Fortnite maker Epic Games has been making a lot of noise in the music industry lately. It looks like that noise might be about to get even louder.
Earlier this week, Epic raised $2 billion from Sony Group Corporation (Sony Music‘s parent) and KIRKBI, the holding company behind The LEGO Group.
And last month, the firm fully acquired online music store and direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp, following its acquisition of music games-maker Harmonix in Q4 2021.
Now, Epic appears to be working on integrating a new creator marketplace into its platform – with at least a partial focus on music.
According to a job ad posted by the company and spotted by MBW, Epic is expanding its digital Store capabilities into music, via the recruitment of a ‘Product Director, Store, Music Services’.
Epic says that the successful candidate will “partner with [our] development and Store team to drive product integration of a new marketplace into Epic’s ecosystem and platform”.
This individual will need to have at least five years’ experience working on e-commerce, music services or creator marketplaces, while “experience and success” in expanding e-commerce products globally will be “a plus”.
MBW has been talking about the Epic Games Store – the firm’s video game download portal – for some time, and particularly what the music business can learn from how Epic runs it.
The Epic Games Store was launched in December 2018. Epic rewards games developers selling their content on the store via a generous 88%-12% revenue split.
Online game retailers traditionally charged a 30% commission on digital sales, so Epic’s decision to split revenue by these percentages was a major coup for video game developers and publishers – the “artists” and “labels” of interactive entertainment, if you like – who sell games via its store.
Elsewhere in the new job ad, Epic hints that its new Music Services hire will help build out a Creator marketplace that goes beyond just musicians.
The ad says that the successful applicant will “be a key focal point in the alignment of strategy among multiple teams at Epic” – suggesting a coming-together of Epic’s music and interactive entertainment strategy.
Adding credence to this idea, the candidate is also expected to: “Work tirelessly to ensure communication and focus against a singular common set of objectives.”
In a statement published by Epic when it acquired Bandcamp last month, the company said that Bandcamp’s platform will play an “important role” in Epic’s “vision to build out a creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more”.
Epic added: “Fair and open platforms are critical to the future of the creator economy… 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.”
Bandcamp itself charges independent artists using its platform just 10-15% commission rates as a retailer. On Bandcamp Fridays, it charges nothing at all.
“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.”
The language used in Epic Games’ communication around its Bandcamp buyout saw Epic double down on its not-so-subtle hints about wanting to make waves into the music business when it acquired Rock Band creator Harmonix in November 2021.
When it acquired Harmonix, Epic claimed that the Harmonix team expertise would help Epic to “reimagine how music is experienced, created and distributed”.
The question many in the music business will be asking after today’s news: What will Epic’s new marketplace mean for creators in practice?
Epic’s new job ad says that the successful candidate will work with “[Epic] Store leadership, the development team and other functions that drive initiatives executing on a strategic plan focused initially in increasing user growth and engagement globally that will evolve into the creation of entirely new business and product initiatives”.
They will also be required to “Work with stakeholders to drive and develop strategies to improve creator and content marketplaces for creators and consumers alike”.
Says Epic Games in the Job ad: “We are looking for a Product Director who can move as fast as our product teams.
“In this position, you’ll be asked to partner with cross-functional groups across the organization including Development, Product Management, Creative Services, User Experience and more.
“We are looking for individuals who are innovative, organized and have exceptional communication skills.”Music Business Worldwide