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.