Free Downloads & Power-Ups

Update September 15th, 2010: Please read this.

When we first started working on Bandcamp, we wondered whether it might be possible to always provide an unlimited number of “free” downloads* to artists for, well, free. Our hope was that free downloading might be highest amongst the artists who were also selling the most – for example, a band giving away a track or two in promotion of a paid album. That way, the revenue share on the artist’s sales would naturally cover the costs associated with the streaming, support and storage of their freebies.

What we’ve learned, however, is that most of the music being given away through the site is from a relative minority of bands who have decided not to sell anything at all. It’s obviously unfair to burden every Bandcamp artist with the costs of a few outliers giving away hundreds of thousands of free downloads, so we’re making some changes to button that up.

Starting today, new accounts come with 200 free downloads, and all existing accounts are granted 500. Your free download credits also refresh every month (meaning that if you have less than 200 downloads remaining, we’ll just bump you up to 200 again). Each time a fan downloads a track or album for free, it counts as 1 against your balance (an album, regardless of how many tracks it contains, still only counts as 1 download, and streaming is still unlimited). You can buy more downloads for a small fee from your Tools page. The pricing is the same as for download codes:

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

But here’s the cool part: for every $500 USD you have in sales, we’ll give you another 1,000 free downloads (kind of like a power-up, but based on sales rather than say, eating a Super Mushroom**). The idea is that if you’re selling through Bandcamp, you’ll probably never run out of free promo downloads, and if you’re using the site to distribute your music for free, there’s still a cheap and easy way to keep doing that. (Actually, the cheapest way would be to head over to ZRapidShare, but if you’re reading this, you probably care about your fans too much for that.)

You can check your free download balance over on your Tools page, but you don’t need to check it obsessively. If you get low, we’ll notify you via email, as well as display a reminder up at the top of your account. And if your balance drops to zero, free tracks and albums won’t go away, they’ll just automatically switch to paid (at whatever price you last set, or the default if you never set the price). We won’t start decrementing your free download balance for another week (on September 16th), so anyone planning a big free promo has time to make sure their download needs are covered. Again, the above applies to free downloads only – there remain no download limits whatsoever on tracks or albums that you’re selling.

*By “free” downloads we just mean downloads of tracks or albums that you’ve set to free, free but email-required, or let-fan-name-price with no minimum and the fan enters zero. Download code redemptions don’t count, and neither does streaming.

**We’re extending this power-up idea to other parts of the site as well, with sales raising your upload limit and granting you more download codes, for starters. We’ve got plenty more power-ups in store too, all of them useful, fun, and in the spirit of helping to kick-start your success.

111 thoughts on “Free Downloads & Power-Ups

  1. That’s not a bad idea, Henry.
    I’m in the same boat.

    With everyone & their brothers constantly churning out music, it’s actually a challenge to get people to listen in the first place, even for free!

    Regardless, I’ve been happy with BC since the beginning and I hope everything works out~

  2. Reading some of yall’s comments are depressing. Not too long ago, people bought music from stores in a physical form or through iTunes. Once iTunes stopped accepting any/every band that came to them, it became difficult for indies to get their music on there. So Bandcamp comes through to take the virtual A&R out of the picture, and now cats are complaining about free downloads?? WTF is wrong wit’chall? If you think it’s wrong to put a price-tag on your product then perhaps you didn’t pay for it either. Or perhaps you don’t value the product itself and if not, it doesn’t need to be heard.

    Some of you aren’t even reading the post right, your complaints are confusing other commentaries. Big up to Bandcamp for this change, i hope it pushes the free-loaders to the side.

  3. All I can do is repeat what Jeff Scott Townsend said @ comment No. 43 – “I have absolutely no problem with this. You guys do an amazing job of allowing the little guy an fantastic site and platform to sell music. I have nothing but praise for BC and constantly recommend it”.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch, and if you people want everything for ‘free’, go use Jamendo or Myspace and feel the massive drop in quality! Bandcamp is a unique platform for musicians, and that is free to join and easy to use is something we should be thanking the guys who run it for.

  4. @Mr. Townsend, better to have warm apple pie than a partially eaten apple, wouldn’t you say? =]

    @Mr. Merchant, can you not spread your message via the play button rather than the download link?

    @Mr. Williams, thanks for the advice on the compulsory licensing bit. Unfortunately, your exception is exactly what I was trying to do, so I’m a little boned. And in some cases, I’m not able to license a track through HFA because the artist isn’t big enough, so I just come to an agreement directly with the artist.

