Epic Games buys music market Bandcamp

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Epic Games buys music market Bandcamp.

Epic Games, the Cary-based video game developer, said Wednesday it was buying band campa popular music marketplace used by artists, for an undisclosed sum.

Epic, the creator of the popular Fortnite video game, has raised billions of dollars from investors in recent years, and it has used that money aggressively to buy other tech companies, such as the creators of the Rocket League video game. and the Houseparty chat app. .

Bandcamp, which lets users buy and stream music, marks Epic’s 18th acquisition, according to venture capital data firm Crunchbase. Epic declined to comment on the acquisition beyond its own version.

Bandcamp has grown in popularity in recent years as a place for musicians to sell their music, in a landscape increasingly dominated by streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Artists can sell digital and physical goods on Bandcamp, which takes a 10% share of sales, NPR previously reported. The company, which is reportedly profitable, also occasionally holds special days, called Bandcamp Fridays, when it allows artists to take almost 100% of the revenue from their sales. In 2020, the artists brought $40 million on Bandcamp FridaysPreviously reported variety.

In a statement, Epic said Bandcamp would help it create a marketplace for artists and creators. The company previously said it aims to create a virtual ecosystem, dubbed the Metaverse, where users can buy art and other items directly from each other.

Bandcamp is the second artist market Epic bought last year. Last year, he bought ArtStationa website that allows artists to sell their work and host their portfolios.

Both purchases quickly turn the Epic Games Store into a place where users could potentially buy more than just video games.

“Bandcamp has built an incredible community and business where up-and-coming artists can succeed through the direct support of their fans, with one of the best revenue models and terms in music,” Steve Allison, vice president and general manager of ‘Epic Games Store,’ said in a statement.

“It aligns closely with Epic’s approach of supporting creators across all media and enabling them to connect directly with their fans.”

News of Bandcamp’s acquisition surprised many artists who use the service as a source of income. durham musician Al Riggs they tweeted were worried about what Epic ownership might mean.

“Bandcamp is the only platform that allows me to release music and merchandise in a way that actually benefits me financially,” Riggs wrote:, “so hopefully this doesn’t lead to shenanigans or exploitative means. It’s hard not to worry about these things when something like this happens.

Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond said the market for his company will not change after ownership and will continue to host Bandcamp Fridays.

“In Epic, we have found a partner who believes as deeply as we do that the future of music, and of art itself, depends on creating fair and inclusive communities like the one our fans and artists have contributed. to build,” Diamond said. said in a statement.

“We’re excited to work alongside the Epic team to accelerate the realization of our mission and pursue our shared goal of empowering more creators in a fair and open way.”

Already, Diamond said, Bandcamp is working with Epic to expand internationally and improve its mobile apps, discovery features and payment systems.

He will also be working to bolster his own streaming platform and a vinyl pressing business he started following a vinyl pressing shortage that has delayed releases for many artists.

In a blog post, Diamond made numerous references to Epic being “champions of a fair and open internet.”

For nearly two years, Epic has fought internet giants Apple and Google in court over their decision to cut in-app purchases by 30% on iPhone and Android phones.

A decision in these cases could impact how Bandcamp runs its platform in the future. Currently, users cannot purchase digital albums on the Bandcamp iPhone app due to Apple’s in-app purchase fees. Instead, users are directed to the Bandcamp website, where these fees do not apply.

This story was produced with the financial support of a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh through an independent journalism grant program. The N&O retains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; visit bit.ly/newsinnovate.

This story was originally published March 2, 2022 2:01 p.m.

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Zachery Eanes is Innovate Raleigh’s reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. It covers technology, startups and high street companies, biotech, and education issues related to these fields.