It’s so easy to get any music for free illegally these days, but I always feel guilty stealing smaller bands music, especially when there’s not a huge record company, because it directly effects them.
Bandcamp is a nice middle-ground. You can listen to an album as much as you want for free and, if you want to take it with you on your iPhone or whatever, just give a little bit of money and can download the files directly from the site in a variety of music file formats. Many of the albums on there are ‘pay what you want’ as well, so you can literally pay 1p, if you like.
I guess I pay about $1 per song at the moment. so 5-track demo/EP is $5 (~£3.50). Do you think this is enough? Or too much? Bands probably don’t see this as enough money for their music, but if everyone paid that i’m sure they’d appreciate it. Another good feature is that you can pay with PayPal so, if you have a PayPal account, you don’t even have to put any card details in to actually buy the songs. It make everything so easy.
There’s a wishlist feature too. So if you listen to an album on the site that you love but don’t want to commit to paying money for it just yet, you can add it to your wishlist. Your wishlist is view-able from your profile and can be listened to as much as you want. Also, once you purchase an album you can listen to it using the Bandcamp smartphone app, which make it even easier to take the music with you.
Being able to listen to a full album add-free prevents you from being shocked or disappointed with any songs that are on the album, because if you have chosen to pay money, then you already know what the entire album sounds like anyway! I’ve already spoken at length about how disappointed I was with ‘Splinter’ by The Offspring. How easily that situation could have been avoided if Bandcamp was around back then!
Obviously, with Bandcamp itself taking a cut from each sale, bands can’t survive on this model forever. It does however provide an easy way for bands that are just starting out to see their music, without having to deal with the overhead costs of CD production and shipping. I’m already starting to see some bands that i like (that aren’t big yet) taking to Bandcamp to sell their tunes.
Some cool bands I’ve found so far using Bandcamp: