For new artists streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer can be a great challenge, especially when it comes to earning a decent income due to the dismal pay-per-play royalty fees these sites offer. However, with a different business model than most other streaming sites, BandCamp is turning into a viable option for new and indie artists.
Where most streaming services pay artists based on the number of plays their tracks receive, BandCamp doesn’t pay per stream, instead they allow artists to create a storefront of sorts and sell their tracks and albums, even link to merchandise sites. Artists are allowed to adjust prices as they please, with BandCamp only taking 15% off the top, as well as a money processing fee. This kind of model is proving to be a big drawcard for new and independent artists, and according to a Forbes report in 2015, the site has paid more than $100 million to artists since its launch in 2008. BandCamp claims that fans give artists more than $3.5 million every month.
It’s easy to see the appeal for artists and fans alike. For artists BandCamp is a way to create an online presence and set up shop on their terms by deciding what price to charge for their music, and they want to charge at all. For fans it offers the opportunity to support artists more directly, knowing that their cash goes directly to the artists (aside from the site’s 15% fee), even allowing fans to show their support even more by paying more for tracks or albums than the price listed.
As with most businesses, the model isn’t a sure-fire way for artists to earn a living, but as Forbes points out, the fact that fans are spending money and actually buying albums is a good thing. Add the ability for artists to expand their income potential by linking to merchandise sites and the like, it’s no wonder BandCamp is attracting so many new artists and eager fans.