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Bandcamp, Google to Maintain Payment System Until Epic Suit Ends

On June 1, Bandcamp will begin putting aside 10% of sales in escrow until the suit is complete, "a cost we will bear," CEO Ethan Diamond said.

Bandcamp and Google have entered into a “joint stipulation” agreement, encouraged by the court, that will allow the popular music downloading platform to continue using its own payment system while Google’s lawsuit with Bandcamp parent company Epic Games proceeds, according to court filings released today (May 20).

The agreement stems from a dispute between Epic, which bought Bandcamp in March, and Google in which Epic protested Google’s decision to push Bandcamp to use its Google payment system, rather than Bandcamp’s own, a move that could have prevented Bandcamp from paying out artists in its standard 24-48 hour period following a sale. Under Google’s system, the company has argued, Bandcamp would be forced to pay out to artists between 15 and 45 days after a sale, “a significant blow to the artists who rely on Bandcamp to make a living and continue making music.”

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Under the agreement, the two sides have allowed Bandcamp to continue using its own payment system on Android devices and to continue to pay artists their same share while the dispute continues making its way through court. But beginning June 1, “Bandcamp will place 10% of the revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost we will bear,” Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond wrote in a blog post.

This latest development comes amid broader, separate lawsuits between Epic Games — which is the maker of Fortnite — and Apple and Google, which claims the latter two companies use their domination of the app marketplace to force apps to use their own payment systems, while taking around a 30 percent cut of sales. Google denied the allegations, adding Google Play is less restrictive than Apple’s App Store and that it passes along “minimal cost to developers in the vast majority of cases.”

The case is set for trial in April 2023, while Epic’s case against Apple led to a split ruling last year, wherein a judge ruled that Apple was within its rights to push apps onto its own payment system, but apps were entitled to nudge users to outside payment systems as well; that ruling is under appeal.