Free Downloads Are No Longer “Free” In Bandcamp
Almost two months ago, Bandcamp switched from a free to paid service. Some of their users were less happy than others, but, from my understanding, a number of them loved the company so much that they didn’t mind helping them diversify their revenue streams and stay afloat. This new announcement could prove to be slightly more dicey:
Users of the service will now have to pay for free downloads.
Starting out, all new accounts will come with 200 free downloads, and all existing accounts will be granted 500. Beyond that, the pricing structure is: 300 downloads for $9 USD (3¢ each); 1000 downloads for $20 USD (2¢ each); and 5000 downloads for $75 USD (1.5¢ each). Now, before you pull out your pitchforks and light your torches, know that this announcement comes with a twist. In a Super Mario Bros. like fashion, for every $500 USD that users have in sales, Bandcamp will grant them with another 1,000 free downloads.
CEO Ethan Diamond reasoned that, “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.” Mainly, the motivation behind the switch is that the company realized a small portion of their user base was giving everything away—charging nothing at all. Thus, Bandcamp thought that it was unfair to burden every artist on the site with “the costs of a few outliers giving away hundreds of thousands of free downloads,” so, they decided to charge for all those free downloads.
Also, in related Bandcamp news, users and fans alike can now “go to any album page, click Share, and choose from a few different types of full tracklist embedded players.” These new embeddable players can posted directly onto Facebook and the walls of fans, making for an easy and efficient way for fans to share music with each other in the environments that they frequent.