Friday, December 7, 2012

Bandcamp Introduces Fan Accounts

Bandcamp has been no less than a godsend for musicians and labels that have utilized it properly.  It has quickly become my go-to for discovering and listening to new music.  Not only do they have a great service - streamlined and not bloated, easy to use, offers a number of different file formats, allows for a pay-what-you-want model, lets artists post lyrics right on the page, had full song playback rather than snippets, and it s pretty great deal in terms of Bandcamp's keep.  If you're a small (or even large) artist or label and you aren't using Bandcamp, it something you absolutely need to look into.

If you're a customer, you should be trying to find your favorite - or new - bands on Bandcamp, too.  A lot of those features I mentioned above - formats, pricing, etc - benefit you, along with other goodies, like having the files  metadata-ready so everything you need is there upon download.  Now Bandcamp is adding even more for customers in their fan account pages.

I've only had a little time to mess with this (the invite email only came last night) but so far it's a pretty cool, if simple, addition to an already great service.  It's essentially a social networking aspect: the albums (or, I'm assuming, individual songs) that you've purchased via Bandcamp show on your page.  From there you can highlight your favorite track and add a snippet on why you liked (or hated, I guess) the album.  In the absence of a "favorite track" your album will show a "featured track."  In both cases viewers of your profile will be able to listen to the track by clicking the album art right from that page. 

Other people who have said album(s) in their collection will show up on your page; you can then follow them, allowing you to connect with people who have similar tastes and check out their collection.  There's bound to be something on there you'll enjoy.  You can also follow artists and get a head's up when they post new music, and a future feature will show fans that are backing an artist/album on that page.  You can add albums to a wishlist, although this may be on an album-by-album basis, as I've come across at least one album page that doesn't have an "Add to Wishlist" option.  Still, it's an easy way to track albums you might look into at a later date. [Update: The nice folks at Bandcamp have let me know that "the album page wishlist button won’t be visible on custom domains until after the beta," which accounts for the discrepancies I was experiencing.  So, mystery solved.]

It's just a click of a button to hide albums or drag them around on your page, ensuring that your profile shows up just the way you want it to.  You can take your customization even further by personalizing your profile page.  A profile photo and banner, similar to Facebook, are available to upload, along with adding in basic information like your location and website.  There's also the option to share your collection through Facebook or Twitter.

All in all, what Bandcamp's fan accounts leave you with is similar to what it already offered - a clean, easy to use service that will close the gap between artist and fan even more.  I'm interested in seeing what features might be added with time.  There's a lot of potential to reach fans, and it'll be cool in the meantime to see how artists use it.  It's still in invite-only beta mode right now, so keep an eye out for when it's available to everyone.  In the meantime, sign up for a fan account if you've gotten the call, and check out my collection below.

What are your thoughts on this feature?  Is it a service you'd use?  What additions would make it even better?  As always, feel free to leave your comments.

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