Bandcamp Is the Most Important Tool in Music Right Now

Let’s take a moment to think of the greatest innovations in modern music distribution. What comes to mind for you? iTunes is too restricted (and for plebs), the Zune Marketplace was great but never stood a chance, Amazon MP3 has no social element, Pono is some high-priced {thing} for old Dad Rock fans, Jay-Z’s music thingy was around just long enough to make some LOL-worthy headlines. Basically if your answer is anything other than Bandcamp, you’re doing it wrong.

Around the time this blog came to fruition, a friend asked if I pirate music. I responded, “If a band is small enough to have a Bandcamp page, I support it without question; if a band is big enough to not worry about smaller music distribution methods, then the folks in said band will survive if I pirate the new album.” (I will admit to being a former music pirate, and this site played a pivotal role in my quitting of that nasty act). I could not afford to purchase the great quantity of music that I wanted to, so I needed a quantifiable threshold on which to designate where those funds went. My line of reasoning went something like this: If somebody pirates a new Metallica album, the band does not feel the hit. Now if we swap out the band in question with a Toilet favorite like Veilburner or Sarcoptes, the story changes completely.

One of the many benefits of being on Bandcamp is seeing which albums your friends have recently purchased. Spending time on a certain metal blog or bumming around its Facebook group, one can make more Bandcamp friends in an hour than an entire lifetime spent hanging around the metal section of your local music store! Imagine your excitement when that daily Bandcamp e-mail comes in stating which albums have been purchased in the last day, only by the friends that you’ve chosen to follow. Getting to know everyone’s tastes helps one in deciding which albums to pursue; for instance if I see that Bandcamp user and TovH author Simon Phoenix has made some recent purchases, there’s a good chance they’ll fall under the category of thrash, same with Ron Deuce and hardcore, Dubya and cavernous death metal, the list goes on.

look_friends

This is also a fantastic way of finding out which bands have hopped onto (or been forcibly heaped onto) the hype train (an action that isn’t intrinsically negative, mind you, it just means that it has recently become relatively popular). When Ulcerate listed their upcoming album Shrines of Paralysis on Bandcamp, the magnitude of users who pre-ordered was huge (many of them Toilet dwellers). In November of 2016, after a long period of silence Deathspell Omega stealthily announced an EP; and with a month still to go before its release, their Bandcamp page showed that over 80 users pre-ordered it. Which is a terrific way of building hype: not by the actions of any record label but by the invisible hand of the consumers.

dso(I took a screenshot of this months ago.)

There is a #BandcampGiftClub, in which people trend that phrase as they give a gift of their choice to another BandCamp user. The effects of said gift club are felt among this site’s authors and a huge pool of frequent commenters. I have received a few BandCamp gifts on my birthday and have given multiple gifts as ways of appreciation to different folks as well. This can also serve as a superb tool for spreading the word about a band or album that you REALLY love: I gifted a friend the newest Colosso album just because I was certain he would dig them, knowing that he enjoyed other artists of a similar sub-genre of metal. It didn’t cost the full price of a physical CD, so I did not break the bank in doing so. A band that I love received a little more support, because I felt so confident in their heavy metal skillz.

(There you go Colosso, some free ad space.)

You also have the option to force a friend to listen to a band of a particular genre for which he is not very fond, by giving it as a gift! Joe Thrashnkill may not dig flashy technical death metal, so it would be a spectacular idea for me to gift him Paroxysm by Deviant Process because then he would surely have to give it a shot. You can guilt your friends into trying certain music that you think is incredible, limited only by the amount of funds you feel like donating to those bands (making it a win-win).

(Same goes for you, Deviant Process.)

This feature-packed tool Bandcamp is supporting the little artists who have the drive to support themselves, but without the financial resources to afford a record label contract. A record label that probably wouldn’t know how to manage said band, because they don’t quite have their fingers on the pulse of what’s “cool” in heavy metal at the time. With Bandcamp’s built-in social networking tools, we find out what is trending (and I don’t mean that word in the #hashtag sense) and we know we can trust the people who are interested in those bands. The common practice of having a radio show dictate what’s “new and amazing”, can now be taken out of the picture. With Bandcamp, you can discover — and introduce — newer and smaller bands because of the amount of mutual interest shared by others in this world. For example, when I find a new Lacertilian-ready band, I tell him right away.

