Another chance for a Bandcamp binge to help musicians | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

Another chance for a Bandcamp binge to help musicians 

Even as Illinois reopens, artists and labels remain cut off from major sources of income—so Bandcamp is again waiving its cut of sales.

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If you've read Jack Riedy's recent Reader feature addressing the economics of streaming services, then you should also have learned a little about Bandcamp's sales-based model. (If you haven't read it, go take care of that now. I'll wait.) Though Bandcamp is also a middleman, it's earned a reputation as an equitable player in the online music business thanks to the nakedly extractive tactics of the dominant operations—while payouts from major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music never exceed half a cent per play and are often much less, Bandcamp passes along 85 to 90 percent of sales revenue, minus processing fees.

In the months since COVID-19 put a stop to live music in March, eliminating touring income, Bandcamp has repeatedly given a boost to independent artists and labels by waiving its 10 to 15 percent cut for a 24-hour period.

During the first "Bandcamp day" on Friday, March 20, fans spent a combined $4.3 million, 15 times what they do on a typical Friday. In April, Bandcamp announced it would continue the initiative on the first Fridays of May, June, and July. May 1 sales totaled $7.1 million, and June 5 sales totaled $4.8 million. June's Bandcamp day arrived during nationwide protests condemning the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and hundreds if not thousands of artists donated all their Bandcamp money to nonprofits dedicated to racial justice, police abolition, and Black and Brown communities.

The fourth Bandcamp day is this Friday, July 3. Once again I've rounded up all the recent Reader recommendations of new albums and EPs that can be bought via the platform. I hope you're able use this list on Friday to discover a new artist and explore the immense catalog of music on Bandcamp—and I hope you keep coming back.

Blu & Exile, Miles: From an Interlude Called Life

Bonjintan, Dental Kafka

Civic Center, The Ground Below

Thomas DaVinci, Home Grown

Drab City, Good Songs for Bad People

El Shirota, Tiempos Raros

Eye of Nix, Ligeia

F.A.B.L.E., (IX) The Hermit

Scott Free, The Last Revolution

Heathen Beast, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised but It Will Be Heard

Hobbyist, Side Fx

Holy Hive, Float Back to You

Icepick, Hellraiser

Khruangbin, Mordechai

Roy Kinsey, Kinsey: A Memoir

Quin Kirchner, The Shadows and the Light

Daniel Knox, You Are My Friend: The Songs of Mister Rogers

Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor, Pavilion

Ingrid Laubrock & Kris Davis, Blood Moon

Longshot, I'm Saying

Midnight Dice, Hypnotized

Muzz, Muzz

Nnamdï, Black Plight

Ohmme, Fantasize Your Ghost

Owen, The Avalanche

Sweet Whirl, How Much Works

Tenci, My Heart Is an Open Field

Tengger, Nomad

Various artists, Building a Better Reality: A Benefit Compilation

Varsity, Fine Forever

Vincas, Phantasma

Wyatt Waddell, "Fight!"

J Wade, Lily of the Valley

Jason Wilber, Time Traveler

Wire, 10:20  v

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