On Peter Kirns excellent "Createdigitalmusic" blog he interviews elecotronica artist Tricil regarding their experience using Topspin Media and comparing it to Bandcamp.
Bandcamp’s charm when they came out in the post myspace-era was an embeddable, music-centric streaming site that had built in social-sharing, almost like SoundCloud with a commerce function. With Bandcamp, you can set up “In Rainbows”-style pricing of pay what you want and even do a free in exchange for an email much like Topspin. The downsides to Bandcamp are a sandboxed site with little to no css customization, so it’s harder to create a more “branded” presence going the all Bandcamp route.Read the full article here:
Topspin is different. They seem to be the pioneers of the “email for download” thing, which to me is your first price point. You could host them on SoundCloud, Last.fm or your own site and get 1000s of downloads, but wouldn’t it be nice to tell those 1000 people about your new album with an exclusive offer to download another new track? Anonymous hot-linking downloading is great, but having permission to go Direct to Fan is even better. This is the strength of Topspin’s email platform. Additionally, you can segment your fans so I can holler at my three fans in Peoria, IL about my next show there (TBA). Geo-tagging is done by clicking on a link in a confirmation email, COPPA-compliant. No spam here.
Bandcamp’s real appeal came from the universally embeddable streaming players that work via HTML5 and within Facebook as well. As you can see from a recent Topspin blog post that bizarrely features me, these are coming to the Topspin world as well.
Bandcamp has added email for download functionality as well, but I don’t think its email backend is as robust as Topspin’s. I believe it’s through FanBridge and that’s on a separate site, whereas in Topspin, it’s all self-contained in the same app, along with stats on plays, emails, geodata, and NextBigSound integration. (NBS is amazing, it’s like Google Analytics for musicians).