Dec. 3 is Bandcamp Friday, the day of the month when Bandcamp turns over all sales profits from that day (after processing fees) to the artists and creators who made them. Begun in March 2020, the dedicated first Friday of the month was a gesture enacted to support struggling artists, reeling from being unable to tour and countless other difficulties related to the pandemic. Already known for its competitive revenue sharing within the music streaming industry, Bandcamp’s sales have proven enduringly popular and resulted in many new and deep cuts from artists who suddenly had more of an incentive to release works on a monthly schedule.
In August, Bandcamp announced it would continue Bandcamp Friday through the end of 2021, so this may be the last special Friday on the books. However, the company has certainly extended the limit before, both in December 2020 and in May 2021. WW reached out to Bandcamp to confirm this is the last one and we haven’t yet heard back, but in August the company wrote:
“On Bandcamp Fridays, an average of 93% of your money reaches the artist/label (after payment processor fees). When you make a purchase on any other day of the month, an average of 82% reaches the artist/label. Every day is a good day to directly support artists on Bandcamp!”
Whether this is the last Friday or not, here’s our list of picks to consider, starting local and branching out. Not all of these are new, but they do come highly recommended and most are donating part of the proceeds to good causes—firing up their own revenue-sharing apparatus.
Constellate PDX Artists, Going In
This release of ambient deconstructed club tracks by local Portland producers is meant to simulate the arc of a night out, from dance floor ecstasy to the long, calm comedown. None of the names are terrifically well-known, but all the better to dive into Portland’s eclectic electronic music community. Proceeds are split between the artists and Holocene, the long-running Portland club that’s served as a hub for the local electronic scene for nearly twenty years.
Mo Troper, Revolver
As Beatles fever sweeps the nation thanks to Peter Jackson’s new documentary Get Back, it’s high time to revisit local power-pop auteur (and sometime WW contributor) Mo Troper’s full-album cover of 1966′s Revolver. It’s a little grungier than the original, with Troper’s wonderfully wheedling voice taking the place of all four Beatles, and it has “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” on it, which is more than one could say about the original. All proceeds to go Defense Fund PDX and Austin Mutual Aid.
Bitchin Bajas, Switched On Ra
This album of interpretations of Sun Ra songs by the Chicago synth-drone-minimal-psychedelic trio Bitchin Bajas is available only digitally and on cassette. A portion of proceeds benefit the Prison+Neighborhoods Art Education Project, a Chicago organization that connects art instructors with prisoners at Illinois’ Stateville Maximum Security Prison. The cassette itself is gorgeous, drenched in heady hues of purples and yellows, but even more awe-inspiring are the 51 minutes of slow, black-lit, synthesized jazz occupying it.
The Bonnie “Prince” Billy catalog
The prolific Louisville artist releases his music for Drag City, a label that’s notoriously and understandably cagey about distributing its music to streaming services. BPB’s one of those super-consistent artists whose work is all pretty great but who doesn’t really have a masterpiece to tower over all of them. Some would disagree and cite 1999′s I See a Darkness, but at least as good are 1995′s desolate Arise Therefore, 2008′s countrified Lay Down in the Light and 2011′s Wolfroy Goes to Town (which prominently features a young Angel Olsen).
Space Afrika, hybtwibt?
Manchester, England, duo Space Afrika deconstructs the dystopian aesthetic, leaning into the misty sounds of the Blade Runner soundtrack while examining what it means to fetishize poverty and surveillance. Last year’s hybtwibt?, based on a live performance on NTS Radio, throws us all the synth pads and plangent pianos you could ask for from this kind of music while centering sampled Black voices talking candidly about their experiences. The record benefits a number of pro-Black causes, including the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Global Network.