Music history is full of stories of indies going mainstream. Here’s the latest: The online music platform Bandcamp has been acquired by Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite. Bandcamp allows artists to sell music and merch and keep a high percentage of the profits — even 100 percent on Bandcamp Fridays, which the company began doing in the COVID-19 pandemic to support independent musicians. “Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community,” Ethan Diamond, co-founder and CEO, wrote in a statement on the acquisition. Diamond went on to say that Bandcamp will continue paying artists as it does and offering Bandcamp Fridays and that the editorial arm, Bandcamp Daily, will also continue. Epic, he added, would help the company digitally, both in updating the platform and recent expansions like live-streaming. “Epic and Bandcamp share a mission of building the most artist friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money,” Epic said in its own statement.
The move earned a bit of criticism online, with some noting that Epic investors include Tencent Holdings, which also has ties to Spotify, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Bandcamp Daily’s editorial director, J. Edward Keyes, responded to speculation about the site on Twitter. “I just want to reassure you: Bandcamp Daily is not going anywhere,” he wrote. News of the acquisition comes two days ahead of the next Bandcamp Friday, on March 4.
Correction, 3:48 p.m.: This post has been updated to clarify that Tencent is invested in Epic Games, but does not fully own the company.