by: Zackery Silvas
In today’s world, we have seen the rapid decline of CD sales. There are now streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora that require a monthly fee to listen to your favorite artists. By paying that monthly fee, the consumer in a sense pays each artist in their library a fraction of that fee. However, not all streaming sites treat artists like this. Bandcamp was started in 2008 with the intent to help small bands and artists launch their careers. Bandcamp has a system in which the consumer can pay what they feel like the artist should deserve — the site treats it as “tipping.” The songs are free before making any payment, so if the consumer doesn’t feel inclined, there is no need to pay at all. It is almost like a GoFundMe page for artists, which fans can pour into just to support their favorite artist. As a music lover, I want to help support my favorite artists in any way possible. Bandcamp does want to help the next upcoming artist, but they do it at a cost.
Since Bandcamp needs to make a profit, they take a 15 percent cut from whatever the artists are given, which is actually a pretty good deal since other streaming services, like Apple Music, take 30 percent. Therefore, Bandcamp helps new artists make a profit on their music. This gives the artists an income if they aren’t signed to a label. Another streaming service that uses a similar payment system for its artists is Noisetrade. Noisetrade allows artists to post original music and books to their accounts, and just like Bandcamp you can tip the artist (Noisetrade takes 20 percent of the profit). Soundcloud is a little bit different from Bandcamp and Noisetrade. In its early stages, Soundcloud allowed its artists to post music without receiving any income, but that all changed in 2014 when they introduced their perks system. The highest perk for artists is called Premier. Premier allows artists to earn money from ads on their account without Soundcloud taking a cut. In order to get this perk, an artist first needs to be invited. In the long run this is good for Soundcloud because it can attract more artists to put their music on Soundcloud and work for that perk. All three streaming services give the opportunity for each artist to have an income and a platform to succeed.
All of these streaming services give the platform for everyday people to become the next superstar. Post Malone, Kehlani, and Bryson Tiller started on Soundcloud and are now big names in the music industry. From getting thousands of listens on a track to eventually selling out shows, the possibilities are endless for where you want to share your music. Starting your career on sites like Bandcamp or Soundcloud is something all artists should do. Having a starting point is the first step you can take in having a successful career. With the tools of Bandcamp, Noisetrade, and Soundcloud, the work of artists should be easier, and they can look to a brighter future.