Following Bandcamp’s sale to Epic Games final 12 months, staff on the common unbiased music streaming and gross sales platform are making efforts to unionize.
On Thursday (March 16), Bandcamp employees filed with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to authorize a union election, marking the newest push by music firm staff to unionize. If authorized, the employees will maintain an election to formally kind the union. The trouble follows comparable initiatives from staff at indie label Secretly Group and YouTube Music, in addition to employees at broader tech and media corporations like Amazon, Disney and Tesla.
Bandcamp United is a bunch of “designers, journalists, help employees, engineers and extra,” in response to an announcement, that’s “dedicated to defending the advantages we’ve, fixing historic disparities inside and throughout departments, and selling equitable circumstances and financial stability for all of our colleagues.”
“If you consider Bandcamp, it’s about paying artists pretty for the music that we love a lot,” says Eli Rider, a Philadelphia-based knowledge analyst for the music streaming and gross sales platform, and one of many union organizers, in a cellphone interview. “So, the employees that construct the positioning and help it additionally wish to have honest and clear wages.”
Rider wouldn’t elaborate on particular points round wages or office circumstances that prompted the workers’ transfer to unionize. She additionally wouldn’t specify what number of employees had been concerned within the union effort, however stated, “Now we have a broad base of help,” together with from U.S. and worldwide Bandcamp staff.
Discussions round unionizing started throughout on-line conferences final July, in response to Rider. “Of us simply began speaking extra about what they had been experiencing at work,” she says. “It was principally discuss, however then somebody had the thought of getting organized.” At that time, they reached out to current unions, earlier than deciding to affiliate with the Workplace and Skilled Staff Worldwide Union (OPEIU) Native 1010.
Bandcamp was offered to Epic Video games, the corporate that owns Fortnite, for an undisclosed quantity in March 2022. After the sale, Rider says there was “a shift in our office circumstances” that he describes as “sudden.”
In an announcement Thursday, Bandcamp’s CEO Ethan Diamond responded: “We’re conscious that some Bandcamp staff are searching for to prepare a union and [we] are reviewing the petition to know their issues.”
Fashioned in 2007, Bandcamp was a vital outlet for indie musicians after touring income disappeared throughout the COVID-19 quarantine interval. Artists relied on the Bandcamp Fridays promotion to promote merch and music; on these days, they acquired 93% of the income in comparison with 82% on a typical day. On the primary Bandcamp Friday after concert events shut down in 2020, followers purchased 800,000 objects from artists on Bandcamp totaling $4.3 million.
“You will need to us that Bandcamp’s artist-first mission continues with readability and accountability, with all sources afforded to us distributed within the fairest and most clear method attainable,” the employees stated on their website. “We really feel a accountability to help those that are most marginalized, to make use of our platform with integrity, and to offer cheap protections and lodging for these at-risk.”