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. Money for artists instead of the big cellphone corporations? You’re liable to get arrested for that! 😉 Keep on being subversive, Bandcamp.

  2. if you set something up from the start with the right values the Universe will back you up … has so far and I hope will … I have bought and sold here and the simplicity directness and transparency of the setup is PEERLESS as of 2016 ….. may you live to be 10 or 20 years old … but we all know all changes fast these days we do not know what media will be around in 10 years time … in the meantime best of luck you deserve it …

  3. This is nice to hear that not every music provider wishes to force ones hand when it comes to buying and owning music. This is nice to hear.

  4. I’m so excited! This is a beautiful aspect that a business is growing and creating wonderful opportunities of giving artist, fans and supporters. The pleasure of buying directly from the Artist.
    Peace Love and Light

  5. I discovered so many great artists thanks to bandcamp.
    There’s no point giving money to mainstream artists and even more money to Apple which is locking down everything with ITunes.

    I’ll continue to purchase my music through Bandcamp and so to support talented artists.

  6. Got the biggest love for Bandcamp, buy the majority of my music on there, digital and physical. I like to own my music.

  7. I love Bandcamp! I came across it by fluke as I wanted to by a new release from an artist I had followed for years. Guess what Bandcamp had it and let me own it. Being able to download the file is crucial for me as I cant get internet or mobile phone coverage in the country so I rely heavily on traditional methods of entertainment; vinyl, cds even usb’s. GO BANDCAMP! With such an continual exhaustive list of artists you cant go wrong. Keep up the great work. I tell everyone I know to get on it. Devoted fan!

  8. It’s great that a place like Bandcamp exists, but you guys should make sure that when you sell lossless, it really is lossless, because that’s not always the case. I know you can’t really control what artists deliver, but there should be a way to apply some kind of control, because it’s really frustrating to buy an alleged FLAC or WAV album and then get transcoded files instead. Yes, you can contact the band and tell them about it, but it’s really puzzling sometimes to see that they don’t know the difference/don’t care about providing HQ music files (or they simply ignore your message).

    I love to support the bands, but they should be more careful with what they provide, because some previous bad experiences with this issue make me hold back and think twice quite often.

    And if Bandcamp can’t really check every album on the site (which I may understand), how about providing and actual download of say the first 30 seconds of a couple of songs on the album for us HQ music lovers analyze whether those files are really lossless and buy with confidence later?).

  9. Last time I bought music anywhere other than Bandcamp was from a band at a gig. A band who’s music I usually buy from Bandcamp. You offer the best service and enable fans to connect with the bands they love. Keep it up.

  10. It’s all cool and stuff, I like Bandcamp and plan to use it more in the future.

    But this statement doesn’t resonate well with me:

    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.

    Storage is dirt cheap, music file sizes are not growing, while bandwidth is still at a premium, especially on mobile. The shift towards streaming is not inevitable, it’s being forced to excert a tighter control over content, even when it’s being paid for. Bandcamp is cool because it’s not that guy. Don’t become that guy.

  11. Thx for beeing awesome and doing this! A ton of high5s and plenty of fist pumps are in order here! 🙂

  12. Good news and thanks for letting us know. I want to point out that the Fan page was a smart move and I think that goes a long way towards helping promote the artists as it is time consuming process just searching the site. Nice you improved the search as well, away to go yet but progress. I trust there will in time be improved functionality for the fan pages. Well done on being creative and reflecting that aspect of the product you help sell.

  13. Great news! But you probably won’t completely usurp the user market until you add volume sliders to the webplayers 😉

  14. Short correction of the above article-text: As a fan you never “own” 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 “only” get the license to listen to the music (use it). If you really want to “own” music, just produce it yourself. Only to make that clear, since it is misunderstood widely.

  15. This was an amazing read. Great email to send out. I hope everyone takes the time to soak it in. Very informative and I qikl continue to support bandcamp.

  16. Peter Huppertz said what I’d say, also as a 58 year old 🙂 It was a good day when I found Blue Heron on Bandcamp. That lead to dozens more purchases.

    Please don’t change.

  17. I’m not surprised that Bandcamp’s sales have increased while others have dropped. BC offer a variety of formats, including high fidelity file types: FLAC and ALAC. iTunes only offer MP3/4 and it costs more for lesser quality files. BC is my go to market place to buy digital music, support the artists I like and respect, and discover new new artists and musical sounds. Keep doing what you’re doing BC and the fans and artists will continue to appreciate and support what you do.

  18. I’m here for the long haul if the spirit of the site remains the same. It’s my first stop to buy music.

  19. Very happy to read this, I love your service, especially because you offer lossless, unlike everyone else, I couldn’t be happier with your service.

  20. Love Bandcamp but see no reason to oppose a future of hi-res streaming. Making Music on Demand a reality, broadening access and interests

  21. “…and the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day…” I will even more now continue to support artists on Bandcamp as well as Bandcamp itself. Thank you Bandcamp!!

  22. I hope I’m not a dinosaur – but I like CDs! Over the last year I have bought music almost exclusively from Bandcamp – it’s great to be able to pay the money & download immediately to my own music database – I then write a CD! I like it that many artistes include cover art (and sometimes PDFs of CD booklets!)in their download package which allows me to create CD inserts, and I like it that my money goes to the musicians. Thanks for providing this service and long may you continue and prosper.

  23. Yes!!! I’ve been here for so long and while the music industry and landscape has changed so drastically over the last few years Bandcamp had remained the #1 option for supporting musicians directly. If I could suggest some things however; make the app a bit more streamlined and clean looking… Also, make the service more widely known! It’s a shame some younger people don’t even know what Bandcamp is. Thanks for standing for the individual’s message all these years. A truly amazing music outlet that I have been and will continue using into the future!

  24. Love it! The reason I come to band camp is because I like receiving Hi-Rez downloads as well as vinyl and other merchandise direct from the artist. I’m not the type to buy MP3s or compressed music when I can get a beautifully made high resolution file. I appreciate you guys and hope you get more and more artist (as well as mainstream artists) to come over to Band Camp and enjoy what you guys are doing. Thank you!

  25. Bandcamp is my favorite place to get music and support artists. Glad to hear things are not changing.

  26. This comes as a huge relief. It’s taken me a long while to embrace a more digital music collection, and I’m only okay with it when I can actually download the music I buy. I never want to leave my music at the mercy of the web, particularly when a higher power could decide one way to yank an album from everyone for some convoluted reason.

  27. Hooray for Bandcamp! But when will you start doing gift cards/certificates? As an artist and consumer I would really love this.

  28. Love bandcamp. Tues pm now a personal fav as banbcamp weekly out. Its my new religion. Also converting kids im my school classes. Keep up the great work!

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