Epic Games and Google reach agreement regarding policy changes to in-app purchases

In an update on the ongoing Bandcamp vs. Google case, Bandcamp’s parent company Epic Games have reportedly reached an agreement with Google regarding changes to Google’s in-app purchasing policies. 

Earlier this month, it was reported that Epic Games were suing Google regarding the proposed changes to their payment policies for Android apps, which would see all in-app purchases be required to go through Google’s payment system Google Pay Billing. The move could have been fatal for Bandcamp, whose in-app purchases rely on PayPal integration. A shift to Google Pay Billing with Bandcamp’s current model would have seen massive losses for both the company and their artists as Bandcamp would be required to pay Google around 30% of their total revenue from in-app purchases. Epic Games were dealt a further setback on May 12, after their injunction on Google was rejected. However, US District Judge James Donato, who was responsible for the ruling, urged Google to act in good faith until the case goes to trial next year.

Prior to Epic Games taking legal action, the policy shift was scheduled to move forward from June 1st. Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond outlined the agreement in a blog post, explaining that Bandcamp would pay 10% of all revenue into an escrow account where it will be held as collateral before a final ruling on the case is made in 2023. “Fans can keep supporting artists on Android as they have, and we’ll continue paying artists the same share of sales (typically within 24-48 hours, as we do today),” Diamond assured in his blog post. 

As noted by Henry Irvy writing for Resident Advisor, the battle between Epic Games and Google “points to larger issues around payment structures through tech giants.” According to Irvy, the issue calls into question access independent music artists have to distribution infrastructure that is not at the mercy of tech giants.