50 Per Cent Of Bandcamp Workers Laid Off Following Songtradr Purchase

17 October 2023 | 3:33 pm | Mary Varvaris

The layoffs have impacted workers in the tech team, as well as the editorial team running the blog Bandcamp Daily.

Songtradr has acquired Bandcamp from Epic Games

Songtradr has acquired Bandcamp from Epic Games (Source: Twitter)

Not even three weeks after Songtradr announced its acquisition of music platform Bandcamp, Rolling Stone has reported that 50% of Bandcamp’s workforce has been laid off.

The layoffs have impacted workers in the tech team, as well as the editorial team running the blog Bandcamp Daily.

“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,” a representative for Songtradr told Rolling Stone in a statement.

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

Jes Skolnik, the former managing editor at Bandcamp Daily, revealed they were laid off via Twitter.

“Officially laid off, after two weeks of limbo where i expected that would be the case but had no confirmation,” Skolnik wrote on Twitter this morning (17 October). “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”.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Skolnik added, “about half the company was laid off today. some of the most incredible people i’ve ever worked with, including two of my amazing editorial colleagues @diamonde [Diamond Sharp] and @atoosamoinzadeh [Atoosa Moinzadeh] and most of the incredible support staff among many others. this is a loss, no two ways about it”.

According to another one of the writer’s tweets, only three people remain at Bandcamp Daily.

Chris Walla, musician, record producer (Tegan & Sara, Foxing, Nada Surf) and the former guitarist and songwriter in Death Cab For Cutie, also reacted to the news on Twitter, writing, “songtradr said 'supporting the bandcamp community is our number one priority'. by laying off half the staff – the beating heart of bandcamp, the workers who made and remade the platform every single day – they've proven that they have no concept of community, nor its actual value”.

Author, music journalist, producer, and director Jessica Hopper (Women Who Rock on SBS On Demand) added, “Songtradr is a Business-to-business & Music licensing service. Believe that B2B. It will contort Bandcamp to suit it's ends. My money is on a new term-of-service that mandates fixed-rate licensing for artists to use platform, maybe incentivized royalty rates. EXPECT FUCKERY!”

Songtradr, an Australian-founded, LA-based music licensing company, announced its acquisition of Bandcamp on 29 September from Epic Games.

The acquisition came just 18 months after Epic Games acquired Bandcamp in March 2022 amid layoffs that affected 16% of its staff.

According to a Songtradr press statement, the acquisition “will help Bandcamp continue to grow within a music-first company and enable Songtradr to expand its capabilities to support the artist community”.

Bandcamp has been the shining light for independent musicians looking for alternative ways to monetise their music through independent physical and digital sales – particularly in a market where streaming revenues are difficult to scale for smaller artists.

Their successful ‘Bandcamp Fridays’ promotion, which gives 100% of revenue to artists, and other artist-friendly features have created a special place in the hearts of indie musicians for the Bandcamp brand, not to mention the ability to buy high-quality digital music in FLAC and WAV formats.