Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Monroe St. artists on Bandcamp

If you have visited our Music Page recently you may have seen links for our artists That That Is and Aerostat on Bandcamp. What sets Bandcamp apart from numerous other online music companies that have risen to prominence in the past 20 years? 

Bandcamp allows artists and recording labels not only to upload their music, but also to control how they sell their work, as well as the pricing of their work, and to sell associated merchandise. Artists can also offer their work in physical formats, including CD and even vinyl records. 

Since Bandcamp was founded in 2008, more than 3,500 labels and 600,000 artists have sold music or merchandise through it. The company operates on a "fair trade" music policy in which revenue is split approximately 10-15% to Bandcamp, roughly 5% to processing fees, and 80-85% to the artist. Since, as its website states, "we only make money when artists make a lot more money", it's become a hotspot for emerging artists of all kinds. 

Standalone music streaming companies have, in the past decade, continued to lose money and industry-wide recording sales have continued to decline. Many, if not most, artists no longer make any substantial income from recording sales. Ethan Diamond, one of Bandcamp's founders, stated in 2017 that "the seemingly inevitable upshot of these two trends (declining streaming and recording sales) is that the majority of music consumption will eventually take place within the subscription rental services of two or three enormous corporations, who can afford to lose money on music." In turn, he added, these corporate giants will increasingly dictate what music is recorded and heard. 

But Bandcamp was and is determined to buck those trends.  In 2017 Bandcamp enjoyed its sixth straight year in the black, along with double-digit growth in every aspect of its business. Digital sales increased by 16% for albums and 33% for individual tracks. Even more astonishing was its growth in physical sales: vinyl album sales increased 54%, cassettes 41%, and CDs 18%.  

"We want a music platform to exist where the playing field is level, where artists are compensated fairly and transparently, and where fans can both stream and own their music collections," Diamond said. 

Bandcamp also is generally more consumer-friendly than other music services. Browsing, sampling and choosing music at the site is easy and enjoyable. You may also discover new artists and artists outside of the mainstream music industry that you might not have found otherwise. 

These reasons and others are why Monroe St. has included Bandcamp among the marketplaces through which we make our works available. To explore Bandcamp and its offerings, visit

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Recent and upcoming events

Monroe St. Press rounded out a busy spring season with back to back events in Montello, Wis. and Bloomington, Ill. 

Cog County Faire VI, held May 31-June 2 at White Lake Beach Resort in Montello, featured old-fashioned carnival-style entertainment and games, lake cruises, and plenty of time to relax and catch up with old and new acquaintances. 

We were especially pleased to see some returning customers, including Marie, Eric and their 7-month old daughter Ingrid from Minneapolis, who received a signed copy of the futuristic anthology Unto This Last. 

As always, thanks to White Lake Beach Resort for hosting this event every year and making all "time travelers" feel welcome!

The very next weekend (June 7-9), we took part for the first time in Cogs & Corsets: A Steampunk Happening in downtown Bloomington. 

Vendors were originally scheduled to set up outdoors but due to strong winds, many (including Monroe St. Press) took advantage of an opportunity to move to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. This historic building, formerly the Scottish Rite Temple, is best known for hosting the American Passion Play but also hosts numerous other events. We enjoyed the surroundings and our visitors, including some we've seen at other events, and hope to return again next year. 

Outside of the Center is a unique sculpture monument, titled "Convergence of Purpose", honoring Abraham Lincoln and his connections to Bloomington. The statue shows Lincoln flanked by two close friends who were Bloomington residents: David Davis (1815-1886), a fellow circuit riding attorney and eventual Supreme Court Justice, and Jesse W. Fell (1808-1887), a businessman and land owner who helped establish what is now Illinois State University in Normal. Davis and Fell encouraged Lincoln to run for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas and also took part in his 1860 presidential campaign. Lincoln frequently kept important papers under his signature stovepipe hat and is depicted pulling documents out of the hat.

At the base of the statues are plaques commemorating speeches and presentations that Lincoln made in Bloomington, including the "Lost Speech" of 1856 and a lecture in 1858 at which Lincoln remarked: "Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries and Inventions" — an appropriate focus for a steampunk-themed celebration.  

We'll be returning to Bloomington for our next scheduled event, the FlatCon gaming convention Oct. 11-13 at the Interstate Center. Watch this blog and on our Facebook page for more details!