On Wednesday, March 2nd Epic Games announced its purchase of Bandcamp and sent ripples of surprise and confusion throughout the gaming and music industries. In statements released by both companies, Epic and Bandcamp stated that they “…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.”
Ethan Diamond, CEO and cofounder of Bandcamp, explained that his company will continue to operate as an independent community but will be utilizing the resources that Epic can offer to bring more benefits to artists, labels, and fans who use the platform.
The clear connection between the Epic and Bandcamp crossover is in Fortnite’s virtual concert series. As the live music industry reacted to the pandemic, virtual concerts have become increasingly popular. Artists like Travis Scott, J Balvin, and Ariana Grande all have performed digitally in Fortnite, while Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots have done the same in Roblox. In 2021, Fortnite launched the concert series Soundwave, which focused on showcasing large non-American pop artists on a global scale. It provides these artists with a platform to reach new audiences while allowing Epic to target hyper-specific markets and demographics.
The acquisition was a surprising one, but will surely be seen as the first of many music partnerships as the industry makes aggressive moves toward integration in the gaming space.
So what are the opportunities for music companies as they make the move into the metaverse?