Fans have paid artists and independent labels $1.04 billion using Bandcamp

If you like to call yourself a supporter of musicians, then you should be using Bandcamp to buy and stream your music.

Better still, buy their music files and merchandise directly from them, at a merch table, (or through their own e-store. Maybe they have one. Not likely though.)

It’s funny how few musicians actually have offerings of any type. If you, a fan, want to support them and buy something, are the musicians making it easy? HMMMM. I wonder.

I’ve resolved in 2023 and going into 2024 to start on the right foot and help make the local music world a better place.


Bandcamp app on Google Play
Bandcamp app for iOS

God knows COVID has blown a hole in the heart of the local live music scene. We are slowly recovering. Going to a live show is always a good way to put money in the pocket of a local performer. Buy tickets, pay the cover, or fill the tip jar. If they have merch, buy it.

The next choice you will make is, how do I want to listen to this music when I’m not at a live show? If your go-to is Spotify, Apple Music or whatever, you have ‘literally’ just fallen off the earth. You are only sending your streaming money into the pockets of the million-streamer big name acts. Your favourite local artist has already forked over a couple hundred bucks for the “privilege” of having their music on the big platforms. Now, they are getting something like 1/100th of a cent every time you play their song.

It’s absolutely stupid.

You should feel bad about this, because it sucks. This is the crappy world of music streaming we have inadvertently supported. We have been well trained: Most people don’t think about supporting, or not supporting, musicians. Why would they when they can get music like water out of a tap? Free and easy . . .

We need to think about how our patronage of the arts works through to support the actual creators and performers of the art.

New Year’s Resolution Time: think of the creator, the artists you love, your local musicians!

We are playing the fools when we expect that our independent artists should be listed and available to stream alongside the big boys.

Typical conversation, “Hey, are you guys on Spotify?”

“Yeah sure we are.”

“Cool, I’ll check it out.”

Cha ching goes the cash register to the tune of a fraction of a penny.

It’s the truth: they are paying to get their music on Spotify in the first place. Will they even earn enough to recoup the uploading fee? NO. They only earn back a fraction of the amount they paid to get their music on the platform, even if they are getting thousands of streams.

At this point we should say Fuck Spotify (or Apple Music or DeeGeezer or whatever).

And now let’s hear from my darker side…

I’ll call a spade a spade: Musicians who are thinking that their best offer is to be paying to put their music on streaming platforms are the same as the Costco lackey who stands there giving out free samples to whet your appetite in hopes that someone will walk over to the shelf and buy something.

Let’s face it. They ain’t buyin’ nothin’ if they can enjoy the free sample.

“But people are paying for my music through their subscription,” your listeners and fans may say. Let’s draw a clear distinction between the random listener anywhere around the world and a fan that you will actually have a chance of meeting in person or performing for in a live music venue.

If you’re not using Bandcamp, or buying directly from your favourite musicians, they aren’t seeing a nickel of your money. They’re just giving away free samples. Really. All your subscription money is being siphoned off to the big people.

To add to the injustice, Apple and Spotify make it impossible for artists to customize or update their artist information and they don’t allow outward links from within the platforms. (At least on YouTube artists can create live links to their own websites, merchandise sales, or other videos.) But artists are still losing out, because YouTube’s payment rate equally stinks, plus you’ve got ads being thrown up in front of your video which you most likely aren’t going to see any compensation for.

Here’s the Bandcamp details

Highest percent paid to artists.

You buy the music file. You listen how you want to.

The Mobile App is free to use and you can select or shuffle.

Acceptable and comparable sound quality to all streaming platforms.

Great to browse new artists in genres styles you like.

You can follow any artist and receive notifications when they release new music.

Artists, they can sell their merchandise in any number of ways, either through Bandcamp directly, or by linking to something like Shopify or whatever.

For artists, you can create a subscription list to build and communicate with your fans.

For artists, you can use Bandcamp for live streaming concerts, or hangouts.

Bandcamp doesn’t worship satan – they support artists in as many ways as possible e.g. Bandcamp Artist Days where they give the artist their entire portion of the purchase $$ 

Can you think of artists you know who are using Bandcamp? What are they saying? Are you considering making the switch? To gather your response here’s a quick Google form to add your two cents.

Quick ‘What’s Your Bandcamp Bit?’ Survey Here

Here is the latest about Bandcamp United’s bargaining with new owner Songtradr:

While we still reject the idea that any of our staff was disposable, we are proud to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Epic Games regarding severance for laid-off Bandcamp United workers.

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