Bandcamp is an artist-first platform that enables hundreds of thousands of artists and more than 3,000 independent labels to sell music directly to and build communities around their fans. Reaching millions of fans, Bandcamp has created an artist-led ecosystem where fans are engaged and can directly support their favorite artists. Think of them as an online record store where fans can support and discover artists and artists can build community.
Bandcamp has always believed that music is an essential part of culture. For culture to thrive, artists must be able to actively engage with their audience and be compensated fairly for their work. Having an avenue to live stream directly to their fans allows musicians to do that in a new way.
This is why Bandcamp Live was built. It’s a ticketed live stream service where artists can play live for their fans, chat with them, and have a virtual merch table to sell their music or merchandise during the show. Bandcamp Live adds to their existing online record store environment, giving it an amazing performance space.
Bandcamp wanted to launch a solution for streaming to an audience with real-time interaction. More than just broadcasting a concert, the ability to go live and integrate real-time communication was pivotal. This unique interactive nature of Bandcamp Live allows it to live in parallel, not compete with, live shows. It also opens up the opportunity for those that may not have traditionally toured to connect with their audience.
“We've seen a lot of shows that would never exist in real life, exist on Bandcamp,” said Drew Harris, Bandcamp’s Full Stack Engineer, “and interactions that are open to people who can't tour or don't want to, or make music that doesn't make sense to tour. You can create an interesting, real-time performance with a live stream that you might not be able to in a concert setting.”
Bandcamp was prototyping several versions of Bandcamp Live using a number of different streaming platforms but was often running into limitations with their APIs. Then they connected with the Mux team.
As with everything Bandcamp builds, they wanted to make sure it was artist-first. This meant being able to design a solution that gave the artist as much control as possible. White-labeling a solution from other platforms didn’t offer the same amount of control and customization that they saw with Mux. Mux Video provided the opportunity to create a solution that was native to Bandcamp and purely artist-driven.
They needed APIs that were fast, reliable, and well-documented. Mux Video delivered on this. It took about two weeks for Bandcamp to switch from previous platforms and build the Mux integration. Even though it was their first time doing live video, it was a short turnaround to get the technology going.
“What quickly became apparent was that Mux’s API was incredibly accessible. The Slack channel with the Mux team was just a lifesaver in terms of communication. It was very transparent, very quick. I think, for me, this was something that completely differentiated Mux's offering from the other things that we were experimenting with. Independent of the technology, which is great, the support and communication with Mux was a big reason why we continue to invest in Mux as a partner,” said Max Mockett, Product Manager at Bandcamp.
Monitoring their streams through Mux’s Live Stream Input Health dashboard provides real-time insights into how each of the live streams is performing. They can pass that information on to the artists to help them understand how to optimize their audience’s experience and growing Bandcamp’s position as a trusted partner to the artists and labels.
Currently, Bandcamp Live has been rolled out to a hundred thousand artists and continues to grow.
“Live streaming is something that we're going to be focusing on for the foreseeable future. The stability that Mux has granted us with the platform has encouraged us to do so,” said Mockett.