If you’re reading this book, you’re most likely a musician or a label. But Bandcamp is more than just a platform to listen and purchase music from your favorite artists. There are drum kits, podcasts, radio programs, audio books and so much more that audio is just the medium, the platform is unlimited. So go upload that EP or that daily audio journal and express the noises you want the world to hear! It’s free and easy to do.
If you’ve just created your account and you visit the dashboard, you’ll seen the following image:
Normally the dashboard would include latest followers, recent activity or number of plays/sales. But because we do not have any music yet, we are shown our “first step[s] towards Bandcamp prosperity…”. Let's make it true by uploading an album or track.
In this section we’ll cover uploading audio to your Bandcamp and all the extra features Bandcamp provides. Normally you’d add an album from the + add button on the banner bar but if you wish you can start by adding an album from the blue “add an album” button from the “welcome dashboard” screen. Just note, after you add your first album, you will never see that interface again.
From the banner bar, hover over the + add button to select the appropriate type you wish to add.
- Adding an Album - which is a collection of audio tracks with an album cover and description
- Adding a track - a single audio track not related to an album but has an album cover and description
- Add Merch - add CDs, Cassettes, Vinyl, t-shirts or any physical item you wish to sell. Optionally connect this to a specific album or track.
Creating an Album
The first item on the menu is add an album. This is where you’ll upload entire albums or EPs (and technically a single track but use the add track item for that). The first thing you’ll notice is this yellow banner:
Which is an awesome reminder because it lets you know that Bandcamp will inform your followers of the new release. The following ways your fans will be informed:
- Email - an email will be sent out, which includes the album / EP / track name and the album art
- Feed - Bandcamp will also inform your fans of the releases in their fan feeds, see the Feed (Bolt) interface.
Bandcamp has recently introduced the community tab on artist/label profile pages. A personalized message can be composed on the community page which is automatically sent out via email. So you can also address new releases with even more details outside Bandcamps notifications.
Note: The notification will be sent out once you publish the album. Bandcamp will not notify your fans if you create a draft.
With that information, let's get your album uploaded. Here’s the current interface:
Setting an Album Name
The first step you’ll want to do is name your album or EP. Bandcamp supports just about every character ever known to a computer. So that means Japanese, emojis, scripts, etc. is supported. I’ve yet to find any character that blocked me from publishing an album. The sky's the limit.
Directly below the album name, you can also set a release date. The release date is not limited to the future (+17 years and below) or past. Feel free to use this field to your aesthetic.
Setting a Price
Setting a price is completely up to you. Bandcamp recommends an album with 7 tracks will efficiently sell at 7 USD. I’ve found in the vaporwave scene, unless you’re a high profile, no one is going to buy an album for $7 USD. Mainly that’s because cassettes sell between $7 and $10 USD. Check what other artists in your genre are selling at for best practices.
Bandcamp also recommends EPs to sell at 4 USD, “the sweet spot”. Again, check what other other artists are selling at and follow their recommendations.
Ideally, the “let fans pay more if they want” is how you’ll make extra money. Set an album as low as you're willing to let fans purchase and hope fans purchase at higher rate. You can enable or disable the “let fans pay more if they want” under the price, as seen above.
I always set my albums at $1 USD. Regardless of length. It might be because this is how it works in Vaporwave but there’s a plus side. People are generous with their money when they really like something. I’ve seen some of my albums get $5-10 sales when they could have bought it at $1. There’s a huge marketing theory behind the “pay what you want” (PWYW) model. It works for websites like HumbleBundle (purchase bundles of video games at PWYW) and it totally works on Bandcamp.
“in fact, every day, we see überfans paying $50, $100, $200 for albums priced far lower”
For more information about Bandcamp’s recommendations: https://get.Bandcamp.help/hc/en-us/articles/360007802534-What-pricing-performs-best-
After the price, Bandcamp reminds you what PayPal account you’ll receive payments at:
And below that you’ll also have the option to set a download description:
The download description is useful for if you’re adding bonus items like hidden tracks or other digital items.
Uploading Album Art
Bandcamp actually has a unique Album Art system. If you select the top level album you can set an album art. But if you upload a track, you can also give each track a specific album cover.
Tip: Inform your fans of specific album covers per track in the download description section. It’s a nice little touch that some people enjoy finding out.
Album art requirements:
- Dimensions: 1400 x 1400 pixels or higher
- bigger is better according to Bandcamp (I recommend double that size).
