Bandcamp, Downloads, Streaming, and the Inescapably Bright Future

In light of a recent report that Apple will soon abandon music downloads (later denied, but undoubtedly containing a certain amount of inevitability), we thought we’d take a moment to update you on the state of Bandcamp’s business and our plans for the future.

Bandcamp grew by 35% last year. Fans pay artists $4.3 million dollars every month using the site, and they buy about 25,000 records a day, which works out to about one every 4 seconds (you can see a real-time feed of those purchases on our desktop home page). Nearly 6 million fans have bought music through Bandcamp (half of whom are younger than 30), and hundreds of thousands of artists have sold music on Bandcamp. Digital album sales on Bandcamp grew 14% in 2015 while dropping 3% industry-wide, track sales grew 11% while dropping 13% industry-wide, vinyl was up 40%, cassettes 49%… even CD sales grew 10% (down 11% industry-wide). Most importantly of all, Bandcamp has been profitable (in the now-quaint revenues-exceed-expenses sense) since 2012.

Subscription-based music streaming,* on the other hand, has yet to prove itself to be a viable model, even after hundreds of millions of investment dollars raised and spent. For our part, we are committed to offering an alternative that we know works. As long as there are fans who care about the welfare of their favorite artists and want to help them keep making music, we will continue to provide that direct connection. And as long as there are fans who want to own, not rent, their music, that is a service we will continue to provide, and that is a model whose benefits we will continue to champion. We have been here since 2008 and we mean to be here in 2028. Thank you!

*Bandcamp is not a download store, and we very much embrace the convenience of streaming. When you buy music on Bandcamp, whether that’s in digital or physical form (30% of sales on Bandcamp are for vinyl and other merchandise), you not only get the pleasure of knowing you’re supporting the artist in a direct and transparent way, you also get instant, unlimited streaming of that music via our free apps for Android and iOS, as well as an optional, high-quality download. Your purchase is about direct support, ownership and access, whether that access takes the form of a stream, download, or both. So please consider joining us in never using “streaming” as shorthand for “subscription-based music.” The former is an inevitable technological shift, the latter is an unproven business model.

295 thoughts on “Bandcamp, Downloads, Streaming, and the Inescapably Bright Future

  1. Bandcamp really f**** rules! This is why i only buy music in here. Thank you very very much for doing this.

  2. Very happy to hear Bandcamp is doing well. Anytime an artist makes their music available on Bandcamp, I always buy it here before anywhere else. Great deal for the artists, easy to use, and provides me with immediate access to the file types I want (320 MP3 for portable+ FLAC for home).

  3. “As long as there are fans who care about the welfare of their favorite artists and want to help them keep making music, we will continue to provide that direct connection”
    This is the reason why I use bandcamp or the artists pages for purchasing music great work!

  4. BandCamp is the reason I have found two of my favorite artist of all time. And it gives me a way to pay them nice and easily! Thank you.

  5. It makes me so happy to see that Bandcamp is kicking ass. I have a rather large problem with subscription music services, and to see the success of Bandcamp only further justifies my reasoning. Being able to directly pay (and even communicate with) the artist; full ownership of the music that you can keep as a physical copy, or freely download a variety of formats, OR stream from just about any conceivable device; the easy, seamless layout of both the website and the mobile app are some of the reasons that set Bandcamp apart as being my favorite music source by far.

    The vast array of genres from crust punk to chiptune to chamber music allow for exploration of some incredible unique and talented independent artists, many of which sell their music for much cheaper than expected.

    I’m not sure why more companies haven’t caught on to these seemingly intuitive concepts, but I’m glad that Bandcamp did, and as long you guys keep this up, I’ll be a fan for life. In a world dominated by greedy mass production of bland music, it gives me hope knowing that at least one website is run by true music lovers.

  6. Bandcamp has always been the best platform for independent artists, the best than exists at present: (downloads, Streaming, sales of music in physical or digital formats, merch store, Track/album codes, Collecting emails, HTML image map for header, and a long etc.). Please, don’t ever change. Thanks πŸ˜‰

  7. Bandcamp has turned me on to more music than any other site – and I always recommend artists use it. I go to bandcamp first every time because it has the most to offer both customers and artists in terms of benefits. Thanks for being there.

  8. Your report that half of your customers are under 30. How many are over 60 (like me!)? I may soon be celebrating the 34th anniversary of my 29th birthday, but I sure love Bandcamp!

  9. Im new to bandcamp, with MORALITY CRISIS being the band that led me to you guys, and im a huge fan of what you are doing, and have told people daily to check it out. Thank you!!

