Everybody’s A Little Sus On Why Epic Games Bought Bandcamp

Everybody’s A Little Sus On Why Epic Games Bought Bandcamp
Image: Epic Games / Bandcamp / Kotaku Australia

The news of Epic Games acquiring Bandcamp confused many, but worried others.

Bandcamp, best known as an online music distributor and lorded over as a hub for independent artists and labels, announced on Wednesday that they would be joining Epic Games in a blog post written by CEO Ethan Diamond. The price Epic Games paid for Bandcamp is currently unknown.

The blog post states that while they will be acquired by the creators of Fortnite, they will continue to operate ‘as a standalone marketplace and music community’, and artists will still have the ‘same control’ over how they offer their music.

However, the decision for the gaming company to purchase the music distributor has befuddled many, with most assuming the worst.

Artists, listeners, and commentators alike all had something to say, that something in particular ultimately being negative and skeptical. It makes sense, considering most regular people are feeling somewhat suspect about the ongoing acquisitions happening in the games industry.

There’s this expectation that the video games industry is sacred, but the reality is that it’s in the business of making money, as are most industries. Considering Epic Games has been infusing music into Fortnite for quite a while now, it wouldn’t be too surprising if they were considering using this acquisition to further the potential of a ‘metaverse’-type project.

All I can say? Take the piss, mate.

Comments

  • The purchase is entirely consistent with Epic’s strategy of bringing a bunch of third party marketplaces into the Epic ecosystem, such as ArtStation and several game asset library marketplaces.

    Epic are positioning themselves as a discount payment portal and diversifying their income base away from being completely reliant on Fortnite. The acquisition further locks in the long-term strategy of increasing leverage and market power relative to Valve, Apple and Google. Ultimately, as these other guys have found, the real money is in skimming a percentage off the top of other people’s labour, even if at ‘only’ 12%.

    People can imagine whatever horrible outcome they like, and nobody really knows, but from my perspective Epic are the least-worse option, at least for the moment, because they have demonstrated a willingness to compete on profit margin which can only be good for both consumers and the industry as a whole.

    • True enough from the epic side of things but this is about so much more and that last part really feels a little dismissive of it.
      The “least-worst” option is still the worst possible option for an independent music hub like Bandcamp and while the specifics might be up in the air, everyone knows what this ultimately means and it’s not great for the platform or the artists in the long run.
      It’s hollow succour to tell the folks who made the platform that this is good and normal for Epic and insulting to them to tell them it’s good for the industry and consumers when they had already built that.

      • I don’t disagree. Excessive concentration of market power is one of capitalism’s biggest failings.

        Still, Epic are just about the industry’s biggest disruptors at the moment. While Epic continue shaking the tree of a few monopolies I come down on the side of net benefit.

        I mean, Bandcamp is great and all, and may well continue to be, but Bandcamp’s best advertising has always been artists directly linking to material. Surely just about nobody visiting Bandcamp is going in primarily via the site’s main landing page.

        The internet is a big place and the cost of setting up is relatively low, so there’s every prospect that if things go south then artist links will just end up pointing somewhere else.

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