Bandcamp and Google confirmed the interim agreement as the dispute over in-app payments continues

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Written by Chris Cook | Published on Monday 23 May 2022

Fan-direct platform Bandcamp has entered into a “common terms” agreement with Google that will allow it to continue using its payments system when people purchase downloads via its Android app while a lawsuit was recently filed over the tech giant’s changing rules through motions.

The legal battle between Bandcamp and Google concerns the latter’s rules regarding in-app payments made via Android apps. Both Google and Apple’s rules regarding in-app payments on devices using their own operating systems have been in the spotlight in recent years, of course, with many app makers arguing that these rules are often anti-competitive.

With some transactions — including when people purchase access to content, experiences, or other digital assets consumed within the app — the app maker is obligated to use Google or Apple-owned payment platforms and collect commissions.

App makers affected by this obligation must either swallow Google or Apple’s commissions, or pass them on to the consumer.

Among those who have been particularly vocal about in-app payment rules are Spotify and Epic Games – the latter two best known as the owner of Fortnite, but also – as of earlier this year – also the owner of Bandcamp.

Beef Bandcamp is specifically related to the recent change in the rules for the Google app. Previously on Android devices – unlike iOS – when an app was selling a download to be consumed outside of the app itself, there was no obligation to use Google Payments.

However, the rules have now changed which means that apps are now obligated to use the Google system to receive payments in this scenario.

Google offered a special deal on Bandcamp so that it only pays a 10% commission on those in-app payments, however, the platform direct to fans states that an additional cost must be passed to the fan, making it less attractive. To sell downloads to Android users through the app.

It could also mean that artists will have to wait longer to receive their share of the money, as the money goes through the Google system.

Unhappy with the rule change, Bandcamp filed legal papers in the US late last month for an injunction preventing Google from removing its Android app from the Google Play Store if it continues to receive direct payments for download sales despite the new rules.

Google is fighting that lawsuit, but – at the court’s request – has agreed to allow Bandcamp to continue receiving those direct payments in the short term while the legal battle continues.

However, Bandcamp will also, at its own expense, allocate funds equal to 10% of every transaction made to download sales through its Android app, should it lose the legal battle and Google accrue its commissions.

Bandcamp last week added an update to a previous blog post about the Google dispute confirming that a temporary agreement had been reached that would allow downloads to continue to be sold via its Android app.

This update read: “Under an agreement encouraged by the court, Bandcamp will continue to operate with our existing payment system on Android devices. Fans can continue to support artists on Android as they have done, and we will continue to pay the same share of sales to artists (usually within 24 -48 hours, as we do today).

“Bandcamp will place 10% of revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost that we will incur,” she added. “Going forward, we will continue to fight to allow first artist-based business models like ours on Android.”

Read more about: Bandcamp | The Google

2022-05-23 11:27:22

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