I’m a bit disappointed with bandcamp’s new free download limitations. We haven’t had that many downloads yet, but if we ever did get beyond 500, we would in effect have to pay for people to download our music for free. Which is obviously going to effect how we do things in the future.
My initial feeling on reading Bandcamp’s latest news was, ‘Oh you scallywags. You’ve blown it.’ However, on reflection, these developments aren’t really all that bad. Those of us who have been able to use Bandcamp completely free of charge up ’til now are lucky bastards.
Think about it. Bandcamp’s whole interface is perfect. I can’t think of another way to tart up what is effectively A BUNCH OF MP3s and somehow turn it into a cohesive, pretty… well… PRODUCT (sorry).
I currently give all my music away for free and have had about 300 downloads in six months. Smalltime Bandcamp users who, by the way, make up about 80% of Bandcamp’s population, aren’t really missing out. Existing users get a whole 500 free downloads.
It will cost you $20 to give away another 1000 downloads. Hardly breaking the bank. That’s three pints in real money. Everybody cheer up. Streaming costs nothing, remember!
Better still, use this news as impetus to make better music, take more care over the packaging and, gasp, maybe charge £1 for an album or something (OMG)? It’s made me really think about my music and whether giving it away for free is really a result of undervaluing the music we write. (I wouldn’t hesitate in paying for great music on Bandcamp so why shouldn’t other people?)
On the other side of the coin, however, I’ve no doubt that there are going to be Bandcamp-esque websites popping up all over the place. There will always be a way to give away your music for free. Thing is, will it be as goddamn awesome as Bandcamp’s pretty revolutionary site? Hmmmm… I think I’ll take the $20 a year hit. The Bandcamp pros FAR outweigh the cons. This was inevitable. Time to man up, folks.
I think Bandcamp`s recent changes are slightly worrying for the long term. Bandcamp has been brilliant for us as a band up until now and at the moment we only sell our music exclusively online there . It gave us a chance to give away our `Jeremy Kyle` track for free to anyone in exchange for their e-mail address. Which helped us to build up a database of people who would potentially buy our CD …and many of them did purchase when our `Social Not Working` E.P went up for sale on the bandcamp page. In the beginning we received 100% royalties. It all seemed a bit too good to be true, And of course it was.Now they want to cap the amount of free material we give away (Or charge us for giving away free material) and take a 10% cut of royalties. That in itself is not enough to drive me away from Bandcamp. Its still an excellent service and has to make money somewhere but it does make me slightly concerned about their intention s for the future. Will the 200 cap be removed entirely? will the royaltys sneak up by 5% every couple of months? Fingers crossed this isn’t the case as the last thing we need is another i-tunes.There is two arguments here though. One is that artists should be entitled to give their music away for free. There is plenty other sites available to do that and there may be a couple due to pop up in the aftermath of Bandcamps free music cap. The other argument is that maybe Bandcamp will encourage more independent artists to sell their music rather than giving it away for free. If that was to become the norm again then maybe this would be a good thing for the music industry as a whole?
We loved it till the fee increase.. now we’re just good friends. There was also potential to sidestep Ticketmaster for feeless local online ticket sales.. in combination with a pile of envelopes
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.Straight away this fixes the concerns the concerns that I’d had about the change. If your band is consistently pulling in more than those 200 free downloads a month you might still need to dip in to your pocket if you want to keep everything free, but if your band is clearing 200 a month then you are probably in a position where you can start asking for a little cash in return for your music. Turn five free downloads of your EP into 5 £2 sales of your EP and you should have made that $9 it’ll cost for another 300 freebies. If you really want to make everything free without paying Bandcamp there’s ways to do that too. There’s plenty of file hosts around there that you can use for free. Hell, if you are that stuck I’ve got some hosting space, I’ll give your music a home for a while. It won’t have an interface as simple or pretty as Bandcamp does though.