Bandcamp Versus Spotify

Damon Krukowski writes for NPR about the differences between Bandcamp and Spotify. Though I would expect as much from an independent musician like Krukowski, the piece is not exactly kind to Spotify. Although they are not one of my favorites, Galaxy 500, of which he was a part, are one of the most influential bands of their generation. I would guess all their streams on Spotify have netted them a meager sum.

What comes out most profoundly in this piece is the difference in the missions of the two services and how they characterize their businesses.

From Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond:

“There’s this great story — there was a New Yorker article about it — about how Prince was working on his autobiography just before he died. And he had picked a co-writer and in one of their initial meetings together he said, Music is healing. Write that down first.’ He said that he wanted it to be the guiding principle they used in the book. And if you start with this idea that music is healing, that is obviously a power that should be in the hands of everybody who has the talent to wield it. … And so that’s what Bandcamp is. That’s what I feel like we’re here to build — that system. And the way you do that is by ensuring that artists are compensated fairly and transparently for their work. And that is through the direct support of their fans.”

On Daniel Ek, and the Spotify business model, which sounds a lot like the Netflix business model:

Spotify is not a music company first,” as Diamond describes Bandcamp, because music plays a role only insofar as people spend some of their time listening to it, and Spotify wants all their time. What truly comes first for Spotify is competition — the company is focused on eliminating other places for time spent listening to… whatever. If it’s to conspiracist shock jock Joe Rogan — now signed to Spotify for exclusivity of his podcast, reportedly for upwards of $100 million — then it’s Joe Rogan. And Joe Rogan is anything but healing.


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