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Bandcamp agrees to Epic merger

Will things change? CEO & co-founder says no

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 4 Mar 2022

Bandcamp has been a breath of fresh air for musicians, producers, and rappers in the rough and tumble world of the music industry. For the past 14 years, artists on Bandcamp have kept an average of 82 percent of their sales, which dwarfs the minuscule payments from bigger streaming companies like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

On March 2, CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond announced in a memo that Bandcamp has been acquired by Epic Games, home to titles like Gears of War, Fortnite, and Unreal. Diamond promised that nothing would change and “The products and services you depend on aren’t going anywhere.” This includes the wildly popular Bandcamp Fridays, where the artists get 100 percent of sales on the first Friday of each month. This deal put US$40 million in artists’ hands during the pandemic and solidified a legion of loyal followers.

It’s easy to see why acquisitions and mergers are viewed skeptically. Once, YouTube was the Wild West before selling ads, monetizing, and copyright takedowns became their biggest priority. Many people on Soundcloud spent years building fan bases only to have their accounts hit with three strikes. The music community has had some music licensing issues with Epic in the past. Also, Bandcamp also walks a fine line with selling sampled music that hasn’t been cleared, so even if the CEO says things won’t be changed, the reality may be different.

In his memo, Diamond says that what he has created with Bandcamp has had nearly US$1 billion in sales and even though many companies have tried to partner with them, none have felt quite as right. “Epic ticks all those boxes. We share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world, and together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.”

Read the full memo from Ethan Diamond below.