If you’ve read Jack Riedy’s recent Reader feature addressing the economics of streaming services, then you should also have learned a little about Bandcamp’s sales-based model. (If you haven’t read it, go take care of that now. I’ll wait.) Though Bandcamp is also a middleman, it’s earned a reputation as an equitable player in the online music business thanks to the nakedly extractive tactics of the dominant operations–while payouts from major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music never exceed half a cent per play and are often much less, Bandcamp passes along 85 to 90 percent of sales revenue, minus processing fees.
In the months since COVID-19 put a stop to live music in March, eliminating touring income, Bandcamp has repeatedly given a boost to independent artists and labels by waiving its 10 to 15 percent cut for a 24-hour period.
During the first “Bandcamp day” on Friday, March 20, fans spent a combined $4.3 million, 15 times what they do on a typical Friday. In April, Bandcamp announced it would continue the initiative on the first Fridays of May, June, and July. May 1 sales totaled $7.1 million, and June 5 sales totaled $4.8 million. June’s Bandcamp day arrived during nationwide protests condemning the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and hundreds if not thousands of artists donated all their Bandcamp money to nonprofits dedicated to racial justice, police abolition, and Black and Brown communities.
The fourth Bandcamp day is this Friday, July 3. Once again I’ve rounded up all the recent Reader recommendations of new albums and EPs that can be bought via the platform. I hope you’re able use this list on Friday to discover a new artist and explore the immense catalog of music on Bandcamp–and I hope you keep coming back.
Blu & Exile, Miles: From an Interlude Called Life
Bonjintan, Dental Kafka
Civic Center, The Ground Below
Thomas DaVinci, Home Grown
El Shirota, Tiempos Raros
Eye of Nix, Ligeia
F.A.B.L.E., (IX) The Hermit
Scott Free, The Last Revolution
Heathen Beast, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised but It Will Be Heard
Hobbyist, Side Fx
Holy Hive, Float Back to You
Roy Kinsey, Kinsey: A Memoir
Quin Kirchner, The Shadows and the Light
Daniel Knox, You Are My Friend: The Songs of Mister Rogers
Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor, Pavilion
Ingrid Laubrock & Kris Davis, Blood Moon
Longshot, I’m Saying
Midnight Dice, Hypnotized
Nnamdi, Black Plight
Ohmme, Fantasize Your Ghost
Owen, The Avalanche
Sweet Whirl, How Much Works
Tenci, My Heart Is an Open Field
Various artists, Building a Better Reality: A Benefit Compilation
Varsity, Fine Forever
Wyatt Waddell, “Fight!”
J Wade, Lily of the Valley
Jason Wilber, Time Traveler
Wire, 10:20 v