Bandcamp has always been known as an artist-friendly alternative to streaming services like Spotify, where you can buy music directly from the musicians themselves. Now, workers at the Epic-owned online audio distributor want to make sure they’re treated as well as their creators by forming a union called Bandcamp United. According Rolling Stone and TechCrunch, most workers are in favor of unionization, and all 62 of your non-managerial and non-supervisory staff in the US will form your bargaining unit. Those 62 workers are made up of support staff, designers, engineers, writers, and other roles within the platform.
Bandcamp staff have apparently been quietly working on their organizing efforts since last summer. Ultimately, they decided to join Tech Workers Union Local 1010 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which is the same group that helped Kickstarter full-timers organize in 2020. According to the mission statement written on the Bandcamp website United, the group aims to correct pay disparities and promote “a level playing field and economic stability.” They want to make sure workers have access to paid time off and that their wages “grow to meet economic need.”
Rolling Stone says they are also looking to address a lack of transparency from management after the Epic acquisition last year. Workers were reportedly asked to sign new employment contracts when the Fortnite The developer acquired the platform and they were given a limited time to review their terms with no room for negotiation.
Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp’s chief executive, told the publications that management is “aware that some … employees are looking to organize a union and [is] reviewing the petition to understand your concerns.” Bandcamp United has already filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to administer a union election and will hold one to make things official once it is approved.