Voluntary Payments in Music: The Future of Creative Economies?
Voluntary payment platforms, such as Bandcamp and Patreon, are
notable because they challenge both the traditional music industry model, in
which fans must pay for music in order to obtain access to it, and the
assumption within classical economics that humans are purely self-interested,
rational actors. Here, fan behavior on Bandcamp is analyzed in three studies:
a quantitative comparison of Bandcamp and non-Bandcamp users, a
qualitative and quantitative examination of how Bandcamp users assign value
to music and artists, and a quantitative analysis of Bandcamp transactions.
Through this, we gain an understanding of Bandcamp users’ motivations for
using the platform to support artists as well as the factors that drive different
levels of financial support. Furthermore, we establish the potential for voluntary
payments to scale to more artists and fans, as well as the limitations to scaling,
if they were to be adopted more widely by the music industry and integrated
into the streaming ecosystem.