Friday, March 4, is the 20th installment of what’s become known as Bandcamp Friday, when Bandcamp passes along its usual share of revenue to the independent artists and labels selling music through the site. But that occasion was overshadowed somewhat this morning, when Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond announced that the company is “joining” Epic Games. “Bandcamp will keep operating as a standalone marketplace and music community, and I will continue to lead our team,” he wrote.
I’ve long admired Bandcamp in part because it had remained independent for so long, and because it had dodged the pitfalls that had wrecked so many tech companies. Diamond’s message includes assurances that the public-facing structure of Bandcamp will remain the same, at least for now, but because we don’t know the details of the “partnership” between Bandcamp and Epic, we can only speculate about the music site’s future.
As Reader music editor Philip Montoro and veteran indie rocker Damon Krukowski have already pointed out on Twitter, multinational Chinese tech company Tencent has a 40 percent stake in Epic Games. According to Tech in Asia, Tencent also owns a roughly 10 percent stake in Spotify, as well as 10 percent of Universal Music Group and more than 5 percent of Warner Music Group. All we can do is hope that Bandcamp will remain the artist-forward music marketplace we love—and that it’ll retain its brave, inclusive, and intelligent music journalism at Bandcamp Daily.
For now at least, we can keep enjoying Bandcamp Fridays. Every time one has rolled around, the Reader has compiled a list of the music available on Bandcamp that our writers have recently covered. Last month’s list has a link to December’s roundup, which in turn includes links to all the previous lists. These posts are as much a means to encourage you to seek out new music as they are an easy excuse to remind you of the breadth of the Reader’s recent coverage of the constantly shifting music world. Click on the title of a release to see what we had to say, and happy listening!