Bandcamp, a music website used by fledgling bands and vets like Sufjan Stevens to distribute mp3s and merchandise, is altering the way it handles downloads. Although artists with accounts on the site could previously offer their music for free, there will now be a small fee for every track given away. The point of all of this is to encourage Bandcamp users to reserve free downloads for promotional efforts and use the website as a way to actually sell their music. Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond elaborates:
The idea is that if you’re selling through Bandcamp, you’ll probably never run out of free promo downloads, and if you’re using the site to distribute your music for free, there’s still a cheap and easy way to keep doing that. (Actually, the cheapest way would be to head over to ZRapidShare, but if you’re reading this, you probably care about your fans too much for that.)
It makes no difference to those downloading music from the site, but it’s a pretty significant restructuring for bands who distribute their tunes through Bandcamp. Here’s a breakdown of what this means for them:
- Any band that signs up for Bandcamp after today will get 200 free download credits. A download can be either a single track or an entire album.
- Existing Bandcamp accounts will be credited with a whopping 500 free downloads (customer loyalty FTW).
- When Bandcamp users run out of download credits, they can purchase them at these rates: 300 downloads for $9 USD (3 ¢ each), 1000 downloads for $20 USD (2 ¢ each), or 5000 downloads for $75 USD (1.5 ¢ each).
- If you sell $500 worth of music or merch, your account will be credited another 1000 downloads.