Music fans took notice in a big way Friday when the online retailer Bandcamp announced it was waiving its share of proceeds for one day to pass that money on to struggling artists during the coronavirus crisis. The site reported Monday that customers spent $4.3 million on music and merchandise Friday.
That amounted to nearly 800,000 items sold over the course of one day, versus only about 47,000 on a normal Friday. “That’s more than 15 times our normal Friday, and at the peak, fans were buying 11 items per second,” Bandcamp said in a statement on its website.
The retailer thanked media outlets that publicized the waived-fee day, and, without naming names, said that there were many labels “who gave 100% of their proceeds to their artists as well.”
“We don’t yet know the long-term impact of Covid-19,” the statement read, “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.”
The $4.3 million brought in in one day is a big chunk of the $15.2 million the site’s front page says was paid to artists in the last 30 days alone.
The site specializes in independently releases albums, some of which are available exclusively through the site, like a 20-track digital live album that Father John Misty released on Monday titled “Off-Key in Hamburg.” The description for the album says that all proceeds from the Misty live release are being donated to the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
In the open letter that alerted customers to the Friday initiative, Diamond wrote, “For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not. Still, we consider this just a starting point. Musicians will continue to feel the effects of lost touring income for many months to come, so we’re also sharing some ideas … on how fans can support the artists they love and how artists can give fans new, creative ways to provide support.”