Reassessing Your Definition of Illmatic

We’re declaring ourselves 1.0 today! This is the third of three posts regarding the release. The other two are here and here.

UPDATE Dec 12, 2009: Moo has decided to shut down their API, so the cards mentioned in the video below are unfortunately no longer available. You can, however, print up codes yourself by selecting the Print option on your Bandcamp Tools page. You’ll get a nicely formatted document (with crop marks and all) that you can print and cut up to make your own download cards, cheaply and easily. Alternatively, you can click the export link, and print the codes however you like.

A few weeks ago, we sent out an email promising to completely disrupt your world order with some of the new features we were working on here at Bandcamp HQ. Today we’re delighted to make good on that threat with the thrilling conclusion of our 1.0 announcements, <massive-reverb>download codes</massive-reverb>. And not just any download codes, mind you, but the sort you can email to your fans OR zap over to Moo for print-on-demand, great looking, and dirt cheap physical download cards.


Since day one of our launch, we’ve fielded dozens of requests like this one:

“I think a great feature would be to generate serial numbers to put on vouchers for free downloads. I want to provide free downloads to people who buy t-shirts. This would be mage cool.”

Yessir, it would. Personally, I love the trend of including digital download codes with merchandise, especially when it’s the vinyl, but hate the fact that when I redeem them I’m taken to some lame page hosted by the manufacturer, rather than the artist’s own web site. It should clearly be handled in the same place where your music lives, and if that happens to be Bandcamp, it now is. Here’s how:

Log in to your account and click the new Tools link in the navigation bar at the top. You’ll end up on a page that looks like this:


Select the track or album for which you want download codes, give the code group a name (for tracking purposes, e.g., “The Elbo Room 3/12/09” or “January newsletter”), enter a quantity, and click “generate codes.” You can then export those codes for sending out via email (Constant Contact integration details are here), or handing to your local print shop. But mage coolest of all, we think, is the ability to print straight to Moo MiniCards, with your album art on the front, and a unique, one-time-use code on the back. Cards are $20 per pack of 100. Just choose “print cards” and shortly thereafter this sweetness will arrive in your mailbox:

Moo Sample 1Moo Sample 2Moo Sample 3

Your fans then go to your site, enter the code like so:

Enter Code

and are then whisked off to your track or album’s official page where their download starts (codes are single-use, and are considered redeemed once we detect that the download completed successfully). So easy that we repeated it in the gratuitous screencast up at the top of the post.

UPDATE 3/5/09: A few people have been wondering whether codes work with hidden tracks or albums. They do indeed, and they also work with tracks or albums for which download is otherwise disabled.

UPDATE Dec 12, 2009: Moo has decided to shut down their API, so printing is now DIY. If you click the “print” link next to the code group, you’ll get a nicely formatted document (with crop marks and all) that you can print and cut up to make your own download cards, cheaply and easily.


  1. Posted March 3, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    You guys rule, as usual. Now all we’re missing is support for prices lower than .50 a track…

  2. Posted March 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    this feature is great! Thank you guys!

  3. Posted March 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    We met last Fall at SF Music Tech conference. Nice to see you guys are now live! We will highlight this on our site so our readers will know.

    Matt – Music News for Music People

  4. Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I love it!

  5. Joe
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Great feature!
    One thing that would worry me about this though is that if the code ends up posted on messageboards, and everyone will get the hi-res versions for free. I think the code should be invalidated after being used for the first time.

  6. Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joe. The download codes are single-use only, so that won’t happen.

  7. Posted March 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    good lord you guys have become even more awesome then you were yesterday, and i thought you were pretty darn awesome yesterday.

  8. Richie O'Gorman
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    This is an exquisite execution,
    now set up an equivalent website for the graphic arts ‘’ nah ‘’ integrate some of the Acrobat .pdf encryption functionality and “tching”. You are halfway there guys, but be quick I’m gonna register and do it myself if you don’t get crackin’.

  9. Posted March 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Hallelujah Praise the LAWD!

  10. Posted March 4, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink


  11. Posted March 6, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’m too excited…stayed up half the night putting my stuff in order here!!! Fabbbbbulous Dawling!

