Buy now, get paid six weeks later – Bandcamp’s legal battle heats up…

Back in March, Epic Games confirmed they had acquired Bandcamp. Cue much scratching of heads amidst the heavy publicity for the news. Epic’s official statement said “Epic and Bandcamp share a mission of building the most artist friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money.”.

Which is why current developments are likely to leave a significant number of artists – and quite possibly their customers too – very irritated. Soon after Epic unveiled their latest buy, Google announced changes to their Play store. The main change was that apps available on the store would, from June, have to use Google’s own payments system.

Epic Games later confirmed they were pursuing legal action over this change, stating this could potentially force them to run Bandcamp at a permanent loss. The case is ongoing and probably will be for some time – but an agreement has been reached allowing Epic to retain its own system after June 1st without penalty from Google until the matter is resolved.

But something in a blog post by Bandcamp boss Ethan Diamond appears to have got a lot of people in a tizzy…

“Furthermore, the policy changes would impact our ability to pay artists quickly – instead of receiving payment after 24 to 48 hours, artists may not be paid until 15 to 45 days after a sale.”

Obviously, we don’t know how accurate this claim is – it’s something which will almost certainly be tested in court when the time comes. But even the mere idea of having to wait over six weeks before an artist receives payment must be a concern.

The question must be asked, though – when Epic Games made their decision to purchase Bandcamp a few months ago, would they still have gone ahead if they’d been forewarned how rough things were going to become so quickly? Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Epic HQ…

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