I’ve mentioned before that Bandcamp is my go-to source for buying new music on Vinyl, Cassette, and Digital formats. Bandcamp has not completely replaced my slight addiction to buying on Discogs, but it’s certainly getting close.
Some of my reasons for favoring bandcamp over other online music shopping:
- Physical media purchases are generally bundled with a digital download. I mainly buy vinyl, but I listen to the lossless digital copies more frequently.
- Physical media purchased on Bandcamp is new and unplayed (no dodgy used records, as much fun as those might sometimes be)
- There are no shady sellers (I have yet to encounter any issues with receiving my order 🤞)
- The major labels have yet to suffocate the platform, leaving plenty of breathing room for indies to thrive.
To be transparent about my listening habits I’l also mention that I have a stong point of view about what I like and how I like it. I’m not interested in Kanye or Taylor or Metallica. If artists of that… distinction… are more your speed then Bandcamp might not be for you.
However, if you have an ear for new music, or re-issues of highly influential (and hard to find) underground classics of all genres then Bandcamp is the place to be.
Why buy vinyl, cassettes, and digital audio files from Bandcamp?
Aside from the aforementioned plethora of great indie music, Bandcamp has pretty successfully (and maybe for the first time in the history of the music industry) walked-the-walk when it comes to fair distribution of profits from music sales. Because of this, the top-notch new music being sold on the platform is a catalog that is growing all the time.
My personal observation has been that album sales through Bandcamp have been so successful to the indie music scene that incredibly innovative new talent and niche record labels are popping up like weeds.That means more music of a high qualty to choose from.
I’ll sprinkle some examples of recent favorites throughout this post 😊
Aside from the huge catalog of amazing music, Bandcamp customers (known as “Fans”) benefit from the common business model of including free streaming to fully preview the music before you place an order, and a digital download included with each purchase (some Labels do opt-out of including downloads with a physical purchase, but that’s rare)
This means that when you buy a vinyl LP, cassette, or CD from Bandcamp you will have immediate access to download the album in a variety of formats ( including .wav, .aiff, and .mp3 ) so you don’t have to wait for your purchase to arrive before you can add it to your digital music player of choice (I use a headless Plex server, fwiw)
Who benefits the most from Bandcamp’s business model?
Bandcamp is enthusiastically and wholeheartedly Artist and Label focused. Artists and Labels benefit the most when you purchase their music from Bandcamp because of a generous revenue share that favors creators.
As a Fan, when you buy something on Bandcamp the Artist or their Label will receive an average of 82% of the money you spend. That’s a completely unheard of revenue share when compared to other online sellers and revenue from streaming via Spotify of Tidal. The remainder covers Bandcamp’s usual revenue share of 15% + payment processor fees.
But let’s not forget that you, as a Fan, also benefit from the fact you are getting access to the newest, most innovative sounds available from a worldwide network of indie Artists and Labels who are working outside of the (relatively) conservative and revenue driven major labels and distributors who control the traditional music industry.
But, don’t mistake the indie status of Artists and Labels represented on Bandcamp as somehow amateur. Their indie status is what gives them the freedom to create and publish music that is true to their artistic vision.
What is Bandcamp Friday?
Any day is a good day to buy music at Bandcamp, but on the first Friday of each month Bandcamp celebrates with Bandcamp Friday.
Bandcamp Friday supercharges the already generous revenue share to Artists and Labels by increasing the amount shared from 82% up to a whopping 93%. This is pretty much unheard of anywhere else that you might buy music, and as I mentioned earlier there is an endless supply af amazing music for you to support.
If you’ve missed the most recent Bandcamp Friday, though, don’t hesitate to make your purchase. As I mentioned earlier the revenue share from Bandcamp is very generous year round, so your support will be felt and appreciated regardless.
Here are the upcoming dates for Bandcamp Friday in 2023
All Bandcamp Fridays are active on the First Friday of each months from 12AM to 12PM PST (that’s midnight to midnight)
- August 4th
- September 1st
- October 6th
- November 3rd
- December 1st