  10. To the “Musician”:

    “Short correction of the above article-text: As a fan you never β€œown” music. It is the intellectual property of the artist. So whether you buy a CD, a download, or stream via a subscription based-model, either way you β€œonly” get the license to listen to the music (use it). If you really want to β€œown” music, just produce it yourself. Only to make that clear, since it is misunderstood widely.”

    I think you’re confusing owning the COPY of a piece of music with owning the COPYRIGHT of a piece of music. When people here in the comments are deriding streaming for not owning music, they are deriding it for not owning a COPY of the music; they are not deriding streaming for preventing them from owning a COPYRIGHT of the music. It’s obvious to them that they don’t own the COPYRIGHT for music they didn’t create themselves, and frankly I’m surprised it’s not obvious to you.

  11. From the moment I decided to join Bandcamp I’ve felt that it was the biggest step in the right direction since the compact disc was released unto the world. You are the best.

  12. Great stuff. Please keep selling physical copies if at all possible too. Even vinyl. Without buying into the tired old vinyl vs cd vs download debate, I still buy vinyl off your site (and elsewhere) sometimes. I love the feel, large artwork and warm sound. It’s a buzz to get out and drop a needle on to. It’s no hype as far as I am concerned. It’s partly a tactile thing. Keep up the good work.

  13. Bandcamp is everything I want in a music site. I love the option to download FLAC versions of most tracks, that I get streaming access to digital tracks I buy and digital versions of physical albums I buy, and most of all I love that I am directly supporting the artists I love. I’d love to see more mainstream artists buy into this model over the old record label model. Keep up the good work, I plan to stick with you to 2028 and beyond! πŸ˜€

  14. When your reason for existence is a bigger idea than any delivery method for a product I think you’re on the right track. Facilitating direct support is a great space to be playing in. I think your platform could do with more development in terms of music discovery and user experience, and perhaps also as a better comms channel direct from artists to fans, but I love being able to support artists directly (and hear full songs before making up my mind and also paying more if I want to).
    I do use to some streaming services, but to put it bluntly do not trust them, especially what I’ve heard recently about Apple music.
    I prefer to have downloads, especially to avoid using Mobile data or for when I’m out of range but having the option to stream on the bandcamp app is great too.
    Keep up the great work!

  15. Bandcamp is the only download store of quality that exists, the fact that it is a streaming store doesn’t negate this fact. I pay for DRM-free, high quality products that I own, not cloud services that have no use for me at all. So be proud of calling yourself a download store

  16. Thank you band camp, I never thought that there might be a stricked music platform like you. My music is being secured and preserved in the best way I liked. Forever I will continue trusting you. Thanks once again

  17. nothing new to add to these comments, just another delighted customer. i like to ‘own’ my music, and i’m willing to pay for it. but i’m not willing to buy music from vendors that rip off artists — i can do that myself by pirating.

    i have a huge music collection, most of it not commercially popular, and bandcamp lets me support the artists i appreciate in a meaningful way. many, many thanks thanks for that.

  18. Awesome! I want to be able to download music and listen to it when I’m somewhere that has no internet or phone access, and this is very common where I live. Streaming works fine in developed countries, because you can have internet access virtually anywhere, but in poor and developing countries, there are lots of places that don’t even have electricity, let alone internet and/or mobile phone access.

  19. Agreed 100% – and nice to see that folks that know how to build a solid system work here πŸ˜‰

  20. Congrats you guys!
    This is why Dedbeat Devil is exclusive to Bandcamp!
    I’m loving the partnership. you guys know exactly what’s goin on and are blazing trails in my opinion.
    Keep up the great work, we’re with you!

    dd

  21. thanks for the service you offer. i’ve discovered so much music from around the world on your site. and, have sent many “gifts” to friends. keep on doing what you’re doing!

  22. I started using bandcamp as you were the only site that offered quality FLAC files and as I’ve been using the site there is just so much here it’s the best of both worlds! Streaming albums from my phone to see if I like this artist I’ve never heard of to being able to purchase the DRM-free FLAC files and throw it onto my FiiO to enjoy anywhere, with or without internet access.

    Keep up the good work.

  23. You have completely altered my thinking with output.. I have been able to get to 45s out through you with complete sell out success.. The ease of transaction and seamless webstore are gold.. thank you so much for being here..

  24. This is the best! I’m so grateful I stumbled upon Bandcamp inadvertently through a video game where I fell in love with the artists music and subsequently purchased said music. I’m so incredibly happy to support amazing artists in such a direct way! I hope Bandcamp continues to make that direct connection between artists and fans without all the ridiculous advertisements and distant feeling like streaming music sites are laden with. Congrats on your success, Bandcamp and the fact that you obviously to grasp what really matters. There is no better way to run a business. You will have great success ahead. Thanks!

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