As Myspace sits a few nails away from a closed coffin (read our views on that here), the next wave of digital music platforms has already worked its way into band portfolios. While a number of online music services have come and gone over the last few years -each trying to usurp the throne of the online music kingdom- the field seems to have narrowed itself to two formidable frontrunners.
Off the bat, I gotta say I am a fan of both. While both infinitely better than their Myspace predecessor (No instant urge to punch an object), Soundcloud and Bandcamp offer distinctly unique characteristics depending on what exactly your goals or needs are as an artist. Here are some of the top benefits of each service:
One of the best features of Soundcloud is the interactive Wave format, where listeners can drop comments at a specific point within the song. The ability for listeners to give feedback or (constructive) criticisms at certain points they like or dislike, makes Soundcloud a great platform for testing out new tracks and demos or getting input from other artists.
2) Public & Private Community
Soundcloud allows for a private option, which means artists or band-mates can easily collaborate on a project privately before launching into the public sphere. A Soundcloud account also comes with a private dropbox for users to share larger song files amongst themselves.
3) Direct to Soundcloud Apps
Whether you’re hunting for samples or taking clips to remix, easy to use apps allow smart phone users to record live to their Soundcloud accounts.
1) Artist Sales
The best feature from Bandcamp is the ability to sell your music and merchandise directly from the platform. Artists can choose the price to charge (with a free option) for the download of an album or song. Bandcamp also allows artists to sell physical albums as well as merchandise using a Paypal account.
The ability to change the domain name, coupled with a relatively customizable interface means that artists couple potentially use their Bandcamp page in place of an artist website. Bandcamp allows users to add links to social media accounts, stores (if you choose not to sell yourself) and other management or label websites, effectively including many of the usual characteristics of an artist site.
3) SEO Optimized
In the cluttered world of digital music, having an SEO optimized platform means your name and profile will have a better chance of placing higher in search engine rankings.
Soundcloud is much more geared towards artists looking to collaborate, trade ideas, work remixes, and share their music for free. We might suggest this option for newer artists who may not have a ton of material to sell, and would benefit more immediately from the ease at which their songs can be shared.
Bandcamp on the other hand, is much more customizable and effective for artists looking to sell music and merch. This might be more beneficial for established artists who can use Bandcamp as another branded platform to help with sales.
Using both is always an option (they are free!), but if you’re looking to maintain just one, start by identifying what your needs are as an artist and work from there.
These are merely a few features (out of many!) that we find the most attractive about these two platforms. For some further reading, we suggest checking out the following articles:
*UPDATE* We’ve written a follow-up post based on data that suggests SoundCloud may be winning the music wars!
At Mojito, we optimize all masters for Soundcloud and Bandcamp! Learn more about it here.