Regarding the Bandcamp Layoffs

Regarding layoffs at indie music marketplace Bandcamp after their acquisition by music licensing/distribution outfit Songtradr:

First some facts, then my speculations.

  1. Less than a year after being purchased by Epic Games (with few changes made to the user/artist experience and the successful unionization of Bandcamp employees), Bandcamp has been purchased by Songtradr.
  2. Songtradr is a music licensing and subscription-based distribution company—think things like DistroKid.
  3. Bandcamp offers extremely favorable artist sales splits, and has been the essential place for indie artists—from full-time professionals to occasional releases from musicians of all experience levels. It offers both streaming of user libraries, outright downloads in multiple lossless, high-quality audio formats, and discovery tools. On the artist end, Bandcamp allows you to place your music for sale for free, and takes cuts when you make a sale. It also offers free statistical tools and tracking.
    The biggest thing, though, is that artists can list their own music for direct sale to buyers.
  4. When the Songtradr purchased closed, only half of Bandcamp’s current employees were offered contracts with the new company; functionally, half of Bandcamp’s current staff were laid off.


  1. It sucks that so many employees were laid off, and I don’t like that and don’t want to minimize that. That’s a lot of people that lost jobs in a company that’s been driven by empowering artists and listeners.
  2. Songtradr is an existing music-related company. Whereas Epic essentially purchased Bandcamp whole to operate as its own division, Songtradr more likely purchased Bandcamp as a merger/acquisition—meaning there were probably redundancies in positions or divisions as Bandcamp is absorbed. This is probably why so many contracts were not offered to Bandcamp employees by the new owners.
  3. No platform is your friend forever, or even your friend. That said, I’m in wait-and-see mode to see if there will be major changes to what I consider Bandcamp’s essential services and policies.
  4. I suspect that as a licensing and distribution company, Sontradr was interested in adding a marketplace like Bandcamp to both expand the catalog of music available to be licensed as well as integrate distribution to artist users on Bandcamp. For example, right now I sell music on Bandcamp but use CDBaby for distribution and Harry Fox/Songfile for mechanical licensing.
  5. If the artist and user experience of Bandcamp stays largely the same and any possible new integration features with Songtradr’s existing outfit are opt-in and non-exclusive (like being able to list music on Bandcamp but use any distribution service you choose) then I don’t think there will be much change; those are the things I would look out for, though.

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