and in BC’s interests) if you could click a ‘I own this’ button on a page to add it to your collection, and that way it could help promote discoveries via someone’s BC profile – if, for example, someone came across my profile after seeing a link from Be’lakor, they might stumble across NeO and ultimately buy it via BC.

    Anyway, I think it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

  6. Does anyone know why only certain albums can be added to your wishlist? The link is only showing up on about half the albums I’ve looked at and it seems to be pretty random (one album by a band will have the “wishlist” link but another album by the same band won’t have it).

    • Good question. I don’t think it has anything to do with how the band sets up the page for the album. My only other guess is that Bandcamp is ultimately going to add that option to everything on Bandcamp, and just hasn’t finished all the coding yet.

    • You cannot ‘collect’ free downloads (they may add that in the future). Is that it?

      • I went back and looked at which albums were missing the link and apparently it is just the albums that aren’t available to purchase through bandcamp but are still available to stream and can be purchased elsewhere.

  7. Im not trying to crap on this, because I like this whole thing and Im definitely going to sign up for it, but dosnt this basically just seem like Last.FM by way of Bandcamp?

  8. I haven’t bought anything off of Bandcamp yet, but they will always earn my eternal praise for being one of the first sites to offer digital downloads in FLAC format. I’ve been on a quest to rid myself of every kind of disc (games, music, etc.) and the folks at Bandcamp are going to make that possible.

  9. I might get into this once I get a job and can buy things off the internet… although I’m more of a guy who collects physical releases.

    • I am too bud, but you cant beat Bandcamp for hooking you up when those 200 print copies of some bands tape only demo release sells out

      • 200 print copies are annoying. Like that Rotting Christ/Negative Plane split, there were only 616 of them. I have to go to eBay to buy stuff, and I don’t like owning pre-owned stuff, although I can give a pass to music releases. And I can’t even find Skeletonwitch’s “At One With the Shadows” or Vomit Remnant’s “Supreme Vehemence” on eBay, not to mention most of the other VR albums I saw were priced high as well.

  10. I got my trial invitation a few days ago. Already digging it and can’t wait until it’s fully featured. It seems only paid downloads/ physical copy purchases are listed in people’s collections. I’m hoping to see the freebies in there to eventually.

    • My collection would be considerably larger if it included free downloads, and it seems like including them would be an essential part of what Bandcamp is trying to do with this fan-account concept. It would help fans support bands they like who happen to be giving their music away and it would enhance the value in browsing other fans’ collections. I’m very surprised they didn’t include the free downloads when they rolled out the beta test. I hope it will come when they go public with this feature.

      • I don’t think they will add free downloads to the collection, at least not without keeping them separate from the downloads you paid for, somehow. They see the numbers as being important – “it is all about the bragging rights” – and free downloads isn’t much to brag about I guess,

  11. great idear with your fan account

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