Bandcamp United has issued a statement following the sale of Bandcamp to Songtradr by Epic Games, which was announced last week.
The union, which represents editorial, engineering, design, and support staff, among others, is calling on Songtradr CEO Paul Wiltshire to recognise the organisation and its members, and guarantee all employees new roles or appropriate redundancy packages. A petition has also now begun, asking for support from Bandcamp fans and users.
“Bandcamp United is demanding employment offers for all workers; clear, consistent, and equitable voluntary severance offers; and recognition of their union at Songtradr with a speedy continuation to bargaining while maintaining all the progress that has been made at the table,” Bandcamp Union’s statement said. “At the moment, Songtradr is offering positions to workers on a rolling basis with a 72-hour turnaround for acceptance despite the sales documents stipulating that the Purchaser allow seven days to consider the offer. In addition, Epic Games and the Union have not come to agreement on terms for voluntary severance.”
Epic bought Bandcamp in March 2022, a move which raised concerns how the online record shop — which offers artists highly competitive percentages and runs monthly commission-free sales — might be impacted. More recently, Epic announced plans to downsize significantly, losing 16% of its workforce according to a recent email sent by CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney.
“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,” said Bandcamp United member Ed Blair, a support specialist at the company. “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.”