May 20, 2022 update: Under an agreement encouraged by the court, Bandcamp will continue to operate using our existing payment system on Android devices. Fans can keep supporting artists on Android as they have, and we’ll continue paying artists the same share of sales (typically within 24-48 hours, as we do today). Bandcamp will place 10% of the revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost we will bear. Moving forward, we’ll continue the fight to allow artist-first business models like ours on Android. You can read the court filing here.
Since 2015, artists and labels have used Bandcamp’s Android app to sell music and merchandise directly to their fans, and we have used our own billing system to process payments, consistent with Google’s guidelines which specifically exempted digital music from incurring a revenue share. However, Google is now modifying its rules to require Bandcamp (and other apps like it) to exclusively use Google Play Billing for payments for digital goods and services, and pay a revenue share to Google. If Google’s policy changes stand, beginning on June 1st, we would have to either pass Google’s fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), pass fees on to artists (which we would never do), permanently run our Android business at a loss, or turn off digital sales in the Android app. Furthermore, the policy changes would impact our ability to pay artists quickly – instead of receiving payment after 24 to 48 hours, artists may not be paid until 15 to 45 days after a sale.
Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans, and where fans gather to explore the amazing musical universe that their direct support helps create. That community now consists of over 500,000 independent artists and 11,000 independent labels who rely on the support of the millions of music fans on Bandcamp to fund their next record, buy groceries, or pay their rent, mortgage, or utility bill. We believe it’s imperative for fans to be able to express that critical support on Android, and so to stop Google from implementing these new policies for Bandcamp and other developers, Epic is filing a motion to seek a court injunction allowing Bandcamp to continue operating as we have (you can read our filing here and my declaration here).
We know that many people use Bandcamp’s Android app to listen to their music purchases, and we are committed to making sure that option remains available. With today’s filing, we hope to ensure fans can also continue to buy music and merchandise through the Android app, and that as much of their support as possible reaches the artist as quickly as possible.
I’m excited to announce that Bandcamp is joining Epic Games, who you may know as the makers of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, and champions for a fair and open Internet.
Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team. The products and services you depend on aren’t going anywhere, we’ll continue to build Bandcamp around our artists-first revenue model (where artists net an average of 82% of every sale), you’ll still have the same control over how you offer your music, Bandcamp Fridays will continue as planned, and the Daily will keep highlighting the diverse, amazing music on the site. However, behind the scenes we’re working with Epic to expand internationally and push development forward across Bandcamp, from basics like our album pages, mobile apps, merch tools, payment system, and search and discovery features, to newer initiatives like our vinyl pressing and live streaming services.
Since our founding in 2008, we’ve been motivated by the pursuit of our mission, which is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans. That simple idea has worked well, with payments to artists and labels closing in on $1 billion USD. And while over the years we’ve heard from other companies who wanted us to join them, we’ve always felt that doing so would only be exciting if they strongly believed in our mission, were aligned with our values, and not only wanted to see Bandcamp continue, but also wanted to provide the resources to bring a lot more benefit to the artists, labels, and fans who use the site. Epic ticks all those boxes. We share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world, and together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.
Whether you joined Bandcamp recently or have been with us since the beginning 14 years ago, thank you for being a part of this incredible community, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come!
Los Angeles-based harpist Mary Lattimore released Silver Ladders, her full-length follow-up to acclaimed album Hundreds of Days, back in October 2020 during the first stage of the pandemic.
Since there wasn’t the possibility of touring or playing live at the time, Mary decided to debut the songs on Bandcamp Live and was one of the first artists to use the platform.
“During the livestream I felt really, really happy because I had just been by myself for so long in my apartment. Just making music and collaborating feels like normal, it’s my happy place. I think that’s the main thing, it just felt really fun. Especially because a lot of our friends from all over the world were watching. The surprise for me was to just see how organic it fell. And I think over other livestreams that I’ve done, I like this one the best. ”
The live show was a collaborative effort with her friends Julianna Barwick and Walt McClements who (whilst testing regularly for Covid 19) rehearsed and performed the music from the album in Barwick’s living room. Another friend monitored the chat room and people from all over the world watched the show.
“One of our friends was monitoring the chat room, so she would ask people questions like ‘Where are you from?’ and you could see in the chat window that everyone was responding and loving it. It just felt really communal in a really isolating time. I could also see people buying the merch. That was really cool, I think I sold a lot of stuff because people could see that things were selling and they were inspired by other people buying the stuff to actually buy during the show.”
General admission was $10, which is the average price fans pay for a ticket. The technical setup was minimal, using Mary’s laptop speakers and a portable PA, but, as you can hear from the clip, the performance sounded great.
