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Old Oct 29, 2011, 04:01 AM
Salabounder Salabounder is offline
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Default Project Bandcamp

I am in no way affiliated with Bandcamp, I'm just a consumer and a lover of lossless video game music.


To make musicians, composers, publishers, and companies aware of Bandcamp in an attempt to get them to add their music to the digital distribution store.


More often than not if a video game soundtrack is released, you have to import it from Japan. When it comes to digital distribution some soundtracks are occasionally added to the Japanese iTunes Store, which restricts purchases to that region. There is no region lockout with Bandcamp, you can buy music from anywhere in the world, regardless of the country you live in. On top of that, you don't have to pay any international service fees as a penalty for not living in the region the music is published.

Just about every digital distribution service solely deals with the .mp3, or some other lossy file format. So if a video game soundtrack is added to one of these service and isn't given a proper physical disc release, the full quality of that album is unattainable. Bandcamp offers a multitude of file format options, all for the same price. All you need to do is choose which file format you want after purchase you make your purchase. Here are a list of the different download options users are given.
  • MP3 320
  • FLAC
  • MP3 VBR (0)
  • AAC
  • Ogg Vorbis
  • ALAC

When you buy a CD or something from iTunes, how much of that purchase actually goes to supporting the artist who created that music? Not a very high percentage at all. When you make a purchase on Bandcamp the money is deposited directly into the PayPal account setup by the artists. The site explains how they make their money in this Pricing FAQ better than I can, but basically their cut is 15% (which can drop to 10% after reaching a certain number of sales). There are no sign-up or subscriptions fees. Once the music is uploaded, an artist can begin selling immediately.

While the primary purpose of Bandcamp is digital distribution, artists can also sell physical media on the site. This includes things like physical discs and even USB flash drives.

Who is using Bandcamp?

In the video game music community, there are several composers, game studios, and remix artists who call Bandcamp their home. Here is a short list of the some of the more notable releases that come to mind.
Will contacting composers and/or companies work?

The short answers is yes. I've personally contacted Martin Stig Andersen and SuperGiant Games, to let them know about Bandcamp, which is part of the reason why these soundtracks are sold through the site. In the case of the Bastion soundtrack, it has consistently been in the top 20 albums sold ever since it was first added to the site. This shows that there is a high demand for video game music, and that people are willing to pay for it when it is made available for them.

What soundtracks would you like to see on Bandcamp?

Generally letting composers and/or game companies know about the site could have a huge impact on whether or not the soundtrack to game is even released, so that in of itself has it's own benefits. However there are some already existing albums that have been released in lossy formats, usually through the game publisher's web-site. All of which vary in quality and consistency. Below are just a few samples of the albums I would like to see added to Bandcamp at some point. I'm sure each of you have your own list of soundtracks you would like to see released outside of the confines of the Japanese iTunes Store or a compressed lossy format (or both).

Portal: Songs to Test By
'Splosion Man Soundtrack

How can VGMdb help?
For one, if anyone knows Japanese, that could be of great benefit in contacting Japanese composers. In addition I'm sure many of the members here are far more connected to the video game music community at large, and their connections and expertise could go a long way. The existence of this site shows how popular video game music is, and making it more accessible to those who want to purchase it can only be a good thing.

Last edited by Salabounder; Oct 29, 2011 at 04:43 AM.
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Old Oct 29, 2011, 04:36 AM
Cedille Cedille is offline
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Very interesting, and useful post. I'm aware lots of soundtracks from the site have been added to VGMdb lately but never figured out what Bandcamp was.

I know nothing about the Western VGM scene, but the possible biggest obstacle about Bandcamp for Eastern composers who want to sell soundtracks are they often don't have rights for their music to begin with (excepting some composers like Sugiyama, Mitsuda) and even today's leading freelance composers have to 'sell' their stuff to the game companies... I see less problem with doujin/indies/amateur composers, but at the same time I have to wonder how much outside of Japan ever want to pay money to their music.
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Old Oct 29, 2011, 04:52 AM
Salabounder Salabounder is offline
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Originally Posted by Cedille View Post
but at the same time I have to wonder how much outside of Japan ever want to pay money to their music.
Most people outside of Japan can't buy video game music, not easily anyway. Remember ten years ago before digital music distribution became a viable business, everyone used file-sharing sites to get music illegally. Once a system was in place where people could buy music at a reasonable price, piracy dropped dramatically.

You would be surprised. There are actually artists on Bandcamp who offer their music for free, on a pay what you want basis, and more often than not people do. Even if a price is set, but the artists leaves an option for a customer to pay more, some will. For example, Danny Baranowsky sells The Binding of Issac for just $0.99 and people have paid more than that minimum for the soundtrack.

The problem with video game music and piracy is that it isn't easily available. The average video game soundtrack from Japan falls between $35 - $60, and that's not even including shipping. Most people don't want to be thieves, but if people can't easily purchase the music they want to listen to they'll start looking for torrents and illegal downloads. Aside from that, if an album is rare or out-of-print, none of that money goes to the artists, just the second-hand party selling the item for profit. Generally people like knowing that their money is actually going to support the artists, and that does a lot to help drive sales.

Originally Posted by Cedille View Post
for Eastern composers who want to sell soundtracks are they often don't have rights for their music
If the game company has the right to the music, then they could sell it themselves. This shouldn't be any different from when an album is released on CD.

Last edited by Salabounder; Oct 29, 2011 at 05:12 AM.
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Old Oct 29, 2011, 05:40 PM
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TerraEpon TerraEpon is offline
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Jonathan Greer as well:

You can DL it from free or pay, if you want. Mostly stuff from mobile games, but not all. A lot of it is really good, IMO.
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 05:10 AM
Salabounder Salabounder is offline
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Shogo Sakai composer of MOTHER3i has a Twitter account.
Maybe someone who knows Japanese can inform him of Bandcamp and maybe he could add that album to the site.
Then there would finally be a lossless version of this album available since it was only ever released digitally.
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