Friday, December 29, 2017

Bandcamp puts the spotlight on cassette revival with end-of-year stats | UNLIMITED | CMU


Direct-to-fan service Bandcamp has put out some end-of-year stats and has chosen to focus on the cassette revival that has been quietly occurring on its platform this year.

In a blog post published earlier this week, Bandcamp’s Ben Walker writes: “17,872 tapes were released on Bandcamp this year. That’s an average of almost 50 tapes per day or one every 29 minutes”. Looking into how many of those cassette releases actually resulted in sales, Walker then adds: “In 2017, artists sold 22.6 years of cassette-based audio on Bandcamp. That’s 17,076km of beautiful, crunchy tape”.

Earlier in his post, Walker concedes that he has focused on the surprising number of tape sales made on Bandcamp this year mainly because of his own passion for the format. He writes: “I started buying cassettes from Crash Symbols when I joined Bandcamp five years ago and never looked back. There’s a tape from Sub Pop sitting on my desk that arrived in a padded envelope as I was writing this very post. I love tapes”.

He goes on: “I assumed that everyone would eventually catch up with the trend, and that my friends would all be reinstalling tape decks in their cars by now. For some reason it’s taking longer than expected. So I thought it might be useful to bring everyone up to speed on the latest tape stats. If you’re a tape-lover, you can share this post and convert all your friends and family”.

Of course, many artists putting out cassette releases also allow fans to then access the music contained on said tape digitally. So just because a fan buys a cassette doesn’t necessarily mean they are listening to their favourites tunes on a cassette player. And, of course, even if the number of releases and sales is up, cassettes remain very much a niche format. A bit like with the vinyl revival. Only more so.

But still, for cassette fans, Bandcamp’s stats should provide just a little bit of end-of-year excitement. And for artists with the right kind of fanbase, this is another example of how you might be able to monetise the direct-to-fan relationship even when your fans are mainly consuming music via the streaming platforms.

Meanwhile, Bandcamp has made a slide show featuring some of the cassettes sold on its platform this year.


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