Wednesday, July 14, 2010

There was this one time, at Bandcamp, I stopped giving it away for free

So, up until now, Bandcamp has been allowing bands to use its marketing services for nothing.

That can't go on forever, though, and from today they're going to start charging:

Bandcamp’s share will be 15% of each transaction, dropping to 10% as soon as your all-time sales exceed $5,000 USD.

The revenue share won’t go into effect until early August. Until then, Bandcamp’s share remains zero. We’ve based the percentages on what works for the business and what many of you have already told us feels fair, but there’s still plenty of time for more feedback, so bring it (preferably in the comments below).

It's not a large sum, and given that Bandcamp seems to work well for those who use it, finding a way to keep offering the service is fair enough.

Not entirely sure it's fair that smaller bands wind up paying a higher rate, though - surely if there has to be two rates, you can better afford to pay more after you've sold five grand's worth? Is the idea to encourage people to try and sell more so they get the lower fee? But isn't the actual earning of the money going to encourage that anyway?

That's a small quibble, though:
The basic service will remain free. Bandcamp only makes money when you make money. We considered building the business around advertising, but…well, OK, we never really considered that. We did consider building it around subscriptions, but under that model, given the option of either developing a feature to increase your sales by 20%, or dinking around with service tiers to try to boost our subscriptions by 20%, we’d have to choose the latter. By building the business on a revenue share, our interests are perfectly aligned with yours: we only succeed when you succeed.

If their platform makes you money, they make money. There's some virtue there.