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Bandcamp vs. the Giants a.k.a Spotify, Youtube Music, Apple Music & more

almost 3 years ago from , Designer & coding enthusiast

Hi folks!

Last week I published an article about Bandcamp—a music store for independent artists on Underglass.io.

Streaming changed the way I listen to music (I’ve been a Spotify user for over 5 years,) yet I didn’t know much about the deals happening behind the scenes. Writing this article helped me understand how the industry works, and the challenges of the streaming business.

Are you a subscriber of Spotify, Youtube Music/Google Play Music or Apple Music? Why do you stick with that service?


By the way, here’s the takeaways from the article:

  • Facing with industry changes, carve out your own path. While others focus on new technologies, automation and scale, the value of nostalgia, manual curation and local flavours can be left open.
  • In a two-sided platform, build for authentic connection and feedback between both parties.
  • Crowd patronage online is becoming a reliable form of income for many different types of creators
  • Is providing the best possible user experience always a sustainable strategy?

17 comments

  • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 3 years ago

    It's funny. I'v never made an issue out of the $ involved in listening to music. By that, I mean I used to own a sizable (not huge) collection of albums. Say somewhere between 300-400 CDs.

    I even purchased some vinyl because what the heck, it's fun to own and looks cool on a shelf.

    However, Spotify is 1000x easier. I set-and-forget a monthly fee, and have access to everything I want to listen to.

    My "year in review" on Spotify always has an average of 2 to 3 hours per day of listening to music on their service.

    In fact, if Spotify Permium would cost me 3x as much, I'd pony up and not think twice.

    Not sure what my point is, other than: convenience sells.

    6 points
    • Derek Nguyen, almost 3 years ago

      You’re absolutely right — convenience sells, the number said that much. Spotify has seen huge growth in the past few years.

      When writing this article, I also wondered what would had happened if Spotify set the monthly fee higher.

      Had they set their subscription fee at $30/month, I think (a) they would had difficulty penetrating the market, (b) other competitors could had easily offered a lower price and (c) the big labels would had asked for even larger cuts.

      Streaming is here to stay, artists will just have to accept that they’ll earn pennies from it and find more ways to earn money (which is much more difficult for indie artists.)

      2 points
    • Jesse C.Jesse C., almost 3 years ago

      .. and have access to everything I want to listen to.

      Until one day it suddenly disappears.

      This has happened to me a couple of times, with big bands, to small artists.

      1 point
      • , almost 3 years ago

        Yeah, that happened to me once or twice as well. Labels renegotiate their deals, or artists just pull off in protest of something. Rare, but super annoying.

        Have to rely on the good old mp3 collection!

        1 point
      • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 3 years ago

        Yup. Not nessecarily Spotify's fault. But it has happened to some of my favourite albums. EODM, Black Keys, etc.

        It's either because those artists don't want it up there anymore, or because the record labels don't want 'm there.

        Hence my initial point: I don't mind paying a bit extra.

        1 point
  • Greg Warner, almost 3 years ago

    I play some off of Spotify, mostly for discovery, but personally refuse to pay for monthly streaming. I have a ton of personal music thrown up into the cloud on Google Music too. Both on principle and because of my personal tastes, Bandcamp is my happy place. More interesting stuff from a wider swath of genres and artists, competitive pricing options, and an owned personal collection. I'd rather support artists more directly!

    3 points
    • , almost 3 years ago

      Awesome, I have only re-discovered Bandcamp a few months prior to writing this article, and was blown away with the quality of the artists there. When it comes to supporting artists, Bandcamp's definitely the best platform! What are some of your favorite bandcamp artists?

      I think streaming services like Spotify really do bring a portion of pirating listeners back into paying users, so props to them! And like you, I also now use them mostly for discovery.

      1 point
  • David Pacheco, almost 3 years ago

    Really enjoyed the article, thanks! About your question, I mostly use Spotify for regular listening, Youtube (yeah sound quality..) for discovery since it has a lot of user submitted content, especially in the electronic genre. Only used Bandcamp for buying what I already was looking for on others stores like Beatport/Juno.

    2 points
    • Derek Nguyen, almost 3 years ago

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article! It’s interesting that you’d use Youtube for discovery (through music channels & related videos I’m guessing?) I thought that Soundcloud’d be a better place for that, it seems to be dominated with EDM artists.

      1 point
      • Account deleted almost 3 years ago

        Youtube's autoplay algorithm is surprisingly good. I have a music group chat and when people send youtube videos, and the next ones that autoplay are always awesome.

        2 points
        • Derek Nguyen, almost 3 years ago

          Have you got the chance to check out the new Youtube Music service?

          0 points
          • Account deleted almost 3 years ago

            No I havent actually. I only use youtube occasionally for music, maybe I'll check it out.

            0 points
  • Kelsey LegaultKelsey Legault, almost 3 years ago

    Thanks for the read! This article was actually shared internally within Bandcamp yesterday, and caused some good conversation :)

    1 point
    • Derek Nguyen, almost 3 years ago

      Oohhh hope you folks enjoyed it! Bandcamp is a fascinating company which there’re still a lot more I’d like to write about. Would love to have a conversation with you folks somehow!

      1 point
      • Kelsey LegaultKelsey Legault, almost 3 years ago

        Depending on what you would like to chat about, would love to route you to the right person! feel free to message me on twitter @kelseylegault

        0 points