Just 18 months ago, Epic Games announced the acquisition of beloved music platform Bandcamp. Many were skeptical about the implications of what that would mean for the site’s future. And just yesterday the gaming giant released a statement: Bandcamp sold to Songtradr. Now that Bandcamp has again a new home, what might the new future hold?
Update (October 17, 2023): Yesterday, more than 50 percent of Bandcamp’s employees were laid off, among them senior editor of BC daily, JJ Skolnik, regular contributors Diamond Sharp and Atoosa Moinzadeh and many more, effectively halving Bandcamp Daily’s staff. Many musicians and artists issued concerned statements on X (formerly known as Twitter) about Bandcamp’s now uncertain future.
Many independent bands and artists regard Bandcamp Daily as one of the beacons of music journalism featuring genres and artists off the beaten path. The magazine has been a constant source for discovering songs and artists for music fans for many years. It remains uncertain how new owners Songtradr will handle Bandcamp and what the future of the beloved music platform will be. Some speculate that Songtradr will introduce a mandatory song distribution for Bandcamp’s many artists through their network. Fingers crossed for BC’s future!
March 22: Epic buys Bandcamp
Many were baffled and confused by Epic’s move on Bandcamp in March 2022. What could a gaming giant possibly want out of a beloved, musician-friendly music hub? And what could this acquisition mean for Bandcamp’s future? Quite a few speculated that this move was a tactical one as Epic was entangled in lawsuits with both Apple and Google parent Alphabet over their respective app store policies. Bandcamp would be used as leverage.
On Bandcamp’s side, two things happened since the acquisition. Well, one thing did and one thing didn’t. Before Epic, Bandcamp had been continuously updating its site with new features. That ground to a halt almost completely since March 2022. What did happen earlier this year was that Bandcamp’s employees voted to unionize. And now we’re here: Bandcamp sold to Songtradr.
Bandcamp sold to Songtradr… who?
If you’re wondering just who or what Songtradr might be, you’re not alone. The company’s main focus is b2b music licensing. So, if you’re a business looking to license a hit song for your new commercial, Songtradr does the work for you. They also offer music distribution similar to CD Baby, Tunecore, or Distrokid. This is where it might get interesting for the over five million artists selling music and merch through Bandcamp.
Because up until now, if you wanted to get your music both on Bandcamp and on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer, you needed to do the second part through a different distributor. Neither side has clarified what exactly the roadmap is going to be, but giving Bandcamp users the option to automatically distribute their releases to DSPs seems like a given. It might also be possible that artists will be offered ways to license their music for ads, tv shows and more directly through Bandcamp.
What remains to be seen is what Bandcamp/Songtradr will charge for this. And given that Songtradr is the (self-appointed) “world’s largest B2B music company“, but no gaming giant Epic, the future of popular Bandcamp Friday where the service waived its fees seems uncertain, just like its music magazine Bandcamp Daily.
What did you think when you heard the news “Bandcamp sold to Songtradr”? Let us know in the comments!