Sunday Sesh: Stoking The Bandcamp Fire

Crack a beer and grab a seat on the log, today we’re going to give our favourite music source a shake-up.

Joe and W inform me that the USA has a Labor Day holiday long weekend at the moment, so I’m sure those of you that aren’t perpetually stuffed in various lockers around the nation are out roaming the wilderness, enjoying the tranquillity that nature offers by blasting metal at volumes that cause entire flocks of migratory birds to dive-bomb into the Earth like feathered kamikaze pilots. Either that, or you’re sitting around a campfire so heavily intoxicated that you can’t even read the text on that cool meme Aaron just spent 3 hours trying to send you from the other side of the fire. Why does everyone always want go to these camp grounds anyway? There’s like, no phone reception, ever. So what if you can see the stupid Aurora borealis or whatever it’s called, more clearly from here, you looked around all day and didn’t see a fucking thing. Laaammmmeee.

Labour Day in Australia is kinda weird, in my state (NSW) it’s in October, but apparently the other states do theirs on different days in March; except for Queensland, who do theirs in May, but this discrepancy doesn’t surprise me, as the majority of QLD operates in a manner that could only be replicated if Texas and Florida decided to secede, then subsequently merge, and relocate even closer to the equator, further exacerbating their heat delirium. We did, however, have Father’s Day yesterday. As a new Dad, this was my first father’s day, and I’m pleased to inform you all that I’m now the proud owner of the coveted “Spot Loves His Dad” book. Suck shit, dorks. Adding to the haul were a couple of movies, some beer, and I bought myself some music on bandcamp; but that could be any weekend really; the prized Spot book is what matters, and no, you cannot “hold it” or “just have a look for a second”, it will remain under my pillow forever.

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One of the music thingamajigs I bought on bandcamp was the new Shrine Of Insanabilis‘ EP, which was released on Friday. Disciples of the Void, their debut album from last year went a little under most people’s radar, even though it was a high quality offering of modern black metal from the German quartet. The band bring that solid riff-centric style for which the German and Polish scenes are renowned, combined with little flourishes of Icelandic and French flair. Seems they’ve also made the debut available for Name Your Price now too, so if you haven’t already, go swing them a few dollars and get yourself a killer album. Now, as you may have guessed, on this Sunday Sesh we’re going to be talking bandcamp; more specifically, ways you think it could be improved. Sure, in the digital age bandcamp is pretty much universally accepted to be the preferred method of supporting your favourite artists, but as a frequent user, I have noticed a couple of things that I think could be improved, and I bet you have too.

The second song riiiips!

One of the main complaints I’ve heard from a few friends on the TovH is that the streaming isn’t quite as user-friendly as services such as Spotify. Now, I don’t really use streaming services much while on the go, as I generally listen to music I’ve already purchased, so this doesn’t bother me. If I’m going to check out a new album, I can readily stream it quite easily from my computer with bandcamp anyway. Regardless of this, the point still stands that bandcamp is the better way of supporting the artists you enjoy; Spotify gives such a negligible amount of remuneration (allegedly between $0.006 – and $0.0084 per stream) compared with bandcamp’s reported $4.3 million per month (the equivalent of an album being bought every 4 seconds), that I don’t think anyone can feasibly claim otherwise.

However, there are a couple of minor gripes I’d like to see addressed to make it even betterer-er. One is the availability of lyrics. Delivery to Australia can cost a shitload of dollarydoos; oftentimes it is 2-3 times the cost of the actual CD. My musical appetite is insatiable, so it simply seems unjustifiable to dust the equivalent of 3 album’s worth of coin on 1 CD that I’ll probably spend more time listening to an MP3 rip of anyway, so I tend to buy digital releases. This means I don’t get my hands on one of my favourite parts of owning an album, the cover art. That’s ok, the download always comes with a high-resolution cover image. One I can’t soil with sebaceous oil and a 50/50 mixture of beer and drool. But, it wasn’t until I bought Aesop Rock’s latest album that I realised pretty much no other albums I had downloaded came with a PDF file containing the album’s lyrics. I know some bands don’t offer lyrics in their physical copies anyway, but most do, and there’s pretty much no reason why more bands can’t include a document file of the album’s lyrics. Did he just say “Grrrraaaahhhhhhgggghhhhh” or “Grrrraaaahhhhhhggggghhhhhh”? I’ll never bloody know without the transcript.

Oddjob: The Sweaty Wanker's Choice.

Oddjob: The Sweaty Wanker’s Choice.

