May 20, 2022 update: Under an agreement encouraged by the court, Bandcamp will continue to operate using our existing payment system on Android devices. Fans can keep supporting artists on Android as they have, and we’ll continue paying artists the same share of sales (typically within 24-48 hours, as we do today). Bandcamp will place 10% of the revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost we will bear. Moving forward, we’ll continue the fight to allow artist-first business models like ours on Android. You can read the court filing here.
Since 2015, artists and labels have used Bandcamp’s Android app to sell music and merchandise directly to their fans, and we have used our own billing system to process payments, consistent with Google’s guidelines which specifically exempted digital music from incurring a revenue share. However, Google is now modifying its rules to require Bandcamp (and other apps like it) to exclusively use Google Play Billing for payments for digital goods and services, and pay a revenue share to Google. If Google’s policy changes stand, beginning on June 1st, we would have to either 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 turn off digital sales in the Android app. Furthermore, the policy changes would impact our ability to pay artists quickly – instead of receiving payment after 24 to 48 hours, artists may not be paid until 15 to 45 days after a sale.
Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans, and where fans gather to explore the amazing musical universe that their direct support helps create. That 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 fund their next record, buy groceries, or pay their rent, mortgage, or utility bill. We believe it’s imperative for fans to be able to express that critical support on Android, and so to stop Google from implementing these new policies for Bandcamp and other developers, Epic is filing a motion to seek a court injunction allowing Bandcamp to continue operating as we have (you can read our filing here and my declaration here).
We know that many people use Bandcamp’s Android app to listen to their music purchases, and we are committed to making sure that option remains available. With today’s filing, we hope to ensure fans can also continue to buy music and merchandise through the Android app, and that as much of their support as possible reaches the artist as quickly as possible.
Bandcamp co-founder and CEO