Spotify vs well, maybe bandcamp

This is really great.

But one question: why do so many musicians choose to promote a platform (Spotify) that is single-handedly doing more to destroy the possibility of making even a modest living as a musician than any other?

Why not at least have a link to Bandcamp where there’s a much better chance of earning (even a small) revenue from your great work, and where you won’t help empower a corporation that, super-convenient as Spotify may be, does not have your interests at heart?

I know, I know “Spotify is where people today expect to hear stuff”. The more musicians that just give in to this sentiment, the worse it will get.


Thanks for the positive feedback :blush:

Hmmm, to be honest I did not think about it in this way, I know very little about music ditribution, and I was kinda pushed by some friends to publish it on spotify and co. At that moment it seemed like a good choice, plus I have a job I do for money, while I make music at home, so I was not really thinking about making money out of it.

But I guess you are right, I looked into bandcamp and it seems actually quite nice, I will consider publishing it there as well, maybe with a physical CD who knows :slight_smile:

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I don’t want to derail the thread with the phenomenal works here, perhaps this is a worthwhile topic to split elsewhere…

I put music on Spotify/Apple/Amazon/et al because Bandcamp/Soundcloud/ et al are musicians platforms and only a small percentage of potential listeners are also musicians, as an example when I play a gig somewhere I’m sure only a small number of the Audience are musicians too… You post your masterpiece and of course you want your 4 musician friends and your family to hear it but you also want Aunt Myrtle in California and your cousin Rick in Tokyo to hear it and herein lies the big issue… The only way most ‘consumers’ are going to even know about your work being released is probably through big Social Media, namely FB and Instagram, maybe Youtube if you have a respectable subscriber base… Then you enter the lovely world of newsfeeds where you literally have microseconds of people’s attention, they see your Song and they see your Video (God help you if you don’t have a Video) and if you don’t have the source embedded into your post where a touch or click instantly has it coming out of the screen/speakers you are done…game over…off the viewable part of the screen…time’s up!. If you are on some kind of platform that they recognize and already have on their device (usually Spotify/Apple/Youtube) they may remember and try and find you later but if you’re on any external platform that has to be found and installed and isn’t familiar (ie Bandcamp/Soundcloud) if they’re not musically inclined enough to already know about those platforms it ain’t gonna happen…

Wholeheartedly agree Spotify and the rest are the Devil… They revel in the thralldom of musicians and willfully prey on their innate driving dopamine loop addictions to being seen and heard. Also big Social Media is public enema number one to have cornered the market and monopolize how you can promote your work but the sad math (I’m over-generalizing here) is Spotify 1000 listeners @ fractions of a cent per play or Bandcamp 25 listeners most of which aren’t going to buy your work (except Aunt Myrtle…she always comes through!)

It’s a real dilemma… double bad if you’re an artist that doesn’t play shows, at least you can still make a bit of money playing live not that Covid did much for that… :roll_eyes:


So I’ve split these posts off from the thread about Phillipe’s great music+video.

You post a link in your social media to the bandcamp page. There’s a big play button at the top. They press it. They hear it. No Spotify app to install. Their browser does the work (and it does work).

The problem with this “but spotify where people go to listen” approach is that every time you given in to it, you just make it more true.

Now that’s the truth, but I’d still say of both those extremely ungood situations that not helping to promote and support Spotify is the least bad of two poor choices.

What about the cost of putting up a work to a streaming services? I have the impression that for a small size artist the sum of cost and income would be negative. Please let me know, if my assumption is wrong.
I do not see any benefit, so I’m using YT (free of charge) and bandcamp for my stuff

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Thx for splitting it, however, I cannot find the post I made anymore with the links :sweat_smile: is it still on the forum?

I pay around 20 Euros per year for example.

Our distribution is handled by CD Baby (because our album was first released on an actual CD, back when CD Baby was still selling CDs) and they distribute our music to 33 streaming services; complete list at CD Baby Distribution Partners - Stream and Sell Music Globally. All income combined from those 33 services brings us about US $50/year and that’s in a good year. We make more money from five physical CD sales than from an entire year’s worth of streaming. Fortunately, in our musical niche people do still like to buy CDs, but that won’t be true forever. More importantly, we can make more from one live gig than we do from a decade of streaming.

In my world (traditional music), only a small percentage of musicians ever made money from album sales; at best they recouped the expenses of recording, producing, mastering, and printing CDs but many didn’t break even. I’ve recorded on 8 CDs since the 1990s, none of which made money. We certainly haven’t made back all the money we spent on our CD and ours was recorded in 2015 (we’re currently self-recording a second album but the money I spent on new/better mics and interface plus the money we’ll spend on mastering and physical CD printing will likely never be fully recovered). For many people like us, streaming and CD sales are simply a way to build audiences for gigs and for teaching, which is where the money is.



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Yes absolutely true!

My point was after you slip down into the basement of invisibility if you want to be found after your initial newsfeed post then your odds of being found on relatively niche platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud diminish. Secondly if you play live shows and you want to attract people to your tunes directing them to streaming services they already have (or their mobile came loaded with) is much easier than… “you can find us on Bandcamp… B-A-N-D-C-A-M-P… No not V it’s a B… it should be in your App store just search ‘Bandcamp’… No not V… B!.. Yeah like Bandcamp from American Pie… American Pie?.. it’s a movie, you’ve never seen it!? OMG you’ll never look at apple pie the same again… That red-headed girl from that TV show was in it… what show? I forget… what show was it again!? Sorry folks our set is over… Goodnight Cleveland!!”