Another is the pre-ordering system. This particular one has bitten me in the arse more than once, to the point where I vowed not to pre-order albums anymore. The combination of my insubordinate attitude, dearth of any semblance of will-power, and increasingly shoddy memory has meant that I’ve continued to obliterate the damn “Pre-Order” button like it drank my last beer/asked me if I “had a moment to talk about our lord and saviour“/chose Oddjob in a particularly crucial Goldeneye64 mutiplayer bout. Say you pre-ordered the physical album on day one through the band’s label, then a few weeks later the label puts up the album on bandcamp, but you don’t have access to it because you bought it through their web-store assuming it would be the only available method of purchase. Same label, different rules. This one doesn’t happen too often, and it’s more an issue of my impatience.

Conversely, sometimes you can pre-order a digital album on bandcamp. “But Lizard” you chortle, “Why would you ever pre-order a digital album? It’s not like they’re going to run out of copies!”. Well, sometimes the band will release the first couple of tracks a few months prior to the album coming out, and if you pre-order you can download them immediately, stick them in your ear-holes, and ignore everyone around you with greater success. Suppose you do this, patiently wait your time, only to see people all over the world posting pictures of the album in their hands a week before release date. Turns out the label or band shifted the release date forward, sometimes to combat pirates leaking the album, other times just to keep us on our collective toes. Sweet, it dropped early! Who cares why? You’ve waited 3 months for this, log on to bandcamp to download consume the fermented aural wort. Wait, it hasn’t been put online and won’t be until the scheduled release date?! But you saw half the damn internet holding physical copies in their hands, surely they took at least a few days to ship all over the world? Do their servers run on dial-up connections? You could easily just go download an illegal copy of it right now. They know this, that’s half the reason they released it early. Four days later your friend who didn’t even know the album was coming out grabs a copy at the local store, and calls you up asking what you think of that fucking amazing riff near the end of track 6. You know, the one that goes “dugggada dugggada bwaahhh dittitada bwahhh dittitada reehhh”? The one you’ll never hear because you’re now in hospital for eating the entire lower half of your arm in one bite.

So there are two things that I think could be improved about bandcamp. When have you also felt like an entitled dickbag? Do you have any ideas for improving the sale of music? How could bandcamp improve their services? Maybe you just want to share something killer you’ve picked up recently? Ebola perhaps? Let’s hear your ideas in the comments section.


(Image via, via)

  • Randall’s Sweaty Space Pants

    Yea, at least it’s not SoundCloud.

  • “Crack a beer and grab a seat on the log, today we’re going to give our favourite music source a shake-up.”

    *looks at the clock*
    *1040a*

    Its 5 o’clock somewhere right??

    GL

    • tertius_decimus

      17:44 where the chair keeps my ass seated.

      • more beer

        He is 44 minutes late!

    • Ayreonaut

      i see nothing wrong with that

    • more beer

      10:40 is a good time to start drinking on a holiday weekend.

  • J.R.™

    Beer pairings

  • J.R.™

    Dating service

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      farmersonly.com

  • J.R.™

    Ride sharing services

  • Spear

    My only problem with Bandcamp is the mobile app. Streams do weird shit sometimes; I had a song that perfectly looped from an outro chorus back to the start of the solo that came out of an earlier chorus, and it was super confusing.

    • Lacertilian

      I’ve not bothered with the app, I usually just use the website like a maniac/luddite. Is it worth it?

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        I like the app, easier to browse tags, methinks

        • Lacertilian

          Should I be browsing tags?

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            I like to if I’m looking for something new, yet specific. The app allows you to “add custom genre” where you can type in any tag you want and it shows albums with the tag. Usually sorted by bestselling. It also allows you to filter by location and format. So if I want a Thrash cassette from Texas, I can utilize the apps parameters to find what I’m looking for. In the image, notice the darkened circles:

  • Bandcamp has the capabity to include lyrics. I think the responsibility falls mainly on the artist to add them when putting up their album for sale. I’ve seen plenty of bands do it and some bands are kind enough to provide a pdf file of the lyric sheet along with the download purchase.

    • Lacertilian

      Exactly.

  • FVK YOU BANDCAMP IS INFALLIBLE WASH YR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP

  • Dubbbz

    I don’t have much gripe, but it would be cool if album streams didn’t start on track 2 or 6 or whatever. I get why some bands may do it, but still.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      “Featured tracks” are a little obnoxious.

    • Max

      Although it’s a bit of a bummer from the listener’s point of view, there is actually a very sound reason for it: It’s essentially the album’s “single” – the track that the band would like you to hear first if you’re going to bother listening to them at all; on the grounds that it’s probably a more immediate and accessible (and usually shorter) song that is going to convert you.

      • Lacertilian

        Spot on. It’s easy enough to skip back when you see it says track 3 or whatever.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    They shouldn’t force you to have album art.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      JJD plz! Album art is important!

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      This is a dumb and false opinion.
      If you’re going to release an album, it’s only decent you take the time to give a shit and either create the shittiest art imaginable (hey, it worked for Enbilulugugal), or have someone else do it.

