I've written about the music-sales website/service Bandcamp so often, here and on social-media channels, that I run the risk of sounding like a shill, I know. But I can't help it: I just love the browsing, streaming, shopping and sharing capabilities it delivers. Early on, my admiration was slightly mitigated by the idea that even after you started using Bandcamp, searching the site was not particularly efficient or intuitive.
Lately, though, the process has started to become easier and smarter, with more reliable results. And Bandcamp has taken some major steps to augment its user-friendliness. There's Bandcamp Weekly, a lively podcast that spotlights what's new on the site. As importantly, there are Bandcamp Collection pages, through which the acquisitions of fellow users are displayed for easy perusing and sampling. The collections aren't just for show; they're key to a social-media-style network for sharing tastes, and to a music feed page that provides a steady, addictive drip of new possibilities.
I balked for a while over the idea of making a public Bandcamp Collection page, reckoning that it was meant for fans and not professional music writers. Then I rethought that position – on Bandcamp I really am just one more fan – and launched the page.The photo is the same one I use on my blog and social media. The graphic along the top border is a snippet of Christian Wolff's For 1, 2 or 3 People.
The benefits go beyond putting your tastes on public display, fastidiously organized or otherwise. When you purchase something from an artist or label, you automatically begin "following" them, and are alerted about future releases via email: a great way to keep on top of what's new.
Further, you're directed toward other users whose collections contain the same recordings as yours, whom you can also choose to follow. If you do, every now and then you get an email indicating what those users have bought recently, prompting you to explore with gentle guidance in order to discover more music possibly to your liking.
And there's a satisfying payoff. When someone buys a recording through the link on your page, you get notified. The email header: Booyakasha! You just made something awesome happen. Here's an example of what's in the message (click to enlarge):
It's both entertaining and oddly gratifying for those of us who have proprietary feelings toward the artists and music we love.
And hey, whattya know? The warm fuzzies are mutual, evidently, because today my collection is featured on the Bandcamp home page.
Okay, I admit it… I knew this was going to happen today. (I'm not that fast a blogger!) Still, flattering and fun to have my appreciation appreciated in return.