Ethan Diamond, CEO, BandCamp

Ethan Diamond
– Ethan Diamond

The Builders

Executives playing critical roles in building sustainable careers and companies

Ethan Diamond
CEO, BandCamp  

Way ahead of the curve of what would become the recorded streaming revolution we now take for granted, Ethan Diamond formed Bandcamp in 2007, a humble, no-frills but ethical way of directly engaging with fans wanting to support grassroots artists directly.

Taking a straight-across-the-board 15% for recorded (digital) music and 10% for merchandise (and physical recorded music), Bandcamp is now home to hundreds of thousands of artists – many of which are now missing a sorely needed revenue stream – singlehandedly helping many artists get through the difficult times. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all of us, and artists have been hit especially hard as tours and shows are canceled for the foreseeable future,” Diamond said in a written statement to Pollstar

“With such a major revenue stream drying up almost entirely, finding ways to continue supporting artists in the coming months is an urgent priority for anyone who cares about music and the artists who create it.”

For Bandcamp, one way to do that is by forfeiting its own revenue share portion of its sales, as it has done multiple times during the pandemic to great effect.

“The numbers tell a remarkable story: on a typical Friday, fans buy about 47,000 items on Bandcamp, but this past Friday, fans bought nearly 800,000, or $4.3 million worth of music and merch. That’s more than 15 times our normal Friday, and at the peak, fans were buying 11 items per second,” Diamond wrote after the first Friday of the experiment took place March 20. 

“On May 1, 2020, we did it again and fans paid artists $7.1 million – amazing!” Diamond wrote in a follow-up. “On June 5, 2020, fans paid artists $4.8 million, and so many artists and labels used the day to donate to organizations fighting for racial equity that we had to put together two separate posts to list them all.”

And they did it again on July 3, which led to more than 50 exclusive artist projects being released.

“We don’t yet know the long-term impact of COVID-19, but we know that we all need music—to uplift and inspire us, to heal us, and to give us hope. We’ll continue working to make Bandcamp the best place for fans and artists to come together and sustain each other in the challenging times ahead.”