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:
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.