My Prediction for the Epic Games and Bandcamp Acquisition
The independent musician community might be worried after hearing about Epic Games’ acquisition of Bandcamp last week, but my hopeful prediction is that it will be a gamechanger for musicians.
Epic Games owns the Unreal Engine, one of the most powerful computer game engines in the world that powers hundreds of computer games on every single computer platform, from Xbox to iOs.
And with Bandcamp and Unreal Engine now being a part of the same family, I believe this can set up a pipeline for independent musicians to get their music into games. And if Bandcamp continues its musician-friendly attitude, this could mean nice licensing payouts for artists in all genres.
The sync community heavily favors TV and film when it talks about licensing music but video games are an 86 billion dollar industry with plenty of opportunities for musicians to make an income.
Video games span all genres as well, from zombie horror to cutesy puzzles and they all need different styles of music to set the mood. This mood could easily be found on an obscure Bandcamp page if that musician will now be allowed to click a button that says “Allow my music to be found for game licensing.”
For instance, I have an Insider musician who makes very quirky “non-traditional” music that might not fit in the latest sitcom or serious drama, but would be perfect for a whole host of different video games. This could open the door for him to see some serious success from his music without hustling and grinding online to “build an audience” or “create viral content” every day.
This acquisition may have come out of left field, but to me, it seems like a high-level strategic decision.
If Epic Games builds a pipeline for musicians to license their music into games, and even if they still pay out their 82% average royalty to the indies, they would still make (hypothetically) 18% of every licensing dollar that flows from their Bandcamp asset into an Unreal Engine licensed game.
This is a similar strategic move to Spotify’s acquisition of Sound Better in 2019. Not only does Spotify earn ad revenue from music listeners, and subscription revenue from premium customers, but now they also make a cut off the music-making process that happens on Sound Better before the music even hits the streaming service.
This is strategic business asset diversification at its best. When you make a dollar off every transaction in the industry you’re in, you’re too big to fail.
Whether or not this is a good thing, or becomes prone to monopolistic abuse remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful. If only because I have a soft spot for independent musicians and music is a crucial part of setting the right mood for kicking ass and chewing bubble gum.