If you're a band with music on Bandcamp, you'll dig this. If you use Bandcamp to find and buy music, you'll dig this even more. A feature launched last year called "Bandcamp for Fans" has had a major overhaul that creates dedicated fan blogs -- i.e. a social feature that lets people create an account a share music on the Bandcamp site. The big story is that it's not the "frictionless sharing" that dominated streaming music services in 2012 but rather the "high friction" approach that seems destined to be a big part of social music in 2013.
High friction sharing is centered around the idea of sharing music that you've bought, not music that you listened to in a drive-by sampling. We've all listened to a song before to see what the buzz was about -- only to find that the song is nowhere near our taste profile. Say you're into indie rock and a friend checked out a flimsy pop song. If you listened to that song and it was shared with your people, you might not be comfortable with people thinking you're a flimsy pop fan when you're not. This represents the major #FAIL point of fictionless sharing -- just because you listened to it doesn't mean you like the song or artist.
Which is what Bandcamp is setting out to do with high friction sharing - road tested music that met your approval enough to go out and buy it. This, Bandcamp hopes, will lead to higher quality recommendations. And a lot less clutter and noise about what your social network is listening to.
The Bandcamp blog describes it by saying "Just over a year ago, the internet was abuzz with the concept of “frictionless sharing”: watch a video, read an article, or play some music, and the activity is automatically shared with your friends. I hated the idea (rightly and eloquently panned by Farhad Manjoo as killing taste), and we set out to create its opposite. Bandcamp for fans is a social music discovery system based on the high-friction concept of ownership."
Not only that, but Bandcamp proved that less is more in beta testing by showing that recommending music you've paid for is worth a higher premium in terms of street cred.
"This high-friction approach to sharing works. During our beta, fans who created accounts increased their spending by 40% on average, and the small test group now drives as many sales to artists as all Twitter traffic to all Bandcamp sites combined," they went on to say.
The other interesting angle here is that you get another new opportunity to tap into a social community centered around music and music only ... and find people with similar taste in music. Give it a test drive by visiting Bandcamp for fans at www.bandcamp.com/fans They'll let you in ... after you buy a song.