Ticketed Live Streaming Comes to Bandcamp

Today we’re announcing Bandcamp Live, a new ticketed live streaming service that makes it easy for artists to perform for and connect with their fans, and for fans to directly support the artists they love.

Bandcamp Live is simple to set up, even if you’ve never streamed before, and is fully integrated with the rest of Bandcamp. This has several benefits: we automatically notify your fans when you announce a show, it’s easy to buy a ticket since so many people already have a Bandcamp account and saved credit card, and new buyers become your followers (and have the option to join your mailing list). You can also showcase your music and merchandise right alongside your stream in a virtual merch table. 

Bandcamp Live also features optional chat where your fans can discuss the show, and you (or your chosen moderators) can engage with your community. Purchases from the merch table appear in chat, driving more sales.

Finally, pricing is completely transparent. We don’t pretend our ticketing service is free and then surprise your fans with a “convenience fee” when they check out. You set your ticket price to whatever you want, and that’s what your fans are charged. Our fee is 10%, and we’re waiving it entirely until March 31st, 2021.

When the pandemic eliminated a major source of musicians’ income, we immediately began working on ways to help the artists and labels on Bandcamp, without whom we would not exist. We started with Bandcamp Fridays, a day each month where we waive our revenue share, and so far those have raised $35 million in just 8 days (that’s in addition to the $126 million fans have paid artists via Bandcamp since the pandemic began). Bandcamp Live is the next step in our effort to help our community thrive during this crazy time. Streaming will never replace the experience of in-person performances, but we believe it’s the next best thing, and will provide artists with a powerful tool to build and connect with their fans both now, and when Covid is behind us and we’re all out enjoying the magic of live music once again.

We’ve started rolling out Bandcamp Live today, and will be bringing it to more artists in the coming months. If you’re interested in streaming live on Bandcamp, step right this way.

New messaging features up!

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Wahay! We’ve just taken the messaging functionality from the Bandcamp Artist App, brought it to desktop, and added a few other goodies that make it easier than ever to keep in touch with your fans. Just head over to the new Community tab to compose and send your message. Your followers will receive it on Bandcamp and via good old-fashioned email, so whether you’re sharing an update on your next release, sending out a discount code, or just saying thanks for the support, they’ll always hear what you have to say.

Your past messages appear in the Community tab, but are only visible to followers, so it’s another great way to build your audience. And fans can now comment from the web too, so it’s easier for more of them to join in the conversation (but not too easy — only supporters can leave comments, not random degenerates from the Internet).

We’ve also added the option to include a message when you publish a new release, which is then included in the release notification email that’s sent to all your followers (and is one of the biggest drivers of sales). This is a great way to give fans a little extra context around your release, and drive even more excitement.

We hope these new tools help you grow and energize your community!

The new Artist Dashboard

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We recently launched a new artist dashboard, which brings together data, tips, and tools to help you promote your music and achieve success on Bandcamp.

Log in to your artist account to see your dashboard. You’ll see an activity feed, graphs of your latest plays and sales and, for the first time on desktop, how many followers you have. We notify your followers whenever you release new music on Bandcamp, so the more you have, the greater the impact of those notifications. For many artists, these notifications are one of the biggest sources of sales.

The Bandcamp Artist App gives you access to everything the dashboard offers, but on your portable telephonic device.

Finally, we encourage you to read the Bandcamp Artist Guide. Artists who have read it are making 28% more money than those who haven’t.

We’ll be announcing more artist tools soon. In the meantime, stay safe and let the world know they can directly support you on Bandcamp!

Create Vinyl with Bandcamp

Create Vinyl with Bandcamp

Sales of vinyl records on Bandcamp have grown 600% in the last five years, and every month another 3,500 unique vinyl albums are added to the site. The format’s resurgence—once dismissed as a niche byproduct of hipster affectation—is now firmly established, and seen for what it truly represents: a mainstream desire to connect more deeply with music, free from digital distractions; an important expression of fandom that was mostly lost in the transition from physical media ownership to unlimited music rental; and a growing appreciation for what is often amazing, collectible art.

