Songtradr acquires Bandcamp from Fortnite maker Epic Games

Photo credit: Piotr Swat/Shutterstock

Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company Songtradr is acquiring Bandcamp from Epic Games.

Songtradr says it will continue to operate Bandcamp as a marketplace and music community with an “artist-first revenue share”.

The news arrives a year and a half after Epic Games (the maker of the hit video game Fortnite, and Unreal Engine) acquired Bandcamp – an online music store and direct-to-fan platform.

According to a press release issued by Songtradr on Thursday (September 28), Bandcamp is used by over 5 million artists and labels.

The release adds that “this acquisition will help Bandcamp continue to grow within a music-first company and enable Songtradr to expand its capabilities to support the artist community”.

Songtradr says it will also offer Bandcamp artists “the ability and choice to have their music licensed to all forms of media including content creators, game and app developers and brands”.

It adds that “this will enable artists to continue to own and control their music rights, and increase their earning capacity from Songtradr’s global licensing network”.

Elsewhere, the press release notes that Epic is exploring ways to partner with Songtradr to “build an inventory of music” where artists can opt-in to have their music licensed for use in Epic’s ecosystem.

Epic says it will continue to collaborate with Bandcamp on projects like Fortnite Radio and is also investing in Songtradr to support Bandcamp’s “successful integration into Songtradr”.

“The acquisition of Bandcamp will help Songtradr continue to grow its suite of services for artists. I’m a passionate musician myself, and artistry and creativity have always been at the heart of Songtradr.”

Paul Wiltshire, Songtradr

Paul Wiltshire, CEO of Songtradr, said: “The acquisition of Bandcamp will help Songtradr continue to grow its suite of services for artists. I’m a passionate musician myself, and artistry and creativity have always been at the heart of Songtradr.

“Bandcamp will join a team of music industry veterans and artists who have deep expertise in music licensing, composition, rights management, and distribution.”

“Songtradr shares Epic and Bandcamp’s values around ensuring artists are fairly compensated for their work.”

Steve Allison, Epic Games

Steve Allison, Vice President and General Manager, Store at Epic Games, said: “Songtradr shares Epic and Bandcamp’s values around ensuring artists are fairly compensated for their work.

“Bringing Bandcamp to Songtradr will make it easier for independent artists to connect with creators and developers looking to license their music and enable Epic to focus on its core metaverse, games, and tools efforts.”

The news comes as Epic Games today confirmed it was laying off 16% of its global workforce while divesting Bandcamp. You can read the full note sent out by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney below.

Hi everyone,

As we shared earlier, we are laying off around 16% of Epic employees. We’re divesting Bandcamp and spinning off most of SuperAwesome.

For a while now, we’ve been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators. I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic.

While Fortnite is starting to grow again, the growth is driven primarily by creator content with significant revenue sharing, and this is a lower margin business than we had when Fortnite Battle Royale took off and began funding our expansion. Success with the creator ecosystem is a great achievement, but it means a major structural change to our economics.

Epic folks around the world have been making ongoing efforts to reduce costs, including moving to net zero hiring and cutting operating spend on things like marketing and events. But we still ended up far short of financial sustainability. We concluded that layoffs are the only way, and that doing them now and on this scale will stabilize our finances.

We’re also making some divestitures. Bandcamp is joining Songtradr, a music marketplace company supporting artists. SuperAwesome’s advertising business will become an independent company under the SuperAwesome brand, led by their current CEO Kate O’Loughlin. Kids Web Services (KWS), the parent verification and consent management toolset, will remain part of Epic.

Saying goodbye to people who have helped build Epic is a terrible experience for all. The consolation is that we’re adequately funded to support laid off employees: we’re offering a severance package that includes six months base pay and in the US/Canada/Brazil six months of Epic-paid healthcare. We’re offering to accelerate people’s stock option vesting schedule through the end of 2024 and are giving two additional years from today to exercise the options. In the US we’re also offering to vest any unearned profit sharing from their 401k. And we’ll provide benefits including career transition services and visa support where we can.

For those still at Epic, you’ll hear more from senior leaders about the path forward for your team. Epic’s prospects for the future are strong. We have amazing game experiences across multiple platforms. We’ve built the best engine in the world, and will be hosting Unreal Fest next week to bring the community together and spotlight the things they are building with Unreal Engine and UEFN. Creators are making a living building for the Fortnite ecosystem, with time in third-party games now exceeding first-party.

We’re cutting costs without breaking development or our core lines of businesses so we can continue to focus on our ambitious plans. About two-thirds of the layoffs were in teams outside of core development. Some of our products and initiatives will land on schedule, and some may not ship when planned because they are under-resourced for the time being. We’re ok with the schedule tradeoff if it means holding on to our ability to achieve our goals, get to the other side of profitability and become a leading metaverse company.

-TimMusic Business Worldwide

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