Hannah’s album, and why Bandcamp is awesome

November 7, 2010 | Leave a comment

Hannah, my sister, set up shop on Bandcamp this afternoon in order to sell her album, Pre-Apocalyptic Love Song. I set up hannahwerdmuller.com for her and put together a simple header graphic based on something she drew a while ago – and in the process, totally fell in love with Bandcamp. This is how a music service should be. Here are some reasons why:

It makes it easy for fans to share. I bought the album, of course. I also shared it with my friends on Facebook and Twitter from her page. And now I’m sharing it with you – literally – by embedding it here in my post:

It’s simple and cheap. Upload your music; choose a price; yield 15% to the service (or 10% once you reach $5000 in sales). The only downside is that you have to upload your music in a large, raw format, but this allows for the next major benefit:

Customers can download music in the format of their choice. MP3 is obviously the default option, but OGGs and FLACs are present and correct for the audio geeks, as well as AACs for the iTunes-bound. (And of course, they can preview the music as a stream for free.)

The analytics are great. It’s a couple of steps short of being Google Analytics for music, but the stats section updates in real-time and lets you know which songs people are listening to all the way through and which songs they’re skipping past. That’s honest, aggregated statistical feedback that no friend will ever give you.

And for extra geeky bonus points, the stats have a “defender” mode. I wasn’t sure what this meant, so clicked to find out:

Yep, that’s Defender, superimposed over Hannah’s album stats. (It’s day one, hence the massive peak.) That’s the kind of easter egg I love.

It’s easy to customize. Configuring DNS is never going to be the world’s simplest process, but Bandcamp’s instructions were just right. Of course, this is my bread and butter, so I know what I’m doing, but I feel confident that anybody could follow them and make the process work.

I can’t sing, play an instrument or write music, but if I could, I’d have signed up already. As it is, I’m content to keep checking Hannah’s stats and find new technological ways to bring her music to a wider audience. Bandcamp is the best way I’ve seen for independent artists to set up shop on the web.

File sharing and digital business models

September 29, 2009 | 1 comment

There were some great comments on this weekend’s guest post for Media140 about Lily Allen and sharing, so I’ve written a follow-up, exploring some ideas (and the arguments left in the comments) in a little more detail.

However, after at least a decade without tangible participation from the media industries, illegal file sharing has become mainstream. Companies, rights holders, device manufacturers and digital distributors have been engaged in difficult and important conversations for that time, while file sharers, unencumbered with that responsibility, have gone right ahead and developed easier and easier ways to share content for free. If I want to watch Up, the Disney/Pixar film that’s still awaiting release here in the UK, I can download Vuze and be downloading it inside of five minutes. To beat file sharing, any business model has to beat that experience.

Click here to read the whole article. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lily Allen, file sharing and music on the Internet

September 27, 2009 | Leave a comment

I’ve written a guest post over at the Media140 blog about Lily Allen’s file sharing stance, and the wider place of traditional record labels in the Internet economy.

If the Internet has brought us anything, it is individuality. We have the ability to publish, share and consume the media of our choice, based upon our own preferences. We are no longer happy to adhere to the conventions of broad demographic groups. This change is not just occurring in the record industry; it is happening in politics, in journalism, and across the media spectrum.

You can read the whole post here.