Hey guys, Stephen here AKA MrSteJ with another video for the DIY Musician Guide. In this one I’m going to show you how you can set up a music label on Bandcamp for free.
There’s actually two methods of setting up a label account on Bandcamp and we’re going to look at both in this video. One of them is free and the other is for a paid account so you’ll get to see which kind of method is more suited to you after we’ve looked through them (spoilers, free is the cheapest).
Let’s start with the Free Account.
The FREE Method – What is it?
Basically, with the FREE method, we create a new artist account which will act like a hub for our linked artists. Here’s how to do it.
1. Set Up a New Account
What you’ll first want to do is set up a new Bandcamp Artist account. If you’re not sure on how to do this, I’ve got a video walkthrough just for. But let’s pretend you’ve already done that and you’re at this stage where Bandcamp is asking you to upload music.
2. Create a Label Index Page
Of course, we don’t want to do that. Click on the menu link on the top right and choose edit profile. Scroll down to the Home Page section and select the ‘go to my index page’ option. You can see that there’s a bit of a tip there saying “for labels linking to individual artist sites”. Scroll down and hit Save then OK when you’re done.
3. Setting Releases
We then get to add some releases. You can add anything you want at all here as long as it’s on Bandcamp so to be honest, you could get really creative. But we’re here to create our label.
For my label, NewPath Records, I’m going to add my latest solo release by clicking Set and then changing the address to my artist page. I’ll then get access to my releases be it single tracks or full releases. I’m going to stick with the newest release for now and as you can see the artwork populates that position. I’ll do the same for my other artists Wired to Follow and MINIONTV before we move on.
4. Customising the Page Layout
If you look at the top, you’ll see a menu were we can customise the amount of rows and columns. That way we can increase the size of the artwork by only showing two on a row or add more rows for more releases. It’s entirely up to you.
5. The Header
As for the header, I’ve prepared one specially for this page which includes links to the artists. If you want to know how to do that yourself for page, here’s a tutorial.
So that’s pretty much it as far as what you can do with it. All of these obviously link to the release page, away from this page so that’s something to consider. We also lose the sidebar with this layout for some weird reason which is a bit of a shame really as there’s no information or context on the page about what this label is all about but it is a free workaround.
So that’s the free version I’ve currently adopted for my own hub of release but let’s take a look at the paid option.
The PAID Method – What is it?
For the more pro version of setting up a label, basically meaning that it comes with a lot more bells and whistles, head on over to bandcamp.com/labels.
First things first, how much does it cost? I always like to get that little detail out of the way. The paid version costs $20 monthly for up to 15 artists and $50 monthly for unlimited artists. If you’re like me in the UK, that works out at about £17 and £42 respectively.
Now that opening paragraph basically tells us what we’re getting in a nutshell, but they’ve expanded on it a little more down below through 8 points, so let’s take a look.
1. Unified Accounting
Export machine-readable sales reports with custom date ranges and filter by artist. You can also add a catalog number to any digital release and an SKU to physical, and we’ll include them in your reports for easier bookkeeping.
I assume this is very much like the standard sales reports on the Bandcamp Tool but with some extra filters to handle the extra artists. This is probably essential if you’re planning on treating your label as a business as you’ll most likely need all of this info for tax etc.
2. Pro All Around
Every artist account within a label automatically gets Bandcamp Pro, so all your artists get batch upload, private streaming, ad-free video hosting, deeper stats, and more.
This is obviously a really good thing for both you and the artists on the label as you all get the extra features. I won’t expand on whether or not the Bandcamp Pro account is any good as I’ve already covered that in a video. which I’ll link to below.
I will say this though, if you’re bent on getting Bandcamp Pro, I’d be very tempted to instead sign up for a label account instead. In that way at least, any other artists signing to your label, including yourself get all of these features for not that much extra. You could even share the cost with other artists.
3. Simplified Fulfilment
View all your merch orders in one interface, and filter by package type or artist for streamlined fulfillment. Easily print shipping labels or packing slips, and automatically email customers when an item is shipped, too.
Going by the image, this looks to be very similar to the Merchandise Order screen in the Bandcamp Artist Tools page. Obviously again with more filters to handle multiple artists. I don’t see the “Email buyer” or “include additional message” options on the standard merch page so that could be really cool helpful feature.
4. Set Payments at the Release Level
Sign an artist who already has a Bandcamp account? You can direct payments on a per-release basis, so money for their independent records can continue going right to them, and payments for their releases on your label can go right to you.
Now this is a very interesting feature. You could potentially set up your label to take no money at all and just let it flow to your artists. That’s obviously not a great business model, especially if you’re lumped with sending out merch but I like the option, especially as stated, if the artists have releases they’d like to keep unaffiliated.
5. A Lovely Artist Page
Looks great on mobile too. Drag and drop to customize the order, dial in your design, and make it your default tab if you wish. Fans can follow you right from there, and we’ll automatically notify them of all your new releases.
This kind of goes without saying really as the standard artist account can pretty much do all this too apart from dragging and dropping which is a neat little feature, especially if you have a lot of artists or releases on board.
6. Unified Stats
View plays, sales and location data for all your artists, or easily drill down to a single artist or release. It’s all in one place, no switching between accounts required.
This looks to be just like the Pro account where you get access to the handy map but with extra filters. To be honest, this will be very helpful when you have a lot of music on there and you’d like to test out things like if changing the positioning of a release gets you more or less hits, that sort of thing.
7. Easily Convert Your Artist-That’s-Really-A-Label Account
Already using a Bandcamp artist account as a label? No problem, we’ve bent over backwards to make the transition to bona fide label account as seamless as can be.
I’m guessing this helps convert what we created in the first part of this video into the paid account without much fuss which sounds good to me.
8. Amazing customer service
We understand that managing a label is complex. We’re here to help, and we’re constantly refining the service in response to your feedback.
So, here I’m not sure if there’s some kind of special on hand assistance if you have a label account compared to the standard account. Their customer assistance has been really good in my experience, so this just sounds like “hey we’re listening etc”.
A Bandcamp Label Example
Here’s Sub Pop‘s Bandcamp Label page which you can find at subpop.bandcamp.com.
The first thing you’ll notice is that they have a separate tab for artists on the navigation menu and if you scroll down, they have a tonne of artists on there.
It looks as though you can specially showcase a couple right there at the top which’ll be a great idea if they have a release that’s about to come out for example.
You’ll also notice that unlike our free version, you can still feature a sidebar on the right.
If you either go into the music or merch sections you can filter by artist which is a handy feature, although it would be nice if there were a search feature as well as all on display.
A really cool feature I like here is the video tab which seems to collate all the videos from each artist page.
One last feature I’ll mention which I don’t see listed is the return link on each artist’s page. Basically, if you go to any artist under the label, they’ll now feature a “back to label” link on the top left.
We’ll move on from this example. If you want to see any more examples of label accounts for yourself, there’s a huge list below the Bandcamp for Labels page.
So, in conclusion is it worth signing up for a label account or just sticking with the free one?
My advice would be to start off on the free account and work your way up to the paid version, especially if you only have a couple of artists. If it starts getting out of hand and you’re actually selling quite a bit then there’s the obvious incentive to upgrade. The paid option will take some of the hassle away, especially in terms of money and responsibility.
For me, the artists I’ve featured on my NewPath Records label are all part me and mainly my responsibility, so I’m ok with the free version for now. But I could see me upgrading if I ever wanted to expand it into something bigger.
Anyway, I’ll end that there then. If you want to see more videos like this please, like & subscribe and I’ll see you next time, in another video.