I just went to Bandcamp! Michael Strishak, aka Chico singer/songwriter Fera, invited me. From his MySpace home, Fera has a link to where you can download his latest CD, and the link takes you to his corner of a new site called Bandcamp (in his case, to www.fera.bandcamp.com). When a band sends someone to its Bandcamp online store, it is the band’s own store. As the Bandcamp nerds say, “instead of ads for Sexy Singles Chat, your fans see your design, your music, your URL.” The art is band-generated; there’s a big picture of the CD cover in the middle, a clickable list of the CD’s songs and a column to the right listing the artist’s other available releases. That’s it. You click play, and the full songs quickly buffer for previewing, or you can download based on the artist-specified options. A band can, say, allow for free downloads of lower-quality files (like mp3s) and charge for higher quality (ACC, FLAC). And the band gets all the money! You can just visit the site as a fan and comb through the music, but the browsing options are limited to alphabetical or date-added. But Bandcamp is not trying to be another music blog, ’zine or general online music store; it’s a tool for the bands to use. It’s an uncluttered, well-composed outpost to send their fans to pick up their merchandise. Basically: a simpler, cheaper and more attractive version of CD Baby.