      At least slap a fucking logo on a black background, fer heckssake

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Do you know how hard it is to make good album art? I can’t pay someone to make album art so I have to make it myself and it’s usually really shitty.

      • Dubbbz

        You could always go the Death Grips route: write the album title on your dong with a sharpie and snap a pic.

    • Is this a joke?

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        No.

    • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

      Every album should look like this?

      https://66.media.tumblr.com/cee58c9c8fb96d4b23844760caf309d9/tumblr_njunc8Q8eU1uo1zydo1_500.gif

      If nothing else, just do like I did and slap some whatever on there until you come up with a final product. That’s how I did the artwork for my Soundclick page ages ago (just grabbing artwork I goofed around with and slapping it on there)

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    They should provide better tracking for physical orders, kinda like how ebay handles things.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      There have been a few times in which i ordered an album and it showed up more than a month after the fact.

      • more beer

        Here as I promised yesterday. You should have this by Thursday or Friday.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          RAD!!!

          • more beer

            Yea it is better than the last one I sent you. It is a very interesting Belgian strong.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            I enjoy Belgian Strongs quite a bit, so I’m looking forward to it!

            Your’s are boxed already, so I don’t have any pics to share, haha

          • more beer

            It’s all good. I can’t find a show to go to anywhere this weekend other than Riot Fest. Single day tickets are 85 bucks. Then everything inside is way over priced. Last year DRI played on the same night as Motorhead was supposed to play. That show was 5 bucks. I guess beer and barbecue it is for today.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Damn, 85 bucks is a little steep. Nothing wrong with Beet and BBQ though! And you’ll be able to listen to whatever you want.

          • more beer

            Way fucking steep. Yep then I am going to meet my lady at Black Sky latr.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Very nice, my dude. Have fun!

    • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

      I ordered a La Casa Al Mare shirt from BC last year, and never got it. Not sure if that’s something on the band’s end, or BC’s end, but thankfully I got a refund and the band told me that part of it could’ve been the post office over there in Italy being clogged since it was Christmas time.

  • They could stop blowing up my inbox with emails about every merch item ever, or at least give us an option to opt out of merch emails.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Isn’t that the point of following artists?

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        An option to just receive the info about new music, or at least bundle all the merch-info together instead of auto-sending an email about each individual piece and bundle would be the tits.

      • I follow to hear about new music. I don’t need to know about ever shirt or pair of booty shorts released ever.

      • Lacertilian

        Ross, the problem is that recently a bunch of artists clearly have a bunch of new merch to sell on their BC pages and instead of doing one big update, they’re adding them individually with the intent of flooding your inbox, sending an email for each “new” item every day for a couple of weeks to make it harder to ignore.

    • MYSTERIOUS CAVEMAN GORAK™

      GOT EMAIL FROM BLACK FAST ABOUT TOUR WITH VEKTOR!!!!!!! THAT 1 PRETTY SWEET!!!!!!!!! MOST MAKE GORAK MAAAAAAAAAD THOUGH!!!!!!!

    • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

      You can always do like I do and just redirect that to your spam folder. I like updates and whatnot, but just like I do with Youtube, I direct it to the spam folder and check it when I feel like it.

  • Stockhausen

    My band usually practices Thursday nights, but literally the only time we could make it happen was Sunday morning. And since we always drink at band practice, I’m already a beer and a bit o’ whiskey into this glorious Sunday.
    Your preorder complaint is quite valid, lizard. I think people would also be down with the ability to create a playlist from multiple artists, but since purchasing is the main goal of Bandcamp, I can see why they wouldn’t want to do that.

    • Judithwbelisle2

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ie646t:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !ie646t:
      ➽➽
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash756DigitalChampGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ie646t:….,…….

  • Abradolf Lincler

    I dont use bandcamp enough to have these big gripes. i think the service is fine and have generally not had any problems

  • Rob M

    “I’m sure those of you that aren’t perpetually stuffed in various lockers
    around the nation are out roaming the wilderness, enjoying the
    tranquillity that nature offers by blasting metal at volumes that cause
    entire flocks of migratory birds to dive-bomb into the Earth like
    feathered kamikaze pilots. ”

    Well, NOW I am!

    ..number one thing Bandcamp could do to make me happy…how about a fucking volume slider

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Here’s something it might be cool for digital music services to offer if they don’t already: stencils for art/logos/names so that if you burn something to disc you can decorate it properly without too much bother.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I’ve seen an artist release his logo in high quality for personal usage before, t shirt, stencil, sticker, etc. Really cool concept that i think fans would enjoy more of.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa
      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Pretty nifty!

