Gumroad Expands Its Tools For Selling Digital Content With New Pre-Order Feature

Gumroad, a startup aiming to make it as easy as possible for creative artists to sell digital goods, is announcing a new feature to address a big source of income — pre-orders.

With the new feature, founder and CEO Sahil Lavingia says that instead of uploading a file, creators just enter a release date. Fans can use their credit cards to purchase the product, then when the date comes, all those pre-order cards are charged, the content is delivered to the customers, and the listing is turned into a regular Gumroad product listing. Creators can send messages to people who placed orders before the release date, just as they can afterwards, Lavingia added.

Ryan Delk, who leads the company’s growth and business development, said customers including Eminem and Bon Jovi have already used the service to take pre-orders. However, there were no features built specifically to address this use case.

“No matter what industry you are in, pre-orders are a huge piece of the launch strategy,” Delk told me via email. “For some releases, we have seen pre-orders make up 30% — 40% of the total sales. We really wanted to deliver an amazing experience for our sellers by offering pre-orders, and a seamless (and automatic) way for them to convert pre-order products into regular products on release day.”

The first artist to use the pre-order feature is Keith Urban, who is using Gumroad to sell a number of different “bundles” before the release of his new album Fuse on Sept. 10. Those pre-orders are exclusive to Gumroad for now, Delk said.

Other features added this year include additional analytics for authors and publishers and support for streaming video.