Bandcamp has been bought by Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, Assassin’s Creed, etc. According to Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond’s announcement (emphasis added):
Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team. The products and services you depend on aren’t going anywhere, we’ll continue to build Bandcamp around our artists-first revenue model (where artists net an average of 82% of every sale), you’ll still have the same control over how you offer your music, Bandcamp Fridays will continue as planned, and the Daily will keep highlighting the diverse, amazing music on the site. 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.Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp CEO
Setting aside any gut reactions, this could be a good thing. Bandcamp has plenty of room to grow, and Epic Games has plenty of cash to throw around. They’ve pursued and lost a very public legal battle with Apple over the tech giant’s “exorbitant” commission rate for apps sold on their app store. And Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney has made at least one statement that seems relevant to music:
Sweeney also acknowledges the argument that some may see the fight as “just a billion-dollar company fighting a trillion-dollar company about money” before admitting “there’s nothing wrong with fighting about money.”
He qualifies it by declaring, “You work hard to earn this stuff. When you spent [sic] it, the way it’s divided determines whether your money funds the creation of games or is taken by middlemen who use their power to separate gamers from game creators.”
“The fight isn’t over Epic wanting a special deal, it’s about the basic freedoms of all consumers and developers,” Sweeney proposed.Taken from Apple Insider article
A big influx of cash from a player fighting for “fair, open platforms” could level the playing field between artists and labels in a major way. Epic’s already larger than most labels and could be a significant ally.
If Sweeney genuinely possesses a “power to the creators” mindset, it will align nicely with Bandcamp. There are signs suggesting the opposite, though. Pitchfork has a terrific deep dive on those that you should definitely read.
Time will tell.