Look, the pandemic has ruined a lot of things. Few of those things are more near and dear to my heart though, than live music. But as much as I miss live music, the musicians who actually play live music, miss it even more. If you make your living as a musician, chances are a good amount of your income came from live performances and touring. And without that revenue stream, many people’s livelihoods are in trouble — from the musicians, to the sound and lighting engineers, to the roadies. It’s impossible to wholesale replace that loss, but Bandcamp trying to offer an alternative with a new ticketed live streaming service simply dubbed Bandcamp Live.
It’s definitely worth noting that Bandcamp is a little late to the game here. Plenty of artists have taken to YouTube, Instagram and new paid services like Mandolin and Single Music to bring live shows to fans. But Bandcamp is clearly hoping its established brand and integration with artists existing pages will get people on board.
Artists will be able to alert their fans to an upcoming livestream, and fans can snag a ticket through their existing Bandcamp account. Performers can even put put a virtual merch table on the stream with links to albums, T-shirts, etc... There’s even an optional chat feature where performers can engage directly with their fans.
Perhaps the best feature though, at least as a fan, is there are no sneaky service charges. Artist set a ticket price and ten-percent of that goes to Bandcamp. The “convenience fee” isn’t something tacked on at the last minute as you’re trying to check out.
And, in an effort to get in the good graces of bands and their fans, Bandcamp is waiving that fee until March 31st of 2021. That’s not surprising since early in the Pandemic the site decided to waive its fees on a handful of occasions, and now Bandcamp Fridays are a regular monthly occurrence where 100-percent of the price you pay for an album goes the artists.
Eventually its expected that any artist will have access to Bandcamp Live, but it’s rolling out slowly right now. They’re kicking things off with a number of high profile acts including Madison McFerrin on December 4th, (Liv).e on December 10th, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith on December 21st and Cloud Nothings on February 27th. You can see the full line up of announced streams here. And, if you’re an artist who wants in on the action, you can request access here.