Bandcamp employees in the US have formed the first union for a music streaming platform, TechCrunch reports(Opens in a new window).
Bandcamp was founded in 2007 and has since become an artist-friendly alternative to Spotify and Apple Music that shares a bigger chunk of streaming profits with musicians. And now Bandcamp staff want to level the playing field not just for artists but for themselves too.
The union, known as Bandcamp United, said a super-majority of workers at the Epic-owned audio distributor are in favor of its formation.
The 62-strong Bandcamp United reportedly includes engineers, project managers, support staff, and designers and engineers.
The freshly formed union’s mission statement(Opens in a new window) says it wants to erase historical pay inequalities at the audio distributor, seek to ensure access to paid time off, and promote “equitable conditions and economic stability.” They also want to ensure that salaries “will grow to meet economic necessity.”
Bandcamp United chose to join Tech Workers Union Local 1010 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). OPEIU, which counts 88,000 white-collar workers in the US and Canada as members, helped Kickstarter workers organize in 2020.
Moves to organize were sparked after Epic Games took over the company last year. According to Bandcamp employees who spoke to Rolling Stone, upon the takeover new employment contracts were dished out and workers were given “a limited amount of time to sign them with no room for negotiation.” As Rolling Stone notes(Opens in a new window), the workers behind Bandcamp United have been organizing since last summer.
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Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond told TechCrunch and Rolling Stone that the company’s management had been made “aware that some… employees are seeking to organize a union and [is] reviewing the petition to understand their concerns.”
In February, more than 40 contractors who work for YouTube Music started going on strike against an order to return to in-person work at Google’s Austin, Texas office. The strike action is still ongoing.
And last week, 272 employees at one of the world’s largest trading card marketplaces became the first eBay workers to form a union.
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