Well, all good things must come to an end: much to my readers’ relief, I’m sure, Bandcamp Friday has come to an end.
Since March 2020, Bandcamp has dedicated the first Friday of most months to Bandcamp Friday, a day when the service waived its share of proceeds paid for musicians’ music. That meant that musicians got almost the full value of the sale, minus whatever PayPal takes out. In other words, a musician who sold his entire discography for $19.98 (like yours portly) would receive almost all of that amount, as Bandcamp waived its customary 15%. That’s $3 more going to the musician; over, say, ten transactions, that adds up to real money.
For now, though, it looks like it’s over. Bandcamp introduced Bandcamp Friday as a way to help musicians during The Age of The Virus, when most venues were shuttered and musicians couldn’t play gigs. No gigs, no merch and CD sales. No sales, no money. My performance royalties—never a huge source of income, but a nice extra couple of hundred bucks, dried up almost completely in 2021 (royalties are paid on such a long delay, it wasn’t until 2021 that I experienced the effects of having not played my original music live in 2020).
Even more devastating, my private lessons income slowed to a trickle, with just one student remaining during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Since then, my situation has improved, as I’m sure that of other musicians has. 2021 was a record-breaking year for me with lessons, as I brought in around $11,000 from it.
Still, in many parts of the country, musicians are still unable to tour. Polaris, the giants behind the theme song from the 1990s Nickelodeon cult classic The Adventures of Pete and Pete, has had to cancel all of the dates from its February tour. Locally, I know several coffee shops have shut open mics back down, while one prominent one has never reopened.
To be clear: I’m not saying Bandcamp should bring back Bandcamp Friday. What they did for the last two years was incredibly generous, and cemented their reputation as being pro-indie artists.
What I am saying, rather, is that times are still tough for many musicians. Live music—something to be cherished—has particularly suffered.
So, take a moment to support your favorite local musicians—like me!