Music fans are worried about Epic Games’ acquisition of Bandcamp

The Oakland-based company, which also operates a physical recording store and performance space on pre-pandemic Broadway, has one of the few artist-friendly distribution models in the industry. Although you can stream tracks for free, the site attempts to steer the listener toward purchasing music, either digitally or as physical media, with an average of 82% of net revenue going directly to artists.

So the music industry’s internet launched a collective opportunity when it was announced Wednesday morning that Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, Gears of War, and Unreal, had acquired Bandcamp. The deal was announced by Bandcamp CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond at a Blog post It was short on details but emphasized a shared vision with Epic to build “the world’s most open and artist-friendly ecosystem”.

At the moment, there is nothing fundamentally different on the Bandcamp website, and if one takes the company’s word for it, the core mission of the company will not change. Bandcamp Fridays, a pandemic-era initiative in which the service waives one day per month most of its fees to artists, will continue. Its editorial operation Bandcamp Daily, one of the few remaining music-writing bastions on the Internet, is also safe for now. According to the CEO, the merger will expand its international reach, improving systems such as mobile apps and discovery features and support for vinyl compressions and live broadcasts.

When reached for comment, Epic Games will not comment on questions regarding how this will open opportunities for video game syncing to artists or ideas for integrating streaming music players into future games.

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As expected, music critic Twitter responded with plenty of chair-to-chair predictions about where the merger might lead. that is track money He noted that Chinese technology group Tencent, which owns 40% of Epic, also has approximately 10% of the shares in spotify. Others note that Epic may help resolve the issue of not being able to purchase albums on the Bandcamp app, as well as help implement the playlist feature, but adding a standalone streaming player may Undermine album sales. Eagle-eyed watchers have noted several writers in the Bandcamp editorial team deactivate their account Wednesday, but Bandcamp Editorial Director He assured that the staff would not go anywhere.

To many fans, Bandcamp’s independence and modest size She was part of the appeal, and this puts her in danger of entering her realm Too Big to Be Responsible Peers love spotify. There is also the danger of Bandcamp giving in to some of the pitfalls it faces SoundCloudIncluding ads, sample discovery, and premium subscription models. There is also a risk that every musician on the platform will become a file Playable character in Fortnite. In addition, many commentators expected Bandcamp to enter the world NFTsa move that would align well with its mission of Creators Reward.


It’s natural to be skeptical of any such acquisition, but for everything Twitter says, the details of the announcement are so thin that the future of the company is really anyone’s guess. The only sure thing? this friday It would be a good day to head to the site to support your favorite band.

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