And yet most new music is not available on vinyl. A mere 9% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2018 offered a vinyl version, and thousands of those are sold out and appear unlikely to be pressed again. The reason for this situation—and the growing pile of untapped artist revenue it represents—is that producing vinyl remains challenging. It’s a costly and risky undertaking, and dealing with fulfillment and returns can be incredibly time consuming. Layer on top of that the mystery and complexity encountered by many trying to press vinyl for the first time, and it’s no wonder so few people do it.

Today, we’re offering a first glimpse of an initiative from Bandcamp that aims to address these challenges. Our new vinyl pressing service streamlines the financing, production, and fulfillment of vinyl records. With no up-front investment, an artist or label can create a vinyl campaign and start taking orders almost immediately. Once they reach their minimum goal, we press their records and ship them to their fans.

The new service eliminates risk, since fans’ orders finance the pressing, rather than the artist or label. It eliminates hassle, since we press the records, print the packaging, and ship to fans (and fulfill digital too). It offers complete control, with the design and pricing up to the artist, and Bandcamp taking no ownership of the record. And it produces a quality result: our manufacturing partner has over 60 years experience pressing vinyl, so the records look, and sound, great.

The Bandcamp vinyl service will open to all artists and labels later this year, but today we’re launching four pilot campaigns that provide an idea of what’s possible:

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Vinyl Campaign

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and composer, is offering a vinyl edition of his most recent album, Ancestral Recall, on a double LP in a gatefold jacket. 10 signed test pressings are also available.

Jim Guthrie Vinyl Campaign

Jim Guthrie is well known to Bandcamp audiences for his acclaimed game soundtracks for Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery and Indie Game: The Movie. In late 2018, Guthrie released the soundtrack for Below, an epic and moody masterpiece. For the first time, fans will be able get Below on vinyl, in a beautiful triple-gatefold, color double LP with die-cut foil-stamped inner sleeves. An hour of bonus material from the soundtrack is also offered, as well as a limited-edition 11″ x 17″ velvet poster.

Juliette Jade Vinyl Campaign

Shredders worldwide know French guitarist Juliette Jade, who has built a cult following for her cover videos on YouTube and original albums on Bandcamp. Juliette’s music has never been available on vinyl before, but her new campaign for Constellation will remedy that, complete with signed copies, and hand-numbered, limited-edition custom guitar picks.

Mesarthim Vinyl Campaign

The mysterious Australian black metal artist Mesarthim has just released a new album, Ghost Condensate, as a color vinyl gatefold LP. A limited edition fold out poster and 10 test pressings are also available.

An Update on Today’s Fundraiser for the Voting Rights Project

With seven hours still remaining in our fundraiser for the Voting Rights Project, we wanted to pause to thank everyone who stood with Bandcamp to help ensure the right to a safe, fair vote for all—with no obstacles, hassles, or threat of intimidation.

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The live sales feed on Bandcamp’s home page, at around noon today.

We also would like to thank Pitchfork, Fader, Metal Sucks, Noisey, Decibel, Punk News, Music Ally, and Conor Oberst for spreading the word about the fundraiser, and helping to raise awareness about this critical issue. The right to vote and the exercise of that right are the very foundations of democracy, and we were inspired by and grateful for the outpouring of support from the Bandcamp community.

This is only the beginning: for true change to occur, we need to carry today’s momentum to the polls and elect people who reflect our values. If you have not already, register to vote now and, in November, show the current administration that we demand change.

Territory licensing comes to Bandcamp

Territory Licensing Support

We’re excited to introduce a new feature for label and Pro accounts: the ability to license albums to labels in specific territories.

Here’s how territory licensing on Bandcamp works. Imagine you’re a label releasing an album, and you’ve partnered with another label to distribute it to fans in Iceland. In the album editor, you’ll see a new “add a territory license” link. Click that, look up your partner (they will need to have an existing Bandcamp account), add them, and then select the territory you’d like to license to them.

Demo of Territory License Support

We’ll notify your partner via email that you’ve set up a territorial license for the album. Once they accept the license they can choose to add their own merch and artwork to be displayed to fans in their territory.

When fans in Iceland purchase the album on Bandcamp, we’ll collect the money and send the appropriate share of revenues to your partner. Voila.

Our territory licensing tool allows you to add multiple partners, and to assign a partner multiple territories. Because all of this is done behind-the-scenes, fans around the globe will still be able to buy and enjoy albums you’ve licensed just as they have in the past. We simply make sure the money goes to the right people in the right places.

