Bandcamp, the online platform which aims to create a direct sales avenue between artists and fans, has once again proven itself to be a politically active and progressive company. On Monday, they announced that this Friday, August the 4th, they will donate 100% of their share of proceeds from sales to the Transgender Law Centre in the US. According to their website, fans have spent $5.2 million over the last 30 days, so even if you subtract the artist cut from that amount, a single can generate a huge amount of revenue.
This move serves to showcase the power of creative industries to not only raise an awareness for a cause, but to also contribute real monetary support.
“We support our LGBT+ users and staff, and we stand against any person or group that would see them further marginalized.”
Marginalisation of LGBTIQA+ people still happens. The most recent example of this comes in the form of the announcement that transgender troops are no longer be able to serve in the U.S military, a policy not only decried by transgender allies and the progressive left but also from many members of the military themselves.
This is not the first time that Bandcamp has shown their malcontent for the current US administration through affirmative action. When Donald J. Trump was elected, Bandcamp launched a project called Our First 100 Days, where artists contributed one original song and all of the proceeds raised went directly to “organisations working towards action on climate, women’s rights, and immigration.” The artists who contributed spanned across genres and countries, including Angel Olsen, Toro Y Moi, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Mountain Goats and our own Jen Cloher.
Earlier this year in response to the ultimately unsuccessful but hugely disruptive and distressing Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States, Bandcamp donated a days worth of proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union. This action was not without its dissenters, with the majority of criticism not arguing in favour of the Executive Order, but rather that art and politics should be kept separate. Bandcamp‘s response to this argument quoted some Facebook legend, Richard Rutherford, who said the following;
“…everyone’s got their line-in-the-sand where they’re not going to be able to keep it to themselves any longer. In a world where everything is influenced by political decisions, ‘staying non-political’ actually means defaulting to the status-quo and endorsing what’s happening in the system…expecting people who sell you things to do that, no matter how harmful the system might be to them and things they care about, is unreasonable…”
Anyone who listens to music will know that no music is made in a vacuum and despite how apolitical it may appear, it is always affected by the experience, culture and politics of the artist who makes it. The argument against this action fails to realise that Bandcamp uses political action to promote art. Accompanying the ACLU fundraising announcement, Bandcamp promoted and featured artists from the transgender or non-gender conforming community on their home page. When the travel ban was announced, they did the same for artists from the seven banned Muslim majority countries.
There couldn’t be a better time to start using Bandcamp than this Friday, the 4th of April. Look out for artists who have also offered to donate their cut of the sales to the Transgender Law Centre too.
Why not also use it as an opportunity to check out some amazing Australian transgender and non-gender conforming artists, like some of the below:
Two Steps On The Water
*Quotes in this story are all from Bandcamp news posts.