  12. Posted March 6, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


  13. Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this. This will save me so much $$$ sending out promo downloads rather than cd’s. The guy I just sent it to complimented me on how great my music page was and how pro it looked. Thanks bandcamp!

  14. Posted March 25, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    You guys are, like, wicked smart.

  15. ron
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    why can’t we sell download cards at our merch table instead of give them away. Save us a ton on cd manufacter.. and also on luggage space when touring europe.

  16. Posted March 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s not the use-case we talk about in the blog post Ron, but there’s nothing at all stopping you from selling download cards.

  17. Posted April 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    These rock! Already putting them to use.

  18. jennie
    Posted April 15, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Amazing site. Love it.

    I’d love to see the ability to sell these…
    so practical …who needs the added clutter of a cd anyway :)

    Do they all say Free on the back?

  19. Posted April 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    No, “free” was only on our first test batch. They now say “Download at…”, so go ahead and sell them if you prefer!

  20. Posted April 28, 2009 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    This just drove me crazy the first time I tried it, you guys are amazing!!!!!!

  21. roland
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink


  22. Posted May 16, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    We are doing a showcase show tomorrow, which we are recording. We want to offer a download of the show (as individual tracks) at the event, which punters can download once I’ve uploaded the live album. My question is, can I set up an album with no audio on it, get download codes, and THEN upload the audio. (ie: will the codes still apply, or will they only apply to an album that has no more editing /uploading to come?

  23. Posted May 16, 2009 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    You can’t create codes for albums with no audio just yet Duncan, but this is on our to-do.

  24. Posted May 16, 2009 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Can we use the moo card option if we’re based in the UK? It’d be great if we can, especially with some of the gigs we have coming up!!

  25. Posted May 16, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Absolutely. Moo (who makes the cards) ships worldwide.

  26. Posted June 5, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I joined and uploaded my first album today (6-5-09) – straight from the Florida swamps.

    Wow. Now people will be able to help Obama to “Spread the Wealth”!!

    It would be extra amazing if we artists could upload one or two music videos from our album – – – or would people be grabbing the audio from the video soundtrack?

  27. Posted July 5, 2009 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to have a crush on a website?
    It feels like love.

    …I love you, bandcamp.

  28. Oz
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    This is great, but I would like to add one other feature. I would like to be able to generate a multi-use code. Like “good for 100 downloads” so i could post on a forum and first 100 to use it get the download. It’d be great if i could also specify the text to show after successful download (my thank you) and what to say if the code has expired.

  29. Posted July 29, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to require an email address be provided in order to get their download?

  30. Posted July 29, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Nope, not for download codes, but making that an option (for the band) is on our to-do.

  31. Posted July 30, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink


    You guys down at bandcamp keep impressing me :D

    Keep it up!

  32. Posted August 1, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    There’s a sort of genius at work here. Everything makes sense. Everything works. How did this happen?

  33. Robothair
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Do download codes work for tracks/albums that have not been set as available for download at all?(whether paid, free or otherwise) Because that would suit me best.


  34. Posted September 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Yep, see above: “A few people have been wondering whether codes work with hidden tracks or albums. They do indeed, and they also work with tracks or albums for which download is otherwise disabled.”

  35. Posted October 4, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I have an album set up as an ongoing series. I add a song every month or so. Will download cards that I create for the album now download the complete set as I add songs in the future, or will it only download the songs I have on the album at the time the codes are created?

  36. Posted October 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    The code will download the album in whatever state it’s in when the code is redeemed.

4 Trackbacks

  1. By True Ventures » Bandcamp 1.0 on March 3, 2009 at 4:23 am

    […] Bandcamp declares themselves 1.0! […]

  2. […] Download codes! Reward your biggest fans with free downloads of tracks or albums that they’d otherwise have to pay for. Email them out, or print them up and bundle them with merch. more info […]

  3. By C-Notes » Blog Archive » Bandcamp on April 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    […] Video about the site here. Special video about the online promo cards here. […]

  4. By Getting into retail | New Music Strategies on May 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

    […] even sold a record. Sent off the free download code from Bandcamp too, so my shopper could listen to the album in full lossless quality while he waits […]

%d bloggers like this: