With sales up 30%, US company says it’s bucking music industry trends and helping musicians to get paid for their work. Independent music company Bandcamp has hit a new milestone: $100m (£66m) of payments to artists for music and merchandise sold through its site since its launch in 2008.
The US-based company helps musicians set up their own online stores, and since November 2014 has also been enabling them to run their own subscription services for their keenest fans.
“Fans give artists $3.5m every month on the site, and buy more than 16,000 records a day, which works out to about one every five seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” wrote chief executive Ethan Diamond in a blog post.
Sales on Bandcamp were up 30% in the past 12 months when the industry was down 11%, he added: “We see this growth as proof that if you give fans easy ways to directly support the artists they love, they’ll take you up on it every time.”
Bandcamp’s growth as a source of income for independent musicians has accelerated in recent years. At the start of 2012, it generated $12.6m for its artist clients, with December 2012 the first month when payments exceeded $1m.
By November 2013, the company reached the $50m milestone for payments, at which point Diamond predicted that “that dollar amount is set to double in the next 18 months, and maybe a touch sooner”.
The company takes a 15% cut of the income musicians earn from selling music, merchandise and subscriptions on its site, with this dropping to 10% once they reach $5,000 in total sales. Cellist Zöe Keating, who was recently in the news due to a dispute with YouTube, is one of the most prominent Bandcamp users. In February 2014 she said that she earned $25,575 from the site in 2013 – not far behind the $38,195 she earned from Apple’s iTunes store.
Other high-profile musicians using Bandcamp include Thom Yorke, Courtney Barnett, Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney and Sleaford Mods. The company has also introduced features for independent labels to maintain profiles on its site, including Sub Pop and Ninja Tune.