The executive class exploit the labour of the working class to benefit themselves. CEOs are in general opposed to collective action among the workers beneath them as any shift of power to the workers necessarily represents a loss of power for the executive.
I don't understand the issue with that? It's just as relevant to this thread's conversation.
I might be "double dipping" by using the same example? But I hardly consider a second post about the same topic to be spamming.
So...sorry for not leaving to find a different example that I found relevant to the conversation? But it was pretty much the same conversation about the same issues people may have with unions.
Some court cases in the US have said contractors with no autonomy get the same rights as employees, has anyone made that argument in France?
Is it more common in the US to have company-specific unions? Are the large “independent” unions present at all?
I would assume that being larger and independent of an employer would make them more useful to their members.
Watching, casually, the news of Bandcamp’s and Moog’s unions over the last year, I couldn’t shake the feeling they wouldn’t work out as they’d be too small and likely their leadership inexperienced.
I don't know if their leadership was good or not but American trades unionism is pretty different to ours. Employees typically don't have a huge amount of legal rights and so getting your workplace unionised is much more of a battle than here. On the other hand, America has de facto closed shops which are illegal pretty much everywhere in Europe.
It's not mandatory and not all companies have it. I once joked, at my first job: "We should create a Betriebsrat!", my boss took me to his office and explained to me for an hour how horrible those are for a company. Companies are absolutely not allowed to prevent employees from forming one and he was incredibly afraid of having one in his company...
I would really like to see something like Castopod , but for artists! Spinning up a website where you showcase and sell your music should (and could!) be as easy as using Wordpress, either via a subscription or self-hosted – on your own domain.
Being plugged into the Fediverse makes it much easier to interact with fans and build a connection with your audience. It also makes it easy for people to share and talk about a track or and album. None of this requires that you tie yourself to yet another VC-funded startup and a closed garden.
Maybe someone is building something like this already, that I am not aware of?
I can imagine a 1-click solution that would set up everything. But bandcamp also has this functionality where labels can list their artists etc so I think it wouldn't work that well.
Wordpress has already integrated with the Fediverse, btw!
While I am a fan of federated social, it does not solve the problem for artists of replacing Bandcamp in any way, shape, or form. Bandcamp provided a storefront, payment handling, a distribution mechanism, and a potential audience + editorial that kept people coming back.
A Castopod for Musicians does none of this.
 Distribution of digital media, anyway. Distributing physical media was still an exercise left to the artist.
I know this won't be a popular thing to say, but I'd like to take a moment to thank Songtradr for consulting their lawyers and full-considering all legal requirements.
I believe them when they say they didn't legally acquire the union's documentation on membership. But they "carried out a comprehensive, full company evaluation that involved a detailed examination of each role" and seem pretty anal about their legal requirements. It's become expected that a prospective employee's social media accounts will be "evaluated" as part of the hiring process, so I imagine that was the case here, too. (Do you think any of the union members, the union-curious or even the anti-union weirdos ever mentioned the union on twitter?)
It goes on to explain that the "evaluation considered several factors such as product groups, job functions, employee tenure, performance evaluations," and amusingly "the importance of roles for smooth business operations".
 performance evaluations were just one of several factors evaluated (comprehensively) in the detailed examination during the full company evaluation
That's just the bare minimum they have to do to not get sued, is that really thankworthy?
this is extremely shady, and I don't know why people are trusting the source directly lol. they wouldn't say they did anything untoward, ever
There's nothing here to be thankful for, not a damn thing.
Well, I did say I knew that wouldn't go down well here...
No, nobody should be thanking them for this.
We should be mocking them for making such a ridiculous, offensive and typical statement. As if anyone would expect them to not have the forethought to check where the line would be. As if a company protecting itself in the usual way is a reason for why no actual people should think ill of them. As if we should be thanking them.
Note that all they are saying is they weren't given access to membership information. The only way they could have had access is if it were given to them. When I say "legally acquire" I'm not ruling out other means of accessing that information directly, but the trick being performed here is mentioning this when it's irrelevant. They don't need access to membership information to know who is "on their side".
These are not the union bargainers though but rather the people who represent workers' interest in the company (they need to sign off on contract changes etc.). The bargainers are usually working for the union and not a company.
