Category Archives: Bandcamp

Suzi Analogue Doesn’t Want to Be Normal

Suzi Analogue

On the 2010 track “What U Look Like” (tucked in the first third of groundbreaking release NNXTAPE), Miami-based singer, songwriter, and producer Suzi Analogue established a sound and philosophy that hinted at the future of her work. Set to a dizzying instrumental flying by at 160+ BPMs, Analogue’s slick and understated vocal references Gucci purses, Purple Label Ralph Lauren, and a “minimal, modernist/Americana steez.” At first glance, the song scans as a fashion anthem for the contemporary young creative class. But its soaring chorus turns that assumption on its head, revealing a deeper, central theme of connectivity: “I’ve been to many places around the world / Seen the cream of the crop and the haves and the have-nots / We all breathe the same air now.”

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Create Vinyl with Bandcamp

Create Vinyl with Bandcamp

Sales of vinyl records on Bandcamp have grown 600% in the last five years, and every month another 3,500 unique vinyl albums are added to the site. The format’s resurgence—once dismissed as a niche byproduct of hipster affectation—is now firmly established, and seen for what it truly represents: a mainstream desire to connect more deeply with music, free from digital distractions; an important expression of fandom that was mostly lost in the transition from physical media ownership to unlimited music rental; and a growing appreciation for what is often amazing, collectible art.

And yet most new music is not available on vinyl. A mere 9% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2018 offered a vinyl version, and thousands of those are sold out and appear unlikely to be pressed again. The reason for this situation—and the growing pile of untapped artist revenue it represents—is that producing vinyl remains challenging. It’s a costly and risky undertaking, and dealing with fulfillment and returns can be incredibly time consuming. Layer on top of that the mystery and complexity encountered by many trying to press vinyl for the first time, and it’s no wonder so few people do it.

Today, we’re offering a first glimpse of an initiative from Bandcamp that aims to address these challenges. Our new vinyl pressing service streamlines the financing, production, and fulfillment of vinyl records. With no up-front investment, an artist or label can create a vinyl campaign and start taking orders almost immediately. Once they reach their minimum goal, we press their records and ship them to their fans.

The new service eliminates risk, since fans’ orders finance the pressing, rather than the artist or label. It eliminates hassle, since we press the records, print the packaging, and ship to fans (and fulfill digital too). It offers complete control, with the design and pricing up to the artist, and Bandcamp taking no ownership of the record. And it produces a quality result: our manufacturing partner has over 60 years experience pressing vinyl, so the records look, and sound, great.

The Bandcamp vinyl service will open to all artists and labels later this year, but today we’re launching four pilot campaigns that provide an idea of what’s possible:

 

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Vinyl Campaign

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and composer, is offering a vinyl edition of his most recent album, Ancestral Recall, on a double LP in a gatefold jacket. 10 signed test pressings are also available.

 

Jim Guthrie Vinyl Campaign

Jim Guthrie is well known to Bandcamp audiences for his acclaimed game soundtracks for Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery and Indie Game: The Movie. In late 2018, Guthrie released the soundtrack for Below, an epic and moody masterpiece. For the first time, fans will be able get Below on vinyl, in a beautiful triple-gatefold, color double LP with die-cut foil-stamped inner sleeves. An hour of bonus material from the soundtrack is also offered, as well as a limited-edition 11″ x 17″ velvet poster.

 

Juliette Jade Vinyl Campaign

Shredders worldwide know French guitarist Juliette Jade, who has built a cult following for her cover videos on YouTube and original albums on Bandcamp. Juliette’s music has never been available on vinyl before, but her new campaign for Constellation will remedy that, complete with signed copies, and hand-numbered, limited-edition custom guitar picks.

 

Mesarthim Vinyl Campaign

The mysterious Australian black metal artist Mesarthim has just released a new album, Ghost Condensate, as a color vinyl gatefold LP. A limited edition fold out poster and 10 test pressings are also available.

 

Here’s What Bandcamp’s Oakland Grand Opening Looked Like

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Photography by Amina El Kabbany

Bandcamp’s new store and performance space opened in fine style on Friday night, with bracing sets from the soul group  Bells Atlas, hard-hitting hip-hop crew Sol Development, Oakland MC Queens D. Light, DJ FELA KUTCHii, and Ajai Kasim & Jazz on the Sidewalk. The night kicked off with a performance by the New Orleans-inspired sounds of MJ’s Brass Boppers, whose raucous tunes set the tone for the evening to come. Here’s a look at some of the fans who came out to hear great live music and browse the stacks in the shop.
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Bandcamp IRL: Oakland Record Store Opening in February

Bandcamp record store

Photos by Richard Morgenstein

On Friday, February 1, Bandcamp will open a record shop and performance space in the great city of Oakland, California. We’ll feature a selection of records that showcase the diversity and design of the more than five million albums available on Bandcamp, and we’ll soon host free, all-ages shows as part of an upcoming video series.

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An Update on Today’s Fundraiser for the Voting Rights Project

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With seven hours still remaining in our fundraiser for the Voting Rights Project, we wanted to pause to thank everyone who stood with Bandcamp to help ensure the right to a safe, fair vote for all—with no obstacles, hassles, or threat of intimidation.

