Bandcamp announced today that it is joining Epic Games. At first glance, I find this confusing. What does a website that focuses on music have in common with a company that makes video games?
Here is some explanation from Bandcamp’s Ethan Diamond:
…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, and we’ll continue to build Bandcamp around 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 diverse music on the site…
In addition, Bandcamp pointed out they are 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.”
Epic Games also posted information on their website:
Today, we are thrilled to announce that Bandcamp will become part of Epic Games. Bandcamp is an online music store and community where fans can discover, connect with, and directly support the independent musicians they love.
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 will play an important role in Epic’s vision to build out a creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more…
It’s the “and more” part that troubles me. In October of 2021, Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted: “Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group. Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”
My concern is that Epic Games will enable musicians to create NFTs and sell them on Bandcamp. NFTs are polarizing because some people love them while others (including myself) see them as an MLM scam. I love Bandcamp and have bought plenty of music from it. My hope is that what I love about Bandcamp won’t suddenly become cluttered with NFTs.