This article is well worth reading, you can access it here. Essentially it makes the point that Spotify follows a kind of Starbucks competitive model in that it wants to persuade listeners to spend more time on its streams rather than on other sources for listening for music in the same way that Starbucks aims to replace small neighbourhood cafes. This leads to a situation in which royalties paid to musicians are incredibly low. Bandcamp, by contrast, is a business that supports musicians, facilitates their placing music online and enables them to choose their own pricing structure.
I have found in this period of lockdown and the current slightly eased lockdown I have become a big fan of Bandcamp and have downloaded a huge amount of music from it. I have done this partly because I know that the musicians will get a fair share of the price paid, especially on the occasional Fridays when Bandcamp pays 100% of the income to the musicians, but also because having the music online makes listening in a slightly different way possible. Let me explain.
I have always felt that to do the music and the musicians justice and to judge a piece of work, one should sit down and listen to a Cd from beginning to end without interruption. One should then, if possible, read around about the artists and find a review of the album, and then ideally listen to the album again. This is my policy and I will certainly follow it if I am to write a review of the album. This is what I did with Paul Dunmall’s latest album The Feeling Principle with Liam Noble, John Edwards and Mark Sanders. See the review in the post below.
Having albums on Bandcamp, by contrast, enables me to listen in short bursts, often in a period of relaxation from other online activity. It may be two or three tracks at a time, or just one if time is limited. This may not be as exhaustive a process as listening to a whole Cd in one sitting, but it has meant I have listened to a lot more music in this period, and feel that I am reasonably up to date on what is happening in the world’s different jazz centres, i.e. New York, Berlin, London etc.
Some examples of recent Bandcamp downloads:
John Hollenbeck: Songs You Like A Lot: this is a most attractive album featuring popular songs arranged by Hollenbeck for singers Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann, pianist Gary Versace and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Hollenbeck’s arrangements are most impressive and it is great to hear these songs in such a rich environment.
BassDrumBone: The Long Road This is a trio with Ray Anderson on trombone, Mark Helias on double bass and Gerry Hemingway on drums. We presented the trio in Birmingham in the 1990s but haven’t heard much of them since then, and so it was a delight to discover this album. They are joined on certain tracks by Jason Moran on piano and on others by Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone.
Elda ft. Faye MacCalman: Hippocampinae This is an album that brings together Elda with Faye MacCalman of Archipelago to create fascinating electronic textures. The album features Aaron Diaz, trumpet & electronics, Andrew Woodhead, keyboards, synthesizers, pocket piano & electronics and
Faye MacCalman, saxophones, clarinets, guitar & electronics.