Epic Games has applied for a preliminary injunction to prevent Google from removing its standalone music storefront Bandcamp from the Android app store — something Google has apparently threatened because Bandcamp uses its own billing system rather than paying Google’s app store fees.
bandcamp Acquired by Epic in Marchhas used its Android billing system since 2015, and was able to do so due to rules that exempt digital music from having to use Google’s billing system, According to the blog From Bandcamp Co-Founder and CEO Ethan Diamond. “However, Google is now amending its rules to require Bandcamp (and other apps like it) to use Google Play Billing exclusively for payments for digital goods and services, and to pay a share of the profits to Google,” Diamond says.
under Google’s new rulesBandcamp will have to make changes starting on June 1. Diamond says Bandcamp will have to choose between passing fees on to customers, uploading fees to artists, operating the Android business at a loss, or stopping sales in the Android app.
Epic argues that switching to Google’s billing system will affect its ability to continue to give artists 82% of their Bandcamp revenue, because it will have to pay Google 10% – yes, 10%, not 30%, as Google appears to have offered Bandcamp some kind of From the sweetheart deal here. Paying Google a share of up to 10 percent of revenue would force Epic to change Bandcamp’s current business model or operate the Bandcamp business at a long-term loss, Epic says.
Epic also claims that music artists may have to wait longer to get paid as well, saying that the current payment system allows artists to pay within 24 to 48 hours of a sale, but that Google doesn’t pay developers until “15 to 45 days” after a sale.
While this argument certainly sounds compelling, it doesn’t work when another platform tries to pay creators, Fanhouse, Tried it against Apple last year. Van House ended up adding an additional 50 percent fee to cover Apple tax. That may be why Epic is going to court rather than just trying to publicly expose Google – but it could also be that Epic is hoping to use Bandcamp as a pawn in its larger fight against Google and Apple. Epic filed a lawsuit against both of them apple And The Google In August 2020, alleging antitrust violations after kicking the two platforms It is an electronic game from their stores when Epic introduced the in-app payment mechanism for the game. Google’s case won’t go to trial until 2023.
In today’s filing, Epic says Google is changing its policies “under the guise of a ‘clarification’ announced in September 2020.” But this update didn’t just affect Epic – in advance this monthBarnes & Noble has removed the ability to purchase digital books from its Android app, while Audible no longer allows you to use a debit or credit card to purchase Audible titles, apparently to avoid paying Google fees. And in this case, Google appears to have offered a Bandcamp discount of 10 percent instead of 30.
Epic also notes that building the infrastructure to integrate Google’s billing system will “require significant time and effort” — for now, Bandcamp’s in-app solution is “fully integrated with PayPal.” But then again, as Epic admits, Google announced these changes over a year ago, and before it bought the Epic Bandcamp. It seems likely that Epic was aware of the upcoming billing changes when it bought the company.
And it wouldn’t be normal for Epic to lay the groundwork for a legal trap in advance. Epic’s internal emails show that they set such a trap in a file It is an electronic game Issue: “[T]His goal is to draw Google into a legal fight over antitrust,” Epic Marketing Director Haseeb Milk wrote in an email in September 2019. The battle begins. It will be fun!”
You can read two of these emails here – Find Items #35 and #38. You can read the full movement included below.