    And lastly, Ethan, I would be happy to work with you on a simple implementation of my idea/request, if you’re willing to hear me out.

  5. “Hey Marius, no, streaming is still unlimited.”

    Thank you for the info, Ethan.

    Here’s to the continued success of your awesome service for musicians and bands.

    All the best,
    Marius

  6. I don’t see that big of a deal with this change…BC has bandwidth they need to pay for somehow. Better this than hitting us with spammy ads.

    This could be a cool way to do a “limited” free download track – available until you hit the 500 mark, then no more.

    In fact, that’s a feature that might be nice to have – the option to set a certain number of downloads per track before it “turns off”. This might also help those to manage the 500 freebies they get and spread them out evenly across certain tracks.

  7. Hmmm.

    It’s easy to give music away for free. You can use any of the many free sites set up already for this. Or you can get a pretty good hosting plan for a few bucks a month and do it yourself. It’s easy.

    Thing is, if you just want to give it away, you don’t really need bandcamp to do it for you. The beauty of bandcamp’s UI is how simple it makes the process of listen-pay-download.

    It’s really hard to get people to follow this process without a good system like bandcamp, but when you take the “pay” bit out it’s really no issue – people will happily wait 30 seconds, or ignore ads, or click a couple more times to get your free content – that’s not the problem bandcamp solves.

    So I’m not too bothered about this. As others have noted, if so many people are downloading your stuff that you can’t afford to give it away, you need to look at your strategy a little closer.

    And also as others have noted, the next step really, really, really, should be to do away with paypal. Can this happen without more fees though?

  8. First off, thanks so much for the upload limit expansion. That is so fantastic. Much appreciated.

    Secondly, these fees for the free downloads are completely fair and reasonable.

    I think everyone’s natural reaction seems to be, “something that used to be free now costs money!? What an OUTRAGE!!!”

    Think about the numbers, people. If you’re giving away 500 for free, you’re getting enough traffic to sell $20 worth of SOMETHING to afford another thousand (and easily another 5000, really). In fact, I’ll bet if you feel that there’s a reasonable risk that you’re going to quickly run through your initial, free 500 a week from now, you’re not on here bitching about $9-75. I don’t get traffic like that and I can easily cover it from bandcamp sales that I’ve made (from pay-what-you-want pricing) in the past.

    And if you’re complaining because you like to give everything away for free, you’re not going to convince me that you really can’t afford $20 (much less $75). Skip 2-3 meals at a fast food place or a few beers and you got another 1000 downloads. You don’t even have to skip them this week or this month. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to skip them quite comfortably while your first 500 freebies (with any luck) ebb away.

    If you have real conviction about giving it away, then commit and sacrifice for it. This isn’t like a ‘bleeding for [your] art’ kind of sacrifice. We’re talking about $20 here. Just stop for a moment and think about the stupid crap you blow $20 on without even thinking. And who said giving something of yours away for free shouldn’t cost *you* anything? Kind of meaningfully enhances the experience of giving, doesn’t it?

    Now, if you’re giving it away and need 5000, you’re going to shock the hell out of me if you’re not making enough income from your music some other way (like shows, licensing, merch, etc.) to cover the fees.

    Anyway, I love when there’s an RSS update on the bandcamp blog. Always great. (Still psyched about the upload limit expansion!)

  9. These are disappointing changes. Taking a cut of sales to keep bandcamp afloat is understandable but this move is going to push away artists like me, who want to remove as many barriers as possible between their music and their listeners.

    I’ve evangelised to all about the wonders of Bandcamp but it no longer seems so fantastic for free distribution. Sorry to see you taking these steps.

  10. When I first saw a change effecting the free downloads I was a little disappointed. But then I read the rest of the article.

    You guys are letting us give away up to 500 downloads. I agree with several people on here that if you have an online fan base (or real life fan base) that is big enough to support 500 free downloads, then you can probably either scrape up the necessary money from doing shows or you can ask fans to donate by doing name-your-price.

    If someone doesn’t have $20, then they need to grab their guitar, go down to a coffee shop or street corner, and play for a few hours while collecting tips. It’ll be good for them.

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as cost-free web hosting.

  11. Hi

    I’m not a bigseller. As far as I am concerned, what you are doing concerning free downloads is totally fair.