- Formats: .jpg, .gif or .png
- Size: 10MB max
Uploading Bonus Items
Not only does Bandcamp let you upload your music for free, you can even share bonus items to encourage your fans to purchase your music. Under the “Upload Album Art” section, you’ll see:
Here you can upload a lot of different files, at the moment Bandcamp allows the following:
png, jpg, gif, pdf, doc, docx, txt, ppt, pptx, mp4, m4v, m4r, mov, wmv, avi, mpg, mpeg, swf, flv, torrent, cue, afm, amxd, otf, sib, ptb, mid, midi, gp5, gpx, fxp, fxb, vst, mod, it, xm, mtm, nsf, ttf, sav, epub, mobi, vst3, and alp
People love free extra stuff but if you are wondering what extra items you could add, here a couple I’ve seen on Bandcamp:
- Sheet Music
- Music Videos
- Related Artwork
- Photograph (the making of the album)
- Tour photos
- Midi Files
Note: If you wish to add bonus tracks for those buyers only, do not upload those tracks here. In the track upload section, there is a “bonus track” checkmark for that.
Setting the Artist
Setting an artist is actually more interesting than Bandcamp leads you to believe. If you are using an artist account, by default you can leave this field blank. But if you are an artist and you want to upload a side project to the same artist page, you can simply input a new name. Because of this you can run a label right from this account with any problems.
Tip: Another example of why you might change the artist field here is if you’re uploading a compilation. So for the entire album you might put here “various artists” and then in the track upload section set the artist names in the track title.
Setting Album Details
There are two sections here for album information but they show up differently depending which field you use. For example if the fields hold this information:
On the actual album page you’ll see this same information here:
As you see the “About this Album” section is above the release date and the “Album Credits” is below the date.
Bandcamp doesn’t regulate what you put in these sections but I recommend you put whatever information you want to use to describe the album in the top section and any credits in the bottom. Credits might contain who produced it, backing artists, features, etc.
Tip: Both fields support adding URLs
Although the album description and credits are great for your fans it doesn’t help you reach potential fans by Bandcamp search. Bandcamp, instead, uses tags as the SEO for their built in search engine.
By default, your top tags set in your profile settings are used (in my case, vaporwave, signals and electronic). Then I’ll add additional tags. If you plan on adding the same tags every time, just set them in the default tags for quicker album/track/EP publishing.
Note: Bandcamp will also automatically use your profile location as a tag.
Tip: In the vaporwave scene a lot of people use Japan as their location to sell their aesthetic. If you’re using Bandcamp to build a local scene, use your actual location so people in your city can find you.
The tags section is literally the most important section to fill out if you want your music to be found. Take a little time to research what tags are popular and where you fit in. There is an unlimited amount of tags on Bandcamp. You can even make your own, but the issue is if you are the only artists using “DowntownLazerTagPop”, you are wasting an opportunity for people to find you.
If you are having trouble finding tags that fit your kind of music, look up a similar tag and see what other tags are commented by Bandcamp. For example, let's say you're a rock band. Rock has thousands of bands already uploading their music under the tag “rock” but if you go to:
You’ll see a nice description plus more tags other bands use. Go down the rabbit hole of jumping through tags to find your perfect fit.In the above picture, Bandcamp automatically recommends the follow tags that are related to rock:
indie / prog rock / post-rock / rock & roll / psychedelic rock / hard rock / garage rock / surf rock / instrumental / math rock / rockabilly
Changing Default Tags
Note: Changing default tags will automatically change all your albums with the new default tags.
For most artists, you probably don’t care about UPC, EAN codes or even catalog numbers but if you’re running a label, Bandcamp has you covered. These are optional fields but will help you sort through your sales reports a little easier come tax season or something.
Uploading a Track
The above covered it for specifics on uploading an album but where the fun really begins is in uploading a track to an album, and it’s super easy. Bandcamp does have a couple of requirements before you can upload a track:
- Size: 600 MB or smaller per track
- MUST be lossless
- Supported file types:
What is lossless?
When saving audio, ideally you want the highest quality available. In generating that file, saving the original data without compression creates an almost perfect reconstruction to the source. This is lossless.
Bandcamp requires the highest quality of audio you can possibly give. Most DAWs or recording applications will automatically generate lossless files for you as .wav, .aif and .flac are extremely popular file formats in music production.
Tip: If you do not have a lossless file (ie, Mp3), you can convert your Mp3 to a lossless support format and Bandcamp won't know the difference. But it might be a disservice to your fans who purchase your music.
Now that you have your tracks in order lets upload it.
Adding a Track
Uploading a track is as simple as finding it on your computer and selecting it. Just like uploading the album art or using facebook to upload images. Same process.
