THIS IS A FAKE
In recent days I’ve learned that fake band pages have been set up on Bandcamp by people whose aim is to defraud bands and labels of money that rightfully should go to them. As I looked into this a bit further, I realized this has happened before — and so some of you may already be aware of it. But for those who aren’t, here are a few examples of what’s happening.
Today one of our readers (thank you Sidney) alerted me to the fact that he was about to buy Aborted albums at https://aborted.bandcamp.com — but something about it looked fishy to him. He then contacted Aborted’s band management representative (as identified on the band’s Facebook page) and was told that the Bandcamp page was indeed a phony.
I’ve not found any links to a Bandcamp page on Aborted’s social media, and their current label Century Media does not put its releases on Bandcamp as far as I can tell. Aborted’s previous label (Listenable) does have a Bandcamp page that includes Aborted releases — but it’s a different URL (this one) than the one above.
Yesterday, the following announcement also appeared on Abbath’s official Facebook page:
“We have received notice that there exist some fake ABBATH-accounts on Bandcamp. The one and only ABBATH -Official- Bandcamp profile is this one:
“Please take the time to report such fake accounts to Bandcamp if you see them.”
After snooping around, I discovered a scam that briefly survived for a few days last October, when bootleggers set up what seemed like an authentic Amazon.com page on Bandcamp selling high-profile metal downloads and physical releases. That whole story is recounted here. That same article included this paragraph:
“That it took days for Bandcamp to respond to a fairly transparent bootleg operation illustrates the continued openness of their infrastructure. Unlike Soundcloud, which came under fire earlier this year for wiping out fair use remixes and mixtapes without warning, Bandcamp appears to rely on human judgment when it comes to taking down copyright-infringing material. There’s no algorithmic filter, no hard database of copyrighted music against which it compares user uploads, no bots trawling the network for infringements. That trust is great for artists, who don’t have to worry about a robot deleting their own music like they do with Soundcloud. But it leaves a wide loophole open for abuse.”
In my google searching I also found an instance where some counterfeiter had set up a fake Bandcamp page for the music of Merzbow (who has no genuine Bandcamp page at all). The band tried to alert people to the fakery (here, for example) and then later announced that the fake page had been deleted.
I suspect these aren’t isolated instances. Given the prevalence of web-based scams and scammers, there are undoubtedly other Bandcamp pages masquerading as legitimate sources of metal music, selling pirated song files or bootleg vinyl and CDs.
So how do you tell the difference? You might be lucky enough to see something on the face of the Bandcamp page that doesn’t seem right. But you might also go to the band (or label’s) Facebook page or official web site and look there for the link to their Bandcamp page. If they have a Bandcamp page at all, that would presumably be the right link to use. If anyone reading this has other ideas about how to verify the authenticity of a band’s Bandcamp page, by all means leave them in the comments.
I hasten to add that I have no idea whether this is now, or will be in the future, a widespread problem. I tend to doubt that scammers will go to the trouble of setting up a fake page unless the band or label is sufficiently well known that there’s some decent money to be made through their fraud. In addition, it would seem that the bands most vulnerable to this scam are the small percentage who have no legitimate Bandcamp page at all (either directly or through a label), which leaves the scammers free to come up with Bandcamp URLs that look legitimate and will be easily picked up by search engines without “competition” from any pre-existing legitimate pages.
But I’m no expert. For now, caveat emptor is a decent rule to follow.
Ah, “caveat emptor”…. “don’t feed the bears”. Good rule to live by.
Thanks for posting that. The Aborted fake page was taken down. The page which I suspect to be the fake Abbath page is still on bandcamp here => https://abbathnorway.bandcamp.com/album/abbath. Very strange though, given that it was detected before the Aborted page. Might be worth contacting Aborted’s management to see how they got to have it removed so quickly.
Signs that warrant caution :
1) The banner on a fake site is usually very simple (i.e. normally just the band logo) as can be seen on the fake Abbath page.
2) The URL — if the band has a page on bandcamp — is followed by a number or very often the country name as is the case with the Abbath page. (Occasionaly, when a band shares the same name as another band, this is used as a way of distinguishing them, so it isn’t necessarily the best indicator.)
3) The album is released in its entirety way before the release date.
You gotta be kidding me. You even have some stupid stuff like this !!!! =>
HA! They even list live appearances in the right sidebar to make it more “authentic”. 🙂
I’ve come across 3-4 Strapping Young Lad, 2 Moonsorrow, 1 Abbath and 1 for Varg – all fake, and all reported (there was probably one or two more).
