The world of independent music was ‘shocked’, ‘jolted’, ‘startled’ and ‘surprised’ to hear that the much-valued bastion of independent music sales, Bandcamp, has been bought by Epic Games, for a “fair and open internet”.
There has been a whirlwind of discussion online and within independent music circles about what this means for those who use Bandcamp and the future of the platform. The overall consensus seems to be one of worry and suspicion, particularly as Bandcamp is one of very few global players with an ‘artists-first revenue model’ with creators receiving about 80% of each sale through the site, according to the company.
Epic Games is an American video game and software developer, as well as publisher. The company was founded by Tim Sweeney and is most famously known for games such as Fortnight and Rocket League. Epic Games is mainly owned by Tencent, the giant Chinese technology and entertainment conglomerate that owns WeChat (one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps), and hundreds of other tech companies. Weighed up with the comparatively small and previously independent Bandcamp, it seems like an unpredictable pairing.
Other than the excited announcement from Bandcamp themselves, little has been revealed about the details of the sale. Here’s a simple summary of some resulting online commentary.