Marketing

Why Artists Should Ditch MySpace For Bandcamp

This post is by Vince Neilstein, the Editor-In-Chief at Metal Sucks.

image from www.binaural.es There aren’t any reasons to be using MySpace in 2011. I suppose it can’t hurt to have a band profile there just in case someone happens to stumble upon it, but that’s about it; MySpace is a useless, out-dated, cluttered, piece-of-shit platform and there are better options now available. All bands and labels should now be using Bandcamp for their streaming music needs. Here’s why:

  1. Less clutter. Bandcamp offers some level of customization for band profiles — colors, background, and an album image — but that’s it. And this is fantastic. Before the MySpace Beta relaunch, page designs had become so obnoxious that you might have had to scroll down four page-lengths just to get to any content, and the design has always been cluttered and confusing. Bandcamp keeps it simple by not allowing for much customization, but just enough to make a band’s page feel personable.*
  2. No one uses MySpace for social networking anymore. If people actually used the site’s social networking features to interact with bands and discover new music that would be one thing, but it’s simply no longer the case. People visit MySpace pages directly, and they do so solely to stream a band’s music. 
  3. Better audio quality. Self-explanatory.
  4. More storage. You can easily host multiple albums in their entirety, conveniently sorted by album and listed in track order.abysm
  5. The ability to sell downloads. Ever since the abortion that was SnoCap, MySpace hasn’t offered direct sales of audio — you always had to visit elsewhere, and their current “buy” option redirects to iTunes or Amazon. Bandcamp offers bands the option to directly sell tracks or albums at a price of their choosing, ANY price, including free or “name your own price” (and even has an option to set a basement price for the latter). You can even set different price-points for different audio formats. Bandcamp charges a reasonably priced % of all sales… after all, the site costs money to host and maintain. Labels, this is a potentially HUGE source of revenue you’re missing out on; no reason you shouldn’t have a Bandcamp page for every artist on your roster. Ditto for unsigned bands; may as well set it up, nothing to lose.
  6. It actually works, all the time. Self-explanatory. Anyone who’s used MySpace with any degree of regularity has surely been frustrated with their buggy player.

Props to Seventh Rule for being one of the most forward-thinking metal labels out there. Starting this year, Seventh Rule is offering all their releases on their Bandcamp page for free or “Name Your Own Price.” From a press release we received from the label in January:

The first 200 downloads of every release will be free. Please check here for the downloads before supporting mediafire-mega-space downloads. We are helping to cut out the middleman and albums you download directly from Seventh Rule, via BANDCAMP, will be of a much higher quality. After the free downloads have been used, the release will go up to a “Choose Your Price” scale. We are basically telling you where to get our releases for free, but you already had your own source, right?

The End records is all doing a good job of using Bandcamp as a platform to deliver digital promos. To my knowledge, no other metal labels are utilizing the platform at all unless bands on those labels have taken their own initiative. Someone please tell me why. Oh, that’s right… these are these same labels who send us MP3s that are completely unlabeled (not even the band’s name) and don’t understand what we mean when we complain that the MP3s were ripped at a bit-rate of 128kbps.

No, MetalSucks is not on Bandcamp’s payroll, and no, we are not receiving any money or promotional consideration whatsoever from anyone in the Bandcamp camp (see what i did there?). Bandcamp is just a superior solution for bands and labels, plain and simple;bands — and ESPECIALLY labels — are leaving money on the table by not participating. Get on it.

-VN

* I’ll concede that the one thing MySpace has over Bandcamp is the ability to post tour dates.

Editor Note: We're aware this is yet another MySpace bashing post. We're aware that it shills for Bandcamp hard. I contacted Vince and asked if we could re-post this because he makes great points. This is a conversation starter. Enjoy. – kb

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21 Comments

  1. I agree with all the points above on why not to use Myspace(I have a lot more) but there are many things that are missed by both companies mentioned above. As the Editor note said the post ‘shills for Bandcamp hard’. SO I wanted to ‘shill’ in a polite way about something which I am involved in which has started to make a big impact on bands that use it.
    So as I believe strongly about this topic I’m biting my lip hard, Bandcamp is great and I really love what they’ve done but please look at get-ctrl.com for a solution which offers a more rounded offering for bands to address other areas such as mobile, facebook, twitter and fan base management.
    It’s a bit of a plug I know but if bands are looking for an alternative to Myspace that is simple to use and cuts down time online so they can play more music then it is something to take a serious look at. If you like Bandcamp I’m sure you’ll love it.

  2. I completely agree but I advise against completely abandoning Myspace.. Myspace still has power when it comes to search results ..so i would still use it as a way for people to find me in the search results..

