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Bandcamp Free Review: How can I watch for free? (Updated 2022)

Bandcamp is a clean, sleek platform that pays artists their fair share and then some. The only gripe I have is that its Discover function makes it harder to find new artists than it should be. Regardless, Bandcamp will one day be admired by ethnomusicologists for its unique model. They will discuss the platform's democratic model, which makes it stand out amongst a sea of predatory, exploitative companies.


Nicole Sommer
Last updated: Wednesday, 04.October 2023
Author Biography
Hello. My name is Nicole Sommer. I am a big soccer enthusiast and do a lot of reserach around the easiest way to watch soccer on TV and online across the whole globe.
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This one time at band camp, the joke goes. For indie musicians and DIY bands, Bandcamp is no mere joke. I'm talking about the music hosting platform that has become so closely associated with the DIY music scene in America. Spend more than a few minutes walking through any given college campus, and you're likely to pass at least a few youngins who have an album or five posted up on Bandcamp.
So what is Bandcamp, and what is it good for? Well, I asked myself this question many years ago when I first encountered the company, and since then I’ve learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn about Bandcamp, but aside from that, I want to explore whether or not Bandcamp still lives up to the hype it generated in the mid-2010s. After all, in an age of hyper-saturation, I need to be selective with my time and attention, and a lot has changed since 2014.
I will be examining whether or not Bandcamp is a good platform for discovering new tunes. I will also be checking to see if it is effective for more well-known artists to post their garage-band basement sludge EPs. What separates Bandcamp from other similar platforms is that it allows for more diversity.

How it Started

In 2008, Ethan Diamond and a team of programmers created Bandcamp. The company began to grow in 2010 when artists like Amanda Palmer eschewed their record labels and hosted their music on the platform instead. Indie game developers quickly followed suit, hosting their games soundtracks on the platform. Quickly, Bandcamp's model of DIY zeitgeist expression gained popularity throughout the music scene.
Since Bandcamp rose to prominence as a platform for small-scale musicians to host, promote, and sell their albums and merch online, it's become a digital bastion of underground culture. While it doesn't generate quite the same excitement it did during its salad days, it has staying power, and likely will for some time to come.

How it Works

As many of us know, musicians and artists aren't given much respect in the economic sphere. Whether you consider the puny payments bands are given for their streaming royalties, the manner in which lesser-known artists are treated by the music industry itself, or any of the other mistreatment small artists receive, it becomes clear that something is out of balance. Bandcamp?s beauty lies in its fairness towards artists--it pays them fairly for their music and treats them with respect. This makes Bandcamp a much-needed font of hope for aspiring musicians and artists everywhere.
Not that this isn't old news, though: the timeless cliche of the starving artist is as old as civilization itself. However, today more than ever, with income inequality at a peak, musicians and other creatives bear the brunt of economic injustice more harshly than most professions. This is why Bandcamp's model has won them such a loyal following among DIY and low-level music scenes.
Some have called it an online record store, but I don't know of any that give you the option to only pay if you feel like paying. This is Bandcamp's greatest strength- as an artist, you have the option of either offering your music as donation-based content (pay what you want) or paid-access only. While this freedom may seem inconsequential, it affords artists a level of control that they've been denied for time immemorial.
Bandcamp believes in "music being an important part of culture," and they're committed to compensating artists fairly and transparently. Without this belief, their mission would be meaningless. I like that!
Basically, if you're an artist and you post your album or merchandise on Bandcamp, Bandcamp takes a 15% commission of any sales made. There are no monthly hosting fees or membership fees, so you just pay Bandcamp when you make money from your sales. If you make over $5000 in commissions, Bandcamp only takes 10%.
Let's say your friend Tommy Longtooth offers his album for $10 on Bandcamp. If Tommy sells any albums, he'll take home $8.50 from Bandcamp, and Bandcamp will keep $1.50. Jenny Frogtongue, who decides she'll post her album as a "pay what you want?" offering, will only take a cut if somebody decides to pay her x amount of money for her album.
Our platform only makes money if the artist makes money. This is why musicians on our platform are incentivized to make money- it helps keep the site running, and it means that you're getting great music at a fraction of the cost. If you're a musician looking for some extra income, Bandcamp might be a good option for you- we take care of our artists. Not only does this mean that you can focus on your music, but fans of music also benefit from this as they get great album prices without worrying about the artist's livelihood.
Bandcamp is an online platform that hosts a wide variety of unknown talent. Its allure lies in the fact that it makes it easy for users to explore new bands, without having to go through each one individually. For those who are hesitant to use Bandcamp because of its occasionally unpleasant sound, remember that chance can help you find great music. Keep searching and you're bound to find something amazing.

Design of the Website

Are you going to the website's main landing page? Sure, it's a pretty standard showcase with curated playlists, listening guides and best-of lists. But if you look below that, you'll find a randomly generated "Selling Now" list. Here, when tracks that just been bought are displayed and updated in real-time. Scrolling down a little further, you'll find Bandcamp Daily's section which is updated daily. You'll see album-of-the-day picks, op-ed articles, curated lists and staff picks here.
I'm currently streaming Bandcamp Daily's current pick for the album of the day, Batuco, by the Mexico City-based group Son Rompe Pera. It's described as a modern distillation of Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian folk, and I've found a new treasure in 5 minutes.
Head to a few artists' pages and you'll see that they all look the same. I believe that continuity between profiles helps fans navigate the platform with ease. An artist does have the ability to customize their page to a certain degree, but the basic layout remains fixed, and I find this one of Bandcamp's strengths. Each profile is sleek, streamlined, and free from clutter, which makes it easy to find what I want when I discover a new artist.

Prime Video?s Weaknesses

The downside of an equitable platform like Bandcamp is that it attracts a lot of musicians. This can result in an abundance of content, and Bandcamp hasn't done a great job managing this. One hope is that the Discover function would be easy to browse through the catalog and find new bands, but in reality, the algorithm seems pretty weak. It works in a similar way to Pandora did in its heyday, recommending songs it thinks are similar to what you just listened to, but it often falls short of my standards.
It seems that this can be mostly blamed on Bandcamp's focus on their artists, rather than their fans. Perhaps a slight rebalancing would be in order. If Bandcamp managed to pay their artists the same rate they do now, with also a great Discover system, it could really capture the loyalty of music-discoverers everywhere.
Nicole Sommer
Nicole Sommer is a true soccer fan and loyal supporter of FC Arsenal and 1.FC Köln. She plays actively her self as central forward in the women's aquad of TuS Köln in Germany. In her spare time she spends a lot of time online including researching the soccer streaming space. Her research has been published in several online soccer magazines.
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Bandcamp Free Review: How can I watch for free? (Updated 2022).

Bandcamp is a clean, sleek platform that pays artists their fair share and then some. The only gripe I have is that its Discover function makes it harder to find new artists than it should be. Regardless, Bandcamp will one day be admired by ethnomusicologists for its unique model. They will discuss the platform's democratic model, which makes it stand out amongst a sea of predatory, exploitative companies.

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