If you listen to music in the internet, you’ve probably heard of Soundcloud and Bandcamp, two sites that let you stream music. They’re different from music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music because they cater to artists trying to build up their audiences rather than established players, though famous artists do use them on occasion.
Soundcloud is a site where any musician can post their music and where people can listen for free, comment on it, and repost it on their own feeds. Chance the Rapper famously used it to make his latest album available for free after it was an Apple Music exclusive for two weeks, and Kanye west posted tracks from his most recent album there. It’s common for DJs to use the platform to post their remixes.
Bandcamp is similar — artists can post their music and people can listen for free — but the site has a feature that allows people to buy albums under a “pay-what-you-want” price tag or donate to artists they listen to. The site’s community focuses on independent artists. It’s more common to see entire albums on Bandcamp than on Soundcloud, which favors singles.
The stereotypes of the two sites’ communities are that Soundcloud fans are much more into hip hop and more mainstream music, and Bandcamp users are more likely to listen to twee indie music. The Fader describes the types of music popular on each platform: “emo-rap from Soundcloud, and the lo-fi releases of artists like Frankie Cosmos on Bandcamp.” Now, the powers of the internet have mined Soundcloud and Bandcamp’s musical differences and turned them in meme gold.