Seems like the way the sale was set up, it was deliberately done to avoid any commitments to the Bandcamp workforce. No idea of the legality of this, but if I was a Bandcamp employee that was lucky enough to move to SongTradr, I'd be polishing my resume, because it doesn't bode well for them being a good employer.
The new company has to offer employees a "transfer of previous employment" - so even though you're working for someone else, your history at the previous company is moved over with you. So if they wanted to get rid of you, they would then have to go through a redundancy process - which involves explaining why they're letting you go, offering you alternatives and giving you a payout based on your length of service.
I think how it gets prosecuted also depends on if there is a way to prove collusion between the two companies in this. It is absolutely fishy that Epic laid everyone off just before the sale/transfer concluded to Songtradr and both companies can currently pretend they did nothing wrong and hurting the union was an accident of bad timing and Songtradr especially looking "clean" hiring back in "waves" based on BS metrics and "goodwill" since it could have just not offered jobs back to people already laid off by the previous owner. It can be hard not to imagine that there wasn't some "golf course handshake" on the whole thing, but proving that existed may be tough to do, especially if the collusion was literal golf course handshakes with no paper trail.
This should be illegal but it just sounds like good free market business.
If they were Epic, not Bandcamp, employees then Songtradr would be within their rights to proceed as they have. But Epic would have had to go through a redundancy process (including explaining why it's happening, detailing the alternative tactics they have explored and trying to find other roles within the organisation for the affected employees).
Of course, it's all immaterial as UK law doesn't apply (and I only took a short qualification in it so I know it's fiendishly complex anyway).
EDITED to remove information I had included in the original post
They were told if they didn't sign a worse deal they would be fired, causing a fight with the union.
1) Fire everybody
2) Create new corporate entity
3) Rehire the meek and compliant
4) Sell corporate entity back to original company
Judges tend to get very cranky when they have to deal with shenanigans like these.
The question really should just be in #1 is legal. The extra shenanigans doesn't change that question.
#1 by itself is not illegal. When companies move a factory overseas they also just fire everybody. Not nice, but not illegal.
It's not illegal in se, but it is illegal if it's done in order to retaliate against employees for organizing, in order to target union employees, in order to undermine a union, etc.
There's a question of enforcement, and there's the challenge of proving that to the requisite legal standard. But assuming the facts are established, it's actually a very clear violation of the NLRA.
> “Of those laid off, 40 were in the union bargaining unit out of a total 67 members. None of the eight (8) democratically elected bargaining team members received a job offer.”
I assume I'd have to use NCR or something to calculate that. I know the upper (rarest) bound is 1/2^40, but it's likely much more likely, and not random.
Given that 50% of all employees were laid off, what were the odds of at least 40 employees out of 67 randomly-selected employees getting laid off?
One-tailed p-value of 0.07, two-tailed p-value of 0.14. So the odds are about 1 in 7, or 1 in 14.
You might want to ask yourself "Do I really believe that, if I thought I might be about to get fired, that would have no influence on whether I tried to join a union?" [Answering this question in the negative means you can justify using the one-tailed p-value, but it also means the odds of getting fired should be substantially above 50%.]
Note also that this number shifts substantially as you move the odds of getting laid off away from 50%. At 53%, you have a one-tailed value of 16.44%. At 47%, it's 2.5%.
You actually want the odds of a specific set of 40 individuals getting laid off. It looks like Bandcamp had 118 employees and 60 layoffs per various news outlets (and on the wikipedia page ). Assuming each employee was equally likely to get laid off given the target retention , you could compute this from the binomial distribution using "number of ways to predetermine those 40 are getting laid off, plus 20 from the remainder, divided by number of ways to select 60 individuals out of 118".
Or, more concisely, (78 choose 20) / (118 choose 60), which is actually closer to 10^-16 (2 orders of magnitude more unlikely than the simple approximation of 2^-40, which assumes an infinitely large pool).
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandcamp : "Songtradr stated that only 60 of Bandcamp's previously 118 workers had been offered a contract."
 This is by no means guaranteed.
Well, close. I've computed the odds that at least 40 of a group of 67 special people get laid off.
There is another comment in this thread suggesting that 67 is the number of bargaining team members. I don't know, because I haven't read the article. So my calculation might or might not be right, depending on whether you interpreted the article correctly or the handful of people taking the other position did. My interpretation was that 40 out of 67 union members got fired, which appears to have been wrong.
