Facebook, Twitch and Mixcloud have each staked their claim of the live stream market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new contender has entered the arena. Bandcamp has announced a ticketed live streaming service that integrates the download store’s trademark functionality.
In keeping with the brand’s artist-forward approach to music hosting, Bandcamp Live allows content creators to customize their events and access each one’s data. Anyone who follows an account is notified when it goes live, and merchandise can be purchased directly in the stream. Bandcamp will take 10% of admissions with no hidden surcharges, and they’re waiving their cut altogether until March 31st, 2021.
Bandcamp was founded in 2008 by Ethan Diamond, Joe Holt, Shawn Grunberger, and Neal Tucker. By affording content creators the option to set their own prices for music and merchandise purchases, it grew popular among independent artists. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has held numerous “no-fee holidays” starting back in March to waive commission fees for downloads.
Given the company’s folk hero status compared to digital service providers like Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music, how they handle copyright disputes on the new live streaming service might prove critical to their reputation.
Facebook has grown controversial among musicians for selectively enforcing its music guidelines, and Twitch has come under fire for failing to penalize users for similar infractions. Bandcamp has not suggested that Bandcamp Live will offer 100% rights-cleared mixes by operating on a license similar to that of Mixcloud Live, so how they navigate the complex legal landscape of the market has yet to be seen.
Bandcamp Live is being gradually rolled out to users with an artist account. More information on the service is available here.