Please take what we’re about to tell you with a grain of salt. Part of what makes Bandcamp Bandcamp is that you, not some corporate behemoth, set your own pricing. And that’s really as it should be, since the most effective price just isn’t the same for every artist, and you know your fans better than anyone. That said, we have the advantage of a metric crap-ton of data, and that data tells us a few things:
For digital albums of seven tracks or more, most artists will maximize their earnings by charging $7 USD. For EP-length albums (six tracks or fewer), $4 USD is the sweet spot. But again, there are exceptions, and if you’re an established artist who has seen recent success charging $18 for your digital albums, go for it. However, in all cases, leaving “let fans pay more if they want” checked is key: fans pay more than the minimum a whopping 40% of the time, driving up the average price paid by nearly 50% (in fact, every day, we see überfans paying $50, $100, $200 for albums priced far lower).
While we have your attention, we would like to discourage you from doing one-penny-off pricing (e.g., $0.99, $9.99, $11.99). Though it may be an effective tactic for selling waterbeds, cell phone plans, and Angry Birds 34, when we see that sort of pricing on an artist’s own website, we do not think “gosh, this is a good deal” but rather “what we previously thought was a person/band is actually a marketing department, and they’re subtly telling us they think we’re idiots.” Present a straightforward price, let fans pay more if they want, and they’ll reward you.