Employees of Bandcamp sent a letter to Songtradr CEO Paul Wiltshire on Tuesday (Oct. 3) asking him to recognize their union, “extend [job] offers to all Bandcamp employees” and “maintain everyone’s current employment status,” including “current pay, working conditions, and benefits.” Songtradr, a music licensing platform, purchased Bandcamp from Epic Games last week.
“The integrity of the workers who build Bandcamp is a crucial aspect of the company’s ability to uphold its values,” Cami Ramirez-Arau, a support specialist, said in a statement. “Bandcamp’s core mission is best protected by retaining all workers and by those workers having a seat at the table.”
“We’ve been able to work effectively and directly with management at Epic Games to bargain collectively,” added Eli Rider, a data analyst. “We want to continue this process with Songtradr.”
A rep for Songtradr did not immediately respond to Billboard‘s request for comment.
Epic Games acquired Bandcamp in March 2022. Roughly a year later, Bandcamp workers filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to authorize a union election. At the time, Rider told Billboard there was “a shift in our workplace conditions” after the sale.
“If you think about Bandcamp, it’s about paying artists fairly for the music that we love so much,” Rider added. “So, the workers that build the site and support it also would like to have fair and transparent wages.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Bandcamp employees said their union, Bandcamp United, was recognized in May and began bargaining with Epic Games in August. But the negotiations were not complete by September 28, when Songtradr announced it was taking Bandcamp off Epic Games’ hands, potentially wiping out any progress in the talks. A rep for the union said it was not aware that Epic Games was planning to sell Bandcamp.
The employees union issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Epic had told them that Songtradr “would be offering positions to some Bandcamp employees but not all.” Adding to the feelings of uncertainty and disarray: Most employees “have had critical systems access revoked by Epic management and have been unable to do their jobs.”
Ed Blair, a support specialist, said in a statement that “Songtradr not immediately recognizing Bandcamp United is a worrying indicator that they have misunderstood the value of Bandcamp.”
“The workers who make up Bandcamp United are essential for the future of Bandcamp,” he emphasized.
Bandcamp United also noted in its letter to Wiltshire that it “has garnered extensive support from the Bandcamp user community – and the public more broadly.”
“Recognizing us,” the letter stated, “would go a long way to establishing goodwill for Songtradr.”
When Wiltshire spoke to Billboard following the announcement of the Bandcamp acquisition, he called Bandcamp “a great platform.” He added, “There’s not a need to change it into anything other than what it is.”
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