Bandcamp has had a roller coaster few months.
In March, the online music store and the direct-to-fan platform got both the music and video game companies are talking about its $31.5 billion acquisition by Epic Games, maker of the hit video game Fortnite and Unreal Engine.
Last month, the new parent company of Bandcamp filed a petition against Google seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the tech giant from removing the Bandcamp app from its app store.
Today (Friday, May 20), Epic and Google filed a joint stipulation in a California court, with the latter company agreeing not to evict Bandcamp from its app store.
Today’s news marks the latest chapter in a long legal battle between Epic Games and Google.
In 2020, Epic for follow-up Apple and Google for alleged anti-competitive practices, following the removal of Fortnite from the Apple App Store Google Play Store.
Fortnite was removed from both stores for violating Apple and Google’s policies on in-app payments, after Epic Games set up its own in-app payment system to avoid paying an app fee of 30% to Apple and Google for in-app purchases. .
According to the petition filed by Epic against Google in Aprilregarding its recently acquired subsidiary Bandcamp, Google has threatened to remove all apps, including Bandcamp, from its app store on June 1, 2022, if they do not adopt Google’s payment system for in-app purchases, rather than use their own payment system.
Using Google’s payment system forces app makers to pay fees to the company, and Epic and Bandcamp say the change “threatens to irreparably harm Epic and the thousands of artists who rely on Google.” ‘Bandcamp app’.
Bandcamp is used by over 500,000 independent artists and 11,000 independent labels.
In a blog post published by Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond today (May 20), he explains that since 2015, Bandcamp has allowed artists to sell directly to their fans in the Android app using its own billing system to process payments.
This, says Diamond, is in line with Google’s own guidelines. exempt digital music from revenue sharing.
What’s happening now is that Google is changing that policy, and apps like Bandcamp will have to start using Google Play Billing exclusively for in-app purchases, which as noted above will force those app makers to pay to Google a share of the revenue from these sales.
In Diamond’s blog post, he writes that if “Google’s policy changes continue, starting June 1, we’ll either have to pass Google’s fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), pass fees on to artists (which we would never do), permanently run our Android business at a loss, or disable digital sales in the Android app.”
He adds that the policy change would negatively impact the time it takes to pay artists.
Bandcamp currently makes payments between 24 and 48 hours after a sale. Diamond claims that using Google’s billing system would see that timeframe drop to between 15 and 45 days after a sale.
“With today’s filing, we hope to ensure that fans can also continue to purchase music and merchandise through the Android app, and that as much of their support as possible gets to the artist as quickly as possible. possible.”
According to a joint stipulation filed by Epic and Google today (Friday, May 20), which you can read here, the music platform can continue to use its own payment system on Android devices, and Google has agreed not to remove Bandcamp. from the Play Store. as long as the agreement tabled today is in force.
Bandcamp and Epic have, however, agreed to begin placing 10% of all revenue generated from in-app purchases on Android devices in an escrow account until the Epic vs. Google case is resolved.
The agreement will remain in effect until the date of “final judgment or other determination” of Epic’s antitrust litigation filed against Google in 2020, or sixty days after Google or Epic notify the court that they terminate the agreement.
If Epic wins a final judgment, Google has agreed to release the funds from the escrow account to Epic. If Google wins, Epic must pay Google.
Diamond added in his blog post, “With today’s filing, we hope to ensure that fans can also continue to purchase music and merchandise through the Android app, and that as much of their support as possible reach the artist as soon as possible.”
According to today’s filing: “Google agrees that, so long as this Agreement remains in full force and effect immediately, it will not remove, remove, refuse to register, or otherwise make available the Bandcamp app on the Google Play Store Google will not reject, unreasonably delay or refuse to distribute updates to the Bandcamp app, on the grounds that the Bandcamp app or updates to the app offer in-app purchases of digital goods or services through means other than Google Play’s billing system. For the avoidance of doubt, Google reserves the right to enforce any other terms of the Developer Distribution Agreement of Google Play (DDA) and Google Play’s Developer Program Policies to the extent that this Application complies with the terms of this Agreement.”
You can read Ethan Diamond’s blog post in full below:
Under a court-promoted agreement, Bandcamp will continue to operate using our existing payment system on Android devices. Fans can continue to support artists on Android as they have, and we will continue to pay artists the same share of sales (usually within 24-48 hours, as we do today). Bandcamp will place 10% of revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost we will bear. Going forward, we will continue to fight to allow artist-focused business models like ours on Android. You can read the court file here.
Since 2015, artists and labels have used Bandcamp’s Android app to sell music and merchandise directly to their fans, and we use our own billing system to process payments, following Google’s guidelines that digital music specifically exempted from revenue sharing requirement. However, Google is now changing its rules to require Bandcamp (and other similar apps) to exclusively use Google Play Billing for payments for digital goods and services, and pay a share of the revenue to Google. If Google’s policy changes continue, starting June 1, we’ll either have to pass Google’s fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), pass the fees on to artists (which we would never do), permanently run our Android at a loss, or disable digital sales in the Android app. Additionally, policy changes would impact our ability to pay artists quickly – instead of receiving payment after 24-48 hours, artists may not be paid until 15-45 days after a sale.
Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by creating a community where artists thrive on the direct support of their fans, and where fans come together to explore the incredible universe of music that their direct support helps create. This community now consists of over 500,000 independent artists and 11,000 independent labels who rely on the support of the millions of music fans on Bandcamp to finance their next album, buy groceriesor pay them lease, mortgageor utility bill. We believe it is imperative that fans be able to express this critical support on Android, and so to prevent Google from implementing these new policies for Bandcamp and other developers, Epic is filing a motion seeking a court injunction allowing Bandcamp to continue to operate as we have (you can read our file here and my statement here).
We know that many people use Bandcamp’s Android app to listen to their music purchases, and we’re committed to ensuring that this option remains available. With today’s filing, we hope to ensure that fans can also continue to purchase music and merchandise through the Android app, and that as much of their support as possible reaches the artist most quickly as possible.
Co-founder and CEO of Bandcamp
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