    Best wishes to you and respect for all your hard work and your underpinning ethic.

    Glyn 🙂

  12. Just this week I said to a friend, while referring them to join your site, “I love Bandcamp for managing my free downloads; I would honestly pay for that service.”

    So, when I say that I found this post insulting and no longer wish to be your user, understand that it isn’t about not wanting to pay for something.

    No, it is about this post being utterly condescending to musicians who have a business model other than “trying to sell bits of digital ephemera,” which is already in its death throes.

    I want you to make a profit, but I don’t want to be your “outlier” or your “burden” who has to “power up” to be a viable user. I just want to give away tracks for free so people pay to see my shows. It’s a service I would have gladly paid you for two days ago.

    Had you announced this (very logical, sound for business) change in any other way I would gladly shell out to remain your user. However, while exposing your logic and business sense, you’ve shown what you think of your lower volume users – and that attitude isn’t something I’m eager to subscribe to or pay to be a part of.

    1. Sorry to hear that Peter! I’m a little surprised you find the power-ups condescending, the idea is only to bring a little fun to something that could have just as easily been left dead-dry (same deal with Defender in your stats). The “burden” we’re talking about in the post is the literal financial load generated by a relative minority of artists — didn’t mean burden in the nuisance sense (could have probably found a better word there, but anyway, no offense intended).

      Regarding “…a business model other than ‘trying to sell bits of digital ephemera,’ which is already in its death throes,” please check out the growth curve over on our front page. Sales are surging through the site, and while the majority of those sales are still digital, fully 1/3rd are physical goods like vinyl, CDs, USB sticks, t-shirts, and so on. Handing money to Universal for a CD or download in the hope that Nelly might one day see a piece of it may be on the way out, but it’s clear that when you provide fans with an easy way to directly support the artists they love (and get something good in return), they’re more than happy to open their wallets.

      Good luck with everything!

  13. so, the other shoe has dropped. TANSTAAFL! I understand, you need to support this site in some way. Bandwidth and drive space cost money. Can we just pay you then? Is that already an option, or no? I mentioned before that i refuse, under any circumstances as a matter of religious principle, to accept money for downloads of my music; I should also mention that this conviction extends to physical copies of my music. I will not take money for music, period. I am however, more than happy to take money for physical goods, and also live shows. T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, marital aids, whatever… and concerts. is there any way to implement ticket sales through bandcamp? Maybe it would be difficult to coordinate with every little venue that a bandcamp artist might play at, but I can think of ways to make it work. Printable tickets with unique ID codes, stored in a bandcamp database. The artist makes their own arrangement with the venue to accept the tickets, which they (the venue) turn over to the artist, and the artist pays the venue for each ticket.

  14. Pay Pal doesn’t work in Russia. So how should I sell my music here? I realize I’m not popular enough to be important for all BandCamp, but anyway… Now I need to pay to keep sharing my music for free (actually it’s nonsense, isn’t it). I understand your reasons, but cannot accept them.
    Anyway, good luck.
    Alexander Piterskiy.

    1. Hi Alexander, we hope to expand our payment options in the future. Right now you can receive money in any of 56 countries, but you’re right, Russia unfortunately isn’t one of them. You definitely don’t need to pay to keep sharing your music for free though. You can continue to upload and have your fans stream an unlimited amount of music. It’s only if you get more than 500 downloads that you’ll need to chip in a little.

  15. I really think this is extremely reasonable…. Instead of looking at it as a negative thing, look at it from a promotional point of view for an artist …… If you have been giving free downloads you do have a database right ?. All you have to do is for the next release say the first 500 downloads are free. This will create some kind of buzz with your fans.

  16. Bc is still awesome. People are neglecting this biggest selling point of a free download… The email address. This is huge and definitely worth a couple cents. Artists need to realize that you have to give to receive and bc has been giving long enough…

  17. I like the idea and I like the fact that the music will not expire (sites such as usershare, rapidshare, megaupload, etc can expire). There is an abundant amount of free music that is released daily and it is hard for the consumer to “grab” all of the music. Bandcamp is a great site because it gives the user the option to preview songs before they buy or download them.

    Keep up the good work guys,
    Patrick

  18. While I unerstand that 75,000 free downloads is bound to cripple your finances in no time I think your limits are far too safe.

