If you’ve gotten some strange emails from Bandcamp accounts you follow lately, they’re likely notifications of a new feature Bandcamp introduced this week built around the concept of record release parties.

Bandcamp has introduced live listening parties on their platform, calilng it a “new way to celebrate and build support for your album” on Bandcamp.

Listening Parties (they are capitalizing each word) allow fans to stream your album in real time, with audience interaction in the form of questions, reactions and — maybe — pre-ordering or buying the album directly during the event:

Whether you’re premiering a pre-order, celebrating release day, or commemorating a classic, a Listening Party is a fun and organic way to share your album with your most supportive fans.


Listening Parties can be scheduled from the album editor. “Just set a date and description of the event, and we’ll take care of the rest. We notify all of your followers, and at showtime the album plays from start to finish automatically. All the tracks, artwork, and merch that you’ve already uploaded to the album are featured, and fans can wishlist or buy the album in all available formats without leaving the party.”

Here’s what the UI of a listening party looks like:

Listening Parties are designed to be free to host and attend.

The feature was officially announced on August 8 but at least few accounts I follow were testing them out in July. Hyperdub, for instance, held a Listening Party on July 26 for Jessy Lanza’s Love Hallucination. Here’s what the reminder email looks like:

On the downside, Listening Parties are not permanent events. Unlike YouTube video premieres, for instance, followers cannot attend later and “catch up.” Instead, people late to the show are greeted by a modal window telling them the event has ended or even a link to the record the Listening Party was devoted. Here’s what we see if we visit Lanza’s Listening Party today: