A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn what it looks -- and sounds -- like when individuals create their own art and try to make a living doing it. Patrons of the performing arts will develop appreciation for aspiring artists who must combine their skills and experiences to present a coherent experience. The pay-what-you-will approach returns the music industry to a time when traveling minstrels laid down their hats; bandcamp just makes it a very big hat. Main-page navigation could be consolidated and enlarged for a smoother experience and continuous-play options expanded. Bandcamp gives independent artists and labels a simple, affordable way to reach fans and generate income in a way that manages to create community and discourages piracy at the same time.
Portals for individual expression carry ultimate positive message: Your voice is important, and it's heard. But some individual lyrics might not fit into everyone's idea of positive.
Violence & Scariness
Some albums advocate violence against police officers. Some album covers depict guns, violent acts.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No explicit sexual content, but many songs contain euphemisms, references. Some album covers depict seminaked human forms, either photographic, cartoon, or artistic.
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"N" word in some song titles, lyrics. Comedy albums don't bleep out curses. Otherwise, language ranges from poetic to raw.
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Products & Purchases
Commerce is a primary purpose of the site. Lack of advertising for other products is refreshing, push to purchase appropriately subtle.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some lyrics about drugs, but not prevalent.
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Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
Tired of the same old stuff playing over and over and over ... and over ... on the radio? Hoping your kids will discover a wider world of possibilities for individual artistic expression? Bandcamp is a fascinating exploration across continents, heartfelt causes, and mostly musical points of view. The site allows fans to search and listen freely among traditional genres such as Latin, classical, rock, and reggae, but behind each one you'll find a good number of titles that not only defy the genre but categorization altogether. Particular outside-the-norm entries include the Kinda Funny Gamecast, game soundtracks such as that for Star Crawlers, stand-up comedy by Robert Jenkins, and farcical PSAs from Welcome to Night Vale. This is, in all senses, the beauty of bandcamp. Album pages offer up everything from artist-generated tags, share/embed buttons, traditional liner notes, Facebook and page links, and a name-your-price option or extremely low asks such as $1 or $3. This gentle approach will soon get kids and adults wanting to support these artists, who produce an amazing array of unique sounds in such a humble fashion. Quality varies, but again, this is the beauty of the experience.
The interface and navigation can be a bit confusing, and it isn't possible to filter by location and genre at the same time. The lack of a way to play your whole collection continuously or in random mode is a bit disappointing as well, but full albums will play automatically. These little issues nag, and a few iffy titles could spoil the experience, but the connection users feel with artists representing cultures and musical interpretations from across the globe is worth it all.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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