    Think of it this way. If a well known band/record label chooses to use bandcamp for a free download campaign they are bound to record download figures in the tens of thousands… even a moderately popular band/label is going to make in excess of 1000/2000 downloads eventually…

    But for an act like myself who is happy to admit that his downloads may never reach the 1000s – the limit of 200/500 free downloads is in no way practical. I am not going to pay money so that others dont have to… the idea is that we are non-profit.. with no profit there is no extra money to be spent on things like this.

    So the limit should be made to be 1000 downloads.. smaller bands will never exceed the limit and larger bands who can afford to pay for extra will exceed that limit in day or so… its fair for everyone.

    OR!!!

    Why set the limit to 200/500 indefinitely? Why not make a monthly download limit?? so that large campaigns will be forced to pay either way and smaller bands will be able to keep up their monthly free downloads without having to pay more money after all their downloads run out!

    It just doesnt seem fair.. after all this time uploading music I am thinking I will just pull out now and find some other way of distributing.. if there is one..

  19. i think its a very fair idea….i actually was wondering *when* you were going to start being a paid service!

    your website is what the “old” MP3.com was but w more perks!

    i will GLADLY pay your $75 a year for your fantastic service!

    *SUGGESTION* tho!

    for “YEARLY” subscribers as i DEF WILL BE ONE – make “unlimited” DLs – now that would be a perfect deal!

  20. The free download thing doesn’t really affect me, but here’s an idea. It doesn’t take much to calculate how much you’re spending on the bandwidth and all per artist, so make that number visible on the stat pages. Presto, instant understanding.

    -J

  21. Hear me out, from the perspective of a music blogger who pays out of pocket to host her site to promote new music, … your music, you talented unsigned artists.

    For once, I have the opportunity to direct readers to an alternative place to purchase your records and tracks. I don’t have to send them to Itunes or to CDbaby or Amazon where they take a large cut) from your sales. I do that every single time I can. And every single time I post an mp3 or write about you I link to where to buy your music. You should insist on that from everyone who writes about you on the internet! (even if you’re giving it away for free)

    Unless you also run your own labels or have a sweet deal with your buddies’ labels, you’re not going to get anything better than this. I don’t run ads on my site. Without bandcamp.com I’m not going to get any better opportunity to give my readers direct access to you. I don’t promote very many artists on labels (yes, I do for some that I like, because my blog is about music I actually listen to.)

    So, for all that you believe in the dignity of your art, and all that you wish to preserve the value of music, remember there’s others out here working for you as well. Please don’t let your egos get in the way, kickstarter.com is an awesome place to raise money if you honestly can’t find it any other way. Your fans will come through. xo

  22. I can’t believe I’m hearing people complain about these prices. This is absolutely the lowest you can possibly charge for downloads. It’s an incredible deal. The cheapest place on the internet to sell your music that I know about, is limitedpressing.com, and these prices are right on par with that site. So if you’re just going to give away your music free, with no donations or anytything, this is as cheap as you can do it hands down. Great job guys!

  23. Ethan, I have been in love with Bandcamp since January of 2010 and have put all of my music on this site. I think everything you’re doing here is fair, and I understand the service costs money… as you’ve said many times, “Give us your ideas if you have them.”

    I think a few of the users really have put forth a fair point when they suggest a lower initial number of free downloads that quarterly reset. This way, folks who are giving away tens of thousands of tracks pay for the bandwidth as they ought, and folks who give away a few downloads a month can continue to do that on a stunning and fabulous website without having to pay to do so. It’s hard for the little guys to pay for any of it… recording, mixing, mastering, art, etc.

    Sufjan and Amanda Palmer should pay for the vast amounts of bandwidth they require to move digital merchandise, but the English teacher in Cleveland or the librarian in Aurora who’s a thumping good songwriter and is just trying to get some exposure by giving away as many well-written demos as he can, may have a very difficult time selling enough to power up.

    anyway Ethan, i think you guys rock a lot, and i’ll keep using bandcamp for sure. just wondering what you think of the reseting DL idea.

    1. Thanks a lot Lee, we’re mulling over the feedback, as always. Sufjan, Amanda Palmer and the many thousands of other indie artists selling their music on Bandcamp already do pay for the resources they consume — they do that through the revenue share system. The English teacher in Cleveland and the librarian in Aurora are, statistically-speaking, unlikely to ever run into these limits (as mentioned before, it applies to a few hundred artists out of tens of thousands). But if they do, selling more to get the downloads for free isn’t their only option — they can just pay for more download credits. A pay-for-use system like this is, in our opinion, a lot more fair than say, a subscription system that banks on the little guy (who doesn’t even come close to consuming enough resources to justify his $10/month) covering the costs for the big guy burning through a ton of bandwidth, support, storage, and so on.

