Bandcamp is about to start offering subscriptions, but they won't look anything like what you see on Spotify. Instead, the Guardian reports that Bandcamp plans to begin letting artists offer subscriptions specifically for their own music. The artist will set the cost, and their subscribers will get access to all of the new music that they put out. Artists can also choose to include parts of their back catalog in the subscription and offer subscriber-exclusive content, from songs to photos to news to discounts on merchandise.
This is for fans who want to hear everything an artist has coming out
In that sense, Bandcamp's subscriptions won't really be competing with Spotify's. They won't be for people who just want to listen to a lot of music — they'll be for bands' true fans only, for people who want to hear everything that an artist has to author and support them even if there isn't a steady stream of music coming out. On the other hand, that's a casual threat to Spotify, too. This offers artists a direct and continuous profit stream, and it's easy to imagine that a major artist could easily get their fans to pay an annual subscription for access to their music. It comes at an interesting time, too: right as Spotify is struggling to justify how much it pays artists for every stream.
Of course, we probably won't end up seeing a wave of big artists abandon their labels and head to Bandcamp anytime soon, but it's still an interesting new model that may help to support the smaller artists that Bandcamp has become such a critical tool for. The British band Candy Says is currently helping Bandcamp test the new subscriptions feature, offering all of their new music as well as seven releases from their back catalog for £20 per year (about $31.80). The Guardian reports that Bandcamp plans to fully announce the feature in San Francisco today, though it hasn't been stated when the option will go live for all artists.