Bandcamp Acquired By ‘Fortnite’ Maker Epic Games
Bandcamp will continue operating as a standalone platform under the leadership of co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond.
Bandcamp, the music marketplace that has become a financial lifeline for independent artists, has been acquired by Fortnite creator Epic Games. In an announcement on Wednesday, the companies said they “share a mission” to help artists make a living off of their music and that Bandcamp will continue to operate as a standalone platform with co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond at the helm.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. In a blog post, Diamond stressed that Bandcamp’s “artist-first” revenue model, wherein artists and labels receive an average of 82% of sales, would remain in place, along with the popular Bandcamp Fridays promotion, which removes the company’s cut.
“However, behind the scenes we’re working with Epic to expand internationally and push development forward across Bandcamp, from basics like our album pages, mobile apps, merch tools, payment system, and search and discovery features, to newer initiatives like our vinyl pressing and live streaming services,” Diamond added.
Diamond said the company has been approached by other potential suitors in the past but “we’ve always felt that doing so would only be exciting if they strongly believed in our mission, were aligned with our values, and not only wanted to see Bandcamp continue, but also wanted to provide the resources to bring a lot more benefit to the artists, labels, and fans who use the site.“
He said Epic “ticks all those boxes” and that the two companies “share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world.”
Launched in 2008 after Diamond ran into trouble trying to buy an album download, Bandcamp started life as a free-to-use site popular with niche genres like video games soundtracks. Seeking profitability without forfeiting its artist-first ethos, the company in 2010 adopted its signature revenue-share model, which Diamond has called “the hardest part in Bandcamp’s history.” Other milestones followed, including adding merchandise sales in 2012, user and label accounts in 2013 and 2014, and in 2016 the company launched its editorial division, Bandcamp Daily. In 2019, Bandcamp opened its own record store and headquarters in Oakland (both of which are temporarily closed due to the pandemic) and in 2020 expanded its vinyl pressing service and added a livestream tool.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Bandcamp team to Epic Games,” said Steve Allison, vp and general manager, store at Epic Games. “Bandcamp has built an incredible community and business where up and coming artists can succeed thanks to the direct support of their fans, with one of the best revenue models and terms in music. This aligns closely with Epic’s approach to supporting creators across all media and enabling them to connect directly with their fans.”