  24. I’m VERY DISAPPOINTED. but I want to give you an alternative. put a banner on every profile, THAT’S A LOT OF SPACE. but let the music be freely downlodable. There are artists that do it for money but there are artists I’ve never had the idea of selling my music beacause I know that nobody will buy it while they can download it. so let mp3 be free and if anyone wants a copy of my cd, come at my concert and buy it (or ask me).

  25. No one should be complaining about this.

    A lot of musicians don’t realize that hosting a “free” download of one of their songs isn’t really free. Sure it’s free to download by a fan, but someone has to pay to host that download. I mean for some bands bandcamp has been their main website.. and you’ve been getting that FOR FREE!! Web hosting is not free! Without fees for hosting, I’d assume band camp would go bankrupt with all the downloads they host? Stop complaining and enjoy this EXTREMELY cheap website and hosting service.

  26. I’ve commented here before, and I believe it is fair to charge people money for things that cost money. However I also think it is fair to only charge people for downloads and bandwidth that they use – like many web hosting providers.

    Right now you are offering prepaid plans; what does it cost for the unlimited plan? I’d be interested in the 0% sales, unlimited downloads option. 😉

  27. I would rather have a small ad on my page and keep unlimited free downloads, to be completely honest. I’d rather not sell downloads or pay to give them away for free. Maybe this site just isn’t for me and the group of other musicians I know who use this site for small projects they want to give away for free indefinitely?

  28. If you really are worried about the outliers then it would make sense to make the free upload limits a little higher, such that the little people don’t ever bump up against them.

    If you’re worried about the guy with 75,000 free downloads, setting the free limit to 2000 still nabs him, while making it much less likely that a small time band will bounce up against it.

    Of course, if you’re looking for ways to get revenue from those little people… then you’ve found a way.

    1. Hi Jessie, the vast majority of artists won’t bump up against the limit. This isn’t a guess — it’s just a statement of fact based on looking at everybody’s download stats over the past year. So as opposed to being a way to get revenue from the little people, as you say, it’s a way to make sure that the artists driving significant downloads (but who, for whatever reason, have decided not to sell) cover their own costs.

  29. “There’s no way most artists are going to be able to reach the $500 to get 1000 free downloads”

    There’s also no way “most artists” are going to be in a position of even having to worry about this. Most artists are not going to see 500 free downloads, much less 1000 or 5000. As Ethan said, that percentage is a few hundred out of tens of thousands.

    Everyone who is complaining about this change should justify their complaints by telling us how many free downloads their fans use in a given period.

    If you seriously have the fanbase that your fans are just blowing through all your free downloads but you do not have a way to make a lousy $20 off of them, you are doing it wrong. Plain and simple.

  30. this is a great motivation for artists to realize that their product is worth something and that it should be understood as being a valuable product to the public, thus having a price tag. go bandcamp!

  31. I feel like BandCamp still gives an enormous amount at no cost. Just offering free streaming without ads puts them above the competition.

    The important thing to me is that it costs nothing to get started with BandCamp, and if your traffic is low (perhaps you’re not the most prolific artist!) you pay nothing.

  32. Hey I just got my bandcamp page configured a few days ago and this comes as a disappointment. But, reading through the comments and the excellent responses I just realize I missed the exciting start of something that has become big already. I’m from the netherlands and had never heard of bandcamp before till I was linked to the page two times on the same day and thought: “can I get one of those?”. I was excited that it was free, but also surprised. Therefor, I understand this ‘compromise’ and I think you thought it out really well (in contrast of some of the other commenters). This is in fact the cleanest way I can imagine to keep things as free as possible. Good luck, I’m loving the ease of use. If I can get off-topic here and have 1 little suggestion; uploading an album in a single upload and configuring titles/trackorder etc. afterwards would be high on my list. Cheers & love.

  33. Hello Ethan and Bandcamp folk,
    I love what bandcamp had done for musicians and small labels and think it totally valid to charge for larger usage of the service.

    However, the thing that sits heaviest with me, is this being an account stipend, rather than a regularly occurring replenishment i.e. 500 free downloads ever vs. say 25 free downloads a month.