“I’m not very technologically savvy but I overcame that trepidation, because Bandcamp Live allowed me to have a couple of practice runs with sound and setup. It was technically more simple than other livestreams that I’ve been a part of to get good sound and to interact with the audience.”
We asked Mary what she felt the biggest benefits were to livestreaming, now that she’d experienced it for herself.
“I haven’t done extensive touring in small places, and people could attend the show and see spontaneous, happy accidents, or just the way our brains were working, without them having to drive hours to a big city. I can see it extending on into the future, like after COVID times, because anyone can do it at home.
“I feel like eventually, it’s going to have to be a hybrid of live shows and livestreaming. For people that have a kid at home and can’t go on tour, or someone who lives in a small town and doesn’t really know how to tour, you could still play and communicate with your audience in this intimate way. It transcends geography. I feel like it’s just going to be really great for everybody to be able to have access to. It’s really exciting.”
To find out more about Bandcamp Live or schedule a livestream click here.
You can choose to make shows ticketed or free, and fans can support you during a show by purchasing something from the merch table, or by sending virtual gifts.
What makes Bandcamp Live unique is that it’s integrated into the rest of the Bandcamp marketplace. We automatically invite your followers when you announce a show, and shows appear on the Live calendar that we promote across Bandcamp. All ticket buyers (and free show RSVPs) become your followers, who are then notified of your future releases. It’s just a few clicks to offer your music and merch right alongside your stream, fans can make purchases without interrupting the show, and as with everything on Bandcamp, you get paid within 24-48 hours.
We were very excited (though not surprised) when Deerhoof became one of the first bands to set up a free Bandcamp Live show. “Throughout their 26 years of ‘keepin’ it boxy and harsh,’ Deerhoof has remained a model for resilience, resourcefulness, and reinvention—qualities that make sense now more than ever,” writes Sarah Gooding for Bandcamp Daily.
They livestreamed a listening party to launch their new record Actually, You Can. During the event they premiered several new music videos and invited the directors to take part in a Q&A with fans. We asked Greg Saunier from the band and Ryan Hover from their label Joyful Noise Recordings (who helped produce the livestream) to tell us about the experience.
Greg Saunier: We had already done some really nice YouTube premieres and this was very much the same experience without having to use that corporate big tech platform. Bandcamp is in the sweet spot because it is both not big tech but still quite well known, and rightly so.
Ryan Hover: A huge plus was being able to use my same OBS setup from other livestreams on different platforms—all I had to do was plug in a different stream key. Also, the integrations such as the merch table make so much sense for this kind of stream. The ability to display and sell merch directly on the stream page is something that we’ve been missing before now.
We recently launched a feature called virtual gifts. In addition to buying music, merch and sharing supportive comments in the chat, fans can now buy an array of digital items worth real money during free shows. An all-time 🐴 record must have been set during Deerhoof’s event! We wanted to know how Greg and Ryan felt during the event and what they discovered about the audience.
Saunier: We just played the audio of our record, so it was the most gratifying thing to be able to watch listeners comment and chat in real time to what they were hearing. Best audience on Earth.
Hover: Following the chat is a great time, and it always feels like hearing the album for the first time when you’re listening along with giddy fans. Everyone had a great time with the gifts. Ponies were the hot item this time.
Finally, since this event was quite different to an in-person live performance, we wanted to know if they had noticed any particular benefits to livestreaming.
Hover: The chance to hang around and chat with fans, bandmates, as well as with collaborators that joined the stream, can’t really happen at a live show.
Deerhoof decided shortly after this album launch party to stream their first live performance in two years on Bandcamp Live on December 12. To set up your own live show click here.
Scanner is an electronic musician who has composed for both film and contemporary dance. We asked him to share his experiences of using Bandcamp Live for Scanner Sundays, a live improvised performance and Q&A broadcast from his home studio.General admission was £5. As a bonus, subscribers to Scanner’s fan club received a discount plus a download of the livestream.
“I like the honesty of it. I mean, these are fans who are buying tickets. Fans are generally quite generous in their spirits. What I really loved about it was people said ‘greetings from…,’ and it was suddenly ‘greetings from New Zealand,’ ‘greetings from Seattle,’ ‘greetings from–’ and it was fantastic. Like the world was connected at this moment, and to me, that was really thrilling. I can’t deny it—that was one of the most exciting things.”
For this edition, fans signed in from France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, America, New Zealand, and all over the UK as Scanner broadcast live from his studio in the East Midlands, England.
“I was trying to decide on a time to broadcast, and I thought, ‘No matter what time you do it, it’s always wrong for someone.’ So the ability to watch it back for 48 hours is amazing because there might be something you missed or you want to kind of retread, or you were in New Zealand and you missed it.
