NoiseTrade vs. BandCamp
Another blogger that I really respect — Joy Ike of grassrootsy — recently posted about a number of services for independent or DIY musicians to share their albums or tracks with fans. As usual, I agree with a lot of what she says. She said that she “leans towards” NoiseTrade (NT) over BandCamp (BC). I've been using and enjoying the benefits of BC for years. Because I follow grassrootsy, I decided to check out NoiseTrade. Like other services, they offer a way for musicians to upload songs and publicize them on their own blogs, social media, and so on. (NT also offers a similar feature for writers/books. I did not check it out, so I have nothing to say about it.)
Joy says that the easy sharing mechanism on NT is one of their selling points. It's true, they have a nice tweet or FB share button that pre-populates with the title of your album. The share button on BC is pre-populated, too, but only with a generic “omg best album ever”. There's also a native “Like” button for your FaceBook page. It's true that on BC, fans have to click twice to like your page (once to open the page and once to click “like”). Both services use this methodology for Twitter and your own web site. (You can list other social media and related links on BC. I don't see a way to do this on NT.) BandCamp also lists people who have supported your album and fans can write reviews. As far as I can tell, NT does not display people who have faved or downloaded your music. For another potential competitor with NoiseTrade, you should also check out Reward My Music.
Do you always want to give away your music?
One thing to keep in mind is that with NoiseTrade, you will always run the chance of giving away your music. You cannot (as you can with BandCamp) include an album that always gets something added to your PayPal account. There is a prominent “tip” button if the fan chooses to click on it instead of going straight to the download. (I'll bite my tongue and choose not to debate whether this is one more way to devalue our own music or rail against the blows to push marketing…)
What do you get for the download? An email address and possibly a share. The email address will probably come with some other data. Names are not provided due to privacy concerns. (Names are provided on BandCamp.)
Other positive features on NT include: the ability to upload MP3's in addition to higher quality files like FLAC and AIFF; a slick layout for drawing in fans; and a platform for helping to share your music and build your email list. That being said, I saw several album shares on NoiseTrade that only included one or two songs with a link to BandCamp for the sale and download of the whole album.
NoiseTrade won't drive me away from BandCamp. They certainly seem to have a long list of “albums” available in trade for a fan's email address. So, indie music acts should definitely check them out as a possible source for your mailing list and — more importantly — your fan base.