There are some people in this world who don’t know about Bandcamp. Not many of my friends know what it is, and even fewer use it. In fact, I’m not even sure if one of my friends has a profile on there. So what I do is buy each of those friends the occasional gift, in hopes that he or she will sign on and create a profile, in order to receive the gift. Do the same thing to your friends, yes even the ones who aren’t into heavy metal. If we can help this music distribution method reach as many users as possible, we then give the smaller musical acts of the world a larger audience. This large social network of Bandcamp users makes one giant meritocracy: only showing you the albums that are enjoyed by people that you trust.

“Booyakasha! You made something awesome happen” is the announcement that Bandcamp sends you (via e-mail) when another user purchases an album because he/she saw it on your collection. The company wants to pat you on the back so that you know you inspired another listener to buy something. What a great feeling it is to know that you have changed the life of another music fan, even just a little bit. If you don’t have a Bandcamp profile yet, make one immediately. If you already have a profile, convince a few friends to “get with the program.” Bandcamp is the most important music distribution method to come around since Napster, and its user base is growing larger every day. Help me spread the word!


Here’s my page: jimmymcnulty’s collection. Many other folks on this blog have one too, you can find many of them by clicking the link titled “Following”, or by simply asking in the comments section. 

Written by:

Published on: January 20, 2017

Filled Under: Opinion

Views: 1688

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

    This is very accurate.

    • tigeraid

      Without bandcamp I would never have heard Mr. In Your House!

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        Exactly.

      • Sir Kookaburra The Based

        I’m not quite sure if this is a pro-bandcamp or anti-bandcamp comment.

        • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

          It’s a pro Bandcamp comment

        • tigeraid

          That’s for the market to decide.

  • RustyShackleford

    This is a great writeup McNulty! I have to say I love my iTunes/Apple Music despite its very very obvious weaknesses. As an Apple pleb, it is just good to have everything seamless and connected. However, I do love the social aspect of Bandcamp and think that adding as many Toileteers and cool bands/labels as I can has made the platform extremely beneficial for me. I’m spamming follow on a lot of you dudes now because I realize how many I’m missing, so I hope Bandcamp becomes a more important tool for me this year. Yep!!

  • Just followed you, bruh, you have quite the collection on there, holy fuck. I go between vinyl, bandcamp, and this site called eMusic which I’ve been using for about 10 years.

    I can’t enjoy pirated music. I go through a lengthy “getting to know you” period after buying a new album, and I’ve learned that I just won’t go through that process if it’s torrented.

    • Space Monster W.

      Making a discogs profile was simultaneously the best and worst decision I’ve made in years.

    • GoatForest

      Fuck the pirates. They have the booty for it.

    • I’m ashamed of my old ways. But correcting it and moving on feels johngoodman

      • Vault Dweller

        Upvote for ‘feels johngoodman’

        • Upvote for more Vault Dweller in the terlet

          • CyberneticOrganism

            * tawlet

    • BTW, added! Noice collection

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    May I suggest some good bands like My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the disco, Bring me the horizon, sleeping with sirens, fall out boy, pierce the veil, Green day, black veil brides, and 30 seconds to mars??

    -PokeFan296448, 4 weeks ago

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Excellent work, Senor Detectivo! My music listening had expanded greatly since learning of bandcamp via the Toilet.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Toiletcamp has Brain Drill and My Dick exclusively

  • tigeraid

    Solid content. Reminds me to get off my ass and purchase even more for my collection.

    HAIL TO THEEEEEE BANDCAMP KRUSTYYYYYYYYYY

    http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/simpsons/images/f/f8/Kamp_Krusty_Song.jpg

  • sweetooth0

    every time I tell someone they can find the album on bandcamp they look at me like I’m speaking a different language. it makes me sad.

    • We gotta spread the word!

