Google suspends Bandcamp Android app removal threat

Why it matters: For now, users of Bandcamp on Android shouldn’t worry about the future of the app or its payment system. The legal dispute between Google and Bandcamp owner Epic Games continues, but the search giant promises nothing will change for musicians and customers while the courts still hear the case.

This week, Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond said Google had agreed to leave the music service’s Android app alone pending a lawsuit between it and Epic Games, which recently acquired Bandcamp. Until then, Bandcamp will pay artists its regular rate, which is notoriously higher than Spotify’s.

The dispute began when Google announced plans to force music apps on the Play Store to handle payments through its billing system and give it a 10% cut in sales. Google previously allowed exemptions to the requirement, but ended with this option on June 1. Bandcamp considers this unsustainable as it passes on 82% (and on special occasions, 100%) of sales revenue to artists.

Last month, Epic filed a petition in a California court seeking a stay of Bandcamp’s removal from Google Play. Under the new deal, Google will postpone the removal while Epic put Google’s 10% cut in escrow. Epic is going to eat up all that cost, so none of it gets passed on to consumers or artists, and the escrow ultimately goes to whoever wins the deal. Google is only making an exception for Bandcamp, so other Android apps may still need to change or be removed on June 1.

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