Bandcamp is an online music store and artist platform that allows bands an easy way to upload and sell their music, while keeping much more profit than equivalent sales from iTunes, Amazon MP3, and Google Play. (Bandcamp takes 15% of sales then drops that down to 10% once you pass $5,000 in total sales.) Bands can give music away free, make it a name-your-own-price with or without a minimum, or just sell it at a set price. All music uploaded can be streamed for free, and they have custom players and widgets people can share and embed on other sites to allow people to buy your music instantly right then and there.
From a consumer standpoint, not only is it great that I can hear what I’m potentially going to buy first, but it allows me to download the music in full-quality FLAC format (what is FLAC?) or just about any other format I choose. I like that I’m putting more money in the pockets of the artists, and it lets me easily share that music—if you’ve been on the site lately you know that lots of the album/EP streams have been straight from discoveries on bandcamp.
One thing bandcamp has always lacked has been a good way of discovering new music. They do have a discovery section, but the genres are far too generic and because it’s free to sign up there is a staggering amount of frankly just bad music you have to sort past to find something good. It can be frustrating investing a lot of time trying to find something you enjoy and sometimes I can spend an hour or more never finding anything I want to purchase or share. But while it doesn’t completely fix that problem, they’ve taken a step in the right direction by adding fan accounts to the site. It’s not a social networking attempt by any means, but a way to keep a collection of all your purchases in one place to help others with similar tastes find new music they may like.
In addition to being able to proudly display your collection, you also have the option to “wishlist” something to easily find it later, display comments and reviews about tracks and albums, and of course follow/subscribe to other fans and artists. The system keeps track of how many people visit your profile, how many tracks they listen to on your page, and of course how many sales happened after someone discovers something through you. If you’re interested, read the bandcamp blog page with the full details of the fan pages, and of course check out our bandcamp collection and check out what we’ve been listening to.