> You actually want the odds of a specific set of 40 individuals getting laid off.
I definitely don't want that. You never want to make a comparison against a specific outcome when you ask "what are the odds?" like this. All specific outcomes are rare, so that question will never tell you anything informative. (I almost wrote "will never tell you anything useful", but if what you're looking for is a scapegoat, you might find the calculation you propose useful for that. It's not useful for anything else, and frankly it's a disgrace that you suggested it.)
This is what the article says:
> “On Monday, October 16, 2023 over half of Bandcamp was laid off as a result of Epic Games’ divestiture to Songtradr,” Bandcamp United said in a statement. “Of those laid off, 40 were in the union bargaining unit out of a total 67 members. None of the eight (8) democratically elected bargaining team members received a job offer.”
So it looks like there are these groups:
- bandcamp employees (number unknown)
- union members (number unknown)
- union members on the bargaining team (67)
- union members on the bargaining team who got laid off (40)
- union members elected to the bargaining team (8)
- union members elected to the bargaining team, who got laid off (8)
This suggests that the calculation I gave was the same one that was sought, and also that the base rate, as far as we believe in it, was over 50%. Remember that shifting the odds of being fired from 50% to 53% more than doubled the odds of seeing the pattern we did see.
I incorrectly conflated the number of laid off union members with the total number of "special" individuals, while only 8 of them were actually "special" (i.e. democratically elected bargaining team members). It'd be more accurate to describe that probability of the impact to the bargaining team as (110 choose 52) / (118 choose 60) which comes out to about 0.35%, not too far off from the 2^-8 estimate (0.4%) that your approach of using the binomial distribution on this same set would result in. Both approaches would yield similar results, and the result is still somewhat in the realm of plausible deniability.
> All specific outcomes are rare, so that question will never tell you anything informative.
I'm not describing any specific outcomes in this case, though. You could throw up your hands and say "oh, we laid off these specific 60 people, there's only a 10^-34 chance of picking exactly those 60 people out of 118". That would absolutely be useless.
I'm describing the event that "all of this one group got laid off" as a subset of the space of possible outcomes given what we observed, and ascribing a probability to that event.
I will admit I used the wrong inputs, but I stand by my approach.
118 (ironically, not 120) per https://finance.yahoo.com/news/half-bandcamps-120-person-sta...
Modelling any of these assumptions yields an arbitrary probability of your own choosing.
>> You might want to ask yourself "Do I really believe that, if I thought I might be about to get fired, that would have no influence on whether I tried to join a union?"
This feels like the wrong conclusion to draw (especially the second part), but I suck at statistics so someone please explain where I'm off.
Extreme example: suppose a company has 100 employees. Four of them are in the union bargaining team and they just happen to all work for the widgets department because of an accident of history or randomness etc. The widgets department has 10 people overall.
Now the company decides for business reasons entirely unrelated to unions, that thanks to GPT they don't need so many people in the widgets department. So they fire 8 people from widgets. Assume further that they went out of their way to protect the union bargainers: of those 8 people fired, only 2 are in the union bargaining team. (That means that the remaining 2 widgets people are both union bargainers.)
Even though the company went out of their way to protect the union bargainers, statistically they only laid off 8% of the company, but 50% of union bargainers. Would that be illegal or even unfair?
(In the real world, I am fairly sure that union bargainers are concentrated in some departments. Mostly because it attracts certain kinds of people, and different departments also attract certain kinds of people.
But, of course, I have no clue what the reality inside of Bandcamp was like. I'm just speculating about hypothetical examples.)
P(lose job | bargainer): 50%
P(lose job | not bargainer): 6.25%
P(lose job | bargainer) 50%
P(lose job | not bargainer) 100%
P(lose job | bargainer) NaN
P(lose job | not bargainer) 0%
This isn't the cleanest example, since the comparison at the bottom can't be drawn at all. But the way the problem is narrated, it would counterfactually have exhibited the paradox.
My example crucially hinges on the company being able to convincingly argue that they singled out that particular widget department for reasons unrelated to the union. If they can't make that argument, or someone even manages to proof that they fired from the widget department _because_ of the union people, then they would be in deep trouble.
