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Fortnite maker Epic Games is acquiring music marketplace Bandcamp

The gaming giant announced that it was acquiring the music marketplace on Wednesday.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Music marketplace Bandcamp is being acquired by Fortnite maker Epic Games, according to a statement from Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond.

The company did not respond to requests for comment about the deal's financial terms. But Diamond called Epic Games "champions for a fair and open Internet" and noted that Bandcamp would continue operating as a standalone marketplace and music community. Diamond is also staying on as CEO of the company. 

"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," Diamond said.  

"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."

Bandcamp makes most of its money from the 10-15% cut of digital sales it takes. The site also helps artists sell merchandise like T-shirts and vinyl albums.

J. Edward Keyes, editorial director for Bandcamp Daily, confirmed that Bandcamp Daily will continue releasing content. 

Bandcamp was founded in 2008 as an independent music marketplace where artists could upload and sell their music directly to fans. Diamond said payments to artists and labels are now closing in on $1 billion. 

He added that they have gotten other acquisition offers in the past but "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," Diamond said.

"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!"

In addition to creating the massively popular Fortnite, Epic Games also pioneered the game development tool Unreal Engine. The company takes a 12% cut of all game sales. Steve Allison, vice president at Epic Games, said the two companies "share a mission of building the most artist-friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money."

He added that Bandcamp would "play an important role" in Epic Games' plans for a "creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more." Epic Games has already acquired ArtStationCubic Motion and Sketchfab

The company has also steadily moved deeper into the music industry, organizing massive events with popular artists like Ariana Grande, Travis Scott and J Balvin. But it has also faced backlash from artists like 2 Milly and BlocBoy JB over accusations that their games stole dances connected to hit songs. 

"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," Allison said. "This aligns closely with Epic's approach to supporting creators across all media and enabling them to connect directly with their fans." 

Gaming companies have been heavily involved in the acquisition market over the past few months. In January, Sony announced it is acquiring video game developer Bungie for $3.6 billion, and Microsoft said it is buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Take-Two Interactive announced the acquisition of Zynga for $12.7 billion in cash and stock on January 10.

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