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How Bandcamp Supported Artists This Lockdown

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

From waiving fees and donating sales to offering flexibility, discovery, and ease of use. Bandcamp is the online music community and record store which allows artists and labels to thrive through the platform’s creative outlet. In a climate where major streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify dominate the music industry, Bandcamp has firmly established its place within the online music community as a platform that is dedicated to discovery, engagement and connection between the artist and listener. Labels and independent artists can sell their music directly, whilst still holding control over pricing and streaming (as well as offering users the option of paying more if they wish). Despite the abrupt absence of live events due to Covid-19, the wider underground music community has been able to untie artists and fans alike, allowing creativity to flourish during these challenging times. Bandcamp has played a vital role in supporting artists at a time when it is urgently needed. Initially set up as a one-off event, Bandcamp shared a pandemic-inspired initiative in March 2020 in which they waived their revenue share to help artists impacted by the pandemic. This was a 24-hour event that allowed all sales to go directly to artists across the globe. Generating over $4.3 million in music and merch sales across the site, which is 15 times more than a typical Friday. Due to the overwhelming influence, Bandcamp holds on many artists and labels, the inspiring initiative became a monthly event focused on supporting underground music. As it grew so did the ingenuity of many artists and labels who began using the platform to raise money for charities, NHS support and other Covid-19 related causes. One notable example was Above Board Projects’ CARE4LIFE VA which pulled together exclusive music from some of the biggest names in electronic music and raised money for the NHS and their frontline workforce. This community approach from Bandcamp encouraged artists and labels to communicate their views and created a clear connection between the platform, artists, and users. Bandcamp has offered opportunities to artists around the globe to showcase their musical talents. PJ Bridger is a prime example of an artist who has benefited from Bandcamp’s services and the Friday initiative. The Berlin-based Producer / DJ encompasses a range of underground sounds such as UKG and Drum n Bass. I sat down with PJ for a quick chat about all things Bandcamp and to understand the initiative from the perspective of an artist.

What are your thoughts on Bandcamp as a service?

In my opinion, it is one of the best platforms for artists and labels to release on, I really like the way people can follow artists/labels and share the music they have in their collection to inspire others.

How has Bandcamp influenced you as an artist?

It has helped me reach people who probably wouldn’t have heard of my music otherwise through the “supported by” mechanic, which I think is fantastic. It also helps me to push tracks out on my own timescale, allowing me a lot of freedom when self-releasing tracks.

Has Bandcamp had any impact on your motivation towards producing during the global pandemic?

Bandcamp has been a source of inspiration and a great way to follow the movements of up-and-coming artists who I rate, allowing me to closely follow their releases and support what they are doing on their own personal page and also on the various labels they may be released on. Bandcamp Friday has been such an important initiative for music - recently, it looks like it is going to continue until the end of 2021. How do you think other services can better support artists like yourself? I think that Bandcamp Friday is one of the best things that is happening for underground and independent music, and I hope it continues indefinitely, there is certainly a hype in the scene around it each month and I know that artists, myself included, will often work hard to have releases ready for Bandcamp Friday. Also, as a customer, I will buy extra records on that Friday and often get tracks I maybe would not have bought in a normal situation, just because I want to support what the artist/label is doing and I know that the money is going straight to them. It has been a lifeline for artists/labels during the pandemic offering an alternative income stream when live music was shut down and also well-needed support when assistance was lacking from government organizations. Each music platform has its own mission and agenda, but I feel that Bandcamp’s agenda is rooted in supporting artists/labels and trying to push independent and underground music.

Have there been any standout tunes or artists that you’ve discovered on Bandcamp?

To be honest there are too many to mention! One example is Arfa, I found him when looking through a friend’s collection on Bandcamp and when I first visited his page, he only had one release up, but now the guy is killing it. PJ Bridger’s tune has been doing the rounds this summer, with his remix of Rebound X’s classic Rhythm N Gash being one of the most notable releases across the whole sphere of underground sound. Go and check out PJ’s Bandcamp to buy his music.


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