It’s crazy and disappointing that this is happening, but not too unsurprising. I saw the amazon one that you were referring too as well. The fruadsters are getting better and better, but ya, it’s still fairly easy to see.
While typing this also saw a fake one for Amon Amarth
Damn, first I’ve heard of all these others. Worse than I thought.
There’s also been at least 3 Fleshgod Apocalypse pages for King.
I think this was the easiest one to spot.
Right Album cover + Name
Wrong Song – it was from Agony (can’t remember which one)
Wrong Label – Spinefarm I think
URL – berlin20031984………
This one has gone up a few times since the accidental release by Spotify
Ugh. Hadn’t heard about these. Disgusting.
Just found 2 new links to Fleshgod Apocalypse’s – King on Bandcamp. Two people have already bought it from one place.
I think I remember some people were complaining that Spotify deleted their downloaded version of the album too.
Sons of bitches. As if making a living isn’t hard enough for metal musicians. There’s always some cretin out there. I do hope bandcamp come up with a way of filtering these out. But I can see that any attempt to ‘officially verify’ a release could make it hard on unsigned, largely unheard of bands; which is a large part of bandcamp’s repertoire.
Official verification as an opt-in (probably at a modest fee) could be nice, though. Perhaps augmented with automated fraud detection for such validated releases.
I bought the Abrekadavar/Praise the flame split from the RAWFORCE PRODUCTIONS bandcamp and only got 2 songs instead of six,I messaged them but they said they’re away for a month,not the same thing as fake but still a bit suss I reckon so I thought I,d warn you guys.
That really sucks, what a rotten thing to do.
Did you just refer to Merzbow as a band? 🙁
I did indeed! I have a perhaps sloppy habit of referring to all musical projects that way, even solo artists.
I feel like Bandcamp makes this issue worse by not linking releases by an artist together if they’re on different labels. It’s so clunky.
I agree, but that’s something that bands and labels should fix. When you have a band with different releases on different labels, each with its own contract, Bandcamp can’t do nothing about that…
The bands should be the ones making sure their own official bandcamp page has links to all releases and make sure they include that right on the contracts they sign with each label. And labels should help them with that too…
This article is very helpful, indeed. I had no idea this problem was this big!
How to make sure the bandcamp page is legit? Hard to be 100% sure….
1. try to check on the band’s official webpage and/or facebook page and search for their bandcamp link
2. I’ve seen several official band webpages and/or facebook accounts that don’t mention any bandcamp link. But that doesn’t mean the bandcamp account is fake either! Maybe the band is just “lazy”…. So, try to directly contact the band
But, we will never be 100% sure about anything…
If people can fake bandcamp accounts, why can’t they create fake “official” webpages and/or facebook accounts as well? Especially for lesser known bands… 😐
This kind of fakery may eventually push labels like Century Media and Metal Blade to set up official Bandcamp pages for their releases. As I mentioned in the article, it seems to me that the bands and labels who are most vulnerable to this scam are the ones that have no official Bandcamp pages of their own, which leaves scammers free to make pages with URLs that look legit and that are going to get featured at the top of google search results.
Just got scammed on Megadeth’s Dystopia. I wished I found this article before I paid. I realized when I checked the audio and all 11 tracks show as lossy sourced. At least I have a cd copy coming from Best Buy already pre-ordered.
Now That. Is. Fucked. Up, have you contacted Bandcamp or Paypal and asked for a refund?
Someone just posted that they had purchased the new Borknagar on Bandcamp. I’m going to cross-post this.
Im wondering if you would make an interview with a guy who do fake bandcamp pages.
We’re in an underground doom band and we been fucking scammed. The profile looks genuine. Even to me and i set the official one up. Its got same pics as the official one. Links to the label etc etc. Its only been up a week or so but we’re gonna get it taken down. We all work and are all skint so these cunts are scumbags.
Interesting stuff… Sorry not a “metalhead” but I am also very active on bandcamp and I too have noticed the rise in fake Reggae artist pages offering poor quality internet found rips and passing them off as official downloads… The only plus here is that bandcamp is the easiest site on the interweb to hack so you don’t have to pay for any of their downloads (official or unofficial). I was actually ripped off by a fake account and although I got a full refund it took 42 days and bandcamp themselves were somewhat less than helpful over the issue.