On the Expansion of Creativity in The Commons

From the Bandcamp mailbag:

Yo bandcamp dude and dudettes,
I freaking love the site from what I’ve seen so far. But…please find some cool way to support creative commons. I’d like to be able to offer my free mp3 downloads in a way that my audience knows they’re OK to share with their friends. From poking around in the options I couldn’t see anyway to do this. Maybe it could be as simple as a a tick box for the band to check when uploading a file. Dunno man, you will figure this all out I’m sure, you are smart. Just support Creative Commons please :-) Keep up the good work. Hugs and Kisses, JD

Hugs and kisses backatchu JD, and everyone else who requested Creative Commons support, then patiently worked around its absence by putting CC links in their tracks’ credits or about fields, slapping CC marks in their header graphics, and other reasonable zaniness. Situation rectified: starting today, you can select a CC license right from the Edit Track page.

So what’s Creative Commons you may ask? You’re no doubt already familiar with the all-rights-reserved, ask-permission-or-face-my-wrath, copyright ©. But what if you want to allow certain uses of your work, like remixing, sharing, and so on? Enter Creative Commons, a non-profit organization that has created a set of free, standardized copyright licenses which allow you to communicate which rights you reserve, and which you waive for the benefit of other creators. It’s basically an easy way to go from “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.” This moderately amusing video provides more detail:

In Bandcamp, you choose a license on the Edit Track page. It looka like dis:


Licenses proceed from most restrictive (“all rights reserved,” the default) down to most permissive (“attribution”). The license names may seem a bit esoteric at first, but easy-to-grasp descriptions of each can be viewed by clicking the “info” link. Once you choose a license, it’s added to the footer of your track (or album, if all the tracks it contains have the same license), like so:


Creative Commons’ mission is “to increase the amount of creativity… in ‘the commons’ — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.” A worthy goal, we think, so if © strikes you as too restrictive, we hope you’ll take a gander at the various licenses and find something that better captures the freedoms you want your work to carry.


  1. Anaki
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    To hell with copyrights. The one thing holding back Bandcamp (for us, at least) is the lack of an ANTI-copyright option. We can’t claim copyrights on tracks that scream “Property is theft!” Up da anti, Bandcamp. :D

  2. Posted January 25, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this feature. It would be nice if there was a way to apply a license to all tracks in a given album instead of having to edit each track individually.

  3. Posted January 22, 2009 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    great stuff! bandcamp truly understands the usage of music in this century. congrats!

  4. Ethan
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Good idea Christian. We’ll be updating the artists page soon.

  5. Posted January 22, 2009 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Hi there. The implementation of cc-licences is great news. It would be nice if one could sort the artists by licence, too. (on this site: http://bandcamp.mu/artists)

    like “all rights reserved”, “cc by”, “cc by-nc”, “cc by-nc-nd”, etc. And also by genre. I understand bandcamp is meant to be a place for bands… but this would be a nice way for music fans to discover new bands… thanks

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] A website that allows artists to distribute and sell their audio and merchandise directly to fans. Not all of Bandcamp’s content is Creative Commons licensed, but they do also support these art…. You can find some who are by searching tags creativecommons and creative […]

  2. By Selbstmarketing mit Bandcamp on January 22, 2009 at 4:32 am

    […] gestern bietet bandcamp für Bands auch die Möglichkeit einzelne Songs oder Alben unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz bereitzustellen, leider ist eine Filterung der bei bandcamp vorhandenen Künstler nach CC-Lizenzen noch nicht […]