When Card Included launched in beta earlier this year, it was already a completely unique take on download cards. You could easily upload a zip file, create a custom landing page, and design your card. Card Included would then instantly email you a file with all the cards laid out in a PDF. It was simple and straightforward, but according to co-founders Nick and Tom Mango, it just wasn't enough.
"With our other service, Limited Run, you could upload lossless audio and we'd convert it so fans could choose the format they'd like to download. Since everyone loves that feature, we decided that the download card world needed the same thing. Lossless audio is the future of digital music, so if you're not making the FLAC or ALAC available to fans, you're doing it wrong," says Tom Mango.
Direct-to-fan innovators Nick and Tom wanted to solve another problem as well. The beta of Card Included allowed artists to create a custom landing page by uploading a photo1, but some artists wanted fans to go to their website instead. The issue was Card Included was supposed to be extremely easy to use. Providing HTML and having artists alter their websites to accept download codes, would be difficult. To solve this problem, they developed an easy way to embed an artist's website, and then show an overlay where fans can download the album. When that overlay closes, the fan is left on the artist's website2. The best part about this method is that the artist only needs to provide the URL to their website, and Card Included does the rest.
To celebrate the official launch out of beta, Card Included is giving all customers the lossless audio upload feature for 20% off the already cheap price of 1 cent per 20 MB.
"We wanted people that never considered using lossless audio, to give it a shot. Hopefully this discount will encourage customers to do just that," says Nick.
Whether customers take advantage of this new discount, or not, few argue against making better quality downloads available to fans. Especially now that CD sales have continued to plummet3.
And finally, if you're looking to place an order for download cards, but don't use PayPal, Card Included is happy to announce that they now accept direct credit card payments, powered by Stripe.