A month of Bandcamp pay-what-you-want

Update: my new EP is out – give it a listen!

As promised, I’ve collected some stats from the first month of traffic on the Catzilla EP on Bandcamp.

It’s been very interesting to track where people are coming from, and not least: how many plays I’ve been getting and how many people decided to pay for the EP.

Since I put it out as pay-what-you-want, there was always an option not to pay anything at all, which I’m totally fine with as this was always going to be a promo effort, and not a money-making venture.

So, without further ado, here are some hard facts from 30 days of Bandcamp “pay-what-you-want” data:

  • 4244 hits on the EP page
  • 3886 streaming plays on the same page
  • (+ 2165 plays from the embedded player, mostly from piracy sites, unfortunately) 
  • 29 purchases
  • 86.68 USD in revenue (before 15% in fees to Bandcamp)
  • 220 e-mail addresses collected (from both free and paid downloads)

This means that..

  • Roughly every 7th person who downloaded the EP, also paid something for it
  • The average price they paid was ~2,99 USD 
  • ..or ~0,99 USD per track, if viewed that way (because individual track download was disabled on this EP)

0,99 USD per track is identical to the price iTunes charges customers, which indicates that people have established a certain standard value for downloadable music.

This also means that even with all those unpaid downloads, each EP download on average still generated ~0,41 USD in revenue, because the paid downloads make up for the unpaid ones.

Considering that after the fees on iTunes, each 2,97 USD sale (the full EP price) generates ~2,08 USD in revenue, I’m happy with these figures. Of course, I do wish for more traffic on the site, as increased traffic = increased revenue. Nobody is getting rich off of these numbers, but it’s encouraging to see that things are indeed not as bleak in the digital music download-world as some want to paint it.

When you can give away your music for free and still make an average income of roughly half of what being on iTunes would generate, the pay-what-you-want model has a right to live and prosper.

I am still waiting (and will be waiting for some time) for the iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Rdio numbers, but when I have them I will also share these with you guys.

In addition to numbers above, I also wanted to mention that the highest price someone paid for the EP was 10 USD, and the lowest was 0.5 USD. Clearly, some have more money/appreciation, and some have less. Even with the large gap in what people choose to pay, I am very happy for every single paid download, as it serves as validation for what I do and how people perceive it.

I hope this has been an interesting bit of trivia for you guys, have a nice weekend!

State of the demoscene: 2012

NOTE: this page is outdated. See my updated report here: blog.subsquare.com/state-of-the-demoscene-1991-2014/

This is an update piece for a quite extensive post I wrote more or less exactly one year ago called State of the demoscene: 1991 – 2011 which you should probably check out for the background on this post. To put it in short and simple terms: I looked at the data from Pouet.net, the biggest and most complete database of demoscene productions in existence, and collected the numbers into categories and graphs to more easily spot trends and ongoing changes within the scene.

I have now refreshed the data with info from 2012, and will present a few charts and highlight a few observations on the activity of the previous year.


But first, some non-charts

I also looked at a few stats that are not illustrated with graphs:

  • The amount of associated parties with releases (aka “demoparties with releases”) which peaked in 1999 with 113 parties and hit a low in 2010 with 63 parties. It went up a bit in 2011 to 81, and back down again to 71 last year.

    fewer parties are being arranged, but thankfully the amount seems to have plateaued at a steady level.
  • The amount of active (aka “logged in”) users on Pouet. This is not as much of a production statistic, but more a reflection of the average activity level of the surrounding community of this particular site. It might be true then to say that the activity of discussing demos have moved to other venues, because it’s been a steady decline in user activity since a the monthly average peaked in 2008 with 633 logged in users, which is now reduced to 524 in 2012 – a 17% reduction in activity over four years.

    less people are logging in to Pouet and posting either in the BBS or on prod pages, and this amount also seems to have plateaued. Discovery of new prods as well as the discussion and commenting on them seem to have move to other venues, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • The amount of groups associated with releases. Again, not much of a prod statistic, but more of a reflection on how demos are being published. From a peak of 1032 registered groups in 1996, we are now down to 575 in 2012a 44% reduction in 16 years.

    the old paradigm of getting together in a demo group and then sticking together and only releasing productions under that “label” is indeed going away. The way demos are being made these days are more free-form and less formal. People from different groups band together to release co-ops.

Total demoscene production output, all platforms

I’ll start with perhaps the most important chart, for those interested in knowing the pulse of the current demoscene community: the total amount of productions released in 2012, compared to the past. The total is 859 productions, up from 794 in 2011. Overall, the last four years seem to have declared the current production level, which has indeed plateaued. So, we can say with some certainty that the decline has apparently stopped for now, which is good news.




When we break it down to the various platforms represented in the chart above, things start to get interesting. For the first time since 2005, Windows is showing increased activity. In fact, Windows is the main driver behind the overall production output, since most other platforms are more or less at a stand-still, with only minor changes from previous years.


If we remove Windows from the chart, it allows us to take a closer look at what’s going on on the other platforms:


As you can see, the last two years of somewhat unexpected increase in C64 activity seems to have dropped off quite heavily, going from 161 productions in 2011 to 134 productions in 2012. The Amiga and Web (WebGL+Flash+JavaScript) platforms remain more or less unchanged, while Linux and Mac show a moderate increase.

The big surprise (apart from Windows) is the resurgence of DOS, which keeps the momentum from last year and have doubled in activity since the all-time-low in 2010. One theory is that the tiny intro categories is driving this trend.



So far, we’ve only looked at the platforms that the productions run on, but as with last year’s report, I also looked at what types of productions are being created.


Demos, the oldest and most popular form of demoscene productions appear to have fought off the decline, and is now actually showing an increase in activity of 4%. Not a lot, but at this point, any increase is positive. The other two major categories, 4k intro and 64k intro have also plateaued, with 4k intro staying still while 64k intro actually also showing increased activity – 32% more to be exact. Still, 4k intro remain a twice as popular category as 64k intro.


Final words

So, there you have it. In short: things appear to have stabilized when we look at the overall output volume, which is a very good thing. It appears that the current demoscene community have reached its comfort level in terms of the amount of demos and intros it creates every year, but we should not overlook the perhaps more important factor, which is the quality of the productions released.

Since this is highly subjective and hard to quantify, I will not go into detail and instead encourage the reader to visit Pouet.net and have a look at the top 100 productions released in the last year.

(note: that link shows you the last 365 days from when you click on it, so it’ll keep sliding into 2013 if you happen to read this post at a later point — just so you know :)