Edit: also, another confounding factor that hasn't been discussed is job role/department. Layoffs and union membership are definitely not evenly distributed across role/department, but there is not enough info in the article to know if the layoffs were targeting specific roles or uniform across the company.
in any country which properly enforces labor protection law laying of any union leaders without the agreement of the union is extremely hard and requires missteps of the members like e.g. stealing. Or really unusual situations like you lay of half of the members and over half of the members have young children (or e.g. are disabled, project leaders etc.) but non of the union members have any of that. The likelihood of which is basically 0 in practice.
But that would lead the way to the question of why this was a redundancy rather than dismissal for cause.
Im not any sort of lawyer let alone an employment lawyer, but I’m sure there are some employment lawyers getting in touch with these folks now to test their interest in pushing a case.
The reason is often racism. This time it could legitimately be illegal union busting.
Perhaps, but there's also a real chance that the union structure you end up with ends up being net negative for top earners. If you're in the top 10%, what makes you think the bottom 90% won't vote for policies that end up redistributing your wages to them?
Also as I said in my other comment, whether this is actually true is irrelevant. All that matters is that it sounds plausible and some fraction of people believe it. Perception is reality in this case.
We already have the bottom 10% (executives) doing that. We would need evidence to be convinced that your scenario would plausibly happen if workers had more power and executives less.
What I said doesn't require everyone to be "motivated by greed for personal wealth and status". The effect will still be present even if only a fraction of people behave that way.
>Actually most aren't.
As to why a talented free agent would want to join a union. It seems to me that in an industry with strong union presence then union is obvious to join. It provides so many protections and adds leverage to intangibles that even high earning individuals can’t negotiate for.
Because if yes, that’s not a good look for them at all and is kind of a perfect ammo for the anti-union side.
Your highest performing state is temporary. There will be times where you’ll have off days. You will deal with death in the family. You will be eventually injured. If you aren’t already disabled, you will eventually be (this is just old age). You may become a parent. You might immigrate and come under restrictive visa. You’re a human being with fluctuating states, same as everyone else, and an abusive employer shouldn’t get to power trip over you just because they don’t think it’s legitimate enough for them or something.
So yes, there’s a lot of reasons why a “high performer” might want to be in a union. There’s a lot of life shit we all go through.
Edited to add: this is not the mention your employer might just pull some crap like nepotizing a promotion over you, where a union would come in handy handy!
Even if you think there should be a social safety net for these types of circumstances, it makes little sense for employers to provide it. For one, it has the usual problems of tying important services to employment, similar to how healthcare is in the US. It also puts an undue burden on small businesses. You run a 10 person startup and one of your employees got a long term disability? Congratulations, you have to now find a replacement AND continue paying them. Large companies have law of large numbers on their side, but as an unlucky small business that's 10% of your payroll.
>Edited to add: this is not the mention your employer might just pull some crap like nepotizing a promotion over you, where a union would come in handy handy!
1. has there been a good track record of unions being able to successfully prevent cases like these?
2. Given the level of corruption associated with unions, at least in the US, you're just replacing one problem with another.
So the contract only covers time? Not actual work, but only time? Do I get to spend the time how I want as long as there is a paper trail that it was your time I just wasted?
> The company isn't a charity.
Yet both are legal and social constructs and not something you can make up on the fly to fit your personal preferences.
> it makes little sense for employers to provide it.
I have been worked to exhaustion for one employer. You don't get to reap the profits and socialize the costs, that only incentivizes more abuse.
> You run a 10 person startup and one of your employees got a long term disability?
So if that person was you would you fire yourself and move onto the street in front of your former business?
In the case of a small startup, long term disability insurance should cover the living costs of that disability. Yes, that person should be let go, even a founder, if they are unable to perform their duties. But they shouldn't be kicked the street, and the company also shouldn't be on the hook for their care. Either through premiums or taxes, this situation should be accounted for ahead of time. Employment shouldn't be a lifetime obligation of a company.
I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be gotcha at my wording, but it's pretty obvious that if you're paying for someone's time, there's an expectation that they're doing what you want them to do. Otherwise it's like ordering an airbnb but you don't get to use it.
>Yet both are legal and social constructs and not something you can make up on the fly to fit your personal preferences.
Let's go with the legal construct then. Most companies are not in fact "charities" as defined in Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)).
>I have been worked to exhaustion for one employer.
No one is forcing you to work "to exhaustion".
>You don't get to reap the profits and socialize the costs, that only incentivizes more abuse.
