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Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

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March 04, 2009

Bandcamp 1.0 and Pledge Week, Part 3
by David Harrell

Bandcamp banner

Bandcamp rolled out a bunch of nifty new features and declared itself "1.0" The new stuff includes:

-- Improved site speed and the move from Bandcamp.mu to Bandcamp.com

-- The ability to generate "free download" codes that be given out with merchandise purchases, etc.

-- More song/album widgets that can be used by both artists and fans

I'll write more about Bandcamp in the near future, but for now I'll just say I'm very impressed with everything I've seen so far. The file format flexibility (128k mp3, 320k mp3, VBR mp3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and Apple Lossless) is -- as far as I know -- unmatched by any other download store. And I really like the option to offer free 128k mp3 downloads while charging a set rate (or letting buyers choose their own price) for higher-quality files. It seems like a good compromise on the "free music" debate.

So for the third installment in the pledge week series, I'm using one of the new Bandcamp widgets to embed "Keep It To Yourself," the lead-off track from "The Space Between," the new Layaways album. The song received a great review when it was featured on the Fingertips music site:
Launching off a sonorous, rubbery guitar line that, melodically, echoes the hook from the Kinks' "David Watts," "Keep It To Yourself" has the big-drums/big-chords bash and concise melodicism of some Nuggets-era -- um -- nugget, with a welcome helping of shoegaze drone. The song itself is pithy and unadorned, but the presentation is cool, full-bodied, and impeccably controlled -- not a note or sound is out of place.

Taking nothing away from David Harrell's understated, slightly processed vocals, I think his guitars are the stars here, presenting alternately as zipped-up-tight rhythm, circular synth-like lead lines, and droney dissonance. When the three sounds combine in the second half of the song, we definitely arrive in one of those "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" places. It can't be easy to make something this basically simple sound so fulfilling; it if were, everyone would do it.
<a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/track/keep-it-to-yourself">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

Unlike the Lala.com widgets, however, streams from a Bandcamp widget currently don't generate any revenue for the artist or label. Which is understandable, given that Bandcamp's business model is still a work in progress and there is no revenue to share. (I wouldn't say this is a huge concern for me right now, given that you can pull your music from the site at any point. Still, I'd want to have more details about possible fees and charges before using Bandcamp pages as the actual music pages on my own site.)

Anyway, if you like the track or would like to support this site, please consider buying a download from iTunes, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, or eMusic. Or, if you prefer an old-school CD, discs are available at CD Baby, Tonevendor, and Amazon.com.

Thanks for listening!

related: Checking Out Bandcamp, Pledge Week on Digital Audio Insider

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    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website