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In this short post, I’ll go into a tool I recently came across in downloading your collections from BandCamp, and why I enjoy the music this platform has to offer.
A genre of music I particularly enjoy is VapourWave and its various sub-genres, including MallSoft and Future Funk. However, often due to the plunder-phonics nature many tracks have, whole discographies can be excluded from streaming platforms such as TIDAL and Spotify. As such, one of the best ways to access this music is via BandCamp.
An added bonus is that most of this plunder-phonics music is free, or under a “Name Your Price” system, though you need to pay $1 for the music to be added to your collection, which enables you to stream that music from within their app. Otherwise, you can download the music for free in a wide range of formats, including FLAC.
Another reason I enjoy the music from BandCamp are the regular sales artists and music labels run, where entire discographies can be on sale for as little as a couple of dollars. In this case, not only is the music is added to your collection to access on demand, but it’s a great way of creating a large music collection, whereby the music can then be imported into a music application, such as Navidrome or Plexamp, and create a Spotify or TIDAL like experience.
When downloading free or anything under a dollar, you’ll need to download the music, be it an album or single, individually. A small price to pay considering the music is free or extremely cheap. But for music you’ve paid more for, you can use tools to download your collection all in one go, rather than on a piece-by-piece basis.
In my online searching, I came across a few including the Window application BandcampDownloader, the Grease/Tamper Monkey script Bandcamp-Greasy, and the Python based command line operated bandcamp-downloader. I chose bandcamp-downloader as I am on a Mac, and I feel more confident in using the command line now. I easily managed to install it and configure to download to a chosen directory and in the FLAC format with the following command, replacing the terms
./bandcamp-downloader.py USERNAME -d /path/to/directory/ -f flac
And then the downloads slowly started to trickle in, all zipped up underneath directories with the artists’ name. As such, the music still needs unzipping, but that was the case when downloading manually as well, and then music can be organised however you like.
I like how I can run it the leave it to do all the work in the background with me needing to monitor it or it be too intrusive as I work on something else, but the other two options may be more suitable if you prefer to work with a graphical interface and aren’t too comfortable with the command line.
While I would like it if BandCamp offered a more streamlined method of downloading the music you’ve purchased, I am pleased with bandcamp-downloader as it will also check existing files in the directory and skip over those already downloaded, making it handy to run whenever you collection grows to just grab the newest additions. However, this would also require leaving the files unzipped in their place for this to work, which wouldn’t be too much of a bother if you have the space for dormant files, and just copy the zips elsewhere to then be unzipped and added into your music library, though space may be a luxury you do not have.
As such, while I feel this system works well for me as someone who thankfully has the hard drive space to store these zips, others may need to be more careful when downloading their collections so as to not download duplicates, and may require using a different tool.