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Bandcamp may not just be the anti-Spotify; it may be operating in an entirely different world

Damon Krukowski, writing for NPR:

Spotify and Bandcamp could not be more opposite. Where Spotify highlights playlists, most often of its own creation, Bandcamp sticks to the album (or any other format, as determined by the artist). Where Spotify pays royalties according to little-understood formulas that can only be analyzed by reverse calculation, Bandcamp lets artists and labels choose their own prices. Where Spotify requires working through a limited number of distributors to access their services, Bandcamp is open to anyone. Where Spotify has revenue streams dependent on ads and data, Bandcamp operates on a simple revenue share with artists and collects no information on its users.

Spotify is now worth an estimated $54 billion on the stock market, despite having never shown an annual profit. Bandcamp is privately owned, has been in the black since 2012, and continues to grow... slowly. You might be tempted to say that one is a 21st-century business, and the other belongs to an earlier age. But neither could exist at any other time.

Which poses the question: does our 21st-century business world really have to be so much like Spotify, and so little like Bandcamp? I spoke with Bandcamp CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond to try and understand better how and why his company does business the way they do.

I, for one, am very glad that Bandcamp exists. The sad fact is that Spotify — and Apple Music, and most other streaming services — won't bring you all the music out there, and the selection you can access is subject to change at any time thanks to the shifting landscape of music licencing and rights management.

(I hate the phrase 'rights management' because the rights in question are never those of the consumer.)

I would suggest that it is Spotify who belong to the last century — theirs is very much the business of the major music labels and all the other middlemen who've traditionally taken most of the money earned from the work of musicians and songwriters.

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