From day one of The Pop Cop, this blog has directed readers to the MySpace page of any artist we’ve written about. The social networking site’s instant ability to let fans hear streamed songs packaged in a consistent, practical set-up made it a much more reliable alternative to linking to a band’s custom-made website.
Recently, however, it has been pretty hard to resist the urge to hunt down the people who run MySpace and give them a right good kick to the crotch. They seem hellbent on making the experience increasingly annoying for everyone. Musicians are no longer able to make their playlisted songs downloadable; casual users find it impossible to navigate without their browser getting blitzed by an oversized advert for some overhyped major-label act; and worst of all (from a personal point of view), MySpace recently decided it would be a good idea to flag up all links to Blogspot websites – such as The Pop Cop – as spam, irrespective of its content. Not clever.
It might seem hypocritical to complain when these irritations still haven’t stopped us promoting the music on MySpace, but there has been no superior alternative to recommend… until now.
BANDCAMP is still in its infancy yet it trumps MySpace at virtually every turn as a one-stop-shop for groups and fans. Not only can you play full songs on individual artist pages at a very listenable 128kb/s bitrate, Bandcamp also lets visitors download high-quality mp3s – either for free, at a fixed cost or at a name-your-price fee (aka the Radiohead model).
We’ve already come across 30 Scottish acts who have signed up for the service and undoubtedly hundreds more will follow as word spreads. Frightened Rabbit are the most high-profile converts, while Beerjacket has already been convinced enough to remove all of his MySpace songs in favour of a Bandcamp page, and Edinburgh rapper Werd is making and sharing some of the most gutsy and intrepid hip hop Scotland has to offer.
It’s by no means perfect. At the moment, there is no way to search for artists on the website without manually trawling through pages and pages of alphabetised names. There is also no option for artists to enter their location when they register so, for example, if a visitor wanted to track down all the Aberdeen-based musicians on Bandcamp it would be an impossible task.
Those hurdles will almost certainly be cleared as the website grows in popularity and other standard features the site currently lacks such as gig dates, latest news, biogs and band photos will be rolled out soon, according to the FAQ section.
In the meantime, here are those 30 acts from Scotland on Bandcamp we’ve painstakingly found (a lot of Googling research went into this), plus one Scottish record label to round off the list:
Martin John Henry
The Scottish Enlightenment
The Second Hand Marching Band
The Whisky Works
Your Neighbour The Liar
…and here are some of the best songs The Pop Cop downloaded for free on Bandcamp today:
Beerjacket – Island
Frightened Rabbit – Fun Stuff (demo)
Kid Canaveral – Good Morning
Maple Leaves – Kirsty
Werd – Committed
Withered Hand – Hard On (via SL Records)