I like to think we were one of the first metal blogs to pay attention to Bandcamp, with this feature on the service back in March of 2010. Since then, the popularity of Bandcamp as a platform for streaming and distributing metal has exploded — to the point where, in addition to bands, almost every metal label worthy of attention has put big chunks of their catalogs on the site. (Metal Bandcamp has been keeping track of all the metal labels who’ve established a presence on Bandcamp, and you can see their pretty comprehensive list here.)
But yesterday, we saw what must still count as something of a milestone, notwithstanding the now-established popularity of Bandcamp: The venerable Relapse label has now put their entire 20+ year catalog on Bandcamp. The official Relapse page now features over 122 artists including (and these are the names that Relapse called out in their press release) Baroness, Dying Fetus, Pig Destroyer, Red Fang, Necrophagist, Revocation, and of course many more. This will allow fans not only to stream everything in the Relapse catalog, but also to get CD-quality downloads of the music (Bandcamp offers the FLAC format as well as 320k mp3).
But wait, that’s not all!
Relapse has also established a separate page on Bandcamp devoted solely to Relapse “alumni” — bands such as Mastodon, Neurosis, Amorphis, Nile, High On Fire, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more than 20 other bands who are no longer in the Relapse stable. On that page, you can download the Relapse releases of those artists and stream selected songs. Here are both links:
Mother of God…
HA! Yes, it’s an insidious plot to bankrupt all metalheads. Correction: to bankrupt the 3 or 4 metalheads who are not already bankrupt.
I’m almost there!!!!
Don’t give up! You can do it!
Do those aren’t employed count?
Hmm… Sleep deprivation seems to be setting in.
*Do the never-been-employed also count? It isn’t really one’s own earned money one would be spending in that case.
Yeah, that works. Bankrupting parents, other relatives, and friends is another tried and true metal tradition.
I really think that bandcamp is really awesome and a piracy killer to some extent. It let’s you stream the whole album for free, so you can either buy the record or just stream until you have the money to buy it. Also, from what I understand it helps to support the bands. I still collect CD’s cause I like to see the lyrics and the art of the booklet , but also buy from bandcamp and Itunes (which sometimes include digital booklet) plus is cheaper for me (due to my location) to but it digitally.
It certainly does undermine some of the arguments for piracy (eg, I’ve seen some people say that they download to see if they’ll like the music and then buy it if they do). And the whole “pay what you want” option is great, of course, although the labels as businesses aren’t going to be going in that direction. Also, for people who really want the CD-quality sound, having FLAC available as an option is a big plus.
I don’t know if vinyl record labels like Gilead Media make all the albums free to download, but I know they did with the Barghest album from last year. I think that’s great if you buy the vinyl you can get the digital download free so that way you don’t have to make the analog transition to digital… which I hear has terrible sound quality.
Gilead make all albums available as name you price downloads. Replenish and Fallen Empire as free downloads.
Relapse you beautiful people!
Now if other labels could just follow suit…
A good many of these were already up on bandcamp, but I’m glad Relapse has added the rest. Bandcamp is ridiculously helpful in finding great music, and Relapse seems to be at the forefront of taking advantage of it. Hells Headbangers, Nuclear War Now and some other labels have extensive bandcamp pages too. Of all the albums I want to listen to that come out every year, the majority are streaming for free, legally, somewhere online. It’s great.
Thanks for the mention.
Currently the Metal Labels On Bandcamp page lists 40 labels with a total of 1734 albums.
379 of those are from Relapse.
Holy cheese and nutella! That’s a lot of metal labels… and albums
Wonder how much that number would be if all metal albums on Bandcamp were counted. (O_O)
Correction! 41! I think you forgot to change the total at the top of the page. 😀
Nope, that is correct. My memory isn’t though. I forgot the latest addition Selfmadegod. So add 5 albums to the total 🙂
You forgot to mention the ridiculous prices they’re charging. Almost all of these albums are $10, which is pretty insane for a digital download. Compare them to Amazon MP3 or eMusic (which both offer 320kbps) and this isn’t that great of a deal.
Agreed. Candlelight and Willowtip both charge $7.99, that is more reasonable IMO. Other labels are a little lower, you’ll see many albums selling for the obvious $6.66 price 🙂
A problem I have is what if the alumni bands or bands that only signed on for one album don’t want Relapse (or other labels for that matter) to put the album on Bandcamp? I’m sure only a small percentage of bands really worry about this, but still.
And, are labels required to even tell the bands they are on the Bandcamp? Do all the bands know?
It depends on the contract, but from my understanding it’s usually the case that when a band signs with a label to record and release an album, the contract will give the copyright for the recorded work to the label — and they, not the band, will have the right to decide how to distribute the music. If a band has already recorded an album before signing, they might try to retain the copyright and just give the label an exclusive (or non-exclusive) right to distribute the music for some finite period of time. Here, I’m sure Relapse owns the rights to these “alumni” albums and doesn’t need the bands’ permission to put them on Bandcamp.
You’ll also see bands that have their own Bandcamp page while being on a label. Check out Loss and KEN Mode on the Profound Lore Bandcamp, the links goes to the bands own pages. I suppose this means that Loss and KEN Mode own the digital rights to their music.
You’ll can even see bands appearing on a both a label Bandcamp and their own page. Examples are Krallice and Mitochondrion, again from Profound Lore.
Also Defeated Sanity from Willowtip have their own bandcamp
I still think that the music belongs to the bands no matter what kind of contract they sign. If they sign to a label I think the music belongs to the bands but the label has the rights to distribute it, etc. But that’s how I think it is, not how it REALLY is as your post shows.
This manifests itself in my mind when I choose not to listen to bands via “Alumni” categories that both Season of Mist and Relapse have.
Unrelated to the rest of this comment: I want all the labels that don’t have Bandcamps to make Bandcamps. Especially Metalblade, Van Records (for Urfaust, mostly), Century Media and Nuclear Blast.
@Ulmu: would love to see Century Media, Nuclear Blast and Metalblade to make Bancamps, that would be indeed awesome. Plus would like that all the artits on bandcamp add booklet of the music. Another thing I would like to see in the future is a Bandcamp app