Apparently, it takes a global pandemic for people to buy music.
Or maybe it’s just a sale. (Everyone loves a good, strong sale, amirite.)
Either way, Bandcamp is doing right by its artists. On Friday from midnight to midnight, the digital retail platform is waiving its share of revenue on all sales. This is the second time Bandcamp will not take a cut off the top. The first was on March 20, when more than $4.3 million was generated and promptly deposited into Bandcamp artists’ grubby mitts. It was the platform’s biggest sales day ever. Users bought roughly 800,000 items. In a statement, Bandcamp execs said, “That’s more than 15 times our normal Friday, and at the peak, fans were buying 11 items per second.”
Cameron Smith remembers a solid increase that day.
“Yeah, we definitely saw a bump in Bandcamp sales last time they waived their fees,” said the co-owner of the popular Dreamy Life Records label and retailer and successful singer-songwriter. “We’ll definitely promote their waiver again this Friday. I am a big fan of the Bandcamp platform. Glad to hear they are making it a regular thing.”
Indeed, they are. Bandcamp will waive its fees on the first Friday of every month through July. The chief inspiration is that Bandcamp understands that all artists are losing out on a large chunk of their income: touring. Touring is no mas. The waiver is an effort to help them make up that loss.
Why music lovers aren’t buying new tunes all the time remains a mystery, especially as we are all hunkering down, when new-to-you music –– maybe new-to-you local music –– could be the perfect antidote to craving the warm, snuggly, dank, fusty arms of Pink Floyd, Yes, Rush, Led freaking Zeppelin, and all of that other baby boomer bullshit I’ve become addicted to since lockdown began. I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so unsatisfied, I’m on my way to Bandcamp Friday. You should be, too.
Ronnie Heart, Nice Major, Summer Dean, and Jakob Robertson are the new featured artists on Amplify817.org, a locals-only streaming service produced by the Fort Worth Library. They join Jack Barksdale, Lou CharLe$, Rachel Gollay, and Taylor Pace as part of the collection that’s available for free.
Which does not mean the artists are not getting paid. Amplify 817 offers them an “upfront” payment to feature their music for three years. Anyone can listen, but only library cardholders can download any of the featured music to their personal devices. The four latest tracks were recorded at Niles City Sound, the Near Southside studio where Leon Bridges’ first two albums were made. The tracks were sponsored by Visit Fort Worth (the city’s visitor’s bureau) and the music association Hear Fort Worth with help from the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation.
“Local music adds to the culture and vitality of our city,” said Tom Martens, Visit Fort Worth’s creative director who works with Hear Fort Worth, in a statement. “We want to cultivate more of that. Music is also important to our local economy, with a historical economic impact of $742 million per year and supporting 7,311 jobs.”
Amplify 817 is seeking a handful of “Fort Worth music experts” interested in serving on a jury whose members will review submissions this summer from artists wanting to be included on the playlist. Hey, having written about Fort Worth music weekly for nearly 20 years, I may know someone. –– Anthony Mariani
Contact HearSay at email@example.com.