Opinion: Can Bandcamp Make a Meaningful Difference?

Bandcamp pays out as much as 90% of its revenue to musicians

Santa Cruz hardcore band Drain has received about $200 per member per year from Spotify for their 2016 EP ‘Over Thinking’—which has been streamed hundreds of thousands of times. COURTESY PHOTO

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

When I read a few years ago that David Lowery—guitarist and vocalist for one of Santa Cruz’s all-time great bands, Camper Van Beethoven—had led a successful multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Spotify to recover unpaid songwriter royalties, I felt a certain amount of civic pride, for sure. And some hope—it seemed like it might be a turning point for Spotify’s notoriously terrible treatment of the musicians off of whom it makes billions of dollars.

However, as Mike Huguenor’s cover story this week reveals, the situation has only gotten worse. Spotify is only one of the many services paying next to nothing to artists for the music they stream. Lowery, Huguenor reports, has continued to keep watch on the industry, even while he’s crafted a new model of distributing his work. And the industry numbers, which are thoroughly detailed within, are downright shocking.

There is arguably some hope, even within the brutally anti-artist world of streaming, thanks to a Bay Area company that pays out as much as 90% of its revenue to musicians: Bandcamp. But can it make a meaningful difference? I highly recommend Huguenor’s story.

Also, in this issue, Johanna Miller writes about the final totals for our Santa Cruz Gives campaign—which were incredible. Thanks to all of our partners and of course to our readers for making it successful beyond our wildest expectations.

Lastly, time is running out to vote for the Best of Santa Cruz County. Go to and support your favorite local businesses today!


Letters to the Editor

Online Comments


Re: Rail Trail

Fact is, there is overwhelming public dissent against rail. Mark Mesiti-Miller claims (Letters, 1/13) there were 255 pro-rail responses. He falls to mention the 10,000+ signatures collected by Greenway in favor of trail-only. He also fails to mention how Measure L was passed by Capitola to preserve the trestle for a trail and the sound defeat of John Leopold in the 2nd district last November. It’s time to get real that rail is dead and we need to concentrate on active transportation on the abandoned corridor and revitalized bus system and ADA transport now! If he truly believes there is overwhelming support for rail, let’s stop with the made up numbers and bring it to an actual vote.

— Jack Brown

Trains are a heavy hammer, a robotic bull you would not want running through the sweet china shop which is Santa Cruz. Running train service will change the Santa Cruz environment, and not for the better. Some sweet places will become quite undesirable. Why would you implement that kind of heavy mass transit a half-mile from the ocean? Dystopia.

And for all that, the freeway traffic will NOT lighten up. It won’t happen. The freeway pipe will always fill to the limit of tolerable capacity. There are plenty of studies going back at least to the 1980s on that.

— Eric


Re: Homeless Sweep

This senseless pushback is infuriating! Close this dangerous crime magnet now! The Dakota Avenue neighborhood community has been negatively affected and at the mercy of camp transients for a year! We were finally about to receive help from the city, when this small group of self righteous “protesters” decide to berate police with an opinion that is not shared by the neighborhood it directly affects!

This encampment is not simply people down on their luck living in tents.

Our community knows from first-hand experience that every single reason for the park closure due to health and safety concerns is 100% factual. Anyone who claims otherwise does not live here and has no right to speak for those of us that do.

— DJ

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you an earthling? Prove it with logic: *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

To Top