In March 2020, Bandcamp started a promotion where it would forego taking a revenue share from sales artists made on its platform, providing some additional support to performers with suddenly limited opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic. The arrangement turned into a monthly event, as Bandcamp Fridays encouraged fans to keep the support coming by purchasing audio tracks and merchandise over the last two years.
Bandcamp pledged to keep things going throughout 2021 and has dutifully turned off its cut on the first Friday of each month. The only question left is, what happens next? The note about Bandcamp Friday sticking around for 2021 is no longer included on the blog post announcing the promotion, and no one has updated customers or creators about the plan for 2022.
We have vaccines, and shows are playing again, but the pandemic isn’t quite over yet, and I know I’ve gotten used to having a day where I can tell myself it’s OK to buy an extra album or two because it’s just the right thing to do. It’s also provided some extra incentive for artists to tell their fans about Bandcamp as an alternative to streaming over Spotify or other music services that have fancy year-end graphics but don’t share as much of the money with the people who create what you’re listening to.
When Bandcamp Fridays launched, co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond said, “For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not.” Bandcamp says that over 800,000 fans have participated, paying over $61 million to artists and labels over the 15 days. It says that on average, 93 percent of your money reaches artists and labels when the promotion is active and, again on average, 82 percent when it isn’t, so there’s still plenty of reasons to show some appreciation with a purchase.
But at least for a few more hours (until 12AM PT on December 4th), yes, it is Bandcamp Friday.