Epic Games, maker of hit video game Fortnite and Unreal Engine has acquired online music store and direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp.
In a statement published by Epic, the company says that Bandcamp will play an “important role” in its “vision to build out a creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more”.
The news follows the firm’s acquisition in November of Harmonix, creator of the popular Rock Band and Dance Central franchises for an undisclosed sum.
At the time, Epic Games, which is backed by Sony Corp and carries a $28 billion+ valuation – hinted at ambitious plans in music, stating that it would collaborate closely with Harmonix “to develop musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite” and that Harmonix will continue to support existing titles including Rock Band 4.
The company also claimed that, as it works “to build the metaverse”, the Harmonix team’s “expertise is needed to reimagine how music is experienced, created and distributed”.
Epic’s acquisition of Bandcamp marks an even deeper expansion into the music business.
Announcing its acquisition today (March 2), Epic states that “Fair and open platforms are critical to the future of the creator economy”.
The company adds: “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 has been getting closer and closer to the music industry over the past few years.
The firm’s flagship game Fortnite has served as a well-attended virtual performance and video premiere space for a number of major stars, while its Unreal Engine is used as the foundation for 3D music videos created by Sony Music‘s Immersive Music Studios.
In a blog post published today, Bandcamp’s co-founder and CEO writes that Bandcamp will continue to operate as a standalone marketplace and music community, and he will continue to lead its team.
“Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans.”
Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp
“Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans,” said Ethan Diamond, CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp.
“In Epic, we’ve found a partner who believes as deeply as we do that the future of music, and art itself, depends on the creation of equitable and inclusive communities like the one our fans and artists have helped to build.
“We’re excited to work alongside the Epic team to accelerate the realization of our mission and pursue our shared goal of empowering more creators in a fair and open way.”
“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.”
Steve Allison, Epic Games
Steve Allison, Vice President and General Manager, Store at Epic Games, added: “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Bandcamp team to 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.”
You can read Ethan Diamond’s blog post in full below:
I’m excited to announce that Bandcamp is joining Epic Games, who you may know as the makers of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, and champions for a fair and open Internet.
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.
Since our founding in 2008, we’ve been motivated by the pursuit of our mission, which is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans. That simple idea has worked well, with payments to artists and labels closing in on $1 billion USD. And while over the years we’ve heard from other companies who wanted us to join them, 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. Epic ticks all those boxes. We share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world, and together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.
Whether you joined Bandcamp recently or have been with us since the beginning 14 years ago, thank you for being a part of this incredible community, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come!
Bandcamp co-founder and CEOMusic Business Worldwide