“With the impact of the pandemic and the world as it’s changed, I wanted to embrace the ability to broadcast globally to an audience.”
You can read a detailed blog post by Scanner on how his livestreaming setup has improved over time. He explains how streaming has changed the visual dynamics of his live performances. It also lists the equipment he uses, including cameras, lighting, mixers, and software.
“I’ve performed for many years and there’s a huge advantage to livestreaming, which is the mechanics of traveling. To play a show in New Zealand would take well over a week, but here I am in my studio. I can be in control of everything without having to battle through all the stress and everything.
“I can make concerts happen that I couldn’t make in any other way. I’m not going to travel with some of this equipment, it’s far too fragile. With livestreaming I can, at the last minute, change my mind about something I want to use half an hour before the show. I can reintroduce something into it. I can’t do that if I’m traveling.”
Scanner used a combination of his iPhone and a separate camera to stream his shows. He tested the different battery lengths whilst running livestreaming software. He also tested the sound quality, internet connection, and that his Whatsapp messages wouldn’t pop up during the show!
“A very valuable thing is, and it’s a small thing, but very important, is that Bandcamp allows you to constantly check the stream when you want to. You could check it two weeks before the show, you could check it 12 times on the day. When I’ve made live performances before online, it’s absolutely terrifying to hit the go live button at the designated hour and think, is this gonna work or not? Whereas actually, you know well beforehand if it’s working and that’s a really important thing.
“I want to continue these shows because they offer something to a much more global population. You know, if I play in London, X amount of people can come to that show. There’s all the other people around the world who can’t come to that show. Bandcamp Live has offered this kind of unity in a really positive way.”
Follow Scanner to find out about his next show on Bandcamp. To set up your own live show click here.
Singer-songwriter Dominique Fils-Aimé launched her new album on Bandcamp Live, so we asked her to tell us about how it felt and what she discovered about her fans as a community.
“We did our live stream at the studio where I recorded the album. Being able to invite people into the environment where I created it was very special, so that was our way to use that opportunity to show something or to share something that we cannot normally do. I think there’s always a way to find the silver lining in a different format.”
Dominique recorded a trilogy of albums at Les Studios Opus in Québec, and Three Little Words is the final installment. She and her band performed music from all three albums, which were available on the merch table in different formats. As the pre-recorded show played, Dominique participated in the chat with fans from the comfort of her sofa at home, then hopped onscreen for a 15 minute live Q&A at the end of the show.
Artists like Dominique have found that live streaming offers an opportunity to do things they can’t do in person: create intimate live experiences that connect people all over the world simultaneously.
“Being able to be present at the live show and also share, see the comments, and interact was a very special experience. It’s as if for the first time I got to watch my show with people. So that was a very special and lovely moment, to feel like I could take a back seat and really enjoy it with the community. To me, they’re such different ways to perform that I wouldn’t say there’s advantages, it’s just a different reality, and we can find ways to enjoy both for what they are.”
Fans in the chat showed their support by buying the record, discussing their pre-show excitement, how much they loved the new album, and how grateful they were that Dominique spoke in both French and English. Meanwhile, Dominique’s friend acted as moderator for technical questions, such as how to watch the replay.
“I was reminded by the chat of how sometimes we’re scared of how people will react, because there’s a lot of trolling online, but the reality is that the people who follow us love us already and if they came to discover you, they came with an open heart, wanting to love the same way [as] when they come to a show. So it was very heartwarming.”
Dominique was one of the first artists to try Bandcamp Live, so we asked her what she learned from the experience, and what advice she had for other artists considering streaming on Bandcamp:
“To other artists thinking about doing a live stream…take your time in the preparing process and allow yourself to push the boundaries of what a show is supposed to be. Using a new medium, allow yourself to not only create musically, but create perhaps visually the atmosphere that you’re looking for, or deconstruct the concept of a show and rebuild it to your image.”
To find out more or schedule a live stream click here.
Children of Zeus, a hip-hop and soul group from Manchester, recently hosted their album release on Bandcamp Live. It was live streamed from a warehouse and gave fans the chance to hear the new record before it was released.
“As it was an album launch performing new music for the first time, the chat room feature was the barometer for us to see what was working with the audience. The chat room feedback made us realize people were really enjoying it and in return we got more comfortable as it went on.”
Attending fans who also bought the record received their copy before anyone else. The merch table featured t-shirts and hoodies, though notably absent were the plush Children of Zeus dressing gowns the duo wore whilst performing. Their record label First Word helped answer questions in the chat, and fans showed their support with a deluge of purchases and fire emojis.
“I think being able to monetize something many people are doing for free on Instagram/Twitch and also [being] able to direct people to merch is great. We actually ended up really enjoying our live stream.”
For more information or to schedule a live show click here.