Happy licensing!

Today, Stand with Bandcamp to Protect Voting Rights for All

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In just seven weeks, the United States will hold its midterm elections—a vitally important moment that will determine whether the country stays on its current path, or renews its commitment to democracy.

As a community built around the idea of empowering and amplifying individual voices, Bandcamp is doing two things to bolster the democratic process in this historically consequential election.

Voter Registration

First, we’re encouraging U.S. visitors to Bandcamp to register to vote, and helping them do that on our site. The unfortunate fact is that most people don’t vote in midterm elections: only 17% of young people voted in the 2014 midterms, and 40% of eligible voters overall. Turnout for the 2016 presidential election was not much better, with the predictable result being a government that reflects the values and priorities of the very few. We can change this, but only if more of us vote. You can register or find your polling place here.

A Fundraiser to Protect Voting Rights

More immediately, we want to help protect the right to vote itself, which is increasingly under attack by elected officials who seek to stay in power by undemocratically and illegally disenfranchising minorities, young people, and the poor. According to a recent study, 20 states have passed new, restrictive voting laws since 2010, which include arbitrary cutoff dates for early voters, unnecessary burdens on the voter registration process, and a tightening of voter ID requirements. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that every person who wants to exercise their right to vote can do so easily, without hassle, anxiety, or obstruction.

And so today (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time), for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, we will donate 100% of our share of the proceeds towards the Voting Rights Project, a program led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to advance and protect the right to vote and ensure that right is afforded equally to all.

To participate as a fan, simply purchase music through Bandcamp and we’ll donate our share of the sale to the Voting Rights Project. To participate as an artist or label, send some or all of your share of today’s sales directly to the Voting Rights Project here, and let us know your plan in the comments below so that we can help spread the word.

And of course, if you are a U.S. citizen, register to vote and get out to the polls on November 6th—it’s not hyperbole to say that our future depends on it.

Bandcamp Email Bug – May 2018

We recently discovered and fixed a bug that inadvertently included certain users’ email addresses in the HTML of some Bandcamp pages. When present, the email address was not visible on the page, but did appear in the HTML.

No other personal information was included and there was no breach of our security systems, so you do not need to take any action to secure your Bandcamp account.

Although we cannot determine which specific accounts may have been impacted, if you created a Bandcamp account before March 20, 2018 and visited a Bandcamp site between March 20, 2018 and May 7, 2018 while logged-in, there’s a good chance your email was affected by the bug.

This should not have happened, and we sincerely apologize. The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us, and we are reviewing our development and security practices to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

About the Bug

For the software developers out there (both professional and armchair), here is a detailed technical description of the bug:

In March, we rolled out an updated version of our “fan onboarding” flow — the introductory screens a new user sees immediately after signing up. As part of this work, we introduced a new “onboarding” object into our web controller code, which is the server code we use to generate pages on bandcamp.com. The onboarding object is a short-lived bucket of values associated with the user viewing the page, used by our page rendering logic to determine which onboarding steps the user has already completed.

A subsequent change added the user’s email address to this object. This alone is not dangerous or unusual, and allowed us to render an additional UI element. However, instead of adding the email value where the onboarding object is created, we added it elsewhere in the controller code, overriding the original value. This seemed safe in context, but combined with other decisions, it became dangerous:

  1. The onboarding object, at first glance always unique per request, was instead sometimes a reference to a shared object containing default values.
  2. This shared object was intended to be read-only, but its values could be modified. This meant that when overriding the email value, we might inadvertently modify the shared object.

The result was a race condition: when processing a page requested by a logged-in user, we would sometimes store that user’s email value in the shared object, where it might be picked up for page rendering in independent, parallel requests (our request handling environment uses multiple threads). Whether or not a user’s email showed up in someone else’s page depended on the precise timing of parallel requests on a given rendering app, and the types of users making those requests. To make matters worse, we optimistically wrote the onboarding data into the page even when it wasn’t needed for the current user. This increased the number of pages potentially affected.

Once we understood the problem, the immediate fix was simple — we modified the code to duplicate the shared object for every request. This eliminated the cross-request issue.

