One time, on Bandcamp

June 7th will be Bandcamp Friday this month and my hope is to send our readers to a website that all fans of hot jazz, ragtime, or swing, should be making a BIG part of their lives. The best of our music is self-produced, and even those handful of albums that have support from a small label are usually available to hear and download on Bandcamp. Yes, hear. On Bandcamp almost everyone allows you to listen through their whole album a couple times before prompting you to fork over some cash (pretty please). It is a necessary concession to the streaming audience.

Without the risk and expense of a physical release, with modern editing tools eliminating the necessity of studio time, and with the continuation of remote collaborations bringing artists together worldwide, Bandcamp is a large part of a Rennaisance in traditional jazz records releasing at a rate that our reviewers cannot keep up with. I cover ~50 albums a year. My backlog is over 200 albums deep. Albums YOU would love, and I will likely never get to for reviews.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Bandcamp.com is your chance to find those albums and hundreds of others. If you buy something and enjoy it, please consider writing a review that The Syncopated Times can run for our readers. We’d be delighted to hear your take.

What is Bandcamp Friday? On the first Friday of every month, the platform waves the fees for creators and they get 100% of their sales. On our own Bandcamp Page, we have collected 945 albums for you to explore, nearly all of them from living, working, traditional jazz, swing, and ragtime artists released in the last decade. Most are available to stream in full before buying. Many artists have other albums posted that are not in our list.

While many of the albums available on Bandcamp do have a CD or vinyl available, others are download only. CDs make up about 2% of the record market in dollars, and account for far less than 1% of actual listening time. No one in 2024 should consider an album without a physical version less worthy of purchase.

Evergreen

Sadly, downloads, where you own rather than stream a record, are the smallest part of the market. Smaller even than CD and vinyl sales. People resist paying for a download when streaming is “free”. But when you buy a download, not only do you own the album, the artist receives the equivalent income of thousands of plays on Spotify or YouTube. Bix and Louis will do just fine without your album purchase, stream away, but the hardworking musicians clawing out a living with live gigs feel encouraged and fortified with each download album sale.

Another benefit is that the album will always be available to you, regardless of programming changes at streaming platforms. Because of band breakups two of my favorite albums of the last several years are no longer available for streaming or purchase anywhere, but I still have them on my hard drive. The same ownership you get with a DVD or CD also comes with a purchased download.

Please help normalize owning digital albums from independent bands. Show off your paid for download collection the same way you would LPs. Many Bandcamp albums can be downloaded for $10 or less.

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com

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