  • JWEG

    My annoyance: the fact that sorting on the web version of bandcamp can only be done by click-drag-and-drop, whereas the app (android anyway) has at least a few auto-sort options.

    The solution is obvious: add sort options other than manual to the website.

    Linking sort to the current one used on the app could work, too, but it’s plausible the only reason they haven’t done that already is that the programming of it is way easier said than done.

  • MYSTERIOUS CAVEMAN GORAK™

    NOW GORAK PISSED BANDCAMP!!!!!!!! HYPERION REMOVED!!!!!!! THAT DINOSHIT!!!!!!!!

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      It’s there again.

      • ME GORAK™ GORAK SMASH™

        IT NAME PRICE AGAIN!!!!! BUT STILL GONE FROM COLLECTION!!!!!!

        • Abradolf Lincler

          just smash it

          • ME GORAK™ GORAK SMASH™

            SMAAAAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!!
            IT COOL THEM QUOTE LINK THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Oh, damn. I didn’t realize you meant gone from your collection. That’s meased up.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    Here’s one big gripe I have about Bandcamp: Album and song labeling.

    Most bands are fine in this regard. But way too often when an album is released on a label’s BC page the album will be titled as thus:

    Making Memes Records Presents: Praise Harambe by Shitty Carousel CD#201

    Instead of just:

    Praise Harambe by Shitty Carousel

    And it will come up as such on your media player too. Same with individual songs. As someone who absolutely must have their albums and songs organized by artist, this is infuriating as fuck. Unless you have like Media Monkey or a similar program on your computer to change the properties of the song, this is what you’re stuck with. And who has time to change ALL of your songs and album titles like that?

    • Abradolf Lincler

      Tag Editors can make this easy-ish but time consuming. when i was big on pirating and digital copies it was a must use

    • Xinen

      I totally agree, I have gotten several albums and ep’s etc that were all listed under the label as the band name, which I then went and changed but its a pain in the ass to be sure. Granted its only a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but it is annoying.

    • Lacertilian

      Iron Bonehead do that a lot I’ve noticed.

  • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

    Needing some help here…………….. JJD brought up album art, and I’m trying to think of that one bald Italian metal guy who poses in front of mirrors on his CD covers. And does a bunch of other covers where he’s flexing and looking hilarious as hell.

  • Max

    I think Bandcamp’s a pretty decent service, but one gripe I would have is when people set their music to that “Now is the time to open your wallet” blocking mechanism once you’ve done about three plays. I often need more than three plays to consider opening my wallet. I wouldn’t mind if they monetized my endless freeloading by advertising like YouTube does.

    Also, the one Soundcloud feature I really like is where people leave comments throughout the song. That should happen on Bandcamp too.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Ah, both decent points Max. The open your wallet thing has happened a few times to me as well. Sometimes it has deterred me from listening any more. In one instance I ordered a record from a band in the UK through their website since it wasn’t available physically on their bandcamp page. In the near 2 months it took for it to get to me I wanted to listen. Bandcamp was my option but they cut my listening after a few times, which sucked.

      • Max

        Yeah, I can understand why bands do it; but I think they mightn’t realize how much they can be shooting themselves in the foot. Anything which prevents people from listening to your music is a deterrent to even the consideration of buying it.

        It gets me thinking to the comparison with how things were before file sharing. Some of my all-time favourite albums are records which I pirated on blank tape, played into the ground and didn’t upgrade to the official vinyl or CD until years later. But if the music was that good, I was certainly happy to spend that cash eventually. Obviously the deterioration of sound quality on cassette format was a major incentive there.

        So what I propose as a solution is this: In honour of the blank tape economy, Bandcamp needs to implement an algorithm whereby after a few plays, each subsequent stream becomes progressively more low-res, narrower bandwidth, and mono. So you can still keeping listening if you’re yet unsure of the album’s “grower” potential, but you will eventually have to cough up if you want proper fidelity.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Haha, dude that would be pretty rad.

    • Lacertilian

      There are a couple of ways to get around the Open Your Wallet prompt, a couple of cheapskates on the FB group worked out. Doesn’t happen to me very often, not sure if it’s due to my listening habits or the artists I listen to. I invariably end up just buying it anyway.
      That Soundcloud comment feature is a good idea. I’d be down for that.

      • Max

        Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, one way of getting around the Wallet prompt is to simply clear one’s browsing history. Not sure if I’m right about that.

        • Lacertilian

          I’ve heard a cache clear will do it.

  • Berit Dogg

    The app should have the option to download music. Everytime I use it to buy something, I have to then use the phone’s browser (set to: ‘show desktop version’). to download it from bandcamp’s website. That’s pretty dumb.

    • Lacertilian

      That seems like a pretty major flaw. I don’t use the app so I’ve not noticed that. Odd they haven’t considered that yet.