Massive layoffs have hit Bandcamp, the leading online platform for championing independent artists and labels. 50% of its staff was let go after its recent acquisition by music licensing startup Songtradr.
At that time, Songtradr said in a statement: “This acquisition will help Bandcamp continue to grow within a music-first company and enable Songtradr to expand its capabilities to support the artist community.”
In trying to explain the Bandcamp layoffs, Songtradr stated: “Over the past few years the operating costs of Bandcamp have significantly increased … After a comprehensive evaluation, including the importance of roles for smooth business operations and pre-existing functions at Songtradr, 50% of Bandcamp employees have accepted offers to join Songtradr.”
This is the 2nd acquisition of the music platform in a short span, as it was just acquired by Epic Games in March of last year before being sold again this fall.
Bandcamp was started in 2007 and managed to build a community with more than five million artists and labels. All while championing the independent spirit with initiatives such as, Bandcamp Daily and Bandcamp Fridays. The company says that its customers have spent $1.2bn during the lifetime of the company, with an average of 82% of revenue going to the artist or label.
Bandcamp United, their union, had been fighting for recognition from Songtradr, and on October 12th it posted online urging people to sign a petition so they could begin negotiations with the new buyers to offer jobs to all existing staff members.
Songtradr, founded in 2014 with a successful first funding round in 2018, allows musicians and publishers to upload music which can then be licensed by commercial entities such as brands and content creators. It is valued at over $300m, and in March this year acquired a British competitor, 7digital, for $23.4m.
This recent news has left many independent artists and labels worried about the future of the platform and indie market as whole. Only time will tell.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.