Layoffs in digital technology continue. The participatory music platform Bandcamp has the misfortune of seeing 50% of its staff dismissed. Until very recently, it belonged to Epic Games, who decided to resell it. Its buyer hastened to lighten the teams.
A massive blow for Bandcamp employees: half of them were fired by their buyer, the company Songtradr. This just three weeks after the purchase of the participatory music platform from Epic Games.
50% of employees fired three weeks after Bandcamp takeover
Let’s return to the history linking Bandcamp to Epic Games. In March 2022, the latter bought the platform for an unknown amount. At the end of September, the company announced the resale to Songtradr, a music licensing giant. This company deals with placing music in other media content (cinema, advertising, video games, etc.). Already, there was great concern, since the seller had indicated that not all employees would receive an offer from Songtradr.
On October 5, Songtradr declared to the Bandcamp United union (bringing together more than half of the employees) that the financial health of the platform required achieving “ some adjustments “. In a press release dated October 16, Songtradr went further: only 50% of Bandcamp employees received a job offer. The most impacted services are those of the editorial branch and the technical branch of Bandcamp. The company clarified with The Vergethat the sale had been finalized, but did not recognize the legitimacy of Bandcamp United.
What consequences for independent music?
We must remember the role of Bandcamp in music. The music platform makes it possible to remunerate artists who publish their music there more fairly. All the songs can be read there for free, but for downloading, you have to pay most of the time: this is where the artists can get paid.
Bandcamp is more profitable for musicians since it receives 10 to 15% of the sales they make. The site is also very well known among independent video game studios, who publish the soundtracks of their titles there. As recalled ReleaseBandcamp has paid out more than a billion dollars to some five million artists since its creation in 2007. While Songtradr insisted that no changes to the way Bandcamp operates would be made, some independent artists said they worried on social networks.
Epic Games licenses, but is far from being the only one
If Epic Games resold Bandcamp, it is because of financial difficulties. In the words of its CEO Tim Sweeney, the company admitted to spending more money than it earns. On September 28, at the same time as the announcement of the sale of Bandcamp, Tim Sweeney’s company announced the layoff of 16% of its workforce, or 870 workers.
However, Epic Games is far from the only company making layoffs. While the video game industry could generate $188 billion in revenue in 2023, it is laying off workers with a vengeance. The Naughty Dog studio has laid off dozens of employees, some have been closed, while others are cutting positions. Same thing more broadly in tech in 2023: 9,000 layoffs at Amazon, 11,000 at Microsoft, 12,000 at Google and even 22,000 at Meta. According to the siteLayoffs.fyiwhich lists layoffs in the sector, more than 1,000 companies have cut 244,000 positions in 2023 alone.