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How Do Artists Make Money On Bandcamp?

As the share of streaming revenue becomes more dominant in the global recording industry’s balance sheets – even without the need for a pandemic, there is one US company that has carved a solid niche by basing its business on a concept that seems a bit timeless: buy and own –ľusic.

It’s called Bandcamp, and in the last couple of years it’s gained even more popularity and recognition, thanks to some initiatives to donate some proceeds to charity, fight the coronavirus pandemic, or support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Bandcamp has been in existence since 2007 and has been fully operational since 2008 and is based in Oakland, on the San Francisco Bay. But this is an American company that operates on very different principles than others in Silicon Valley, and especially when compared to the biggest digital company in the music industry, Swedish music streaming service Spotify.

Much of Bandcamp’s success hinges on an alternative model to streaming services that has been accused of reserving too low percentages for artists, hurting the record industry’s functioning.

Music is not streaming on Bandcamp. Rather, this can also be done, but it will be a secondary function. Anyone can upload their music to the site, set a price, and sell it digitally or physically (from vinyl to cassettes) along with their official merchandise.

Bandcamp withholds 15% of the selling price. Music can be purchased in a variety of formats, including those that guarantee higher quality, and users have the option to pay more than they have requested to support the band.

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There’s another big difference between Bandcamp and streaming services: the most common format on the site is the album, which is increasingly marginalized in a market now dominated by playlists. The global success of Spotify and streaming is changing music, not just the way it’s distributed. Instead, Bandcamp becomes something like a record store and offers a niche where everything works more or less the way it did thirty years ago.

These are not the only reasons why Bandcamp has become so popular with many music lovers. Bandcamp also attempts to position itself on various social issues by showing itself alongside progressive examples that it sees as popular and common among its users.

Although Bandcamp remains niche, incomparable to the Spotify or YouTube pool, the company’s revenue has grown steadily year-on-year, so much so that it opened a physical store in Oakland and Bandcamp Daily, a news and music review site.

A commission of only 15% makes this service very profitable for artists. Of course, the number of visitors and users of Bandcamp cannot be compared with the leading music streaming services. But at the same time, every year he is gaining more and more popularity among artists, especially novice performers, who find it very difficult to get more or less significant money. Therefore, they consider cooperation with Bandcamp not only beneficial for themselves, but also fair.

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