Bandcamp does limit you to only uploading one track at a time between uploads. Meaning, if you have a 5 track EP and want to upload all 5 tracks, you must wait until the first track is finished uploading until you can upload the next. As seen below:
Until that green bar is at 100%, you need to wait.
Note: Bandcamp does have a paid program called “Bandcamp Pro”, which allows for batch uploads and more.
After a track properly uploads, Bandcamp will give you a check mark next to the file, name as seen below:
With the file verified and uploaded, Bandcamp provides various options to fully set up a track. Here you can set the:
- Track name
- Enable individual track downloads
- An optional track price
- Let fans pay more if they want
- Where payments will go to via PayPal
- A download description
- An about this track field
- Lyrics field
- Track credits field
- Upload a music video (Bandcamp Pro feature)
- Artist name (good for compilations or features)
- Optionally upload a unique track art
- A specific tag for this track
- The track license
- Track ISRC
- Release date
- Enable it as a bonus track
Just like setting an album name, adding a track name is in a single field. Here you can include a feature artist, any characters, emojis, etc.
Below the track name you have the option to enable or disable individual track downloading. This is set to enabled by default and there’s no real reason to disable it.
Next you have the option to set the track price. Ideally you’ll either have it at two options: free or 1.00 USD.
If you enter 0 in the track price but have “let fans pay more if they want” enabled, if someone enters zero they download the album for free. If they enter more than zero you get whatever amount of money they send you.
Tip: Fans who enter Zero are required to follow your artist account to download. At least you get a free fan out of the download.
If a fan enters zero as a pay what they want, it does not show up in their collection. A lot of times people pay for albums because they want it in their collection list. It’s a status thing. So just because you set the track or album price to zero with “let fans pay more if they want” enabled, it doesn’t mean you wont get sales. The collection list is a huge reason people buy music outside of supporting the artist.
Always enable “let fans pay more if they want”. Even if you set your track to 1 USD, there’s a chance they’ll buy it for more. Even if you set your album to 10 USD there’s a change they’ll buy it for more. There’s no reason to miss out our extra money by disabling it.
Bandcamp also has options to set individual track information, lyrics or track credits. According to Bandcamp these fields help people find your music through Google Search. Even lyrics might be important for people to find your music.
TikTok has successfully brought up independent artists faster than youtube, instagram or twitter combined. Kids these days are using music in their TikTok for dancing videos, reactions, skits and more. A great example of this is Yung Bae’s “Bad Boy”. He has successfully used TikTok to meme his track and now I’ve even seen foreign actors in China and India use his track as mouth the words “Bad Boy”. TikTok-er(?) might not show what the actual track name is or who wrote it but there’s still an easy way for people to find your track if it has lyrics.
New fans will search google for the lyrics they hear and will find your Bandcamp profile. All because you took the extra time to add lyrics to each track.
Note: If a fan listens to your music on the official Bandcamp mobile app, they can easily view the lyrics while listening to music, as it is overlaid right on top of the cover art.
If your track has a separate artist or alternative artwork, it can be added the same way as setting these fields in the album section.
If a track should have different unique tags, you can also optionally add that here as well. If you don’t add any tags here, it’ll use the same tags set inside the album details.
Finally, you have the option to set a license for your track. By default Bandcamp uses “All rights reserved” but pick what fits your licensing. I advise speaking to a lawyer if you are concerned about this section.
What’s an ISRC?
Bandcamp doesn’t supply an International Standard Recording Code or ISRC. This is a unique id code for recordings and music that's sort of like a digital fingerprint encoded into a recording permanently. If you want one digital aggregators like Tunecore or CD Baby provide ISRC if you upload through them. You can also apply at local ISRC agencies to generate your own code.
Tip: I’ve never used one nor see a reason to but I’m also not a big time artist. Do your own research to see if it fits your requirements as an artist/label.
The last two optional fields for uploading a single track are the release date and bonus track.
If you leave the release date blank, it’ll use the same release date as the entire album. Some might wish to add a release date an album is a rolling release. For example, I have an album called “Random Singles” and every once in a while, I upload a track that I did in my free time but not specifically for an album. I started the original album back in 2019, and a year later, I am still adding music. Here I would set the date the track was uploaded for my own records.
The last field available to edit is the bonus track. This is a fun option for when you want to give people who purchase the album a little extra. Unfortunately, bonus tracks are not visible to fans or people who purchase it. It isn’t until they personally download the album to their desktop the tracks are available.
I’ve used this on one of my albums and although it shows up in the list because I am the account holder (as seen above), it does not show up to anyone who views the album (as seen below) as a fan:
Tip: In order to inform your fans bonus tracks are available, put this information in the album description.