Category Archives: Bandcamp

How Jalapeno Records Helped Set The Blueprint For U.K. Dance Indies

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When U.K. dance music institution Ministry Of Sound dropped Skeewiff from their big beat sub-label FSUK in 1998, cancelling their multi-album deal in the process, life changed drastically for Skeewiff members Elliot Ireland and Alex Rizzo. But not for the worst.

What Ministry hadn’t accounted for was the fact the sample-heavy breakbeat funk project Skeewiff wasn’t the only ace the London duo had up their sleeves. In fact, Ireland and Rizzo were juggling numerous aliases, and had been since they began as Pedigree Cuts three years before. One of those aliases was a poppy Latin house act called Shaft whose debut single “Mucho Mambo” was released by Universal and went to number one in six countries.

Its follow-up, “Mambo Italiano,” went to number one in four countries and the royalties fueled Ireland and Rizzo’s increasingly expensive studio habit. The Skeewiff material, meanwhile, found a much more personal home: Jalapeno Records, a label founded by Ireland and Rizzo that has just celebrated its 250th release. In just under 20 years, Jalapeno has released music from 51 acts, 49 feature artists, 270 remixes, 35 albums, 24 compilations, and spawned four sub-labels. And it all started in 1998 with Skeewiff’s debut album It’s All Gone, even though few releases followed for another two years.

Ireland and Rizzo were too busy to get bogged down in label mundanities and practicalities as they continued to juggle projects writing as Skeewiff, Pedigree Cuts, Shaft, downtempo electronica act Ikon, and pop dance duo Da Muttz (an act who shot to both charts and infamy when they riffed on Budweiser’s perennially cringey “Wassup!” catchphrase). At one point in 2000, they scored two Top 20 hits in the space of months as two different acts.

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Album of the Day: The Doppelgangaz, “Dopp Hopp”

Over the course of their career, New York rapper-producers Matter Ov Fact and EP—aka The Doppelgangaz—have spun their discography into an inside joke of sorts. Within their verses, Fact and EP conjure up dingy, non sequitur vignettes, taking close-ups of demented deadbeats on benders, holed up in roach motels and decrepit nursing homes. The rappers wear black cloaks for no apparent reason, other than to conjure up a cultish flair.

On Dopp Hopp, their recently-released sixth full-length album (excluding a handful of instrumental LPs), Fact and EP have turned this bewildering barrage into a massive manifesto, but it’s also just another chapter in their long-running gag. That the Doppelgangaz don’t take themselves too seriously is obvious; that they never let up on their bit is the real accomplishment.

Until recently, the Doppelgangaz pushed a smooth-around-the-edges style of boom-bap, using dusty beats as the backdrop for tortuous plots. Dopp Hopp confirms a recent and still developing turn in which they lean nostalgically into smooth R&B and G-funk without sacrificing the shock value of their tongue-in-cheek horrorcore. “Strong Ankles,” with its pristine synths and bubbling bass, might be a sultry banger in another MC’s hands, and while Fact and EP turn it into a love song of sorts, their barometers for attraction are morsels of lovey-dovey repulsion. “Shorty sneeze guacamole and when she’s bleeding it’s ragu,” Fact quips at one point, never letting on that a joke has been told. “Rapamycin,” named for a non-recreational pharmaceutical you won’t hear anyone else in the rap game brag about, is a mission statement on debauchery and gourmet tastes alike.

Then on “Roll Flee,” EP strings together enough exotic rarities to trigger a dozen new Google searches. That skin condition of his you can’t stop looking at? It’s not mites, it’s a form of herpes called zoster. His four-legged companion? A Madagascan mammal called a fossa. The dinner bill they’re dashing from? An extravagant sushi lineup from New York’s famous Masa. All this in a few grinning, spectacular bars. It sounds random because, well, it is, but the Doppelgangaz revel in this type of weirdo world-building.

Baffling vocabulary and clever lyricism allow both rappers to say a lot with a little. Then again, even once you’ve sussed out a meaning, you might still wonder what the hell these guys are talking about. There’s no setup or post-joke wink in a Doppelgangaz verse. There’s no punchline at all. They’re just shining their spotlight into the darker crevices of a shared imagination.

Jay Balfour

Chad Dickerson Joins Bandcamp’s Advisory Board

We are very happy to share that Chad Dickerson has joined Bandcamp as an advisor! Chad’s many years of experience running Etsy (one of the largest and most successful global marketplaces) will be hugely valuable to us as we continue to make Bandcamp the best platform for artists and fans around the world. Furthermore, his passion for music and appreciation of our artist-friendly model make him uniquely suited to help us grow Bandcamp in a thoughtful and sustainable way. Beyond that, Chad is a great human being and someone we look forward to spending more time with as a team. We could not be happier to have him on board!

