Bandcamp, one of the best independent music hosting platforms, has just announced that it is joining Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite and Unreal Engine.
In an announcement made this week (March 2, 2022), Ethan Diamond (Bandcamp co-founder and CEO) said:
Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team.Bandcamp Update March 2, 2022
I’ve been a part of the Bandcamp community for several years. It has always been an independent place for artists like me, and many others, to distribute music, without the influence of big corporations who want to make millions of dollars streaming music to the masses and offering a very poor return to the artists. The great things about Bandcamp, and the things that convinced me to sign up, were that they don’t take much in commission for selling your music, and you can charge what you like (even zero!). You can also sell vinyl records, merchandise, and offer complete discographies to your fans.
Why choose Bandcamp?
With Bandcamp, there’s never been any outside influence, and every part of the deal between an artist and the company is transparent. No having to work out how much you’ll earn based on some intangible algorithm. The only issue for me has been the more artists and bands signed up to it, the less chance there was of new listeners discovering my music. I’ve always felt a certain amount of trust and faith in Bandcamp and it’s owners, that they keep their independence, and put artists and bands first.
Now Bandcamp has joined Epic Games, I don’t know if they’ll be able to keep that independence, and keep putting artists first. I realise that operating such a big platform costs money, probably more than they earn in fees. I know they may want to expand into other areas, and offer more features. However, I’m concerned that despite Epic being “champions for a fair and open Internet”, that Bandcamp will have a responsibility to its paymasters. It can’t just be a joining of minds! There’ll be some sort of corporate and financial incentive for Bandcamp to deliver a return on Epic’s investment.
As I said earlier, a big reason for my joining the Bandcamp community was that was free from corporate influence – free from the issues and demands of being just another streaming service.
I used to feel the same about Soundcloud, when it was a smaller independent community and platform. Now it’s dominated by big labels and established artists, and the little guy can’t get hard.
I just hope Bandcamp stays independent and does what it’s promising to do, and keep artists first. I’m not going to jump ship and take all my tracks off the platform. I’ll give the company the benefit of the doubt for a while, and hope I can get more plays and sales on Bandcamp Friday.
While you’re hear, please take time to listen and buy my songs on Bandcamp!