It has often been difficult for musicians to earn the money they deserve from their music, and the increased popularity of streaming services has made things more unfair for them.
Life was already tough for most musicians, but then the COVID-19 pandemic started, and things looked even harder.
However, “Bandcamp Friday” is a scheme that began in response to the pandemic, in order to allow musicians to get even more money from their fans.
However, it only runs on certain dates. So, when is Bandcamp Friday?
To put it simply, the dates vary, but all have a pattern. It isn’t every single Friday, but instead the first Friday of every month.
This has been the case since March 2020, only taking a small break between May and September 2022, and planning to continue for a while beyond then – or more.
However, there is much more to learn about Bandcamp Friday, and I’ve got all the answers you want in my helpful article below.
I’m going to look in greater detail at when Bandcamp Friday happens, as well as the reasons why it happened and how musicians might otherwise struggle to make enough money from their work.
When Is Bandcamp Friday?
As I touched upon at the start, when Bandcamp Friday happens, it happens on the first Friday of every month.
This means that it doesn’t happen on the same numbered date each month, rather just whatever date the first Friday falls on.
For example, this meant that in June 2020 it fell on the 5th of the month, while it fell on the 3rd of July the next month.
All you have to do is look out for the first Friday of the month.
Alternatively, Bandcamp have their own separate website to tell you whenever the next Bandcamp Friday is, including a countdown to help make it even clearer.
It all began back on the 6th March 2020, and continued to happen on the first Friday of every month since – with a few exceptions.
When it came to May 2022, the 6th saw the final Bandcamp Friday for a short while.
Thankfully, Bandcamp themselves made it immediately clear that it wasn’t going to be the last one ever, noting that it would continue in September through December.
What Is Bandcamp Friday?
Now that I’ve covered when Bandcamp Friday happens, it’s worth looking at what it actually is.
To begin with, Bandcamp is an online record store that allows music fans to directly support the musicians that they love.
As I’ll cover later, it’s often been hard for musicians to be properly compensated for their work, and the increased popularity of streaming services has made it worse.
Bandcamp was created so that people could more directly support their favorite artists, giving them a platform where the musicians could connect with their fans and sell them music.
However (and it is a small “however”), Bandcamp does take a little portion of the fee.
Pandemic Financial Troubles
This isn’t the case on Bandcamp Fridays, though. Bandcamp Fridays came into existence as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earning money was already difficult for many musicians, and the pandemic looked to make it even harder, since they would need a greater income to get through it.
The pandemic disrupted their livelihoods, and they needed the extra money for their mortgages or rent, groceries, medication, and more.
Therefore, Bandcamp introduced their Bandcamp Fridays event: a day where they wouldn’t take any revenue for themselves.
It would all go to the artists/label. This began with a one-off version, on 6th March.
However, its massive success prompted Bandcamp to make it a regular event, every first Friday of the month. What was that success?
Well, on that single day alone, fans spent $4.3 million dollars on music from their favorite musicians, as well as merchandise.
This was 15 times the usual amount that would be sold on a Friday.
It was clearly incredibly helpful to the musicians, and very popular with their fans, so Bandcamp continued the scheme.
When it came to May 2022, the Bandcamp Fridays event had happened 17 times.
Over these 17 days, almost 800,000 fans paid artists and the labels over $78 million dollars.
This is an incredible amount of money, and helped many musicians get through the pandemic.
It’s worth noting that Bandcamp doesn’t take too much more of the revenue on all the other days.
On a Bandcamp Friday, around 93% of the money goes to the artist/label, because 7% is the payment processor fee.
On a typical Friday, however, an average of 82% makes its way to the artist/label.
With a difference of only 11%, Bandcamp as a website clearly continues to help the musicians properly anyway.
Why Is It Difficult For Musicians To Make Money?
Before the internet changed things, musicians would sign to labels in order to release their music.
Unfortunately, though, the labels would usually own the recordings, and would take most of the revenue from the artist’s albums.
This still continued to be the way when digital music sales became a thing.
However, the increasing popularity of streaming services like Spotify made it possible for anyone to release their music themselves, without the need for a label who took most of the revenue.
Unfortunately, though, this barely improved things, since streaming services pay artists notoriously little per stream.
This means that, unless you’re a massive artist with millions of plays, it’s still very difficult for musicians to get by and be properly compensated for their work.
This is why Bandcamp exists, so that artists can get greater revenue, build their image, and sell merchandise.
Bandcamp Fridays (mostly) happens the first Friday of every month, and has helped massively increase the revenue of musicians.
Some of my favorite music marketing tools
Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂
Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.
Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.
To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.
If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.
Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.
Facebook Ads For Spotify Success
Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.
This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂
Music Publishing Royalties Collection
For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.
Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.
To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.
And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂
Website & Smart Links
I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.
Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.
I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).
Want more tools and resources for your music career?
If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).
P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