Campnite

In “I definitely didn’t have this on my 2022 BINGO card” news, is this weird acquisition. Fortnite’s maker Epic Games has gone ahead and purchased the music website/service platform Bandcamp. Todd Spangler at Variety has more.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. “Fair and open platforms are critical to the future of the creator economy,” Epic Games, best known as the company behind battle-royale game “Fortnite,” said in announcing the pact. “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.”

Variety

Bandcamp has been a go-to place for artists to get their music out on extremely fair terms. Bandcamp passes on 82% of every sale directly to the artist. Many use Bandcamp as their base of operations to sell music and communicate with fans. Even better has been the love of music from the top-down with the whole company. Where streaming music pays peanuts, Bandcamp is a serious place for artists to grow a following.

What may strike as an odd thing for a video game company to buy, morphs into an “ah-ha” moment when you remember that Epic is in a bitter fight with Apple over marketplace control and alternate payment systems. Epic doesn’t want to pony up 30% to Cupertino and Apple kicked them off the App Store for violating their rules. Epic may have finally decided that selling emotes and digital goods to kids in Fortnite isn’t enough. When you consider how Apple built their entire offering of services on the back of iTunes and then Apple Music, you can connect the dots to what Epic is doing. Apple built one service after another. Now, you simply get a bunch of it with the Apple One bundle. Amazon did the same with Prime. Offer insanely-fast shipping. Then tack on books, music, movies, their new cloud gaming, etc, etc.

Epic isn’t stupid. They’re playing a long game and looking in the rearview mirror for signposts on which ways make the most sense going forward. With a mature and popular music system in their fold, this is likely only the beginning for Epic scooping up others. Given a long enough timeline, this will be a textbook play of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

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