In the past 15 years, there has been an online revolution for independent music producers. With the aid of social platforms and DIY distribution sites like Bandcamp, the need for a traditional record label to “make it” is becoming a thing of the past. But how do you stand out? With the tools readily available to anyone with a computer, there are more and more musicians trying to have their message heard.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve found work the best for setting your release apart on Bandcamp:
Branding: What sells you as an artist is cohesion, a constant level of quality that is always met, and imagery that is familiar. Before your release is even uploaded, I feel this has to be addressed. Make sure your page is an accurate representation of you, your music, and even your presence on other social networks.
If you already have Facebook Artist page with your logo, use the same images you have there to start. What you are looking to do is create cohesion between your site and social networks. You want make sure your fans have no doubt they landed at the right place.
Accessibility: This is a very common issue I see with a lot of artists. Making sure you have links to and from your pages. The ideal is having all of your social links visible and easy to access.
A great way to do this with Bandcamp is by using the “image map” option in the “design” tab. An image map is html that lays over an image in order to turn parts of a picture into links.
Here is an example from my site. What I did was recreate a small bar with all my links and saved it as a part of my header image. Then I used HTML to turn the text in the image into links.
If you are unfamiliar with how code HTML, there are a number of great sites that will automatically create the code for you. Here’s one example.
Quality: Is the work you want to upload ready? Could it be better? Does there need to be four 1980s style power-ballads in a row? Every time you feel like it’s time to fire up the ol’ internet browser and start uploading your release you must ask yourself this question: Would I buy this? Would my fan base love a 70 minute epic with b-sides and extra studio records, or would they prefer a concise 30 minutes of really solid work?
Being the filter on your content is often one of the most difficult things for any green artist. When you are still establishing who you are as band/artist you want to not overload newcomers with content. In the end its for the greater good. Do you want to be known for constantly putting out great music, hit after hit, or rather for having a few good riffs in a sea of filler?
Imagery: You have your music ready and it sounds amazing, but you do not have any visual content to go with your masterpiece. What do you do? You could try your hand at making some artwork but then you run the risk of looking amateur or unprofessional.
Like it or not anyone who is coming to your site is going to judge your music even before they have even heard it. The old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” unfortunately does not apply in the competitive online marketplace. Making sure your work is engaging and standout are key.
A great and cheap tool to get small art jobs likes this done is Fiverr. This site offers just about anything type of freelance job you can think of for only 5 dollars. Here you will have a good chance of finding someone to help you on the cheap.
Tagging/Keywording Your Work: I know what you are going to say “this is common sense, everyone knows to do this” but the reality is I see it far more than anything else on this list. Some people think when posting your releases to a site like Bandcamp the fans will just flood in. This can be the case, but you have to make it easier for new fans to find you first.
Bandcamp has this really handy tagging section called “tags” when uploading releases. You can put any keyword you think people will search in and your results will show up when searched in the Bandacamp database. If you are having a hard time figuring out what to put down, take a look at some other artist’s pages and see what keywords they are using. That way their fans will be able to find your work by typing the same things.
Want to check out MY Bandcamp for more ideas? It’s right here.