Neill Jameson: “Angry About Bandcamp’s ACLU Donation? Then Delete Your Band’s Account.”
Decibel columnist Neill Jameson and I clearly keep a very different friend-base. In his most recent editorial about Bandcamp’s decision to donate all of its profits to the ACLU today only, he notes that his social feeds have been abuzz with complaints ever since the announcement: “I’ve seen musicians speak out against Bandcamp for using their platform for political reasons,” he says, and notes the preponderance of memes “about how stupid ‘snowflakes’ were to delete Uber” when the company sent vehicles to JFK during a cabbie strike.
I haven’t seen any such complaints on my social feeds. Such is the liberal bubble I live in, in which an echo-chamber of liberals loudly applauded both Bandcamp’s decision and the Uber boycott. But, as we learned this election cycle, my liberal bubble is very far from representative of America as a whole. It’s for this reason that I really enjoy reading Jameson’s columns, whether I agree with them or not (it’s roughly 50/50).
I certainly understand why Bandcamp’s decision could rub people the wrong way. If the roles were reversed and a company MetalSucks does business with (our server company, for example) announced they’d be donating to the Koch brothers for a day, I’d lose my shit. But you know what I’d do next? Find a different server company.
And that’s exactly the course Jameson recommends any bands who have a problem with Bandcamp’s decision take: delete their profile. Or, more moderately, temporarily jack up prices to the point where no one will buy anything:
If you truly value your personal integrity so much that you have the need to publicly disparage the company who gives you a platform to spread your music, then you should do the honorable thing and take your site down. If your ethics are so important to you, then this is the perfect chance to prove it to the world. Show us that your music means more to you than the exposure and money Bandcamp can provide, that your personal integrity is as strong as how you feel your music is, and what it represents. Otherwise everything you’re saying is a bunch of shit-scented hot air meant to construct a persona which fades after the controversy is over. It makes you a fraud, the same as the kind of people who boycott Starbucks because the cup didn’t depict Jesus having a snowball fight on it, but then are back buying lattes two weeks later because “mommy needs her fix.”
At the very least you can set your download costs so high that no one will purchase it or turn them off for the day. This is a good option for those who want to appear virtuous, but also don’t want to lose Bandcamp as a platform because while they give a fuck about reacting to the decision to donate to the ACLU they don’t give THAT much of a fuck, but hope that you (the fans) see it and think they’re really sticking it to the organization. While it’s not exactly lying, it’s certainly a tall tale—like how you really expected to bring in sales of your rehearsal demo that has no vocals that you’re shilling for $7.
See? Easy. Stop complaining and take action.