Today marks a milestone worth recognizing: Norway’s Indie Recordings has become the 200th metal label to set up shop on Bandcamp. We learned this through a post by our friends at Metal Bandcamp, who have been keeping track of such things since 2011. As a measure of how much things have changed, in November 2011 the founder of Metal Bandcamp, MaxR, wrote a guest post for our site (here) identifying the 10 metal labels who had established Bandcamp pages as of that time — only 10 in 2011, but now 200.
Things really have changed dramatically in the distribution of music since Bandcamp first launched. Our first post about the phenomenon of Bandcamp was this one back in March 2010. After outlining the features then offered by Bandcamp in detail, I concluded with this thought:
“Bandcamp won’t replace record labels — at least not yet. An unsigned band still needs to figure out how to promote itself and how to finance other activities without label support. But as a vehicle for getting music out into the world and even making a little folding green at the same time, it’s the best thing we’ve seen yet.”
At that point I’m not sure that any metal labels had yet established a presence on Bandcamp. The tide has certainly turned, in a big way. And of course, in addition to 200 metal labels, Bandcamp has provided a platform for tens of thousands of metal bands to stream and distribute their music on a DIY basis. It has now become a rarity for us to write about new metal without finding a Bandcamp stream of at least an advance song to accompany our write-ups. And in the intervening years Bandcamp has added a multitude of new features that didn’t exist when we first wrote about the platform.
There are still some holdouts, especially among the big labels — whose names we probably don’t need to mention. Undoubtedly they have their own business reasons for continuing to limit streams to YouTube or Soundcloud and to make their digital sales through such places as iTunes and Amazon. I’d be curious to know what those reasons are… but not curious enough to do any actual investigation. To each his own.