If you read my previous comment carefully you'd note that I was only against leaving the responsibility of providing those services to companies. That does not preclude companies paying for those services in some way. Most developed countries don't leave the responsibility of providing healthcare to companies, and instead use a combination of public/private insurance schemes that companies and individuals pay into. Are you against that as well, because that would allow companies to "reap the profits and socialize the costs"?
>So if that person was you would you fire yourself and move onto the street in front of your former business?
In reality there are other considerations for key employees like the CEO which complicates this, but in principle? Yes. The CEO has a fiduciary duty to shareholders and if he's incapacitated and unable to fulfill his duties he should step down rather than using the company as a personal rainy day fund.
It was indeed a good question, getting you closer to the truth: No, the employee isn't getting paid for time. No, the employee isn't getting paid for results. The employee is getting paid for fulfilling their terms of an employment contract which may include terms regarding time, results, and benefits that treat the employee as a human being, rather than a cog.
So the main reason to give such benefits to an employee of yours would be because the contract you signed says you have to.
So maybe firing someone for underperforming is abusive?
That's one important role of unions, but it's not the only one. The primary purpose of unions is to allow employees to negotiate with employers on a more equal playing field. Without unions, the power imbalance generally ensures that employees are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a fair deal.
I don't think they should offer protection for non-performers – outside of situations where a life event has mad a performer a non-performer for some reasonable amount of time.
which you seem to eat up and want to spit right back at people
And while unions aren't homogenous, they generally don't protect incompetence. I've known people in unions that got fired for poor performance, generally. But if I was a cook and cut off a finger while making some company profitable, my performance would certainly suffer while it was healing, and lots of companies world very much rather stop paying me. So in that case yes, I very much hope that a union would protect people from that performance-related loss of employment.
They tend to insist on due process for adverse actions, and management tend to hold out the idea that being able to dismiss arbitrarily without evidence or process is essential to efficiently dealing with incompetence.
Those things are usually much more important than pay and benefits, and when union negotiations stall, it's more usually about that sort of thing than about money.
I hate to bring up the old example, but it's used because it nicely illustrates the value of unions for everybody -- not just the union members. Things like having a 40 hour workweek and weekends only happened because of unions.
If you want to know the odds, you'd have to know their criteria. You can't assume that it was random, because it definitely wasn't. (Though, I've seen the aftermath of a random layoff, I'd take criteria'd layoff every day, even if I'm the one with the pink slip.)
At the very least, for the sake of optics, they shouldn't have fired the union reps. Not all of them anyway.
If you recognize yourself as an important player in the organization, with a strong individual bargaining position, it seems likely that unionization would be seen as less pressing. Such a person may be willing to join a union in effect, but doesn't have the same kind of incentive to make a union happen.
It is certainly not surprising that the more precarious jobs are the first to go.
Yeah sure, why care about the people that built the working machine and their family, as long as the 1% can get profit out of the machine?
The Musk management style is common in this type of acquisition.
Unions are parasites and sources of great evil. Want to control a company? Found one, or buy its shares.
We're all making assumptions here, but let's assume they had legitimate business reasons for the layoffs. What you suggest is that they make less optimal decisions for the sake of optics.
In a free-market economy, the companies that make less optimal decisions will have their lunch eaten by those that don't.
When the downfall of some of these companies takes more than a life time, who gives a hoot?
Lots and lots of companies are starting to be too big to (fully) fail.
And the bill isn't delayed by a lifetime either.
In a race to the bottom, concern for others is a liability. Ugh.
But was any of that state 'power'? Or state weakness?
And that's one of the reasons we don't have free market economies in general; because they are extremely harmful to society as a whole.
China survived communism because it implemented free-market reforms (while retaining centralized control in the political structure).
I'd say generally, the free market is what makes economies work.
Edit: minor rewording
You mean like firing the union bargaining team or laying off half your workforce?
And that's the key issue. Positive sum (along with "first, do no harm") behavior is what makes societies healthy and prosperous. Laissez faire free market capitalism rewards extractive actions over positive sum actions with predictable catastrophic consequences.
It was quite the weird coincedence that people who had an excellent performance, but refused to renegotiate their old contracts in an earlier stage, were all laid off.
The company is being acquired and then they are choosing not to issue a bunch of people contracts.