    • CyberneticOrganism

      “What’s bandcamp? Like from middle school? I only listen to country radio.”
      – Everyone in my area

    • tigeraid

      I have a friend, not quite a decade older than me, who is Mr. Dadmetal. He likes some new/good stuff like Gojira, Anciients, here and there… But mostly is a typical Dad of Metal and Buttrock, more likely to mark out listening to the new Sixx AM or Slipknot than the new Khemmis.

      He’s also VERY opposed to piracy and always buys his shit–yet no matter how many times I post bandcamp shit to him to listen to, he just continues completely oblivious! Just to get him to listen to Hunted was a Herculean effort, and now he likes it and listens to it. He buys the same ten albums from the same ten Dadmetal bands every year (Sixx AM, BLS, Kid Rock, fucking STEEL PANTHER), and then complains that people don’t support metal anymore.

      So frustrating, when I go to his house and have to listen to Megadeth, Pantera, Machinehead and Rob Zombie on loop, and then when he hangs with me and hears new shit, complains he never hears new shit.

      • Maik Beninton™

        By the end of the text I thought you were talking about your grumpy dad because of so much dadmetal.

      • Howard Dean

        I’d honestly rather listen to albums 1-5 from Megadeth than touch most of the mediocrity oozing out of bandcamp. [costars in Grumpier Old Men 3 with zombie Jack Lemon and Walter Mathau]

        I’m not anti-bandcamp by any respects. It’s a great way to get exposed/expose others to new and different music. But there’s a toooooon of mediocre-to-plain-awful shit out there on bandcamp, and most of it gets attention solely because it’s novel (“Hey, check out this new band I found that you haven’t heard of yet! It’s awesome because no one else I know has heard of it yet!”)

        • sweetooth0

          same will be said for any platform really though. There is literally a sea of mediocre shit to wade through at the local record store.

          • Howard Dean

            True, but a record store or a reputable label generally has done some of the weeding out already, because it’s impractical to keep 6,000 synthwave demos or the 355 splits some Estonian bedroom black metal band put out this year on the shelves.

          • sweetooth0

            you would think, but man does the Vinyl Exchange ever have a million copies of shitty old records that aren’t worth more than 25cents.

          • Black Smallbeard

            i think ive listened to 355 Estonian splits the last couple months

          • NDG

            The way around this HD is to follow particular labels on BC.

        • tigeraid

          Right but like I said, his problem is that he curses up and down about “those fucking kids that don’t know shit about music, don’t support the bands, pirating this and that and not paying for anything” and then ignores most music made after 1996, gives more money to Dave Mustaine but won’t browse bandcamp.

          • Howard Dean

            Well yeah, your friend sounds like a dude stuck in time. My comment was more about the general quality of stuff out there, and wasn’t really directed at him. Bandcamp is making a lot of really good stuff readily accessible (which is awesome), but the ratio of shit to awesome is significantly higher on there compared to a metal record store.

      • sweetooth0

        All of my friends from highschool still listen to whatever they listened to back then, and then just let spotify play them shitty alternative and hard rock. Some people just can’t be bothered to put in even a little bit of effort to keep up with cool music. Ah well.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          “All of my friends from highschool still listen to whatever they listened to back then”. Same, and I finished school 23 years ago this year

          • sweetooth0

            yeah, 17years ago for me.

  • Bandcamp is the greatest thing since sliced bread. My wallet has a different opinion though.

  • Truth Jimmy! I try to purchase as much as I can on BC and was doing a lot of Jack Sparrowing prior to Toilet life. Direct support to artists is a good thing and since I don’t get out to see bands as much as I would like, this is where the funding goes.

  • Óðinn

    Happy Friday, Toileteers! Let’s listen to Eternal Champion, just for fun.

    https://youtu.be/E5LWRCgEVO4

  • Óðinn

    I like Bandcamp. Thanks, Jimmy.

  • Óðinn

    It’s a band day for democracy.

    https://youtu.be/1UXYMPTdC40

    • Óðinn

      But there are still good things, like the music of Eternal Champion.

      https://youtu.be/e19mNlth4Yg?list=PL31Cfxzge00HyZrXOPR7EhpauYlmRhxrw

    • Joaquin Stick

      Watch me take this unrelated post and make it relevant with a Copy Pasta from Patton Oswalt. Pre-apologies for the length, but funding things you love is now required.