Don’t let this happen to you, just be on Spotify… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

To be clear, I am not for 1 second arguing that you should not make your music available on Spotify (though there are some merits to that).

I’m really just wondering why any musician would use the Spotify link in their promotion of new work. Of all the links you could put up there (any of the 33 services handled by CD Baby), the Spotify one is probably the worst one for you, for your fellow musicians, for the music industry as a whole. So go ahead and “be on Spotify” so that all those people who “expect” you to be there can find you. But when you post about it, why not use a link to a service that has (more of) your interests in mind?


A few weeks ago we publish our second album which due to a bit of logistics problems (one song was rejected due to having more than 5s of silence at the end) we ended up publishing it only at Bandcamp and Youtube for the first 3 days. Which turn out to be a great move: on that first hype the people that were really waiting the album went to bandcamp and many of them bought it. And then it went on spotify, for the convinience and huge user base.

But yeah, I think there should be a bit more of push against spotify, most of non-musicians (and even musicians) are unaware of how unfair is spotify to the artist and it is becoming the norm.

bandcamp is the only plattform I ever made some money with at all. It helps if you find a label people trust that runs on bandcamp to get more people listening to your stuff than just posting as an artist, in general, but of course there are exceptions. bandcamp is also growing like crazy, works well on smartphones as well as on browsers. i miss doing a playlist for the car, that is all that i am missing. I for myself would not use other streaming services. If the label wants to release to all plattforms this can make sense. And i fully agree: just releasing on spotify and the likes feels like giving away everything for free (which on it s own is not bad at all), but not only that, giving it to someone who makes revenue with your work, and wont give you anything in return (till i can pay the rent in “exposure” coins)

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Artists are supposed to make music from performing. No one is going to buy a digital copy of an album if they can just get it for free, but no one can download being at the actual show to see a live performance. Music recordings as a commodity, are worthless.

The term “supposed to” is prescriptive. Why should there be any presumption that musicians only perform to make money? I have never heard anyone say that authors should make money from public readings and not expect to be compensated for selling books or articles, or screenwriters and actors should only put on plays and not be compensated for movie ticket sales or BluRay sales.
Not every composition can be practically performed, and even traditional forms that can be performed can only reach a fraction of the potential worldwide audience for recordings.

That unfortunately seems to be close to an accurate statement of the current state of affairs. I would never want that to be the way things are “supposed to” be. I don’t particularly care how many Italian sports cars my favorite musicians can afford, but my life would certainly be poorer if there were not enough incentive for anyone to bother recording their compositions.

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Couldn’t agree more. I avoid these streaming services and mostly use bandcamp, YouTube and soundcloud (to a more limited extent). The streamers don’t allow you to make contact with your listeners or drive them somewhere they can purchase other releases you’ve made. I financed my last CD release with pre-orders via bandcamp. I daresay refusing to stroke the furry hoof will never make me rich and famous, but it does allow me to keep producing music on my own terms. I guess it all depends how you want to define success on some level, but surely that’s better than having it defined for you by a system that does not have your best interests at heart?


For non-multimillion-streaming artists, arrangers, composers, and lyric writers, Spotify et al are the new greedy side of the music industry IMO. In reality, nothing comes back to the artist and as an example, the owners of Spotify are pulling an abstract amount of money out of the companies into their pockets.

That said, I think it’s a good idea to place the music onto services such as Spotify, Google, iTunes, Youtube, and Amazon. That way, it’s easy to be heard. I get royalties several times a year, but not from streaming. My royalties mainly come from songs played on national radio in the nordic countries, downloads of music, concerts, and physical media (CDs). This is not big money because my royalties usually are 25% of the composer cake where I’m noted as an “arranger” (that’s payments for mixing and mastering for little money). I do not say this for bragging, just for explaining where I see the money in my world.

I really believe that it’s very important to use channels such as Bandcamp and CD Baby for selling downloads and physical media, the streaming services are for most of us not usable. I believe they are important for credibility and PR, but I clearly mean that these very rich owners of the streaming services are standing on the artist’s shoulders, leaving mostly only dust and cents to them.


You gave me something to think about.
Currently, I’m just putting my records on Soundcloud (with NO expectations… just to be somewhere) and on a similar Brazilian host called PalcoMP3 (
But I have plans to put them on big streaming services and try something more serious. I must first contract a digital distributor (OneRPM? CDBaby?).
Now you made me think: should I go for the big guys in the streaming world? I don’t know Bandcamp just yet, but I’ll get information about it and decide.

Are Deezer and YT Music as bad as Spotify in terms of the agreement? in terms of digital distributors I’d also have a look at distrokid.


If you want to spread your music for downloads and streaming to several different places, then I recommend DistroKid. When you upload your music there, you just tick off where you want it spread, for example, YouTube, Spotify, Deezer, and very many other stores and streaming services. The cost is $19.99 each year and that’s all they charge.

It’s probably a good idea to go for the big streaming services because then you make it easier for your audience to find you. Most (perhaps all?) streaming services have “bad” agreements so I recommend that you in addition also use Bandcamp and other ways to sell downloads or physical media.