Not only is Epic Games battling app stores over the right to process their own in-app payments in its popular game Fortnite, it has also fought its antitrust legal battle with tech giants via Bandcamp, the online music company that Epic acquired in March. The following month, Epic filed an injunction claiming the right to allow Bandcamp to continue business as usual rather than forcing it to adopt Google’s payments system as now required through a policy change, or risk being expelled from the Google Play Store. On Friday, Bandcamp triumphed on that front, gaining the ability to continue to legally run the existing payment system on Android devices until Epic’s case with Google is resolved, according to a new court agreement.
This means that Bandcamp fans will be able to continue to support their favorite artists on Android devices by purchasing music and merchandise, as they have done since 2015, and the artists will receive the same percentage of sales, as usual, Bandcamp said. In addition, Google will not be able to unlist the Bandcamp app from the Google Play Store, or delay or refuse to distribute app updates as part of the new agreement.
Bandcamp also said it will now put 10% of revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s lawsuit with Google is resolved. At this point, the court will determine whether or not Google will receive this money based on whether it judges Google’s payments system to be uncompetitive.
The 10% figure itself – which represents the commissions Bandcamp had to pay Google – is a bit unusual. Typical Google commissions on in-app purchases range from 15% to 30% for most Google Play developers. But the original court filing revealed that Google offered Bandcamp a reduced fee of 10% in exchange for other perks. Despite the private offer, Bandcamp argued that this was still an exaggeration, as it “would force Epic to change Bandcamp’s existing business model or operate Bandcamp’s business at a long-term loss,” the filing said.
In a statement published last month on the Bandcamp blog, Bandcamp CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond explained that the company will either have to pass Google fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), and pass fees on to artists (which we never will). , or permanently operate our Android business at a loss, or turn off digital sales in the Android app”, in order to comply with new Google policy changes around in-app purchases.
He also noted that Bandcamp has used its payments system for years, in line with previous Google guidelines that exempted digital music from incurring a share of the revenue.
Bandcamp isn’t the only company that has reached some such agreements with Google over in-app purchases amid antitrust lawsuits.
Also on Friday, dating giant Match Group reached a similar settlement with Google, resulting in Match withdrawing its temporary restraining order against Google. Per the terms of its deal, Google agreed not to refuse or remove Match Group apps from the Play Store to provide alternative payment options, and Match said up to $40 million is in escrow rather than paying its commissions to Google for the in. – App payments made outside the Google Play payment system.