  3. People already know my thoughts on Myspace 🙂
    Bandcamp I think is awesome and I have been using it as our main store for a year. We actually ‘qualified’ for the topspin platform but I love the simplicity and look of bandcamp a whole lot better. They also did something very important for bands which was to limit the amount of free downloads available per month. This forces bands to figure out how to monetize their products effectively, while also using the freebee to draw people in.

  4. Let’s say you had the perfect website for artists in terms of having the most comprehensive product offerings an artist could ever want. All that is meaningless if users can’t find you. One thing that Myspace Music dominates in is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I just Googled several metal bands to see their Google rankings (I simply typed in the name of the band). Here are the results:
    Kingdom Of Giants: Rank #1
    Adept: Rank #7 <-- but the first music result Bad Salad: Rank #4 The Absence: Rank #1 Sapiency: Rank #8 <-- but the second music result Defiler: Rank #9 <-- but the first music result Try it yourself. Choose ANY artist and see where they rank. Without good SEO, you have an uphill battle.

  5. The SEO as stated above is exactly right.
    Bandcamp is a good destination I use it, but the limited functionality does not allow me to personalize the music that is offered for sale or give people any real sense of the band, so unless you know my band, their bandcamp profile will not help you want to know them.
    Clutter as you call it for a designer is heaven to a fan, it should be our choice don’t you think

  6. yes, i think this is a know-brainer. bandcamp is made for musicians and music minded people. hope they are paying attention, and make it possible for artist to post tour dates.

  7. Hi, I thought that too but check this out.
    Look up artists that use get-ctrl on google, now I’m taking a risk here as google does switch things around with search bots.
    These are some artists that aren’t main stream so it’s not that they’ve had millions of hits to ‘fix the results’
    The Pretty Machine
    Lucy and The Caterpillar
    Will Makower
    These come out top, not just the home page but other pages too because we built the platform to do all the SEO for the artist automatically. They don’t need to get their hands dirty with
    techie stuff.
    Cool eh?

  8. Hi, there I just posted this above.
    Hi, I thought that too but check this out.
    Look up artists that use get-ctrl on google, now I’m taking a risk here as google does switch things around with search bots.
    These are some artists that aren’t main stream so it’s not that they’ve had millions of hits to ‘fix the results’
    The Pretty Machine
    Lucy and The Caterpillar
    Will Makower
    These come out top, not just the home page but other pages too because we built the platform to do all the SEO for the artist automatically. They don’t need to get their hands dirty with
    techie stuff.
    Cool eh?

  9. This conversation was happening 3 years ago in hip hop, it’s kind of amazing to find such a time lag in other genres. Then again, hip hop has definitely been driveing music biz & promo innovation for awhile now…

  10. I see Bandcamp as a service that provides independent islands that function as a band’s commerce solution, while I see MySpace as a failed attempt at a music discovery and sharing service.
    Bandcamp doesn’t facilitate the following, all of which are good for artists and relate to music discovery – note: MySpace doesn’t do these things well either:
    1. genre – you can’t identify a song’s genre, browse it, and locate other music, genres are tags on Bandcamp, and assigned to albums
    2. region – you can’t browse songs by region, only albums
    3. similar artists – you can’t identify other music on the site that is similar to the music you are checking out
    4. license – there’s a lot of people looking for music to use in their videos, etc.
    5. charts – while music charts are usually useless due to tracking downloads/streams only, people still enjoy discovering music this way
    6. song reviews – music fans can’t discover music that has been rated well on the site since there is no rating/comment system
    some other issues/missing features:
    1. site search – sends you to Google, no means to only search songs, or genres, or regions, etc. – not a good user experience
    2. playlists – no means for fans to create playlists across artists – this helps with music discovery
    3. favorites – no means to add a song to your favorites
    4. public display of song stats/activity – the song pages should show how many purchases, streams, reviews, ratings, etc.
    —-
    Each of the points I listed above relates to using data and user actions/feedback to drive music discovery. I certainly feel that all artists and bands should have their own site, and that Bandcamp provides a great commerce platform, but in regards to utilizing properties on the Web to increase your exposure and fan base, it is best to have a presence on sites which provide an environment for music discovery – and that doesn’t mean Facebook – since the only means for music discovery there is to push status updates into your fan’s walls – although you should have an artist/band page at FB too.
    With that stated, I need to include two more points…
    1. I’ve never considered MySpace to be very good with the above list of points/features, and can’t believe how much money and time they have wasted making such a poorly designed site. Hundreds of employees, hundreds of thousands of dollars burned – and it is still annoying to browse.
    2. I am very biased about this subject, as I’m a founder of http://www.ArtistServer.com
    With 9 years of service, ArtistServer is one of the oldest indie music sites online. In 2005, the site was listed as one of the ‘Top 20 Music Sites’ by Time Magazine. As of this month, ArtistServer has over 24,000 artists and music fans, and 9,800 songs hosted.
    BTW – I’m looking to grow ArtistServer, and am looking for partners and interested parties.

