Video game company Epic Games announced the acquisition of the Internet music company Bandcamp, Bandcamp, with the Internet music company continuing its independent business under the video game company, but will benefit from Epic Games’ server services.
In a blog post, Epic noted that the internet music company will play a major role in Epics’ vision to build an ecosystem of marketplaces for creators of content, technology, games, art, music, and more. Bandcamp, a self-described “online record store and music community,” was acquired by Epic Games as part of what the Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer calls its vision of building a “marketplace ecosystem for creators.” Owned by video game developer Epic Games, Bandcamp will operate as a marketplace and music community in its own right and will continue to be led by CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond.
Bandcamp is working with video game developer Epic Games to expand internationally and develop other areas, including album pages, mobile apps, sales tools, payment systems and search and discovery features, Diamond said. In announcing the acquisition by Videogame Company, Ethan Diamond, co-founder, and CEO, noted that the fundamental deal for artists will not change for the foreseeable future. Diamond said that Epic Games and independent music store Bandcamp will work together “behind the scenes” to drive the development of features such as merchandise and payment methods, mobile apps, and live streaming. The acquisition shows that Epic Games is more focused on creating music content, and online music company Bandcamp provides a larger audience and market for independent music artists.
However, it remains to be seen if the acquisition is yet another playout of musical content to fuel the metaverse’s ambitions, or how the move will change Bandcamp. The acquisition was announced on the websites of Epic Games and online indie music marketplace Bandcamp, with the latter emphasizing that it will continue to operate as a separate marketplace and community for independent music artists and their fans.
Bandcamp also confirmed that programs such as Bandcamp Fridays will continue to operate, the platform will forgo its revenue share so that artists receive all sales within 24 hours, and that its online publication Bandcamp Daily will continue to operate, as does the current Bandcamp Fridays program. Bandcamp Fridays, a monthly event where music marketplace platform Bandcamp ditched standard revenue cuts to support artists, will continue post-acquisition. The way artists interact with the Bandcamp fan platform won’t change either, as will artist-focused initiatives like commission-free Bandcamp Friday and Fortnite creator Epic Games’ editorial to support new artists and music.
Defending new music in Bandcamp’s editorial on a fan-facing platform, and as a company that never seemed to pursue a strategy of global dominance at any cost, Bandcamp enjoys a strong following in the artist community, especially among those artists who are active critics. Since its founding in 2008, the sales, streaming, and publishing platform Bandcamp has earned itself a reputation as a rare artist-focused business in the music industry. Bandcamp has created an incredible community and business where aspiring artists can succeed through the direct support of their fans with one of the best income models and conditions in music.
Bandcamp has long been an important platform for young artists; gives them more control over the sale of their music, including the ability to set variable prices. Unlike music streaming services like Spotify, which pay artists a fraction of a cent to listen to a song, Bandcamp is a place where artists can sell albums for streaming and download licenses directly to fans.
No plans have been announced to enable Bandcamp artists to license their music to Unreal Engine or other Bandcamp artist projects, but this seems like a good opportunity. While Epic Games appears to be looking to acquire Bandcamp’s backend, web storefront, and iOS/Android apps, which are easy to use compared to the ongoing clunkiness of the Epic Games Store, the wording suggests Bandcamp can be opened and enter the Unreal Engine asset sales ecosystem. It would be interesting if Epic used the storefront/streaming music platform for anything remotely related to video games, or just wanted to call the platform it’s own.