Bandcamp offers some advice for “musical beginners” or less well known artists:
If your music career is just getting started, you’re almost certainly better off avoiding pre-orders and instead getting your full album out, letting people hear it, and building up your fanbase. It’s conceivable that someone who has never heard of you might pre-order your record on the strength of a few teaser tracks, but it’s pretty unlikely.
So who benefits from setting up album pre-orders?
According to Bandcamp:
If you’re a more established artist, however, setting up a release as a pre-order can have a few benefits. First, it gives your biggest fans an easy way to make sure they get your record the moment it comes out. Second, it gives you a way to build up excitement and demand for a release, beyond just talking about it. And finally, it can increase the likelihood of your album reaching the weekly Billboard charts, since all your pre-orders are reported to SoundScan as if 100% of them were placed the week you release the record. We were as surprised as anybody to learn that that’s how the game is played, but hey, we’re here to help you play it.
I’m a big fan of Bandcamp. I’ve used it to release my albums, which are available here. What I like about Bandcamp is that they are in the artist’s corner. The last quote captures that spirit and ethos pretty well.
“On thesixtyone, new artists make music and listeners decide what’s good. We’re nurturing a growing ecosystem where talented folks can sell songs and merchandise directly to their fans.
We’re named after Highway 61, a U.S. route that runs along the Mississippi River and marks the origin of American music culture. Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and B.B. King rode the 61. Elvis grew up in the housing projects along it. Highway 61 was the road by which people left their homes to take their music to the world.”