The groundbreaking independent music streaming website, Bandcamp, recently materialized itself into a sleek, minimalist record store and music venue right around the corner from 19th Street BART in Oakland.
On April 4th, Concert Career Pathways interns got a chance to tour the new space and have a Q&A session with some of the Bandcamp staff. Before the tour, General Manager Sarah Sexton gave us an overview of the mission of having a physical Bandcamp space. The store only has 99 records by Bandcamp artists available at one time – each of which you can listen to in store in one of their listening booths. The collection showcases the streaming service’s diversity in artists, expose people to new music, and to not take away business from local record stores. The performance space is used for free, all-ages live shows and is meant to interact with and benefit the already thriving music scene in Oakland. When we toured the space, Sarah showed us the area behind the store. With its tall ceilings and wide open space occupied by an array of couches, chairs, and standing tables, the Bandcamp office felt like a space where creativity and personality can run rampant. We were also able to see their in-progress studio where they will soon start recording a radio show.
During the Q&A session, interns were able to ask questions about each employee’s role at Bandcamp as well as their work outside of the store. One of the biggest points that they stressed to us was finding work that you wholeheartedly agree with and believe in. The purpose of Bandcamp is to avoid the exploitation that is often found in big record labels and recording companies, and have fans know that their money is going directly to the artists when they buy an digital album, record, or other merchandise. It may not be the most glamorous or carefree way to live life, and they definitely made sure that we were aware of that reality. But seeing them thrive and make a career out of their passions gave me the hope I’ll need as I pursue music journalism after graduation.
– Rebekah Gonzalez, Concert Career Pathways 18-19
Rebekah Gonzalez is from the small city of Dinuba in California’s Central Valley. She loves attending concerts and knowing that for a few hours, everyone around is experiencing something similar. That’s why she is excited to learn about production and other aspects of the live music industry through The UC Theatre’s Concert Career Pathways. Rebekah’s career goal is to be a working music journalist and photographer.