So this one time, at Bandcamp, half the staff were laid off

Epic redundancies all round

Many staff at audio marketplace Bandcamp aren't singing a happy tune after the platform laid off around 50 percent of employees before the site was offically sold to new owner Songtradr.

"As of October 16 2023, Songtradr has officially acquired Bandcamp. 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 spokesperson confirmed to The Register.

"After a comprehensive evaluation, including the importance of roles for smooth business operations and pre existing functions at Songtradr, 50 percent of Bandcamp employees have accepted offers to join Songtradr."

In other words, staff were told to reapply for their jobs by Epic and half of them didn't make it in the Hunger Games-like contest to carry on at Bandcamp.

The Oakland, California-based music site, patronized by Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, and Aphex Twin, was bought by Epic Games last year - in part because of the site's strong following in the gaming industry. It also has a thriving business producing vinyl LPs - which for younger readers are music storage devices that play back sound when a stylus is dragged across a polymer disc as it rotates.

As a POI for Fortnite players, in an economizing round last month Epic cut staff by 16 percent and sold off Bandcamp, saying it was "we still ended up far short of financial sustainability." The $520 million it had to pay in a settlement with the FTC for over violating children's privacy might have had something to do with that.

Bandcamp employees are receiving six months severance pay - unusually generous terms for the tech industry. Some staff choose to unionize in March, in alliance with the Tech Workers Union 1010, and the union is negotiating with Epic over terms.

The cuts, however, have been brutal. According to one former employee the editorial department that promotes new music is now down to three people after being gutted.

"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," said Songtradr.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Bandcamp into our musically aligned community. We share a deep passion for all things music and will continue to serve artists, labels and the fans who make it all possible." ®

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