Substack! I'm sorta crazy about this but it seem obvious to me. Every band has a newsletter or is given advice to build a mailing list. If Substack could eventually offer better support for music releases, bands/artists could build their mailing lists, communicate about what they are up to, and sell their music directly to fans in the same place.


I sorta doubt Substack will get to this for awhile, but we can do it on our own. It doesn't matter and lots of people are already releasing music in this way. It's also a great vehicle for aging musicians like me that jsut want to create and don't have the ability to do all the other stuff, get in the van, etc.

Come on people it's not that hard. Every band could and should have a Substack, their could be a music section and would be a huge growth area for the company. And artists would be able to circumvent the entire piece of shit/enshittified music industry!!

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Yeah, this whole Bandcamp ordeal over the past year+ is really worrying me. Music is not my main profession or anything, but I'm looking to try to do it on a more serious level, mainly having been encouraged by the kind of response I've received via Bandcamp in the last few years (still ultra-tiny numbers by anyone's measure, but enough to feel encouraged about my music, anyway!).

Wish I could have come to one of your shows on this tour! But glad you got to play with Powers/Rolin, they're awesome folks who I'm happy have decided to come live (and play frequently) here in the Cleveland area. They've been an encouraging inspiration as well.

In my heart of hearts, though, I feel like true music fans and practitioners will figure out a way -- the DIY spirit is a strong and innovative one, and those of us who cannot live without music will do what we need to do.

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The news about Bandcamp has, in a profound way, been very depressing to me. I'm a musician by avocation and have music for a couple of different projects up on Bandcamp. I haven't made much money from it—maybe about $400—but it dwarfs anything I've made through the various streaming services. But I know my music is *out there* and I know that there are people who aren't my friends who have discovered it and have been intrigued enough to pay for it.

But I think what's most depressing is the potential loss to me as a music fan. I've come across so much incredible music on Bandcamp! It's a forum to travel the world and discover artists I would never otherwise encounter. Bandcamp Daily and other editorial content has directed me to fascinating artists. I don't do Spotify or other streaming services; I still value physical media. (With Bandcamp, I download everything when I purchase it and for many purchases I make bespoke CDs with artwork, on-disc printing, the works. What can I say, I'm retired—I've got time on my hands.)

There are few joys in life as pure as music, no matter what your preferred genre(s). It's literally spiritual—that invisible sound waves can transport our hearts, minds, and souls to other worlds, other planes of feeling. So why do these greedy capitalists have to come along and—as it seems from their firing of half the staff of Bandcamp—wreck it? I would love to be able to confront these people who are making these decisions. They are literally making a world that needs so much light and bigheartedness darker, smaller, and colder. I hope their beloved dollars turn to burning ash in their hands.

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I'm not a musician but did an article years back which included bandcamp https://eastbayexpress.com/the-return-of-gear-1/. Your post shows much economic activity was generated by human curation and good music criticism. That's my take away from your post. If there is more, please talk about it, for the next founders of such a well-considered company may be listening.

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Wonderful travelogue, thanks for that, Damon. Glad you had fun. (I remember driving across that featureless expanse of Canada, years ago.).... But Bandcamp -- UGH! The corporate-ese language of their new owner verges on McKinsey-speak. As a listener, I've really enjoyed that site -- the wealth of information offered on each artist, each recording, and choosing to be added to an artist's mailing list. It would a shame to see all that disappear.

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Appreciate all the comments this post is generating, please keep ‘em coming!

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Well said, Damon. I always appreciate your kindness in highlighting the artists you share stages with.

The Bandcamp news saddens and bothers me as well. I'm starting on a new record in December, and Bandcamp felt like the last friendly place to share it. I put out my first CD in 2001 (cassettes before that!) and it was distributed by a great, family-run company in LA called Miles of Music. They were friends and promoted my record well -- they paid up front and helped me sell music all over the world! (It was such a different world pre-Napster/Spotify/etc.) Bandcamp felt like a kindred spirit to them in some ways, and it sucks that they're now owned by a company that, as garelickjon said below, is governed by McKinsey-style corporate word salad. It gets harder to be an artist every year.

