Bandcamp Listening Parties – The New (weekly) Normal

Over the past two Fridays, I’ve been taking advantage of a new feature in Bandcamp and holding Listening Parties. The idea of a listening party is simple, in that it’s about simultaneous listening with a chat room for me to talk about the making and meaning of the music, and you to ask questions about it.

A screenshot of the Bandcamp listening party for Steve Lawson's album Time Stops, with the album artwork, sleevenotes and the chatroom discussion about the album.

In this format, it started as a Twitter thing during Lockdown hosted by Tim from the Charlatans, branded as Tim’s Twitter Listening Party. He would get members of celebrated bands to tweet along to their album, starting at a pre-announced time when everyone could join in. I followed along and contributed comments and questions to the ones for Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair and for the The’s Dusk. A whole lot of fun.

So now Bandcamp has the option to host them for any public album on the site (I really want to be able to do subscriber listening parties, but as yet, you can’t schedule a listening party for a subscriber-only album. The reason, I suspect, is that they see it as a way of generating interest in new, sellable work, rather than as just a way to talk to your community…) 

So the first two were for Time Stops Vol 1 and 2 – one album per week, both of which are newly remastered and we got to chat about that process, about the recording, some of the technical stuff going on, the titles and inspiration. All in all a very worthwhile time.

So now I’m doing them every week on a Friday, or as often as possible (I’ll postpone it if there’s a gig i want to go to, for example!) and this week’s is for my album Rick, which has also had the remaster treatment, with the new Master going live on Friday in time for us to listen to it in the party.

Sound like fun? OK, here’s the link – Rick album Listening Party. Go there, click the RSVP button and you’ll get a reminder before we go live, then come along and chat about the record. It’s a great opportunity to listen on the best system you have – speakers or headphones, and really focus on what’s going on in the music while talking about for just under an hour.

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