Artists Earned $21 Million on Bandcamp in the Last 30 Days
How the digital music platform is separating itself from competitors by creating a superior experience for artists and fans.
2020 and 2021 have been brutal for many musicians. With concert venues essentially shut down for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, artists who depended on touring/live performance and merchandise sales have had to find alternate means of income. While some people have successfully pivoted to building audiences and revenue streams on Instagram Live, Twitch, and elsewhere, the transition hasn’t been easy for everyone. The problem of generating income has been further complicated by the fact that many people are facing financial distress and/or uncertainty, meaning they have less money to spend on music.
Despite the many harsh realities of the past year, Bandcamp has provided recording artists and fans with a constant bright spot. The company’s empathetic response is quite distinct from other music tech companies. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who has a net worth of $4 billion, essentially blamed lack of productivity/musical output as the reason why many artists are making a pittance on Spotify instead of reflecting on his shitty compensation model.
bandcamp @BandcampFans paid artists $40 million during the nine Bandcamp Fridays we held this year. Big thanks to everyone who participated, here’s what we’re doing in 2021: https://t.co/0KcZi3LKOj
Bandcamp’s response has been the total opposite. CEO Ethan Diamond and company decided to waive their share of revenue generated on the first Friday of every month and coined the special event Bandcamp Friday.
Support for the monthly event has been overwhelming—artists have eared $44 million dollars in the past calendar year. Furthering their efforts to demonstrate kindness during some dark and grueling times, Bandcamp selected days to give all of their earnings to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Transgender Law Center.
Beyond Bandcamp Friday and the company’s philanthropic efforts, their general focus on creating a positive experience for both artists and listeners is evident throughout their website. They’ve invested in music journalism with their Bandcamp Daily publication, which has grown considerably since its inception under the leadership editor-in-chief J. Edward Keyes and senior editor/contributor Jes Skolnik. The publication provides readers with constantly updated collection of pieces from great writers like Max Bell, Chaka V. Grier, John Morrison, and many others.
Bandcamp also provides listeners with a collection dashboard that showcases purchased music with a slick, intuitive setup that lets you select favorite tracks and review albums. You can also see who else purchased the albums in your collection and how many people own them.
The collection dashboard gives users a more intimate and tactile experience than the rather impersonal Apple Music or Spotify interface. Though this different may not matter to the average music consumer, it makes a world of difference for fans craving a deeper and more personal way to supper their favorite artists and experience their work.
Bandcamp is proving you can make money, have an artist-first philosophy, and show kindness to others. They’ve helped musicians earn $21 million in the last 30 days. And even when it isn’t Bandcamp Friday, they provide artists with a much better payout than their streaming competitors. According to their website, after payment processor fees 93% of customer money goes to artists and labels on Bandcamp Friday while 82% goes to artists and labels on any other day.
Here are a few Micro-Chop recommendations if you’re looking to show support and pick up a few albums on Bandcamp today.
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