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Arts & Entertainment

One of the largest streaming platforms for independent musicians is unionizing

Bandcamp HQ is located in Uptown Oakland. | Google Maps | Source: Google Maps

Workers at Oakland-based Bandcamp, one of the biggest music streaming platforms for independent musicians in the world, announced their union Thursday. 

Under the name Bandcamp United, the workers affiliated with Tech Workers Union Local 1010, a local of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which includes established white-collar unions like Kickstarter United and Code for America Workers United.

Bandcamp United took to social media to call upon its employer, as well as Bandcamp’s parent company, Epic Games, to grant the union a timely and fair election.

“Forming our union is critical to our ability to do our best work and make good on the promise and mission of Bandcamp to provide fair economic conditions, direct support and transparency for ourselves and all of our users,” the union wrote.

Rolling Stone reported that employees at Bandcamp had reacted with concern when Epic Games acquired the streaming platform in March 2022. Bandcamp has historically granted artists greater control over their work than comparable websites, while Epic Games is a behemoth in the video game industry—one of the biggest companies of its kind in the world.

“Our hope is to create a more transparent and fair workplace that values every worker regardless of role and provides adequate support for personal and career growth,” Ava Mirzadegan, an organizer with Bandcamp United, wrote in an email to The Standard. “Building this community where we can learn from each other’s experiences at work and come together to support each other and make collective decisions has meant a lot to us as workers.”

Immediately following Bandcamp United’s announcement on Twitter, the union received an outpouring of solidarity tweets from musicians like the Mountain Goats, Laura Jane Grace and Stars.

“We are aware that some Bandcamp employees are seeking to organize a union,” Ethan Diamond, CEO of Bandcamp, said in a statement. “Employees have a right to organize under federal law and we are reviewing the petition to understand their concerns.”