What happened now? In the ongoing wave of acquisitions involving video game companies, this has to be the strangest. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have acquired other gaming companies in at least the past few weeks, but Epic Games seems to think the purchase of the music service is in line with their mission going forward.
Bandcamp announced this week that they are becoming part of Epic Games. The two companies are in completely different entertainment industries, but they point to a shared desire to create a market that puts creators first.
Over the years, Bandcamp has been praised by customers and artists for allowing artists to sell DRM-free music (often bundled with physical copies on CD or vinyl). He is also known for passage more revenue for artists than Spotify, and occasional Bandcamp Friday promotions where all sales proceeds go to the artists. Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond confirmed the company will remain a separate music service and its deal with Epic will not change its current policy.
As for why he joined Epic, Diamond writes that the game company will help it expand globally and provide more resources to develop the technical aspects of the music service. Epic adds that it wants to create a marketplace that spans games, music, art, technology, and more.
“Fair and open platforms are critical to the future of the creator economy,” the game company said in a press release. “Epic and Bandcamp share a mission to create the most artist-friendly platform that allows creators to keep the most of their hard-earned money.”
The sentiment is similar to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s comments during the legal battle with Apple. He opposed a 30 percent cut in Apple’s developer revenue on its app store. When the Epic Games Store first launched, its main advantage was its lower revenue distribution compared to Steam.
Bandcamp shows the huge impact a small number of core supporters have on an artist’s income. This shows that livelihoods are available to those who are not very popular or have no connections. It’s perfect and it shouldn’t get bigger, but it is.
All I ask today is that you don’t stop using it.
— 2 Mello (@MelloMakes) March 2, 2022
However, it is not surprising that many artists and fans skeptical that Bandcamp will remain as it is under the umbrella of Epic.
“Even if things go well for the next few months, it can only go in a worse direction,” Mel Stone, an artist who gets half of her music income from Bandcamp, tweeted.
Another artist, 2 Mello, praised the service for its sustainability, imploring fans to continue to support it.
“It shows that sustenance is available to those who are not very popular or have no connections. It’s perfect and it shouldn’t get bigger, but it’s true,” the artist said.