Digital DIY music platform Bandcamp finds its footing with artists like Amanda Palmer, Sufjan Stevens and RJD2 [Updated]
After six years, a handful of albums and one censorship controversy, Amanda Palmer wanted a way to call her own shots after splitting with Roadrunner Records in April.
After she claimed the label sought to cut or alter shots of her stomach in the video for the “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” song “Leeds United,” Palmer asked to be dropped in late 2008. As fans bared their own bodies in an online protest dubbed “The ReBellyon,” the singer took to performing a song pointedly titled “Please Drop Me” in concert.
When she finally got her wish, Palmer celebrated by offering a free download of a track titled “Do You Swear to Tell the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth So Help Your Black Ass,” a decision that probably would have made her former label cringe.
Independence has its virtues.
The Dresden Dolls frontwoman-turned-solo artist has joined a growing number of artists who’ve found a home on Bandcamp, a San Francisco-based website and publishing platform that aims to put musicians in better control of their digital sales and online merchandising.
“We really wanted to do everything quote unquote on our own,” said Sean Francis, Palmer’s director of new media, marketing and promotions, adding that they discovered the site in its infancy. “We always had them in the back of our minds for when ultimately she would get off the label.”
In contrast with a number of rules-clad retailers, Bandcamp offers ease and options: free sign-up; a Bandcamp storefront page to add to an existing site or let stand alone; an array of digital download formats (from hi-fi MP3s to FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files) for customers; physical sales and physical-digital bundling; and, perhaps most important, the ability to set prices, from free to a flat rate to a pay-what-you-want donation.