    I think switching the model in this direction might make more sense and also increase longevity of the “product;” if it were replenished more frequently, members would continue to use the product, rather than let pages remain stagnant because there are no more free downloads.

    Just a thought.
    Thank you

    1. Thanks for the feedback everybody! As suggested by several of the commenters, we’re going to refresh everyone’s free download credits every month (so, if you have less than 200 downloads remaining, we’ll just bump you up to 200 again). This still accomplishes our goal of keeping the costs of large-scale free download campaigns where they should be (on the people actually doing them), while also giving early-stage artists room to comfortably get started. Enjoy!

  34. Ethan, Bandcamp, please take the ‘I want it all for nothing’ crowd with a grain of salt. I have been a “Struggling Musician” my whole life and I have ZERO problem with this. It’s been implemented with the same care and consideration in line with your philosophy from day one. Allowing 1000 downloads for $500 in sales is no arbitrary figure. My band has a physical product for sale but MP3’s of the same songs are ‘Pay What You Want Including Nothing’. The MP3’s ALONE generate more than $500 for every 1000 downloaded. Through the generosity of our fans alone. My advice to the whiners would be to just give your fans the chance to pay and they will, and you will likely find your downloads will remain free.
    http://civilcivic.bandcamp.com/

  35. This and all of your other changes is/are perfectly reasonable. When I self hosted music my bandwidth fees were higher than band camp fees ever will be and it was a lot of work and didn’t work that well.

    Bandcamp is the reason my music actually gets downloaded. With any other “free” service the user experience is terrible and people run screaming to where they came from before they even listen.

    If I make an album that I want to give away for free forever it is a labor of love; I care enough about my fans to spend 10 bucks to make sure they can listen to it or download it without being attacked by popups or having to wait 40 seconds to download. Or having to load a myspace page (terrible).

    And if I am selling music the fees everywhere else are ridiculous for a service that again loses in the user experience department.

    Besides, you can always stream music for free and just link to a mediafire file if you want to go that route.

    I am ecstatic you went with a pay what you use service versus a 5$ a month no matter what you use model.

  36. a lot of the comments here really make me sad. if you want to use a professional service like bandcamp you have to pay. if you’re not a professional then maybe you don’t really need a professional service and you’re better off using something else to distribute your music to your 12 friends.

    sigh.

  37. I have a few thoughts about this thread.
    First, to the musicians doing music.
    I don’t think that any true artist (musicians in this case) does not want to be appreciated for the hard work and time they put into making their music. Most likely, your instruments, your computer, your recording software/hardware, studio time, rehearsals and cost you time. And money.
    Tally it up. How many man hours did you spend?

    Lets assume your really good at what you do, and you consider yourself a pro…what is your hourly wage?
    Now, multiply the hours, months, years you put into your music. How much money should you have?

    Probably a lot.

    Valued Artist, through out history, musicians and artist have always been considered the creme of the crop in most societys. Pirates regarded their musicians in the highest honors, and fought to keep them alive at all cost, or, keep them alive if raiding them. Talent and skillmanship came at a high price.

    Today also, there is a reason rising stars are so acclaimed. A struggling artist, is one that moves from the shadows to hopefully step into the lime light. And the process can take some time.

    Here comes the conundrum. The time and skill that a musician developed into their craft, often does NOT translate into the world of self promotion or advertising. Either fans, or a good promotor/manager, takes care of that. Terms of negotiation, knavery and a sense of good dealings, are what eventually make a band financially stable (I’m assuming there is a market for your particular music here).

    Yet, you wouldn’t expect your promoter to go uncompensated. Or better, having to cover YOUR charges for his dealings. Or would you?

    Some people threw out big label names like EMI. Look at them. They have a structure. They know what sells, they do heavy promotions. But all that comes at a cost.
    Good services come at a cost. Don’t expect to walk to the Delano in Miami beach on the weekend and expect to pay Mcdonald prices for a Burger (assuming the make them).

    Fringe artist (and I probably fir that demographic now), upcoming artist, new artist, have to fight to establish a name. They have to fight to be relevant. They have to fight to be GOOD. And the good artist comes at a price. Good service comes at a price. Financial models change as time changes to adapt to, well, changes.

    I’m a web/multimedia designer by trade, musician/producer/artist by love. I am amazed of how certain people, when inquiring for service, are sticker shocked at development prices. And yet they expect to have the next “Facebook” at a salary to not even pay your electric bill.
    Hopefully I’ve dragged the example long out enough to show you that your time is valuable, and so is that of other people hosting your services.

