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Marissa Cetin
17 October 2023, 12:30

50% of Bandcamp staff laid off amid Songtradr acquisition

The editorial team of Bandcamp Daily has been slashed to three remaining staffers in the wake of Epic Games sale

50% of Bandcamp staff laid off amid Songtradr acquisition

Approximately half of Bandcamp's employees have been laid off after Songtrader acquired the artist-and label-driven music platform from Epic Games earlier this month. 

The music licensing company Songtrader confirmed the previously hinted-at layoffs in a statement to Variety, noting the "operating costs of Bandcamp have significantly increased" and "required some adjustments". "After a comprehensive evaluation, including the importance of roles for smooth business operations and pre-existing functions at Songtradr, 50% of Bandcamp employees have accepted offers to join Songtradr", Songtrader said. 

Longtime Bandcamp Daily editor JJ Skolnik, who was laid off, clarified that only 50% of Bandcamp employees were given offers from Songtradr to keep their jobs in the acquisition, while the other 50% of staffers were let go.

Songtradr said it is "committed to keeping the existing Bandcamp services that fans and artists love, including its artist-first revenue share, Bandcamp Fridays and Bandcamp Daily", though editorial staff of Bandcamp Daily were among the first to publicly disclose their team's layoffs. Skolnik confirmed three Bandcamp Daily staffers remain.

"These are not new layoffs," now-former owner Epic Games, said in a statement to Vulture. Epic Games, which bought Bandcamp in March 2022, laid off 16% of its staff or 830 employees last month due to "overspending", as described by CEO Tim Sweeney in the Verge. A further 250 Epic Games employees have left through the Songtradr deals and buyouts from Epic. Songtradr will also be giving severance packages to affected employees.

Bandcamp's union Bandcamp United released a statement that it will be bargaining with Epic Games from tomorrow, Wednesday 17th October.

Songtrader has yet to recognise the union. In an earlier statement, Bandcamp United member Ed Blair said: "Bandcamp isn’t Bandcamp without the people who build and maintain the website — we are the people who made this website the platform it is for artists. Songtradr not immediately recognising Bandcamp United is a worrying indicator that they have misunderstood the value of Bandcamp. It’s not a platform or a portal, it is a painstakingly hand-crafted community. The workers who make up Bandcamp United are essential for the future of Bandcamp.

Update 17/10/2023 14:50: This story has been updated to include more information from JJ Skolnik.