This week, some significant strides were made for musicians inside the platform Bandcamp (in the form of merch sales). Bandcamp is one of a few services that those publishing music are utilizing on both Facebook and standalone. Also of note, and used by myself, are Soundcloud and BandPage.
So, as an artist, I’d like to offer my personal perspective on the three platforms. There are more. Many more. However, in the Bandcamp vs. Soundcloud vs. BandPage battle, I can speak firsthand.
What’s great about these platforms is that they are (mostly) free. With a tiny $2 monthly fee, BandPage becomes visually customizable. For my last band’s album, our only paid marketing expenses (outside of merch) were the BandPage upgrade and our iTunes/Amazon Music/Zune Store (lol) uploader.
OK, what’s my breakdown? Here’s one acoustic/pop/folk singer/songwriter’s opinion:
Bandcamp: I actually just switched to Bandcamp for my Facebook promotions. I can also sell my music through Bandcamp. It seems to get more traction and priority than BandPage. Seems. On a small scale, that could be pure coincidence. I like that I can house my entire body of work on Bandcamp, and I SWEAR I’ll get around to it. But: Bandcamp- y u kind of ugly? Y u no show plays per song without searching? Y u have poorly prioritized graphic design features? Surely you have a designer in house or can Google ‘point of highest contrast’.
Soundcloud: Oh Soundcloud. You’re so cool. You show an ACTUAL waveform. But boy have you historically been subject to massive amounts of spam. The kicker, and difficult thing for me as a SC fan, is that they just want to exist outside of Facebook, and be their own well-trafficked site. Does anyone remember PureVolume? Exactly. I would love to see better SoundCloud integration into Facebook (and yes, I know I am technically using it when I use BandPage).
BandPage: BandPage may still be my favorite platform for socially marketing my music. But guess what? Facebook doesn’t seem to be a huge fan. The sharing is a bit clunky, and it’s prone to bugginess. It appears to get low priority, much lower than Bandcamp. I can’t house my library there with lyrics, anecdotes, liner notes, etc.. And it’s not helping me sell. (Bonus: I’ve actually left one of those bugs displayed on Swaggerwolf’s Facebook page (it’s the 4th app). Look at the bottom song. I don’t want that there but it won’t move on. Sigh.)
So, Bandcamp, Bandpage and Soundcloud: here’s what I want, and all musicians need:
-a sexy, sleek, bug-free music player for Facebook that doesn’t get nerfed all day long
-an interface and system than make my music purchasable, one click from Facebook
-play count, lyrics, credits, and album art inside of a Facebook player
-the ability to upload shows
-the ability to sell merch
I will switch immediately. Because as an unsuccessful musician, I just want one less chore every time I release a song or want to release a rough preview to my 71 fans and mother. It’s not like I’m making any money.