The End of Bancamp Friday

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!

25 thoughts on “The End of Bancamp Friday

  1. It’s a shame there aren’t places in the States willing to support musicians and ignore the restrictions set by their areas. Maybe even places where musicians can play to the vast amount of people who haven’t been frightened by the WuFlu. In a country with as many guns as yours, I’m sure there are more than a few brave people out there.

    Anyway, since this is the day after Audre’s big day, I want to hear the news. Did Lon take her raving? Did she pop a few pills and dance throughout the night, waving her sequined blouse in circles over her head? Come on Audre, what did you get up to? 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I, too, want to know about Audre’s birthday shenanigans. I love the idea of the two of them attending a rave. I wonder if that’s ever an activity at The Villages or Mar-a-Lago.

      The good thing is that here in South Carolina the restrictions are vastly diminished, and largely left up to individual businesses. Sadly, many establishments have used COVID as an excuse to trim back on the things they have been wanting to get rid of anyway. I’m not sure if live music falls into that category, but I imagine that is the case.

      Also, consider the likely politics and socio-cultural slant of your typical coffee shop owner/management: they’re likely to lean towards COVID hysteria, and so shut down everything but the bare necessities (and maybe even those) over fears of surging cases. Indeed, my buddy John called me last night and said that one coffee shop we frequent in our county is shutting down live music and open mics on Friday nights AGAIN—I think for the third or fourth time since The Age of the The Virus began. They reopened tentatively in Summer 2021, before shuttering again with the rise of Delta. They resumed live music again sometime in November, now to stop it again with Omicron.

      That’s why I started doing my front porch concerts. I figured I can throw a party and play music from my porch. The first two were smashing successes (the 2021 Spooktacular not so much).

      Opportunities are there, as the revival and resurgence of my private lessons attest, but musicians have to get creative in seeking them out—or creating them for themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If I was a musician who’d had their gig cancelled for the umpteenth time because the venue kept shutting down, I’d refuse to play there when everything opened up. Add to which, I quite like your idea of porch gigs and if there are musicians with a decent sized garden and agreeable neighbours, a porch gig would be a lot of fun, plus added revenue.

        I noticed Audre had liked the blog but not posted. Presumably the hangover is still there…:-)

        Liked by 2 people

      • If everyone musician took that approach—even when times were good and normal!—musicians would make a lot more money and enjoy much more respect. The problem is that everyone and their dad has a band these days. That’s not a _bad_ thing necessarily—I love that people want to play music!—but the weekend warrior dad band phenomenon, where a group of cargo short-wearing Boomers play a four-hour set of classic rock covers in exchange for beer (or even for free) really drives down wages for the rest of us.

        It’s the nature of the beast. I’ve played plenty of shows for free, or with the promise only of tips and whatever I can scrounge together in merch sales. I’ve tried to stop doing those as much as possible, and charge around $150 per performance hour for private parties, which I find folks are willing to pay depending on the event.

        Haha, yes, Audre must have really cut loose on the dance floor last night. She’s being uncharacteristically quiet.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Okay, interesting, when I try to post a comment I am sent round the houses with passwords and email addresses and then the comment is not shown as being posted. Ignore everything I have written today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very strange! Yes, your posts are going through, just ending up in moderation, waiting for my approval.

      I ran into something similar with Neo’s blog a few months back. Here’s hoping WordPress resolves the issue ASAP.

      I have looked in settings to see if there is a way to add you to a whitelist or the like, but can’t find a way to do it. For some reasons, WordPress just doesn’t trust you, Alys. : D

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t find Alys’s problem on mine either, although I suspect it’s in Akismet somewhere. I have one other that has trouble, for both, it began when I left the free version.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Live music is supposedly all about streaming now. I know the film/TV industry is still very much on the alert vs. the DNC/CPC political bioweapon. We just lost a background actor to it in Atlanta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Streaming does seem to be the way it is going. I suppose I should start doing livestreaming concerts, eh? Maybe build up a following? I finally broke down and got Instagram, which I have no earthly idea how to use, but apparently it’s all the rage (or was five years ago, ha!) with musicians.

      Sorry to hear about the background actor who succumbed. That is terrible.

      Like

  4. By the way, Port, if you haven’t got it already, buy Abe: Soulstorm. I’m unaware if you’ve ever played the originals – Abe’s Odyssey, Exodus and the off shoot, Munch’s Odyssey – but they’re very good adventure/puzzle/strategy games. Even though the new game was made by those who created the originals, we thought beforehand that they might be too short and simple. They’re really not and if, like us, you look to save all the Mudokons, there’ll be parts of it that have you tearing your hair out.

    Check it out, when you have the time, get back to me and let me know what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Probably by Tina rather than me. She’s the master of those games, same as she is with the original Tomb Raider games, none of which I have completed.

        I remember, back in the day, it’d take months to complete a game. Tina said it took her months to complete the very first Tomb Raider. When we played the first of the reboots, it took us hours to finish it. Modern gaming needs an injection of life. ;\

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tina is welcome to contribute, too!

        Yeah, modern games are much shorter, it seems, than the games of yore—and, I would wager, easier. Back in the late 1980s, when a Nintendo game was $60, it had better keep you occupied—that might be the only game you’d get that year! Otherwise, it was swapping and borrowing with friends and neighbors.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. the weekend warrior dad band phenomenon, where a group of cargo short-wearing Boomers play a four-hour set of classic rock covers in exchange for beer (or even for free) really drives down wages for the rest of us

    Yes, yes, and yes emphatically to this comment! Well said, sir!

    Liked by 1 person

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