Bandcamp opens artist subscription service to all users

The function has existed since last November as a beta

Independent music streaming website Bandcamp has made its artist subscription service available to all its users.

In November 2014 the concept was unveiled, and the function was launched as a beta in early 2015. Now all artists will be able to charge their fans an annual or monthly fee to listen to their music.

Subscribed users can be given incentives, including access to a band’s back catalogue and all future releases. They can also restrict special features to subscribers, including a subscriber-only blog, demos or exclusive access to merchandise.

Bandcamp will take 17.9% of an artist’s subscription fee, including a 2.9% payment processing fee and a $0.30 charge. If an artist’s subscriptions exceeds $5,000 or more, Bandcamp will take just 10% of the fee, alongside processing fees.

In a statement, the website said, “Our own experience contributing to crowdfunded projects was that we were motivated by a desire to help an artist we loved, not by a wish for a t-shirt, signed plastic disc, or potpourri sachet. Our hunch is that your biggest fans are less interested in funding studio time or mastering for just one album than they are in supporting you in a sustainable way.”

See an explainer video below:

Last year Bandcamp clarified their VAT rules, stating that independent musicians do not have register themselves as VAT-eligible in order to sell digital downloads with them.

Earlier reports suggested that artists would have to be VAT-registered under the new rules, which came into effect on January 1 2015 – even if artists only sold one download.

However, Bandcamp later released a statement which said they would take care of that side of things on behalf of the artists, like major online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon, who already incorporate VAT registration as part of their trading agreements.

In a statement entitled ‘EU digital VAT changes and Bandcamp’, the independent music site wrote:
“If you’ve seen the recent news of changes to EU tax law, you may be wondering how this affects you as an artist or label selling on Bandcamp. The good news is that for digital sales, there is no need for you to register for VAT, submit quarterly reports, and so on. We will take care of all of that for you. If you happened to see our earlier help item about this, we planned to roll out a temporary solution where artists submitted the tax themselves. We’ve decided to accelerate the changes to our system such that the interim step is unnecessary.”

A number of artists, including Future Of The Left and Martin Carr, had previously announced that they would no longer sell digital downloads via Bandcamp as they couldn’t afford to spend the necessary time and money registering themselves for VAT, which stands at 20% in the UK.

The new legislation was introduced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to clamp down on firms such as Amazon and Apple, who had been accused of avoiding VAT by not paying tax on the countries downloads were purchased from.