If you love all kinds of music, chances are you’ve already heard of Bandcamp. If you haven’t, it’s a service that has revolutionized music publishing and eliminated hurdles for individual artists and groups who wish to self-release their work over a variety of genres.
Why is it great?
Profound fan integration and tagging allows users to search for music by genre, record labels, country of release, friend recommendations, and every other peculiar metadata you can think of. But tagging runs much deeper than that. Searching for a band name tag will give you results for the tracks the band has released as well as other tracks from the same genre or similar to the kind of music you enjoy. When you find a track you like, Bandcamp provides you with an option to either stream the track online or purchase a download available in various formats (ranging from lossless FLAC to regular MP3s).
You probably don’t want the iOS App
Browsing music on Bandcamp is absolutely delightful, unless you’re using their iPhone app. For some reason, it only allows you to fully stream albums that you’ve already bought from them. It’s a good feature to have, but seeing as the service has achieved its recognition thanks to the music discovery and streaming feature, not having it present in an app is an annoyance to say the least. It does allow you to save audio data on your device so it can be listened to offline, but, if offline listening was what the user was after, they would already have the files on their hard drive.
Thankfully, the app’s features aren’t restricted to streaming purchased audio, and it can be used to listen to Bandcamp’s podcast or to find music based on fan recommendations. This could have been a redeeming feature for the app, except for the fact that it allows you to stream only one song from the discovered recommendations. It’s exasperating to see such a useless iPhone app for as great a service as Bandcamp. Especially when their mobile website, which can be accessed through your phone’s browser, is packed full with all its features.
Use the mobile website instead
The mobile website lets you utilize a range of services, from discovering and streaming tracks and albums to downloading your favorite tracks. While streaming, the track keeps playing in the background even after you’ve switched to another app, and the play/pause feature can be accessed directly from the control center. If your mobile website is more user-friendly and has more features than your app, it’s a cause for concern!
At the moment, Bandcamp’s iOS app is disappointing, but hopefully that will change with further updates. In any case, Bandcamp is an essential find for every music lover, although we would recommend you use its desktop or mobile website to enjoy all features.