Art is not a commodity. It is priceless. What seems worthy to someone is worthless to someone else. To sell a unit of subjectivity risks the commoditisation of the subject. When this happens, the intention shifts and the spirit changes. Great ideas become stale. Art has a potential to be powerfully lucrative, but power often corrupts.
Donation based systems seem a fairer way to distribute art, which is why Bandcamp is preferred for self-releases. For those who don’t have money, it’s free. For those who want to donate, the price is in their control, they judge its subjective value. This perhaps results in something less profitable than it could be, but that’s ok. It’s about the love, not the money. This also motivates an artist to play live, to generate income by entertaining audiences in person. In doing so, this creates community, movement, and scene. Without those, music would lose the ancient human dimension that brings people together. However, this preference is perhaps easier said for those fortunate enough to make money outside of music.
One issue with Bandcamp is that, unless you have a following, finding listeners is hard. It also seems nowadays that people prefer using paid streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music. The only way to release on these platforms is through a digital distribution service, like cdbaby. Unfortunately these services seem more corporately minded, perhaps a necessary evil when working with streaming platforms, whom charge the end user a fixed monthly price, and pay artists 'per stream'. Perhaps it's the only way to realistically run a global streaming business, considering copyright laws, server costs, and so on, but nonetheless I'd much prefer to see something donation-based. Regardless, I've decided to release on these services, with the intention to reach more people on a platform they're more comfortable using. Where possible, I direct people to use Bandcamp in order to promote and uphold these principles.
In regards to releasing with labels, I wholeheartedly respect how they decide to monetise music, especially considering the extra running costs. When it comes down to it, my only preference is that the label is run by good, honest people who love music, and perhaps even create it themselves.
December 12, 2017
Watch the official music video
Most self-releases are licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). If in doubt, please get in touch.
For detailed information on all releases, including UPC and ISRC codes, please visit MusicBrainz, this Google Sheet, or Discogs.
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