Artists of all kinds have been some of the hardest hit during the global coronavirus pandemic that has been manifesting over the past year. Without the ability to play live shows or sell merchandise in the same way, many artists have been left struggling with bills to pay.
This worsening strife has only been exacerbated by the pandemic which could be seen as the final nail in the coffin by many. Musicians have for a long time been complaining with what they see as unfair treatment from megasites such as Spotify and iTunes, and this is on top of the increasing ease and popularity with which people illegally download music.
Live events then have been one of the last secure income streams of revenue for artists. Yet, the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the system and this major structural flaw that allows for musicians and artists to subsequently fall through society’s cracks as freelancers in their industries.
Bandcamp has for a significant amount of time now been touted as the musicians’ choice of streaming and purchasing platform. Unlike other sites, Bandcamp gives notably higher returns to the artists and is seen as prioritizing a fairer music industry ecosystem. It is not surprising then that the online music streaming site has stepped up to be a big supporter of independent artists during the struggles of the pandemic.
Bandcamp Fridays were launched in March 2020 to be held on the last Friday of every month. The deal goes that any record sold via the platform on the allotted date will see 100% (well 93% once you take off payment processing fees) go to the artist themselves.
In a statement released on March 5th 2021, Bandcamp has said that over 800,000 people have taken place so far and raised over $44 million dollars to go directly for artists. The site says it plans to continue the project until the middle of 2021 minimum.