‘Fortnite’ developer Epic Games acquires digital music marketplace Bandcamp

Epic Games, the developer and publisher of Fortnite, Unreal Engine, and the Epic Games Store, has acquired the digital music marketplace Bandcamp

The website created in 2008 became popular among indie and DIY musicians around the world over the past decade for its generous revenue model in the face of streaming. The site operates on the sale of songs, albums, and discographies and facilitates merchandise sales. Customers have digital access to their music purchases on Bandcamp’s app. Sales on the platform are the primary source of income for many musicians. 

The acquisition raises many questions and concerns that CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond attempted to assuage in the announcement, writing in a blog post that “Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team.” Diamond promised to maintain artists’ revenue cut on sales, about 82%, as well as Bandcamp Fridays, where the platform doesn’t take any cut on sales.

In a statement, the games publisher owned by billionaire Tim Sweeney and Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent said, “Epic and Bandcamp share a mission of building the most artist-friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money.”

As Galaxie 500 musician Damon Krukowski, who has also written extensively about how streaming has affected musicians’ livelihoods, pointed out on Twitter, the parent company is enmeshed in the corporate music industry Bandcamp has been positioned in opposition to. The Industry Observer reported the corporation acquired a minority stake in Spotify in 2017. In 2020, Tencent expanded its investment in Warner Music Group per The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters reports the company expanded its holdings in Universal Music Group the same year.

As Diamond Posits, “together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.” He points to international expansion and development on payment, search, and discovery as behind-the-scenes enhancements that Epic will facilitate and mentioned vinyl pressing and live streaming as potential future initiatives for the brand.