Bandcamp is a great platform. I love it. In 2014 I downloaded (and more like than not paid for) more great tracks on that site than any other. By some margin.
It lets small bands get their music out there, often for free or for what people are prepared to pay. As you see on this site, the tracks and albums embed really well to let people share the ones they like. Which is a really important part of this whole blog.
Which is why I was a bit worried when more than one independent artist was threatening to stop distributing through Bandcamp because of changes to EU tax laws. Yeah, I know. Tax laws. Bet I’ve *really* got your attention now.
There are plenty of other posts to sum it up, and ones such as ‘Bandcamp Faces Exodus Over European Tax Change‘ showed how people were more than a little spooked.
The irony here is the changes are touted as targeting the big players like Amazon, so that they would have to charge sales tax based on where the buyer was, not the seller. So instead of Luxembourg, it would be the UK, France etc.
Moreover, the initial position from Bandcamp would mean it would be up to the artists, not Bandcamp, to sort out the tax paperwork. And when you’re using a website to distribute all over the world, to different countries, with different tax laws, smaller artists saw that as a step too far when you’re talking about low volumes and (relatively) small change. So they started to announce they were going to pull their paid for downloads. Yes, other sites would still have them, but not on Bandcamp.
And then today, after getting hit by a fair few concerned tweets yesterday (including from myself), Bandcamp issued a short, but reassuring statement saying they would speed up their response and manage all the admin from the off. In short: DON’T PANIC.
In terms of prose, it’s short and sweet, but it’s what the artists and labels were asking for. Posting links to a buried help page on their website wasn’t quite enough, but a little more went a long way today.
Hoping the Bandcamp team can make good and handle the admin the likes of Amazon and co eat for breakfast. A brilliant platform, and one I hope artists and indy labels continue to use for the foreseeable.