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The live sales feed on Bandcamp’s home page, at around noon today.

We also would like to thank Pitchfork, Fader, Metal Sucks, Noisey, Decibel, Punk News, Music Ally, and Conor Oberst for spreading the word about the fundraiser, and helping to raise awareness about this critical issue. The right to vote and the exercise of that right are the very foundations of democracy, and we were inspired by and grateful for the outpouring of support from the Bandcamp community.

This is only the beginning: for true change to occur, we need to carry today’s momentum to the polls and elect people who reflect our values. If you have not already, register to vote now and, in November, show the current administration that we demand change.

Territory licensing comes to Bandcamp

Territory Licensing Support

We’re excited to introduce a new feature for label and Pro accounts: the ability to license albums to labels in specific territories.

Here’s how territory licensing on Bandcamp works. Imagine you’re a label releasing an album, and you’ve partnered with another label to distribute it to fans in Iceland. In the album editor, you’ll see a new “add a territory license” link. Click that, look up your partner (they will need to have an existing Bandcamp account), add them, and then select the territory you’d like to license to them.

Demo of Territory License Support

We’ll notify your partner via email that you’ve set up a territorial license for the album. Once they accept the license they can choose to add their own merch and artwork to be displayed to fans in their territory.

When fans in Iceland purchase the album on Bandcamp, we’ll collect the money and send the appropriate share of revenues to your partner. Voila.

Our territory licensing tool allows you to add multiple partners, and to assign a partner multiple territories. Because all of this is done behind-the-scenes, fans around the globe will still be able to buy and enjoy albums you’ve licensed just as they have in the past. We simply make sure the money goes to the right people in the right places.

Happy licensing!

Today, Stand with Bandcamp to Protect Voting Rights for All

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In just seven weeks, the United States will hold its midterm elections—a vitally important moment that will determine whether the country stays on its current path, or renews its commitment to democracy.

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Bandcamp Email Bug – May 2018

We recently discovered and fixed a bug that inadvertently included certain users’ email addresses in the HTML of some Bandcamp pages. When present, the email address was not visible on the page, but did appear in the HTML.

No other personal information was included and there was no breach of our security systems, so you do not need to take any action to secure your Bandcamp account.

Although we cannot determine which specific accounts may have been impacted, if you created a Bandcamp account before March 20, 2018 and visited a Bandcamp site between March 20, 2018 and May 7, 2018 while logged-in, there’s a good chance your email was affected by the bug.

This should not have happened, and we sincerely apologize. The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us, and we are reviewing our development and security practices to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

About the Bug

For the software developers out there (both professional and armchair), here is a detailed technical description of the bug:

In March, we rolled out an updated version of our “fan onboarding” flow — the introductory screens a new user sees immediately after signing up. As part of this work, we introduced a new “onboarding” object into our web controller code, which is the server code we use to generate pages on bandcamp.com. The onboarding object is a short-lived bucket of values associated with the user viewing the page, used by our page rendering logic to determine which onboarding steps the user has already completed.

A subsequent change added the user’s email address to this object. This alone is not dangerous or unusual, and allowed us to render an additional UI element. However, instead of adding the email value where the onboarding object is created, we added it elsewhere in the controller code, overriding the original value. This seemed safe in context, but combined with other decisions, it became dangerous:

  1. The onboarding object, at first glance always unique per request, was instead sometimes a reference to a shared object containing default values.
  2. This shared object was intended to be read-only, but its values could be modified. This meant that when overriding the email value, we might inadvertently modify the shared object.

The result was a race condition: when processing a page requested by a logged-in user, we would sometimes store that user’s email value in the shared object, where it might be picked up for page rendering in independent, parallel requests (our request handling environment uses multiple threads). Whether or not a user’s email showed up in someone else’s page depended on the precise timing of parallel requests on a given rendering app, and the types of users making those requests. To make matters worse, we optimistically wrote the onboarding data into the page even when it wasn’t needed for the current user. This increased the number of pages potentially affected.

Once we understood the problem, the immediate fix was simple — we modified the code to duplicate the shared object for every request. This eliminated the cross-request issue.

What We’ve Learned

There are several useful engineering lessons here. First, arbitrarily overriding values in a complex object can be dangerous, especially if it’s done far from the code where the object is created. Instead, if we had modified the object initialization to support an email value, it would have been immediately obvious that the email shouldn’t apply in some cases.

Second, read-only objects shared across multiple threads should be frozen or have appropriate access permissions set at the language level, even if it appears they are never modified in code. If the shared object in question here had been frozen, we would have caught the problem during development.

Third, we should be more careful not to render data and HTML we don’t need for the current page. This is just good practice in any case, as unused elements increase the page size and slow network transfers and page rendering.

Finally, and most important, we need to do a better job of reviewing code changes which involve the output of personal information.

Protecting the personal information of Bandcamp’s users is a top priority of our software engineering team. Our failure to do so in this case is a reminder of our blind spots as engineers, and our responsibility to continuously improve our development practices. We hope that our sharing the details of this bug and our response is useful to the software development community and our users.

Shawn Grunberger, Co-founder & CTO