Game developer Epic Games has just announced their acquisition of the online music store Bandcamp. Best known as the creators of Fortnite and popular gaming engine Unreal Engine, Epic makes a major move into the music industry by purchasing the artist-first-based music store and community where fans can directly support independent musicians.
Bandcamp was founded in 2008 with the vision of spreading the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans. Epic shares a very similar pursuit of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world. On their website, Epic Games Store Vice President and General Manager Steve Allison expressed his enthusiasm to welcome the Bandcamp team under their wing.
“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,”
Says Allison. This is not the first time Epic has seen a collision with the music industry. Fortnite has reached millions of fans through virtual concerts since their first event proved revolutionary. Back in 2019, players had to halt rivalries and spectate DJ/Producer Marshmello, which drew in over 10 million people.
Fortnite also presented rapper/producer Travis Scott in 2020 which reached over 27.7 million in-game participants with stunning audiovisual effects. The following year, Fortnite further proved how powerful their in-game music experiences were when the songs featured in Ariana Grande’s set spiked in streams after the event. Implementing successful music events such as these mark Epic’s initiative to make Fortnite into more than just a game and lock players in to look to them for music. All of Fortnite’s live concerts have been free, but Epic can monetize this goodwill via music streams and merchandise sales.
— bandcamp (@Bandcamp) March 2, 2022
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Bandcamp will continue to operate as a standalone marketplace and music community with CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond remaining at the lead. The only adjustment Epic would introduce is working with Bandcamp to expand internationally and push development forward across the platform through fresh initiatives such as with their vinyl pressing and live streaming services. Bandcamp is one of the best streaming services for artists since an average of 82% of earnings goes to the artist or their labels. During their monthly fee-free Fridays, 100% of the money goes to the artist. Not only have artists benefited greatly from Bandcamp’s artist nurturing business model, but they are also known to lend a hand in good causes such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during Juneteenth and Dallas Hope Charities in the past. Artists have also been known to release exclusive content to Bandcamp such as Mina Caputo and Thou. Understanding the hardships brought upon by the pandemic, Bandcamp supported artists like Marissa Nadler. Waiving revenue shares in 2020 earned artists over $7 million, first-hand proof of Bandcamp’s loyalty to them.
Epic’s purchase of Bandcamp will further show how the gaming and music industries allow for hugely-successful partnerships. A 2021 MIDiA Research report, “Music and Games Partnership Strategy: Beyond the Comfort Zone” takes a dive into the teamwork initiative both industries can thrive from. With Epic being a widely successful games empire and Bandcamp delivering music that benefits artists and fans alike, this acquisition is the beginning of a new era in a step toward video games and music working hand in hand to bolster growth they can both prosper from.