If You Remove Your Music from Bandcamp, Quit Now

It has come to my attention that since Bandcamp has implemented their freemium program some notable acts have decided to either remove their tunes or cease to make downloading available.

Bandcamp Logo

This is just unacceptable. I mean, what are you going to use now? Are you going back to use sites that leave your fans susceptible to spam and malware? It is ridiculous that many bloggers still choose to use such a service, but they don’t care about the end-user. This post is not directed at music bloggers though.

Bandcamp – The Best Place for an Indie Artist to Set Up Shop

Bandcamp is a solid state service provider. They took their time to putting together an application that was robust but functional for even the most popular indie act.

You can post your music to be downloaded in exchange for an e-mail, which is the most powerful component of the application.

The one glaring question for me was how they were affording to provide an ad-free download and e-mail collection service. Not to forget, they also give high-level analytics, showing number of plays and how your content was being spread. They started taking money from download sales, but it seems there are not enough participants to believe they are profitable. Bandcamp is smart though. Their service was not quite ready for primetime, so they kept their profit-sharing system to just off paid downloads and physical albums until things were top-notch.

Now Bandcamp has built an application that allows you to have your music streamed safely and without interruption. Your music can be shared via social networks and even widgetized if someone wants to post it on a website or blog. You can post your music to be downloaded in exchange for an e-mail, which is the most powerful component of the application. Add the capability to sell physical product and an indie act has all it needs to run its own show. Please, someone explain to me why you would remove yourself from such a service?

Oh, that’s right. Bandcamp wants to be paid now. For shame?

Why Are You Being Cheap?

Let’s look at the new price structure:

  • 300 downloads for $9 USD (3¢ each)
  • 1000 downloads for $20 USD (2¢ each)
  • 5000 downloads for $75 USD (1.5¢ each)

Pennies per download. PENNIES. Okay, if you are trying to build a real fan base, this seems like a small price to pay for something that could potentially make you over 100x your investment per download.

If you are fortunate to have 5000 unique persons downloading your music, it would seem you would be able to afford to pay $75. This is especially certain if you are collecting e-mail addresses, which you should be doing. Otherwise, you are what I would have to call DUMB.

The only way you will be able to have any ability to get your fans (real or imagined) aware of your work will be through your communication posts. E-mail is still king as just about everyone has one. You cannot use Facebook, Twitter or any other social network without it. People get enough spam to know that giving you their e-mail to know they are taking a risk, just like if they were buying a new vehicle that depreciates in value as soon as you drive it off the lot. The smart music act will make sure they work to keep the trust level up with their new friends.

Invest in Your Future

This post is meant to remind you that you cannot expect anyone to want to invest in you, if you are not willing to do it first. Spending a couple bucks to give your potential fans a safe place to listen and download your music is actually priceless. That is if you believe your music to be decent enough to be shared. There are so much going wrong in the music space that it is not funny. Using an application like Bandcamp is telling the world that you take yourself seriously and you wish that others will do the same, especially if you’re a popular artist.

There is no place that is going let you bog down their precious servers for free. Let alone allow you to collect information that is not available to them as well. There is a reason why even the “free” sites have limitations and ads all over them (ads that are known to be injected with dangerous material for your personal computer).

To all you artists and labels thinking about leaving Bandcamp because they want a little money for their hard work, stop being stupid and give them your money. If you really have a problem with paying for things, then you should get out of the music business. If times are tight, think about setting up a Kickstarter campaign or something. If there is a will, there should be a way.

Bandcamp allows new users your first 200 downloads for free. Current users get another 500. If you have the good fortune of cracking 200 downloads, you should be cheering for joy, not pulling your tunes.

Hey you, reader. Am I crazy? What do you think about these here thoughts? Leave me a message in the comments.

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  • http://www.precisehero.com Desmond

    It’s an excellent service. Collecting e-mail addresses, stats, money directly to your Paypal account, no ads, widgets, all these things – you’d have to be crazy to leave. When I first got aboard I charged, then went free for a good stretch of time, and then when they changed structure so did I. You have to adapt. My music is affordable and even though ‘free’ is everyone’s favorite price, if you really like something enough giving the artist a few bucks shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Even if you don’t want to pay, you can stream as much as you like, embed it on your blog, or whatever else. There’s always the ‘name your own price’ option. Even with services like TuneCore, you’d have to pay to get your music in shops. BandCamp is easily the best & simpliest way to share music.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III


      Thanks for commenting, Desmond!

  • http://www.quietentertainer.com/free-download/ Quiet Entertainer

    Co sign. Bandcamp is still the best deal in “town.”

  • Anonymous

    Bandcamp is great I look at it like the site for professional indie musicians.

  • ᅠᅠᅠ

    I think this is mostly down to some indie artists grossly overestimating their popularity or chances of hitting it big-time. And I don’t mean that in a mean-spirited way, after all it’s your art, you feel strongly about it, and want people to like it. But 5000 free downloads are a lot! The great and frustrating thing about this new world of music we’re living in is the utter abundance and variety of material out there, and a lot of it is offered for free to get the word out there. There’s just so much, that for any one artist or band it has become that much harder to get heard. As you say in your post, be very happy if you hit that limit of 200 downloads a month (yes, the limit is reset monthly, I think you forgot to mention that in your article, or it was implemented only later). Giving something away for free might let you think that it will fly off the virtual shelves like hotcakes, but short of striking it really lucky, like getting surprise airplay from a free-format radio station or being mentioned on a popular website, you should consider yourself lucky if you get those 200 a month.

    And not to forget, as is also the reasoning that Bandcamp uses: if you exceed that limit, chances are you’re popular enough that the revenue you have apart from such free promotions will make the freemium model costs seem like peanuts.