While streaming services often get flack for cutting artists out of the deal (ahem, Spotify), Oakland’s Bandcamp has been praised for its attempts to do right by musicians during the pandemic. On the first Friday of each month since April, the company has waived its fees so that 100% of music sales go to artists and independent labels. Now, as COVID-19 cases rise, cold weather sets in and IRL concerts remain a far-off possibility, Bandcamp has announced a new service on its platform for ticketed, livestreamed concerts.
Monetizing livestreams has been difficult for artists during the pandemic. Oftentimes, they end up playing for tips that fall short, by far, of what they would have made on tour. And touring is independent musicians’ bread and butter.
Bandcamp Live has several benefits for artists: the livestream feature is built into its platform, so fans who buy music there can easily purchase tickets. During livestreams, artists can set up a “virtual merch table” that advertises their mp3s, cassettes, vinyl, T-shirts and whatever else they offer. And they have the option of engaging with fans in the chat. Bandcamp will eventually take a 10% convenience fee from ticket sales, but the company is waiving this charge until March 2021.