      I don’t know what to do tomorrow, either. Or the day after that or ANY of the days after that. We’ll have to make it up as we go along. If it’s any comfort, that seems to be Trump’s plan, too.
      I know there are protest marches planned for the 20th and ESPECIALLY for Saturday. And that’s a great idea. I’m glad to see they’re happening in “red” states as well as in D.C., Los Angeles and NYC.
      But I was thinking…
      Another thing you could do tomorrow, and Saturday? But ESPECIALLY tomorrow?
      Leave your TV tuned to a channel like Turner Classic Movies or National Geographic or any channel that will have zero inaugural coverage. Then turn off your phone. Then shut down your computer.
      And then — IF you can afford it — go find a struggling theater company and pay to see whatever play they’re putting on. Or a struggling art gallery or music club or museum. Leave ’em money and see what they’re about. Go see an indie film that’s got stellar reviews and no audience. Or a new restaurant or other small business that needs friends and customers. Download a new band. Go to an independent bookstore and buy something from a small press. Go to an open mike. Or see any comedian. Tip your barista or barkeep a little extra.
      In other words, do all of the cultural and aesthetic things that Trump thinks are worthless. Make a whole big chunk of existence suddenly spike in importance. And then keep doing that, if you can.
      And if you DON’T have any money? Go knock on your neighbor’s door and see if they need anything. If you have a friend who’s Muslim, or gay, or any one of dozens of people that Trump has sneered at or hinted darkly about, go say hi and just ask if they’re okay. Tell ’em you’ve got their back. That they can come over any time, knock on the door, even if they just need someone to yell “FUCK” with.
      This is going to be loooooooooooong, tense four years. We elect leaders to take worry and tension OFF of our plates. We have enough of that as it is. But for some reason, we decided to put someone in charge where the everyday weight of keeping the world from cracking apart is COMPLETELY on our shoulders, along with everything else we already have to deal with.
      So if we’re really going to fight back, and resist, the first thing we have to do — and it’s only a little thing, really, but it’s gotta be everyday — is an ongoing, gentle blowing on the tiny spark of sanity that’s still left, to keep it glowing.
      We’ve got a President who bellows cold ignorance from dawn to dusk, and he could give a shit if he kills that spark.
      So keep it lit. And keep things light. And huddle up.
      This is gonna be bad. So be good.

      • +1

      • This morning I wasn’t sure if I was watching the inaugural speech or having a fever dream in which some clever comedian exaggeratingly spouted a bunch of empty Trump-esque rhetoric.

      • As i read this earlier today via a FB share from our very own Randall Thor, I immediately thought of Bandcamp.

      • Black Smallbeard

        wonder how many criminal protestors were arrested in the time it took him to whine this out

    • CyberneticOrganism

      FLAGGED

  • THOU SHALT NAME THINE PRICE

    • Can you believe there was a time before we were BC fwiends? Those were dank days

      • I can’t remember anything before Jimmy.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Or having arms

  • JWG79

    I used iTunes as kind of a last-resort for some albums that, as CDs, I could only otherwise get through insane import fees (if at all, some albums I want had a limited number of CDs pressed and nothing since), and weren’t (yet) available on Bandcamp.

    I’ve just noticed that another four of those were quietly uploaded to Bandcamp on label rather than artist pages, so I might (re)buy them in the near future (or at least wishlist them). But there are still a bunch for which I have no alternative.

    Hopefully Bandcamp continues to grow and attract content that more and more matches my outstanding list; but I’m not holding my breath…

  • KyleJMcBride

    Hooray for Bandcamp. They bring music directly to the people without any corporate gate keepers getting in the way.

  • Rizzle01

    I try to purchase as much of my music off of Bandcamp as I can. It is an amazing resource for underground metal!

  • Waynecro

    This is an outstanding article, McNults. I’m going to direct analysts at my company to this piece whenever they discuss music distribution and leave out Bandcamp (EVERY FUCKING TIME!!!).

  • Booyakasha! emails are the best