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One of the worst things about the music industry is the way it convinced people that they could make a living from music... when, in reality, we're all just a resource for the industry. There's a reason why artists not propped up by the industry are only known by pockets of people here and there. The internet should have fixed that, right? Great music should go viral, right? Wonder why it hasn't? Because people don't actually care about music that much... they care about the things the *industry* uses to sell it to them. Working musicians serve 2 purposes: 1.) propping up all the industries (and all the people employed by them) that serve hopeful musicians 2.) a talent pool for execs to pluck whoever has the potential to make them the most money... and what makes them the most money stopped being "talent" long before I was born.

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Chiming in, hoping that Bandcamp stays somewhat true to its purpose and mission. I mean, like many of you, that's where I keep my 'catalog' for the past decade or so... (have a peek if you'd like - https://dfactor.bandcamp.com/music) I mean, Distrokid helps to get our music out to all the streaming outlets, but it's great to have all my music in one easy link location. Stay real, Bandcamp/Songtradr!

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Bandcamp was profitable before the original acquisition, so they could have kept going for many years. But now songtradr has spent a few million on the acqusition, and they want to make that money back. I suspect that bandcamp wasn't making enough profit for songtradr to recoup their investment, so they're going to be squeezing it for cash. I'm trying to remain optimistic about bandcamp's future, but I fear that it will fall victim to the usual enshittification process now.

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So pissed that I missed that hideout show in Chicago. More so than I am about what’s happening to Bandcamp, but not too thrilled with that either.

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I did not know that was happening -- and I never heard of this company. Everyone I know uses DistroKid to get their music out there, as it is affordable, accessible, and easy to use. Interestingly, the only place they do not cover is.... Bandcamp. So I gather that is why this company purchased it. They all seem to think, in a world where "well, you can play for "exposure" is considered okay, or -- at least in the punk scene -- we all give any pay me make to a touring band, if there is one. It's just the right thing to do. At least on Bandcamp, we have a shot at making some money! (Not much, but some....) And directly interacting and communicating -- but also, finding new bands, easily. This is worrisome.

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For mine, the "what" is gonna be:

-more shirts

-more CDs

-a couple new gewgaws with our name on them,

-mp3s to the right Internet and terrestrial radio shows that may actually want them,

-riding hard opening shows for touring bands in our home city, doubling down on that one in fact;

- calling in chips with regional bands we opened for here, to play their cities,

- treating streaming services as secondary/tertiary "luxury" markets, until a model arrives that isn't an exploitative shell-game.

That'll have to do; bc we ain't making another Ek a billionaire.

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I think the probable loss of Bandcamp is tragic. However, I do wonder if there are bigger forces at work. Bandcamp had a retro/indy approach, which is great, but was not exactly forward-looking. It seemed to appeal to musicians and intense music fans. It was not, and would not, appeal to the vast majority of people who value newness and convenience, and who have - for the time being - flocked to streaming platforms.

I think the opportunity now may be to do something bigger and more ambitious. To not present music in a way based on the 20th-century model of selling fixed recordings. This is hard to define, but I think music will become more like software; less fixed and rigid, and more changing and malleable. It may require entirely new music for this to work, treating it more like a process than a product. Brian Eno's app Reflections offers a glimpse of one way this could be done. However, I am not restricting this only to electronic/generative music, it would have to be something broader and capable of carrying acoustic instruments and existing traditions with it.

I think music is starting to lack relevance for ordinary people, and that is not about Bandcamp, it's about the bigger forces I mentioned at the start of this comment. We can either remain rigid and say 'This is what music is', or yield and accept that maybe what we did during the era of recorded physical music is no longer relevant to the modern day, and something fundamental has to change. Not only that, but maybe this is a wonderful opportunity for new art and ideas to flourish.

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This sort of makes me think of an old essay by producer Steve Albini... I believe that it was called "The Problem With Music". It's an old article from the late 90s. But he talked about how the gatekeepers of music act like they care about it, but really they care about the dough and it ends up hurting the musicians. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Music is too readily available. It's too... "free" (financially speaking). You can download an app and hear what you want as long as it's paid for by advertising.

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