Bandcamp & How To (Let Someone Else) Use It

What's Homer Simpson got to do with any of this? Not much at all, really, except his campaign slogan - Can't Someone Else Do It? - got stuck in my head after I wrote that title. Let's just say he's pointing at something kinda cool, like I'm about to.

Back when I first started writing about music here, I posted about some of my favourite online music resources. Things have changed a bit since then, like Amazon buying out Amie Street (which sucked), but Bandcamp has consistently proven to be one of the best, for artists and listeners alike.

Changes – as far as I know – have been relatively minor, but every little tweak makes the site much more user-friendly from the casual browser point of view. A year ago, I lamented the lack of options for consumers to use the site simply to discover something new – the way the site worked best was if you already knew what you were looking for. This is still fairly true; you can surf tags, which are most commonly genres, moods and locations, but even then a lot of releases remain hidden by tags that are too few or too obscure.

More recently, Bandcamp has introduced a feature where artists can recommend other albums to customers who download their releases. In action, once you’re taken to the page where you can access the download, any albums that have been actively recommended will appear below the download link.

I think this is a great idea, and one that I hope is well-utilised by the artists and labels that use Bandcamp. Personally, I’d like to see this expanded to various other methods people can use to browse the site and find music – I often just take a look at the first page of most recently added releases (unfiltered by tags) and have a bit of a listen to anything that attracts my attention, but as that means I’m browsing over 400 releases on the one page, making a judgement call based simply on name, title and cover art can sometimes be very wrong, and I certainly don’t have the time to listen to them all.

As there is no standardised tagging or categorisation on Bandcamp, I’d really like to see the tags the artists have chosen for individual releases on that initial page in a small summary (or perhaps just the top 3, as chosen by them), at least that would make having user-customisable tags a little more worthwhile.

In the absence of that – if I found the time – I thought it would be a brilliant idea to start a regular feature, or even a different blog, dedicated to finding and featuring great releases available on Bandcamp. The problem is, I don’t really have the resources for that, time or otherwise, thus I introduced the month-end swag posts featuring (free) music from all over the place instead. Also, I’m not the only one who thought this was a great idea, nor was I even the first – more importantly, other people have put this idea into action.

I stumbled upon two sites this evening that are doing exactly that, and worth a moment or two to check out:

bandcamp hunter – daily posts, no preferred genres stated other than local (Melbourne, Australia) artists.

BandCampLike – also daily posts, highlighting ambient, electronic, classical and metal releases.

S4E

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About Satellite for Entropy

My thoughts are fish, all swimming about and prone to scattering swiftly. Some of them are pretty but not all of them are gold. Some have teeth; some travel in gangs and with a single school of thought; some are haphazard loners, darting about the place randomly and to no obvious purpose. But they're all slippery little suckers. Sometimes, I get lucky and find myself with a good grasp on one, long enough to remember what it looks like before releasing it back into the wild. View all posts by Satellite for Entropy

3 responses to “Bandcamp & How To (Let Someone Else) Use It

  • thesteinbergprinciple

    this is great. thank you! i am new to using bandcamp for mini50 records. but it’s a really useful resource i think and very user friendly. just hope they don’t change it!

    will be checking out those sites for sure. always looking for new artists to write about on the blog.

  • Satellite for Entropy

    I think Bandcamp is probably the best online platform in so far as music distribution goes, it just lacks a little when it comes to being able to create an [on-site] awareness of what’s there, so third party sites and marketing is rather necessary – not that it isn’t anyway, or detracts from the site as a whole, as I still think it’s superior to its closest competitor (SoundCloud).

    Hope you find the sites useful =)

  • thesteinbergprinciple

    yeah, agreed. it’s great for the label but at the same time, if people check out mini50 it’s not always clear that the music is available at bandcamp. like you say, there is also no internal way to use bandcamp, which is a shame. but i do love it as a resource.

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