Bandcamp has a new feature for artists on its Pro tier: the ability to “present unlimited HD videos side-by-side with your music and merchandise, with nary a lick of integrity-destroying advertising in sight”.
The feature launched earlier this week, and if you’re wondering whether that quote is a pop at other large online video sites (beginning with a ‘Y’)… well, you’d be right. “Why can’t I just embed a YouTube video? That would be so much easier, and then video could be free instead of Pro-only?” is the question posed to itself on Bandcamp’s blog post.
The answer: “True, but then you risk having commercials for Olive Garden at the top of your site. Bandcamp is a service by and for people who care deeply about music, and part of that is not wanting to see every last piece of art in the world co-opted as ‘content’ against which to sell ads for stuff you don’t need.”
It goes on to note that while Vimeo might be an alternative option “we also don’t want to rely on/require an account at a third party service”. Instead, Bandcamp is aiming to get artists to add videos using its new feature “to round out your identity and boost sales from the fans already checking you out here”.
It’s not the only new feature for Bandcamp though: Hypebot notes that the service is testing out artist-specific subscriptions too.
British band Candy Says are one of the guinea pigs, with a subscription tab on their Bandcamp profile enabling fans to pay £20 a year (“or more”) to get all of the new music they make to download and/or stream, plus seven releases from their back catalogue, and subscriber-only messages and photos.
“It’s a club. A cult. A collective of like-minded failures. It’s not about buying music. It’s about supporting our effort to bring a little beauty into the world,” explain the band.
What it is, also, is a feature that puts Bandcamp more in the ballpark of services as varied as PledgeMusic, Patreon and Drip.fm – although the latter focuses on labels rather than artists – as a way for musicians to turn to their fans for ongoing funding, while rewarding them for that support. It’s a positive step forward for Bandcamp, one of several this year.
Recently, one of the criticisms of Thom Yorke’s recent BitTorrent release was the suggestion that if he’d opted for Bandcamp instead, it could have pushed that service further into the mainstream and made it stronger. We see the point, but also think Bandcamp is doing a pretty good job itself of rolling out tools that will accomplish those goals.