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Bandcamp beats Google Play pay rules… for now

epic-games-bandcamp-payments-google-play-thefutureparty
Bandcamp // Illustration by Kate Walker

Bandcamp beats Google Play pay rules… for now

 

Future. Epic Games has prevailed in an injunction against the Google Play store that will allow Bandcamp (a recent acquisition) to continue using its own payment system and not have to pay Google a fee. That is until there is a verdict on the overarching lawsuit between Epic and Google over app store fees. Considering how long it may take for that lawsuit to play out, the company could make a habit of fighting on behalf of individual brands it owns, winning battles along the way.

Leave the band alone
TechCrunch reports that per a new court agreement, Bandcamp will be able to continue handling payments when they’re made on Android devices.

  • After being acquired by Epic Games, the Google Play store wanted to change Bandcamp’s ability to process payments on its platform.
  • Epic filed an injunction against Google and won… temporarily. Bandcamp can only do so until a judge decides on the larger antitrust lawsuit playing out between Epic and Google.
  • If Epic eventually wins, Bandcamp can continue operating as usual. If Google wins, Bandcamp will have to pay back 10% (the reduced fee that Google offered to take) of all the revenue it collected from here on out.
  • If things go south for Bandcamp, the company is keeping 10% of earned revenue in an escrow account.

Because Bandcamp won’t have to pay out additional fees, it can continue to give artists the same revenue share they expect.

The law in-waiting
Typically, Google Play (and Apple’s App Store) take between 15-30% of app revenue, which Epic (and many others) have essentially called highway robbery… so Epic getting to keep that money is both a financial and cultural coup. The court order also says the Bandcamp app can’t be delisted from the Google Play store and that updates should still be rolled out as they normally would, which means it’s pretty much business as usual for Bandcamp.

And the Epic win isn’t a one-off. Match Group — the parent company of dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and an Epic ally — also struck a deal with the Google Play Store to offer alternative forms of payment for its various apps. But like Bandcamp, it’ll also hold money in escrow just in case it needs to pay back Google.

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