Half of Bandcamp’s staff reportedly laid off following Songtradr acquisition
“Bandcamp required some adjustments to ensure a sustainable and healthy company that can serve its community of artists and fans”.
Credit: Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Half of the workforce at online music and merchandise store Bandcamp has reportedly been laid off following its recent acquisition by music licensing marketplace, Songtradr.
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Songtradr states that the reason for the sackings are increased operating costs, adding that it “required some adjustments to maintain a “sustainable and healthy company”.
“Over the past few years the operating costs of Bandcamp have significantly increased. It required some adjustments to ensure a sustainable and healthy company that can serve its community of artists and fans,” Songtradr tells Rolling Stone.
“After a comprehensive evaluation, including the importance of roles for smooth business operations and pre-existing functions at Songtradr, 50 per cent of Bandcamp employees have accepted offers to join Songtradr. We are committed to keeping the existing Bandcamp services that fans and artists love, including its artist-first revenue share, Bandcamp Fridays and Bandcamp Daily.”
How is the industry reacting?
The layoffs have sparked a backlash on social media among outgoing Bandcamp employees, Bandcamp users and musicians who rely on the site to sell their music.
One Instagram user, an artist called Fermata Ark, took to the platform to write: “The underground is the lifeblood of mainstream music, and it needs to exist within a community. It needs to be supported by the people who actually see its value and not by annoying tech-bro CEOs who equate their success in one area of their life as something that can extend to anything they can afford to buy.
“You can’t buy community, I hope they know what they now hold in their hands.”
In March, some Bandcamp employees unionised in a push for fairer wages, going by the name of Bandcamp United. Today, they posted the following to X:
Update on today's layoffs: pic.twitter.com/yyUkcifXdQ
— Bandcamp United (@bandcampunited) October 17, 2023
Musician, vlogger and music tech industry commentator Benn Jordan has slammed Fortnite creators, Epic Games, who took over Bandcamp in March 2022:
If you want to make a̶n̶ ̶o̶m̶e̶l̶e̶t̶t̶e̶ Fortnite for the Metaverse you gotta b̶r̶e̶a̶k̶ ̶a̶ ̶f̶e̶w̶ ̶e̶g̶g̶s̶ aquire a profitable indy music platform, make it unprofitable, then immediately sell it to a 3rd company that will fire everyone and say it's profitable and resell it.
— Benn Jordan (@bennjordan) October 16, 2023
Jordan later wrote that fans need to “start asking how we can set up a platform or gateway that allows our listeners to support us directly”.
Everyone’s favourite plaid-shirt popular music reviewer, Anthony Thee Fontano, also weighs in on the situation, disregarding a comment by Songtradr that “business is as usual”:
fires half of bandcamp staff
“business as usual”
eat shit https://t.co/g6VudIC278
— Anthony Thee Fantano (@theneedledrop) October 17, 2023
Many of the layoffs are said to be within Bandcamp’s editorial team. One now ex-staff member, who worked there for eight years, wrote:
officially laid off, after two weeks of limbo where i expected that would be the case but had no confirmation. nearly eight years at bandcamp and it’s over. if anyone is looking for a dedicated, talented, and professional editor and culture writer, i’m on the market
— jj skolnik (@modernistwitch) October 16, 2023
Bandcamp’s acquisition by Songtradr is an ongoing story. Keep up to date via MusicTech.
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