    You want better tools? You want great service? You want sharks with laser beams on their frigg’n head to cut through competition? I do too. Free has its place, but so does getting paid for revealing your muse to others.

    I actually give Band Camp two thumbs up for this move. Smart, professional, and serious.
    Keep up the hard work guys, because I, and my band, truly appreciate it.

  38. I just wanna write in and speak on this issue from the standpoint of somebody currently charging for music.

    This update doesn’t really affect me or my band a whole lot because we’re on a paid basis. We’re planning on doing a free release here and there, but we mostly want to get paid for what we’re doing, as selfish as that might seem.

    A lot of people seem to think getting paid for music corresponds with robbing people. You don’t have to charge people THAT much, our ten track album is four dollars, and if that’s too high for some of our fans, they can stream it for free. I personally don’t feel like we’re stepping on any fingers.

    That being said, I have friends who love this website because it allows them to release their music for free, and for a minute I was upset that they might have to rethink their “careers” if they wanna keep moving forward with bandcamp.

    But then I realized something that a lot of people take for granted about this website, and it’s that this website has single handedly helped build a few careers, or at the very least has managed to take something from being a hobby to being more than a hobby for a ton of people, myself included.

    Bandcamp is the only platform my band is currently selling on. If they ever manage to start pressing physical CDs and printing t-shirts, they’ll become the only platform we’ll ever plan on using as long as we stay together.

    Bandcamp has really helped us out on an almost best friends level, and they really haven’t asked for anything much at all in return. Without Bandcamp we’d still be doing what we’re doing, but it probably wouldn’t be half as easy. And for a long time, they’ve been allowing free only artists to do the same thing.

    But think about it, all of you free based artists who are cursing this update. Bandcamp has provided you with a tantamount service, completely free of charge, for a long time now. They could’ve coated your pages in ads and made easy money off of your willingness to give your music away, but they didn’t. And now it’s just getting to a point where they no longer have a viable way to give you every service you need for free.

    The fact that they ever did is something you should be praising them for, you shouldn’t be lashing out at them now that they’re unable to meet the demands of thousands of artists saying “Here, take my music hosted on someone else’s server completely free of charge and sterile of any advertisements.”

    You’re truly not victims here, it’s a wonderful thing that you have the guts to give your music away for free, but you shouldn’t expect a website that already houses plenty of artists who are actually making money to contain a limitless amount of free material that takes up space on their finite web server.

    Bandcamp has allowed thousands of people to live out their dream of having fans, and for a good while they let you host all your work on their servers with absolutely nothing in it for them. Sure, it sucks that they’ve reached a point where they can’t afford to do it for free anymore, but that’s just a testament to how far this service has come, and where it’s going in the future.

    Thank you everyone at Bandcamp for allowing us to give our dreams a shot,

    Baby Giraffes.

  39. For Jimi Hendrix sake, STOP BITCHIN.
    Its not like you just realized today every damn thing costs money. Bandcamp is the best platform for indie music projects out there, period. Every comment rejecting the new policies as pure greed is childish.

    *Wanna keep your art, message, vibe, noise or whatever the hell you call your music completely free? You can still do so. Allow people only to play the songs on your BC page and provide them with nice download links to your favourite filestorage provider for every and all of your tunes. That way you would keep your conscience clean and the hippie fairy of music won’t lose its wings.

    *You are an independent label that gives away the work of its roster in order to fight the dark side of the force better known as music business? In that case you already have some alternate income (day job, drug dealing, your parents) cuz you have at least a few expenses, like the internet service bill, and now you just need a little more. Someone gotta pay for that bandwidth being used by your audience, and if its not them then must be you. Its sad but having to choose between BC runnin outta businees or you is no dilemma at all.

    *You an idealist troubadour who fell in love for the “all-free” philosophy and want things to stay exactly the same as the day the site started? All i can say pal is that i often dream about cold beer waterfalls and vagina trees but deep down i know its just not happening. So stop suggesting they include banner ads to make a profit, the extremely sober design and easy interaction is why many of us use Bandcamp as our main webpage. That move will be much more of a treason to its original purpose than charging for downloads.

    Like i said before BC is the best option and you know it, so you hurting nobody if you decide to leave. Cash rules everything around us… yeah, cold world outside.

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