Shameless, I know.
Last week music site Bandcamp announced a few changes to the way it would be working with free downloads. Reaction was mixed.
Basically instead of bands being able to offer unlimited free downloads of their music Bandcamp are going to set a cap, and beyond that bands and artists will have to buy a "Power Up" to offer more freebies. The packages offered were 300 downloads for $9 USD, 1000 downloads for $20 USD and 5000 downloads for $75 USD. In addition when a band makes $500 in sales their account will be topped up with another 1000 free downloads.
I get more music from Bandcamp that from anywhere else these days, and think it is a fantastic site. Obviously since I'm getting all that music there must be bands providing it, so I asked if anyone had any comments, here's what some had to say...
(Note: this post was delayed by the great computer meltdown of last weekend. In the meantime some changes have been made by Bandcamp, but I got comments before those changes)
Matthew Gilliland, Mondegreen
Mark McG, The Girobabies
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
Jim Connick, Aye Tunes
I've only ever used Bandcamp as a seller once, for tickets for the last Aye Tunes Vs Peenko gig. Like The Social Services I saw a lot of potential in using Bandcamp this way, sidestepping ridiculous booking, postage and mysterious service fees. Paypal takes a little slice of each payment, so by selling the tickets online I lost a little money, but only a little. Bandcamp now take a 15% share of sales, which means for the next AvsP gig I won't be repeating the experiment, since that 15% on top of the Paypal fees adds up to a decent slice of the ticket price, making it impractical for me to use. AvsP gigs don't make Peenko or I a profit, but neither of us can afford to take a financial hit from them either.
The more recent change was one I initially didn't like, but I could see the reasons for. I love my free music and I'm much more likely to take a chance on that new band I've stumbled across if there's no risk of feeling done, but at the same time Bandcamp lets me stream everything there too, if I have to pay for something I can listen to it first and make up my own mind if it is worth it. Bandcamp remains an excellent resource, for one thing it has let me stick songs in this post by all that contributed without having to bugger about with getting permission, uploading them myself and so on. I love how easy it is to integrate the Bandcamp player into a blog post, that's why if I can include it instead of an MP3, I will.
This is the part that Mark, Paul, Matthew and The Social Services didn't get a chance to comment on, as it was just announced yesterday.
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.