Curmudgeon that I am, I have always been somewhat sceptical of the revolutionary affect on music that the birth of internet file sharing was supposed to have had. It is true that I have seen the rise of illegal downloads and the removal of power from shelf placement at record stores, but so too have I witnessed the consolidation of the big three record label’s wealth driven might and so too have I see the towering spectre of ‘the music industry’ sue the crap out of Napster. In recent times, however, I have been becoming acutely interested in a little niche of online music that appears to be working very hard on the front of the democratization of musical commodity. The name of this wonderful little niche is ‘Bandcamp’.
Now, years ago if I wanted to discover all of the latest and greatest of music that wasn’t directly tied to one or more of the capitalist behemoths I would have to go out on a regular basis and spend my time and money on seeing new bands and tracking down their EPs. This, while laudable, is a long and arduous process, not to mention the fact that it becomes very difficult to find anything outside of the comfort zone of your city limits and downright impossible to get your hands on an international release. With the advent of Bandcamp, however, I now have the world of blooming bands and artists right here at my greedy fingertips waiting and begging for me to click that irresistible ‘download now’ button.
What this means is that I no longer have to trawl through gig guides and local rags to find out if that band I sort-of like from one suburb over has finally gotten around to recording and releasing something. Rather, I can just jump online and find out that a Ukrainian hardcore band I’ve never heard of have just put out their third EP, and then I can get my hands on it instantly.
This, for someone like me who is constantly on the lookout for the most exciting artists ignored by the major labels, truly is a godsend. I mean, who knows? one lucky click one day and I might just discover myself a real groundbreaker like The Pixies or Black Flag. More likely I will end up with a lot of bands trying very hard to imitate The Pixies and Black Flag, but it is this chance for some real musical excitement that has my little heart all a-flutter.
It is for this reason that I have decided to devote a portion of my reviewing week to bands I have found by chance in the whirlpool of Bandcamp. Starting from tomorrow I shall be diving weekly into the lucky dip of that tremendous website and bringing all of you avid readers a selection of reviews of whatever weird and wonderful treasures I have surfaced with.
So make sure you join me tomorrow for Adventures In Bandcamp: Volume I, in which I shall be putting my ear to three of my first discoveries: Planet Ragtime, Broke For Free, and Northamericans!
- SoundCloud, BandCamp and all of that (news.eshac.com)
- Case Study: Is Free Music Worth It? (hypebot.com)
- 7 websites and apps that are perfect for social music discovery. (spyghana.com)
- Soundcloud? Bandcamp? Youtube? (infamousness.wordpress.com)