By Cathal Donovan O’Neill, Music Editor
Welcome back to our look at Bandcamp Friday! This piece continues last issue’s column, where I talk to Colm Cahallane of HAUSU Records.
This issue we’re talking to Dan Walsh of Fixity, the Tan Jackets, Cork Improvised Music Club, and much more. The Cork multi-instrumentalist is a big proponent of owning your output: He focuses on Bandcamp and Patreon releases, with no Spotify presence. That’s why we thought he’d be a good person to continue the conversation around it.
Bandcamp and Patreon both run on a roughly monthly schedule right now, between Bandcamp Friday and monthly subscriptions. I start by asking Dan, does the content grind affect your art, in terms of enjoyment or content?
“It hasn’t affected how I work really. I put out three Fixity albums last year because I was writing and recording a lot in lockdown and I wanted to be careful to not rush work for someone else’s deadline. I was aware that a lot of music was being released on those dates too. I think it’s been helpful for some artists who needed a nudge to motivate themselves to release something, which has been a great part of it. […] It fits around the way I work very well and the continued support helps in a real way.”
There’s a lot of discussion in music circles around the sustainability of streaming. Spotify is good for outreach but nets you absolutely pennies unless you’re A-list, but platforms with better relationships with creators like Bandcamp and Patreon can still feel like they haven’t broken out of their niche. Dan’s positive about their ability to help artists: “Bandcamp is a good way to host your music and a simple way for people to buy it, and Patreon is a way to directly support individual artists that you think deserve to be able to keep making work. I don’t know one artist who can survive from streaming revenue but when someone buys something either directly from the artist or through Bandcamp we really do see the benefit.”
To close off, I asked Dan what he’d do if he was just putting his music out there. How would he go about putting the music (and himself) out there?
“I think it’s important to make work that you think should exist and try to present it in a way that aligns with your values as an artist as best you can. You do not have to host your music on any specific platform if you are uncomfortable with the way it does its business, but know that if you aren’t on the mainstream platforms it will take [a] little more to get your music out there. Promoting things can be a very difficult game to navigate and people can lose sight of their intention, no amount of exposure can make you more honest with yourself as an artist. The art is the focus! I am certainly no expert on PR, I’d like to encourage artists to value their work and for listeners to buy albums they like.”
“Oh, and I’m working on FIXITY 7 and it will be out in the next few months!”
Check it out, readers: If it’s anything like Fixities one through six, it’s going to be something completely original.