"This one time, at Bandcamp . . ."
Bandcamp is a website that allows artists to sell their music. Most songs may be streamed at no cost and some may even be downloaded gratis.
The launch of Bandcamp in 2008 was the first part of the deathknell for MySpace. Although Bandcamp appeared prior to SoundCloud, it has not attained the same level of popularity as the latter as it is strictly a music store and not a social media platform. Like SoundCloud, Bandcamp grants a unique URL for artists. Unlike SoundCloud, there is no limit to how many albums may be uploaded. Visually, Bandcamp is easier to navigate than SoundCloud.
For a more detailed comparision between SoundCloud and Bandcamp, check out this blog post.
After creating an album, an artist can upload art, a bio, and descriptions of their work. They can also create tags to better categorize themselves. Each track and album has its own unique URL which can be embedded onto other websites which support that API.
Any artist can begin using Bandcamp at no cost. Artists can set any price for their music. Most songs are one US dollar each. Artists also have the option to let their customers "name their own price" for the music. For each sale, Bandcamp takes a small cut: typically 15%, although the musicans are not charged until they have reached a certain volume of sales. After selling 5,000 USD, Bandcamp lowers their take to 10%. Because most of these transactions are made using Paypal, an artist will have to account for those processing fees as well.
Shoppers are more likely to purchase entire albums instead of piecemeal tracks on Bandcamp than shoppers of other music services. Purchased music may be downloaded or received as a physical copy via snail mail. Artists can also use their Bandcamp page to sell other merchandise such as clothing or art.
In the summer of 2010 Bandcamp gained some noteriety after a number of well-known musicians (Sufjan Stevens, Amanda Fucking Palmer, Bedhed, among others—including Phil Everum of Mount Eerie & The Microphones) began renouncing their record labels in favor of the free service. Since then many, many more young independent artists have set up shop at Bandcamp.
Last year a number of game developers began releasing the soundtracks for their work on Bandcamp. These games include Aquaria, Bastion, Sanctum, Machinarium, Terraria, Plants vs. Zombies, Limbo, Super Meat Boy, To the Moon, and Minecraft.
Bandcamp is an excellent way to find and sell niche music. And if you have a Bandcamp account with music on it, there is also the option to view your stats as an homage to the classic game Defender.
"And this one time, in Bandcamp . . . . . ."
And Oolong is on bandcamp. Throw him a pound!