With its film grants, retail services, and metaverse concerts, Fortnite developer Epic Games has evolved to become far more than just a video game company. Now, with its latest acquisition, it has announced itself as a major force within the world of indie music.
Epic Games has acquired Bandcamp, which has been a useful distribution tool for enterprising artists since arriving on the music scene in 2008. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Bandcamp will continue to operate in its current capacity, with co-founder Ethan Diamond staying on as CEO. “We share a vision of building the most open, artist-friendly ecosystem in the world,” Diamond wrote in a blog post, “and together we’ll be able to create even more opportunities for artists to be compensated fairly for their work.”
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Diamond wrote that Bandcamp, which claims to have paid out nearly $1 billion to artists and labels since its inception, has received several acquisition offers in the past. The company has a checklist of what it wants out of a parent company, and Epic Games “checks all those boxes,” according to Diamond.
Epic Games has experienced a rapid rise to prominence since Fortnite exploded onto the video game scene in 2017. The battle royale title has helped turned the Epic Games Store into a major retail destination for gamers, and the company has parlayed its success into a number of multimedia ventures. Its MegaGrants program has allowed it to fund animated film projects that utilize its Unreal Engine.
As for music, Epic Games has used Fortnite as a host venue for virtual concerts. Travis Scott’s 2020 Fortnite concert was a landmark moment in the history of metaverse entertainment; the event drew 12.3 million concurrent viewers, making it the most-attended show in Fortnite history at the time.
Epic Games is able to afford all of these initiatives, as well as its Bandcamp acqusition, thanks to the considerable backing it has received from venture capitalists. One massive addition to the company’s bank account came in August 2020, when it closed a $1.78 billion funding round that valued it at more than $17 billion.
So what does Epic have planned for Bandcamp? The plan is for the music distributor to expand internationally while enhancing its discovery, e-commerce, and live-streaming operations. Hopefully some indie artists will also get chances to host their own Fortnite concerts.