A tip for Bandcamp artists… making download cards.

An absolutely foolproof method for making download cards with Bandcamp and just plain Avery labels.

I use Bandcamp to get my music out there.  It’s an awesome tool for artists – not just for selling music, but for different means of distributing it.

Just one of the many great features they have is download codes.  This allows an artist to sell digital downloads at a show, or send fans an individual link to an album or a single, in multiple high-quality formats – mp3, .wav, .aiff, FLAC, etc.

They also offer the options of downloading these codes in a CSV, or printing right from the screen.  All great.

Well, for a gig last month, I wanted download cards so I could sell music at the show.

I ordered two different cards from Overnight Prints, who I love… and left space on the back of both cards for a label with the code.

Here’s the problem… I tried multiple, multiple ways to get the codes into a word document or the like, so I could print labels to put on my download cards.

I spent hours.  And nothing worked.

Well, through trial and error, I found an absolutely foolproof method for doing this, and wanted to share it.  It’s really simple, and relatively quick.  I had sheets of download labels within 20 minutes.

First off – I used standard Avery return address labels from my local Staples – Avery 8195.  60 labels per sheet, they are big enough to print a readable code on, but small enough that they don’t take too much space:

STEPS:

(you can click any screenshot to see a bigger view if you need to)

1 – I downloaded a CSV file of my download codes from Bandcamp (codes>export), opened it up in a spreadsheet program (you can use some text editors, too) and deleted all of the header information – leaving just the codes. Saved and closed it.

2 – I went to the Avery labels website – they have a tool there where you can design your labels online:

http://www.avery.com/avery/en_us/Templates-%26-Software/Software/Avery-Design–Print-Online.htm?int_id=topnav-templates-DPOstartpage

I entered the product number – 8195 – and hit go. (Note – at this point, it’ll ask you to log in.  if you don’t have an Avery account – just open one – it costs nothing.)

Selected a blank design:

At this point, you’ll be looking at a large single label – and on the left, there’s a button that says “Import Data”:

Click it, and select the CSV file from your computer.

At this point, you’ll be asked to select the rows you want to import.  Your code rows will already be checked:

Click next, and you’ll get this screen:

Drag that field from the left column to the right column, and hit next.  You’ll see:

Click finish.  Now you’ll see a single label – with a download code in it!!!!

You can drag that text box around, and change the font size so that the download code fills the label (careful not to make it too big, as some codes will be wider than others.)

Once you’re done, click “preview and print” on the bottom right.  You’ll see a complete sheet of labels with your codes in them:

Finally – click “Print it yourself” on the right… and then click “print now” on the right.

You’ll be prompted to save your project, and then you’ll get this screen:

Download that PDF, and you’re DONE!  You can print that PDF file directly onto your Avery labels (like they say – never select “fit to page”)

The only thing left to do is label the cards!

Hope this helped!  Feel free to comment if you’ve got questions.

And while you’re at it – please visit my Bandcamp store! You can pick up a preview EP of my Born Wired album, coming in April.  🙂

 

 

5 replies
  1. Bach
    Bach says:

    How do you explain to fans that the download code isn’t for a free song download, since Bandcamp maxes the discount code to 95%? Or do you set the immediate price of the track to free/name your price?

    Reply
  2. Mark
    Mark says:

    It absolutely CAN be for a free download – or you can use it to sell digital versions. From the Bandcamp site:

    ————————–
    These are unique codes that fans can redeem for a digital track or album, giving them unlimited streaming via the Bandcamp app, as well as a high-quality download. Generate codes for any of your music on Bandcamp, then send them out via email (here’s how) or print them up and bundle them with your merch. Your account comes with 200 codes. If you need more, you can either buy them by clicking the “get more” link, below, or you can earn more by selling (we’ll add 1,000 codes for every $500 USD in sales). Fans can redeem their code by visiting http://markmarshall.bandcamp.com/yum.

    Please note that 1) codes do work with private or download-disabled tracks and albums, 2) codes will deliver all tracks and bonus items for pre-orders (not just the pre-release tracks), and 3) codes are valid for a few tries before they expire – this is to help fans get their music even if they have a technical problem (their connection drops, machine crashes, etc.).
    ————————-
    You can buy extra download codes from BC VERY cheaply. 🙂

    Reply

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