Deep Elm Records have uploaded their entire catalogue of music to Bandcamp on a “name-your-price” basis, with no minimum value. The move provides fans with access to over two hundred albums from approximately 80 artists, including label favourites Brandtson, Appleseed Cast, and Lights & Motion.
Owner John Szuchand, who started the label nineteen years ago, made the announcement via the label’s website. Szuchand expressed his desire to maintain Deep Elm Records’ one hundred percent independent status as a driver. “Deep Elm competes in an industry dominated by corporate giants. We are proud to be 100% independent. It has always been Deep Elm’s intention to get the music of our family of artists into the hands (and ears) of as many people as possible. This announcement is a big step towards that goal.”
The on-boarding of Deep Elm Records will most likely strengthen Bandcamp’s footprint in the digital music market, which currently stands at twelve millions songs from one and a half million albums. The company was formed in 2007 by co-founders Ethan Diamond and Shawn Grunberger, with the aim “to be the best way for fans to directly support the artists that they love.” Unlike subscription-based streaming services that pay artists royalties based on listener volume, Bandcamp gives artists a platform to sell their music directly to their fans, in return for a commission of up to fifteen percent.
To date, music fans have given eighty one million dollars to artists through the Bandcamp platform, almost three million dollars of this sum coming through in the past month. Fans make purchases by naming their own price on an artist’s page, which is guided by a minimum price set by the artists themselves, although this can be as low as zero. Diamond has found that, because the service provides a direct link between fans and the artists that they want to support, “Fans pay more than the artist’s asking price 50% of the time.”
The Deep Elm Records catalogue is now available with no minimum fee. However, Szuchand is encouraging those who wish to download the music for free to support the label’s artists through non-financial means: “In exchange for each download we politely request that you post, share, tag and tweet to tell your friends about the album.” The two-hundred-strong album collection includes acts from many genres, such as classical, country, indie, punk and rock. The label’s website provides a handy guide that recommends albums based on similar, popular artists that you may already be familiar with.