So, This One Time, At Bandcamp, I Made It Easy To Offer Fans New Music

from the the-tools-are-on-the-way dept

It's definitely been cool to see various musicians embracing aspects of the business models that we discuss around here concerning using free music to improve your business model -- but what would be even more exciting is seeing an ecosystem of companies start to spring up in order to support and enable this type of activity (and, no, we're not talking about MySpace Music). For a while we've seen platforms like Sellaband, ArtistShare and BandStocks, that help in some ways, and now we're seeing a new generation of platform providers. Earlier this year, we mentioned TopSpin's platform, which appears targeted at bigger bands, providing them with a platform for embracing these new models. And now, Mathew Ingram points us to the launch of Bandcamp, which makes it easy for a band to set up their own website.

It was created by the guys who did Oddpost, which became Yahoo Mail. Basically, it's a system to make it incredibly easy for bands to set up their own website, streaming all their tracks (none of this 30-second-soundbite stuff), and then offer a variety of ways for people to download the music -- either for free, for a set price or at pay-what-you-want. The site takes care of all of the encoding (you just upload lossless files and it creates a bunch of different options). Basically, it's designed to give the bands a lot more options than just having a MySpace page. Also, the concept of sharing the music is a big part of it, as the songs come with embeddable players that can easily be placed on websites with a few clicks. And, for the band, it provides detailed stats, including how many people are downloading each track (including whether they completed the download) and where the songs are being embedded.

As a critique, right now, all of the band sites I'm seeing on Bandcamp look generically similar, which may be a limitation. Also, you would think some community tools would be useful, as well as enabling other aspects of new business models beyond just selling music (such as buying tickets to concerts, or tiered support offerings). However, obviously the site just launched, so hopefully these types of improvements are in the plans. As an example, you can check out the Bandcamp page for the band Monolith, or see the embedded player here:
<a href="http://themonolith.bandcamp.mu/album/meet-you-at-the-monolith">The Sounding by The Monolith</a>
Either way, what's exciting is to see this infrastructure being built up to support bands embracing these types of models. For too long, people have complained that what we talk about is too difficult because bands just want to make music, rather than focus on building websites. Well, now they don't have to worry so much about that part.

The really sad part, though, is that the things that TopSpin and Bandcamp are doing are exactly what the big record labels should have been doing five or even ten years ago to help bands embrace the opportunity of the internet. Instead, they continued to claim the internet was a threat, and have suffered because of it. Luckily, these days, if an old obsolete business insists on ignoring opportunities, others can step in and provide those services instead.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Jake, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 6:24pm

    Tsk, Tsk!

    I'm pretty sure using this blog to do endorsements violates some kind of ethics rule. Good band though.
    And someone really ought to tell BandCamp that the DownloadHelper add-on for Firefox can capture and download the files being streamed from that media player for free, regardless of whether the band in question chooses to offer them that way. They probably ought to do something about that before more people notice.

     

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    Nobody, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    This article was kind of a let-down. I was hoping by the title that you'd talk about the Phantom Regiment or someone letting people download music.

     

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    Keith Jolie, Sep 17th, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    not really new - but it raises a point

    Pretty neat site, but nothing really new - There's a lot of sites that let you do similar things.

    The share option on the widget raises (for me) one of the things that needs to change to allow these to work more seamlessly. if you click on share it asks you how you want to share it, and it offers you some options like facebook, blogger, etc. Wouldn't it be nice if rather than identifying the service you'd like to share it through, you could identify the category of friends that you'd like to share it with, and that would be sent out to them no matter what social networking gui (that's how I think sites like facebook, myspace etc should be seen) they happen to prefer to use.

     

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      David Claughton (profile), Sep 18th, 2008 @ 6:05am

      Re: not really new - but it raises a point

      You might want to check out the "OpenSocial" initiative, which sounds like what you describe. The rub is it's still in development so it's not really ready for sites like Bandcamp to take advantage of it yet.

       

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    Hyrulio, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 4:25am

    This one time...

    Where did you stick your flute Mike? :P

     

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    Isaac K (profile), Sep 18th, 2008 @ 6:13am

    wait... Masnick law?

    Huh? this is a site for larger-than-small bands? that can become commercially successful giving away their music???
    BUT IT WOULD NEVER WORK FOR THE MEDIUM LARGE BANDS, OR POSSIBLY THE MEDIUM SMALL ONES. IMPOSSIBLE. BLAH BLAH BLAH EXCEPTION BLAH BLAH SEMANTICS BLAH CLOSED OPINION.

    Sorry guys, just had to get that one out there before anyone else did.

     

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    Conflict In The Sky, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Dissapointing

    Like the other comments said, there is nothing special about this. Why were sites like Sellaband and Slice The Pie even mentioned? Those are revolutionary ideas - this is basically just a website template. Like the article said, all the sites look the same, which is kind of dumb for artists who are trying to be different.

    -Chris
    CONFLICT IN THE SKY
    www.conflictinthesky.com
    www.sellaband.com/conflictinthesky
    www.myspace.com/conflictinthesky

     

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      Mike (profile), Sep 18th, 2008 @ 10:40am

      Re: Dissapointing

      Those are revolutionary ideas - this is basically just a website template.

      Well, there's a lot of stuff behind the scenes that makes this cool. It's much easier to use, and enables much more than many of those other sites.

       

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    Dewy, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 8:46am

    While I don't see anything revolutionary here, it is innovative, and more of the first thought, rather than Myspace's "afterthought" for bands.

    This is a fine example of the web giving an opportunity for exposure to start up bands, as well as a review source (think Demo) for working bands.

    Again, I think entirely too much has been made of the Recording Star business model... that is not something that most musicians can aspire to. Working bands on the other hand can use this in a business model that puts them forward and exposes them to increasingly larger crowds, as any good "Advertising tool" should do.

    Lets drop the whole "Superstar" angle to music as a business model please. It was never designed to benefit Consumers nor artists, it was designed and tweaked over the years to support the industry.

    This is also where the Idea (music) separates itself from a tangible good (property). It can be re consumed again and again for the cost of the energy to play it... like Jefferson's Candle lighting another. Music and other Ideas were never intended to be chained to profit only the conceiver of the work.

    As soon as we are able to interpret the medium the idea is stored in (language, dat tape, .mp3) the idea should be freely shared, and the concept only returning dividend when the idea is exercised (i.e. used for profit). Ideas should not be constrained to pay for play.

     

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    another mike, Sep 18th, 2008 @ 4:36pm

    new target

    these sort of articles always just seem to give the RIAA a new list of targets to go after. i fear the next time we hear about bandcamp is when they're knocked offline by the recording industry. i owned or had access to more music when mp3.com was running than at any time before or since. i found so many new artists that i liked, even made a point of going to see local artists. and you could download their music, or store it in your online album collection, or buy a plastic disc. those were the days when being an audiophile was fun.

     

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