Epic, the company behind Unreal Engine, mega-popular battle royale game Fortnite, and the Epic Games Store, is buying Bandcamp, the venerable indie music store. As the companies say in a press release, “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.”
Announcement materials from both companies refer to a shared goal of “fair and open” online platforms offering artists and creators a greater share of the money they’ve earned. Epic’s Steve Allison says that Bandcamp’s artist-friendly revenue model “aligns closely with Epic’s approach to supporting creators across all media and enabling them to connect directly with their fans”.
“Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community,” co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond assures users, “and I will continue to lead our team.” All Bandcamp’s current services and initiatives will remain in place, though with additional help from Epic, the company will “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.”
In 2021, Epic purchased two other creator-focused platforms: ArtStation and Sketchfab. What Epic’s plans for this “creator marketplace ecosystem” actually look like in practice remains to be seen.