Check out Chad’s announcement (and his kind words!) here.

Big Improvements to Selling Merch on Bandcamp

Merch on Bandcamp

Merch on Bandcamp had a good 2016. Vinyl sales grew 48%, cassettes were up 58%, even CD sales grew 14%. To date, fans have bought over four million physical items through the site, totaling $58 million USD, and merch sales continue to accelerate every year. But for as many great reasons to sell merch through Bandcamp as there already are, we know there’s still lots of room for improvement. Artists and labels need a lot more control and a lot more flexibility, and so today we’re launching several new features to address those needs.

First up, from the merch editor you can now add any number of countries as shipping destinations, set individual shipping rates for each one, and save those out as defaults that you can also apply across multiple products:

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If you’re sending goods out from more than one location, you can also now set up multiple shipping origins from your Profile page, and choose to charge taxes in more than one place:

set up multiple shipping origins

Once multiple origins are set, you can set individual rates and inventory for those origins, and we’ll automatically route orders to the appropriate origin based on the buyer’s location:

merch editor with multiple origins

(If you’re working with one or more fulfillment partners, you can assign them to different shipping origins over on your merch orders page.)

Finally, for the more technically inclined, we’ve also released a Merch Orders API that lets you query for new orders, mark existing ones as shipped, and search through older orders, filtering by label, band, or date. You can also get details about the merchandise you have for sale on Bandcamp, and update SKU and inventory information.

We hope you find all this useful! Please let us know in the comments what you’d like to see next, and don’t miss Bandcamp Daily’s monthly Merch Table column, where we highlight some of the coolest and craziest merch we come across. Thank you!

Update on Friday’s ACLU Fundraising Frenzy

Bandcamp

Thanks to everyone who stood with immigrants and refugees by joining today’s fundraiser for the ACLU. We’ve been inspired and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the artists, fans and labels in the Bandcamp community, who rapidly and enthusiastically backed this important cause.

With several hours remaining, we estimate that fans will have bought just over $1,000,000 worth of music today, which is 550% more than a normal Friday (already our biggest sales day of the week). All of our share of that (~12%) goes directly to the ACLU. The other 88% (less transaction fees) goes directly to the labels and artists, more than 400 of whom have pledged to donate their share of sales today as well. They joined a lot faster than we could keep up, but big thanks to Anti-, ATO, Barsuk, City Slang, Epitaph, Father/Daughter, Fat Wreck, Kill Rock Stars, Merge Records, Mexican Summer, Miracle of Sound, Rhymesayers, RVNG, Sub Pop, Four Tet, Neil Gaiman, Lushlife, P.O.S., Speedy Ortiz, and all of the hundreds more. You are all amazing.

Bandcamp Livefeed

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

Of course we didn’t do this just to raise money: we also hoped to raise awareness. On that front we want to thank everyone who helped spread the word, including our friends at NPR, Spin, Pitchfork, Metal Sucks, Paste, NME, AVClub, Thump, Billboard, Huffington Post, The Stranger, Vogue, the ACLU itself, and yesssss! Daveed Diggs.

We also heard from a few people who were upset, and in sometimes colorful terms told us to stick to selling music. We really like what a guy named Richard Rutherford had to say about this over on our Facebook post, and think it’s a great note to close on:

“The bands you like and the books you read and companies whose products you enjoy are all run by people who hold opinions on how the world should work and how other people should be treated. Some of them are going to make those views more specific than others, but everyone’s got their line-in-the-sand where they’re not going to be able to keep it to themselves any longer. In a world where everything is influenced by political decisions, ‘staying non-political’ actually means defaulting to the status-quo and endorsing what’s happening in the system – expecting people who sell you things to do that, no matter how harmful the system might be to them and things they care about, is unreasonable. This applies to you too, of course – you have every freedom to stop supporting Bandcamp and to explain why you don’t agree with them, but by doing so you are being just as ‘political’ as them – we all are, that’s the point. Pretending that you’re advocating some higher plane of art when you’re really just maintaining the status quo is dishonest and unhelpful. It’s not as if Bandcamp ever even pretended to be apolitical. Their entire business model is a reflection of their social and ethical convictions, which they happily explain every year when they publish their accounts.”

Amen to that and thank you again!