As the coronavirus situation has developed, one of the things I’ve been following closely is how different music platforms have responded to the pandemic and its effects on musicians. Spotify's response, for instance, has been to assist artists in raising money. Bands can add a link to their profile page, inviting fans to donate directly to them or a charity of their choosing. By contrast, Bandcamp, a website where you can buy music directly from the musicians you like, plans to waive its commission fees every first Friday of the month through to July. In normal circumstances, the company takes a 15 percent commission from new artists and 10 percent from those who pass $5,000 in sales.
I came away with the impression that the best way I could help some of my favorite musicians, many of whom probably aren’t popular enough to make a lot of money on streaming platforms, was through buying their music directly from them. As an experiment, I decided to try and limit myself to purchasing music exclusively through Bandcamp. I had used the website in the past to buy albums that were hard to find on Spotify and other streaming platforms, but now I wanted to see what it would be like to use it as my main source of music (I've made a similar decision with books in the past; I now get them from local bookstores and the library instead of from Amazon).
I know it's ultimately silly to believe our individual purchasing decisions have any effect on the bigger picture. After all, a couple of $10 album purchases are nothing compared to the hundreds of millions of people who listen to music exclusively through platforms like Spotify. But I decided it's better to try to make a difference. What I didn't anticipate was that going back to buying music would change how I listen to it, making me appreciate it more than before.
After I downloaded both my new and old Bandcamp purchases to my PC, I decided to take my old CD collection out of storage. I figured if I was going to start managing a personal music library again, I might as well go all the way and try to get all my favorite music in one place.
There was just one issue: I had to find software to play all of it.