Streaming is fast becoming the preferred method of music consumption. But no one company has figured out how to make that work, monetarily, for the people making the actual music. It’s something Ethan Diamond has spent a lot of time thinking about. He’s the CEO of music publishing platform Bandcamp. Digital and physical sales combined, Diamond says Bandcamp is selling a record every four seconds. Diamond believes its business model is more sustainable than streaming, both for the artists and his company.
Kai Ryssdal spoke with Diamond about the difference between “streaming” and “subscription,” and why he started the company and what separates Bandcamp from all the other music services out there.
On how Bandcamp has evolved:
So, at the time, 2007, you had sites like Myspace and Virb, and iMeme, and what they offered artists was, essentially a share-cropping arrangement. You know, you gave them your content and then it was their logos, their advertising — it was their URL, it was their traffic. It was their entire identity. And it seemed crazy to me that, you know, if you were a writer at the time, you had things like WordPress, Moveable Type, Blogger — all these things that let you create a site for free and very easily, but if your artistic output was music instead of words, you know, you were completely out of luck, so we built Bandcamp to address that problem.
On Bandcamp’s business model:
Bandcamp’s model is based on a revenue share. It’s 15 percent on digital, 10 percent on physical, and in that way our success is tied to the success of the artist. So we only make money if the artist makes a whole lot more money.
On competing with other music streaming platforms:
So, none of those services really address music fandom. When I like a piece of music, I like to not only listen to it a bunch of times, but I also like to maybe get the LP and pour over the liner notes, and buy their t-shirts, go to their shows, maybe put their poster on my wall. It’s that sort of engaged fandom that Bandcamp is here to offer.
Click the audio player above to hear their conversation.
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