Bandcamp Bought by Epic Games: What It Means
March 31, 2022
Bandcamp bought out you say? Yes! Someone bought Bandcamp music streaming and that someone was none other than … (wait for it) … Video-game giant Epic Games? Really? Why?
Why, indeed. Let’s talk about all that, shall we?
First of all, yes, the beloved and respected Bandcamp music streaming platform was in fact purchased by the software platform, Epic Games.
“Who the heck is Epic Games?”
Well, Epic is best known for the Fortnight family-friendly shooter game kids couldn’t get enough of during COVID lockdowns. It remains the third biggest esports game in the world and the No. 1 battle royale game.
Techacake says of it:
With more than 80.4 million Fortnite monthly active users and up to 4 million concurrent players every day, Fortnite is the most popular battle royale game in 2022. With the massive cumulative tournament prize pool of $7.88 million in 2020, Fortnite is the third leading eSports game in the world.
Fine, but what the heck has that got to do with music?
Good question. Read on.
Bandcamp Bought Out: Bad or Good?
Bandcamp was bought out, yes. But they didn’t “sell out” their principles or their artists or their fans. At least, not yet. And that’s crucial for today’s indie music artists because Bandcamp gives musicians the best platform for their music by far.
See, when we talk about the best music streaming platforms for an artist to sell their material on, we do it because an artist should definitely distro their songs to those platforms. Those platforms have the widest audience because they give very little to artists. That’s how their subscribers can get badillions of songs for five-ten dollars a month.
But artists should also definitely get their music on Bandcamp because Bandcamp lets artists sell their music at any price the artist wants (!) from which BC only takes a tenth (!!!).
Nat’l Public Radio says of this:
Bandcamp allows artists to take orders for physical goods that they can fulfill however they choose – from their homes, from record labels or distributors, or from third-party merch services. Bandcamp simply takes a 10% revenue share of these sales.
Compare getting 90% per sale to the .0001% per stream most services give you and you can see why Bandcamp is so important to the 21st-century music ecosystem.
“Fine, but I still don’t know whether it’s bad or good that Bandcamp was bought by Epic Games.”
“And I also still don’t know why the heck Epic bought Bandcamp to begin with.”
Also true. Little further down the line, now. Come with us.
Is Bandcamp Going to Change Because of Epic Games?
Everyone wants to know if Bandcamp is going to change because Epic Games bought Bandcamp. We think the answer is no, not in any bad way. And here is why.
Most Bandcamp fans know that Bandcamp has been an artist-first indie company since it started in 2008. Since then it has been stealing notable artists like Low Places, Amanda Palmer and Bedhed from major labels and engaging in laudable charity work for musicians and fans alike.
But what most fans of music (and games too) don’t know is that Epic Games has also been fighting the good fight for artists in the video game industry since 2018.
Matthew White of Whitethorn Games compared his experience to rival platform Steam like this:
"Great support, direct contact with a human being, simple staging, great backend tools, one-on-one support … But on Steam, every time we launch a game, we spend five-six hours trying to get streaming to the page working, updating the store is a nightmare, build uploading has to be done by a member of our engineering team, and it's nearly impossible to get support to respond to your requests. Luckily, after four years in business and through the introduction of a mutual friend, we now have a reliable [Steam] contact, though this process was extremely difficult."
Wow. So Epic is a much more friendly and humane place to work for video game artists. And this is why we feel secure that Bandcamp isn’t in danger of being ruined by Epic. As for why Epic wanted it in the first place, MakeUseOf says:
“The acquisition will help Bandcamp's platform in two ways. First, it will help the platform expand internationally and, secondly, aid Bandcamp's development to better its current offerings and introduce newer features.”
As for whether Bandcamp will change for the worse, we start with the knowledge that both companies already care for their artists far, far more than their competition. We also know that both Epic Games and Bandcamp are independent, underdog companies who specialize in not ripping off their artists while still benefiting their customers.
And we also rest on the oath Bandcamp took at the time of sale.
From Bandcamp's announcement on Twitter:
"We will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community” … and … “continue to build Bandcamp around our artists-first revenue model."
As evidence of their ongoing good faith, Bandcamp has continued their extremely popular tradition of Bandcamp Fridays, during which the platform waives its 10% share of sales the first Friday of each month.
Bandcamp Bought by Epic Games: Bad or Good? Probably Good
So that settles it until something horrible happens, but as we’ve explained, there’s no reason to expect that to occur. What’s really gone on is two second-place companies punching up against Goliath overlords have joined forces to make stronger competition. That benefits everyone. So don’t fret! Get your music on Bandcamp and expect the music in your favorite video games to improve! What a time to be alive!
Thanks for reading, and don’t miss all our other articles before heading out.