One Easy Way To Support Local Musicians
As Bandcamp temporarily waives its fees, grab some homespun music
The COVID-19 pandemic has had life-changing effects all throughout the economy. As unemployment claims reach record numbers state and nationwide, people are finding themselves out of work and unsure what to do.
Musicians have long lived in this uncertainty. You know how the phrase "gig economy" has become commonplace? They invented it.
As social gathering capacities have capped, things look grim for live music fans even in the Green phase. Thankfully, musicians are innately creative. Livestreams have become a regular fixture of our social feed, and we're all hard at work trying to MacGyver ways to collectively enjoy the music that we love.
One way to support these local musicians that you love is easy.
Buy their stuff.
One place to do that? Bandcamp.
The company was founded in 2008, and has since become one of the key places to find and buy music directly from the artist. With a relatively easy point-of-entry, it lets creators upload their own tracks and set a price for their fans. Often, artists will offer their tracks up for free, or for preview on the site. Bandcamp also functions as a merchandise storefront for many artists, letting them set up orders for physical media as well (tip: it's usually the best way to get those limited edition pre-orders as well, as the site will even tell you if there are a finite amount of copies left).
"Bandcamp is a great service even without the fee waiver," explained Adam Holquist, who uses the site for projects ranging from onewayness and The LEC. "For the artists who use it, it's one of the best ways of passing the most money on to them. Services like iTunes or Amazon, artists are seeing maybe 40-50% of the money you spend on them. And streaming is barely worth even mentioning," Holquist noted. "Bandcamp only takes 15%, which I've always felt was pretty reasonable for the service they provide."
On March 20, they waived their fees. People came out for that, spending $4.3 million in one day.
That's 15 times more than a regular Friday (which is the designated day for a vast majority of album releases).
They're doing the same on May 1.
And June 5, and July 3. On the first Friday of the month, the site is waiving their take, letting all of that money go to the artists who need it until midnight PDT.
"That 15% extra may not seem like much, but it's a nice gesture on their part when so many artists are financially hurting," Holquist admitted.
"It may sound simple, but the best way to help artists is with your direct financial support," said Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond, adding that "and we hope you'll join us through the coming months as we work to support artists in this challenging time.
[For more information, see Bandcamp's COVID-19 fundraiser page here]
Erie Area Musicians on Bandcamp
One thing about Bandcamp is that a lot of people are on it. That means, of course, that a lot of local people are on it.
Though this is in no way a complete list, here are over 50 local names you might recognize (with a healthy mix of old and new) who have easy-to-donate-to pages on Bandcamp:
Six releases with five full-length albums, as well as Christmas tracks
With 2012's Infinite Chaos and 2008's Matty B and the Dirty Pickles' Picklebilly
Over 200 offerings available, generally as individual tracks of covers and originals
2017's Battle of the Suns
Ten classic Erie HXC records including The Continuum, Self-fulfilling Prophecy, and the Fantasy Killer
2018's Dying Virtues Vol. 1
Featuring six recently released jazz cuts from throughout the 1980s and more
2015 self-titled album
Featuring their 2020 debut We're Gonna Live Forever
Seven releases including their 2017 album Crescendo.
13 releases including 2019's Ghost EP
2012's Set the Table
2016's Out of Time EP
Seven releases including CDs for 2019s The Astral Tramp and 2017s Univariate
2015's Silver Matter
Nine releases from their full-band works in Baltimore to Chris Ehrich's recent acoustic work.
Two releases including the brand new full-length False Realities as well as merch
Four releases including 2019's Depravity
A collective featuring over 40 releases from different artists
Nine releases including 2019's The Jerusalem Mules Pulling out of the world
Eight releases including live sets and studio work from Kellogg's solo work to Sonny's Fugitives and the TK Blues Company
Four releases, all with CD options including 2019's Reset
2018s Tell Me EP
Five releases including the 2016 full-length It's Drowning Out. (read the review)
Three releases including 2019's Love Skull
Six releases including 2020's Scintillations of the Inner Light
Seven releases including the 2017 EP The Optimist.
Three releases including 2014's I Keep It Moving (read the review)
Their eponymous 2016 full-length
Five releases including the 2019 full-length My Gasoline Heart
Seven Releases including Some Sad Songs and more sad songs
A whopping 29 releases with 16 of them having options for physical media
Three releases including the new single "Thrills" and the 2017 full-length The Art of Love.
2010's Fransisco The Man
Three full-length releases all worth revisiting
Their 2019 Demo along with merchandise
Two releases including 2019 full-length The Arrival
Four releases including 2016's Be Ok EP
19 releases including eight from 2019 alone
12 releases including 2019's Who the Heck Is and 2018's Omitting the Middle
Five releases including merchandise
2019 EP Drowning In The Will of Others
The 2018 full-length album Afterglow
With nine releases like his latest, The Future Looks Mighty Ole Timey, including a discounted discography bundle.
Four releases like their Over Under EP, as well as a merch tab with shirts, hats CDs and cassette tapes. (read more about the band)
Four releases and a merch page from the former Erie Band
Three releases including the 2016 single "Be Your Babe."
Ten releases including the Hank Says it Best EP and the Barstools and Church Pews full-length
Eight releases including a preview of their newest full-length album
2017's Landlocked EP
Their 2013 EP Return The First To Walk The Earth...
Two releases including the 2019 EP Terra