What We’ve Learned

There are several useful engineering lessons here. First, arbitrarily overriding values in a complex object can be dangerous, especially if it’s done far from the code where the object is created. Instead, if we had modified the object initialization to support an email value, it would have been immediately obvious that the email shouldn’t apply in some cases.

Second, read-only objects shared across multiple threads should be frozen or have appropriate access permissions set at the language level, even if it appears they are never modified in code. If the shared object in question here had been frozen, we would have caught the problem during development.

Third, we should be more careful not to render data and HTML we don’t need for the current page. This is just good practice in any case, as unused elements increase the page size and slow network transfers and page rendering.

Finally, and most important, we need to do a better job of reviewing code changes which involve the output of personal information.

Protecting the personal information of Bandcamp’s users is a top priority of our software engineering team. Our failure to do so in this case is a reminder of our blind spots as engineers, and our responsibility to continuously improve our development practices. We hope that our sharing the details of this bug and our response is useful to the software development community and our users.

Shawn Grunberger, Co-founder & CTO

The Bandcamp 2017 Year in Review

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2017 was another stellar year for Bandcamp, with double digit growth in every aspect of the business. Digital album sales were up 16%, tracks 33%, and merch 36%. Growth in physical sales was led by vinyl (up 54%), CDs (up 18%), and cassettes (up 41%). Revenue from the 3,500 independent labels on Bandcamp grew 73%, and more than 600,000 artists have now sold something through the site. Our publication, Bandcamp Daily, grew its audience by 84%, and all-time payments to artists through Bandcamp reached $270 million. We launched a new app for artists and labels, added gift cards, improved fan collections, held successful fundraisers for the ACLU and TLC, and we’ll soon mark six straight years as a profitable company that only makes money when artists make a lot more money.

Meanwhile, standalone music streaming companies continued to lose money in 2017, and industry-wide record sales continued to decline: in the U.S., digital album sales dropped 20%, tracks were down 23%, and physical sales fell 20%. The seemingly inevitable upshot of these two trends is that the majority of music consumption will eventually take place within the subscription rental services of two or three enormous corporations, who can afford to lose money on music because it attracts customers to the parts of their businesses that are profitable.

As we said last year, allowing the distribution of an entire art form to be controlled by so few has troubling implications, and those continued to play out in 2017. The streaming giants exert tremendous influence over what music gets heard, and must primarily serve their most important supplier, the major labels. The result is that independent labels, and especially independent artists, are far less likely to be discovered on those platforms. 99% of all streaming is of the top 10% most-streamed tracks, and given the majors’ control over the music that is promoted on streaming services (documented in the must-read piece “The Secret Lives of Playlists”), listening hours are likely to become even more concentrated at the top.

Per stream rates also continued their decline in 2017, dropping another 9%, which is the opposite of the this-will-all-work-out-when-we’re-big-enough dream once sold by music rental companies. This trend feels unstoppable given the effect of decreased competition on artists’ ability to set fair rates, but a ray of hope seemed to emerge two weeks ago when the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board ruled to increase songwriter streaming rates by 48% over the next five years. However, that’s an impediment to profitability that can easily be resolved by eliminating musicians altogether.*

In the midst of all this, NPR Music’s Andrew Flanagan wrote:

“Bandcamp serves as an honest-to-goodness, proof-in-the-pudding bulwark against the creep of artistic monoculture fueled by the consolidation of digital life into the hands of a few companies. Maybe the future isn’t a dumpster fire after all.”

This made us laugh of course, but it also accurately captured what drives us to keep building and growing Bandcamp after all these years (we’ll celebrate our 10th anniversary this September, more on that to come). We want a music platform to exist where the playing field is level, where artists are compensated fairly and transparently, and where fans can both stream and own their music collections. The fact that this simple concept continues to resonate with so many talented artists and hard core fans inspires us every single day, and in 2018 we’ll be working hard to bring it to an even bigger audience. Thank you for another great year!

-Ethan Diamond

*Or hey, maybe there’s nothing to worry about after all.

Introducing the Bandcamp App for Artists and Labels

The Bandcamp App for Artists and Labels is here! It gives you a real-time mobile view into your stats, helps you manage and fulfill your merch, and lets you directly message your fans, even targeting those messages by fan location and level of support. Check out the screencast above for more details, and grab it for Android or iOS!

Please send media inquires to press@bandcamp.com.