  11. Very important notes on the SEO! There’s a big chance you still get a lot of traffic to your MySpace account, through search engines, which you do not want to miss!
    Furthermore, you’ve probably spread your Myspace url for a long time to bookers, agencies, fans, etc. If you just delete your account, you won’t be found at all.
    My advice would be to leave Myspace gradually. Stop communicating your url and stop putting a lot of effort in it. Make sure your Myspace contains the links to the online places you do hang out at.
    For example my friends band Little Things That Kill did this well: http://www.myspace.com/lttk (Unfortunately the latest changes to Myspace distorted the “Myspace is dead” notice and the links to other outlets a little, but you get the picture…)

  12. I’d like just one of these sites to offer that. I know that the “free track” offer I have is nowhere near as effective as it could be due to that fact that I know many of my audience use the iOS platform.

  13. Hello everyone,
    very good points all.
    However, Bandcamp is not the answer. None of the current services are.
    The thing is that NONE of the services match what Hitlantis.com is doing in terms of visual content discovery.
    Imagine this:
    are you stopping by a door of a record store (they still exist!) and shout some odd letters into the letterbox wishing that someone brings you a pile of (optimised and often sponsored) search results? No, ofcourse not.
    You would step into the store and start browsing shelves visually.
    But internet has never offered anything like this pretty normal human behaviour. Not until Hitlantis whose visual browsing is not just cool looking but resembles the real life situation of browsing the music products visually.
    Have you seen this recent Mashable artice:
    http://mashable.com/2011/02/03/artist-map-music-discovery/
    and this by Tight Mix Blog:
    http://tightmixblog.com/music-industry/hitlantis-brings-together-music-lovers-and-unsigned-bands/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tightmixblog+(Tight+Mix+Blog)
    Hitlantis’ve been publicly live just 7 months meaning there are still things under development (like artist bubbles customisation (in not cluttered way!) and more flexible genres etc) but it’ll all be there. For example Hitlantis will be “always on” which you can see from this peak video of our forthcoming iPad app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW2weDkiGsw
    Hitlantis is definitely worth checking out.
    thx for reading this.
    And yes, I am a co-founder of Hitlantis making me too somewhat biased…

  14. The best part about Bandcamp is that people other than their founders and employees with talk about how awesome they are. There’s a whole lot of ad copy up in these “comments.”

  15. I Love BandCamp but am not gonna leave MySpace just for the SEO results. Last week i saw the traffic to my sites and incredible Myspace was number one with a big %…I has been reading about it before noticed by myself. I only update my next shows and maybe some new video. But the interfase really sucks!! Just today crap my Safari 5.0.3. It`s not the first time btw..Anyway , for social networking Myspace is Dead, but if you are an Indie Musician stay from it but don`t delete your account! And make some updates, at least for your next gig`s. Also am going to join another new plataform more musicians, that really embracce me recently..Get Ctrl Guys!!

  16. What a piece of shit this article is – obviously written by someone who works for Bandcamp and then followed up by a heap of fake comments (also by people who work for Bandcamp).
    Please tell me what exactly would be the point of abandoning Myspace ( which brings us up first in search engines, has brought us 13000 plus friends, over 600 comments, a record deal, 2 tours in the USA, and has (still) 30 million active (non band)users for a crummy site like BandCamp which has virtually zero traffic apart from bands? Please explain why this is a good idea unless you have shares in BandCamp

  17. News Corp is calling another company a liar???
    THAT IS JUST TOO FUNNY. CHASE CAREY AND JONATHAN MILLER ARE TWO OF THE BIGGEST LIARS IN THE CORPORATE WORLD.
    Here are the facts, Carey and Miller were given the opportunity to change the direction of MySpace last year with a proposal that would increase net profits of MySpace to 1.5 billion dollars by the third year.
    Based on our experence with News Corp, Carey, and Miller no one should trust any of them.
    They wanted us to disclose the plan to them without any written agreement in place. When that was refussed, there were no further discussions.
    I would venture to guess anyone they claim to be offering more than 10 million dollars for MySpace would be another one of their lies.
    It is believed that the damage that Carey and Miller have done to MySpace has brought the value of MySpace down to nothing.
    Anyone willing to pay the 50 to 200 million dollars MySpace alleges would mean one of two things. EITHER THEY LIED TO MYSPACE ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY,,,,
    OR MORE LIKELY IS NEWS CORP, CAREY, AND MILLER ARE LYING LIKE THEY ALWAYS DO IN AN EFFORT TO DRIVE THE PRICE UP.
    TIME WILL TELL!!!

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