Indie

Musicians Vouch For The Artist-Friendly Bandcamp As Spotify Wrapped Posts Make The Rounds

Spotify has been the toast of the music world today as music fans are sharing their Wrapped lists of what they listened to the most over the year. For some, though, Spotify becoming a trending topic has made them think about how much they prefer Bandcamp, a famously artist-friendly distribution platform.

Posthuman, an artist who has about 4,600 monthly listeners on Spotify, noted the difference between his income via Spotify and Bandcamp, writing on Twitter, “in 2020, I made around £300 profit on Spotify from Posthuman tracks. I made around £3000 profit on Bandcamp from Posthuman tracks. I mean… it’s still a very long way from making a living & without live/DJ gigs it’s sh*t. But the comparison is stark.”

He continued in subsequent tweets, “Perceptions of what artists make financially from music sales & streams can be way off the reality. Obviously, radio play & adverts can change things dramatically, and more mainstream music means much higher plays. If you’re a fan of underground music — especially of artists who usually play out live or DJ — take a moment to think about how they are surviving right now. You’d be surprised at artists you think are ‘big’ who are struggling to pay the rent. I’m lucky to have a partner who still has a job, and to have a pretty small mortgage. Also my label brings in a bit of cash too, though I try & pay my artists much higher cuts than standard. But I have artist mates who are higher profile than me who are utterly broke right now.”

DJ Food, an artist with around 38,000 monthly Spotify listeners, responded to Posthuman’s tweets, “I totally up my last 3 PRS [royalty] payments earlier for 2020 so far. Apple/itunes just over the £10 mark, Spotify, google/youtube all around or under the £5 mark, Amazon didn’t even make it over 50p.”

Although not a direct response to Wrapped or about Bandcamp, Operators member Devojka had a viral tweet recently (it’s at about 196K likes as of press time) about paltry Spotify royalty payments, writing a few days ago, “Spotify gave me $2.25 for a song I wrote that was streamed on their platform 125,000 times. Seems fair.”

In response to Devojka’s tweet, rapper Show You Suck noted that he has found a compromise between the two platforms, tweeting, “THIS IS WHY I PUT SINGLES ON SPOTIFY AND MY FULL PROJECTS GO TO BANDCAMP ONLY.”

Some other artists made direct appeals to fans to support their favorite artists on Bandcamp, like composer Darius Holbert, who wrote, “I appreciate all of these year-end Spotify lists, but a quick PSA: Music is made by real folks w families to support, esp during these tricky days. Buy from bandcamp.com or other artist-direct sites, dont just stream. It’s $10 vs $.00003 to them.” The band The Subways also noted, “Spotify’s all well & good. Share your kajillion plays of your favourite bands. But also visit bandcamp & online merch stores to help artists at this very difficult time.”

Adding onto a post about items added to their Bandcamp store, record label Lost Map summed up the sentiment of the aforementioned tweets, writing, “A gentle reminder that Bandcamp is much much better than Spotify.”

Bandcamp has been especially good to artists in 2020. In March, they launched a popular fundraiser that became a regular occurrence, for which they gave artists their share of profits from sales on some Fridays. During the first such Friday, artists made $4.3 million. The final Bandcamp Friday will be held this week, on December 4.

Check out some artists’ reactions to Spotify Wrapped here.

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