Online music distribution powerhouse Bandcamp has now launched its long-awaited Subscription platform, allowing millions of smaller musical artists the opportunity to create and share ongoing projects with their fans for a recurring, self-determined, monthly fee.
The company had announced the upcoming service last November, and spent almost a full year tweaking it before widespread release.
For those artists that currently operate on a pay-per-album or pay-per-track model, this isn’t necessarily a replacement. Rather, it is another way that musicians can pull in some extra guaranteed income for special releases like live albums, B-sides, and other content that might not be prime-time ready.
Long among the best platforms for independent artists to distribute their music directly without label support, Bandcamp has generated $122 million since it first launched in 2007.
The company has always taken an artist-first approach to the way it does business, this time making providing an option for smaller musicians to have some form of sustainable income.
In an online announcement to current Bandcamp artists, where it revealed the new feature, the company writes, “Your biggest fans just want everything you make. They don’t want to risk missing a release because your announcement drowned in their social media fire hose or got buried under a truckload of spam, and they don’t want the hassle of going through a transaction every time you put out something new. Subscriptions are not only more convenient for those fans, they also create predictable revenue for you. We want Bandcamp to be an important part of how any artist develops a sustainable career, and we think subscriptions can be a big part of that.”
Besides bands, the new subscription-based system could also be a strong way for podcasters or other audio-industry members to share their work for the promise of recurring fees, helping them to avoid the hassle of the previous pay-per-episode model they would have had to use on Bandcamp.
Overall, the subscription service should prove a useful income-generating tool for the underrepresented mass of musicians on Bandcamp, a smart addition to the company’s considerable portfolio of pro-artist features.