Invisible Oranges main man and fellow metalhead Cosmo Lee has extensively championed the use of Bandcamp (here and here). He probably did it a hell of a lot better than I ever could, but considering that Fiends at Feast and The Ash Eaters, two bands I’ve been doing a little championing of my own for of late (I reviewed Fiends at Feast here and dished on The Ash Eaters demo here), have Bandcamp pages, I thought it was about time I weighed in.
Bandcamp blows Myspace out of the friggin’ water. Bandcamp is simple, clean and uncluttered. It takes the concept of bands using social networking as a promotional tool and strips it of all the nonsense that goes with it. No friends, no spam, no frills, no bullshit. Bandcamp is all about the music. It gives fans easy access to high quality downloads without a bunch of bric-a-brac getting in the way of their enjoyment. Just look at the screenshots included in this post. Could it get anymore straightforward than that? Highly doubtful.
Part of the reason for Myspace’s downfall is the high level of customizability. Once bands realized they could slap oversized logos, a dozen videos, five million and one flyers, photo slideshows, etc on their pages, it was all over. Chances are, if you’re an unsigned metal band from Oklahoma, someone from Japan listening to your music online doesn’t give a shit about the flyer from the hometown show you played five years ago or endless slideshows of you drinking beer with the local metal tarts. In other words, Bandcamp forces bands to “keep it simple, stupid” and makes them look that much more professional in the process. Trust me, if you want potential fans to take you seriously (not to mention potential labels), you’re better off leaving the drunken slideshows and fancy backgrounds to the teenage girls.
To make matters worse for Myspace (and the bands who try to use it), the one-time social-networking king recently went through a re-design that has rendered the site about as user-friendly as a Sasha Grey film with the sex scenes edited out. I’m not sure what the hell they were thinking, but the end result has made Bandcamp’s spotless presentation, and easy to use media player even more appealing. It amazes me that anyone even bothers to go on Myspace anymore and I’ve for the most part vowed not to post links to bands’ pages on the site unless it is the only option available for THKD readers to hear their music.
The Ash Eaters and Fiends at Feast couldn’t be more different musically, but both bands share a common goal. They want as many folks as possible to get the chance to check out their music. Bandcamp offers them the opportunity to do so in a way that is completely free of distractions, allowing the music to once again take precedence, something that had been lost amongst the dilapidated bells and whistles of Myspace. It draws a straight line from listener to band, which is exactly how it should be.
Below are some more excellent bands that have pages on Bandcamp.
Sepulchre – blackened Canadian death-crust
Vastum – gnarly Cali death metal featuring ex members of Saros
Imperial Triumphant – East Coast baroque black metal
Murmuure – French ambient black/noise/drone/clusterfuck
The Sun Through a Telescope – Canadian feedback-worshipping power drone