M&A transactions can get pretty complicated for exactly these reasons; frequently, they disassemble the entire set of assets for sale and divvy them up across one or more buyers, who will pick and choose what they want and then reconstitute whatever they have purchased to their desired degree.
There are also a bunch of GUI tools that claim to download libraries (search for "bandcamp downloader") but I haven't used any of them.
08/2020 Epic files suit against Apple and Google
09/2020 Discussion of Epic vs. Bandcamp and app store fees:
05/2021 "The trial ran from May 3 to May 24, 2021" from the same wikipedia link.
03/2022 Epic acquires bandcamp, a year after their trial.
Why would Epic acquire bandcamp as a "pawn" to use a year after their trial concluded? It's far more reasonable to assume Epic had a legitimate business interest in Bandcamp, and if anything, the execs of the companies had started talking due to the (concluded) lawsuit and shared interest in not losing 30% of their revenue.
a) Epic makes Unreal Engine and runs an asset store that includes sounds and music. Why not include bandcamp and their huge catalog in that store?
b) Epic makes Fortnite, which has tons of music industry tie-ins through purchasable emotes, song tracks, and free in-game concerts. Bandcamp sounds like a great avenue to expand existing agreements to sell music through Fortnite.
c) Epic also acquired Harmonix, which is the original developer of Guitar Hero and various music game spinoffs. Who knows wtf they're doing with Harmonix, but Harmonix+Bandcamp seems like an easy business strategy. "Buy this album on bandcamp and get it in the new Harmonix game too", and vice versa.
Epic has their hands in an awful lot of pies these days, and their layoff statement seemed to be a straightforward admission that their eyes were bigger than their stomach.
Bandcamp is heading for the dead pool, and it fucking sucks because it's my go to online music store. God damnit Epic.
Epic ruined it.
The only degregation here is the layoffs from the torch passing, but I believe Bandcamp still has more employees now than they did before being acquired.
And it was 118 at the time of layoffs, as you'd see in pretty much every article (and Wikipedia) talking about the topic. I can't exactly pinpoint how much they had when Epic swooped in, but even Bandcamp had a modest growth over the pandemic.
And my condolences for the editorial. I didn't even know Bandcamp had articles before reading this comment.
to understand my POV better, my usecase is:
- band that i like and follow (mostly newsletter, some social media, rarely friends that mention it drecty) sends an update "hey new stuff, click here"
- i click the link, listen a bit, buy and download
They acquired it to use as a tool in their antitrust lawsuit against Google.
The problem then becomes bargaining—companies (see Starbucks) can drag out negotiations indefinitely. This part of labor law probably can’t be changed without congress unfortunately. The PRO Act included rules which forced companies to negotiate within a certain time window but it didn’t pass.
You can't call yourself "the most pro-union person you'll ever meet" if your opinion is equivalent to "unions are only appropriate for those who already have structural power".
And why hire people in silicon Valley where they cost double what they would pretty much anywhere else?
But, hey songtradr, here some ideas for Bandcamp's new name!
* Banned Camp
* Boot Camp
* Sudden Death Camp
* Union Busting Camp
* Camp Greed
You don't sell a company to break up a union and lay off half the staff. Bandcamp wasn't a good fit any more, and it was over-staffed. Unions worked during their heyday because there was a labor shortage, so they had leverage. Bandcamp employees didn't have that leverage.
Besides, unemployment is low, so I'm not sure why you're talking about there not being a labour shortage.
Is it low in tech? There have been a lot of layoffs over the past year.
I suspect Epic had plans for bandcamp, for various reasons they had a change of heart... and re-sold partially out of a combination of frustration and the shifting economy. This wouldn't be the first time a somewhat purpose-driven company had a post-acquisition fallout, and it won't be the last.
the only 'business' left for people in that 'industry' is to charge rent which is taxes
This has been building for some time. The Epic sale set it in motion. The formation of the union was a signal to supporters that the staff distrusted the new owners and were taking steps to protect the company’s mission. The Songtradr sale escalated it. The perception of targeting union members is being interpreted as confirmation of all fears.
So while the tech industry has dealt with high-profile layoffs for the past year, I don’t think most if any of those companies have the cultural significance of Bandcamp or have a for-the-people ethos baked into their DNA. This is much more significant than layoffs after an acquisition. The perception of targeting union members could do irreparable harm to a brand built on honesty, support, and integrity.
 - https://ampwall.com
You are correct in that most people do not know anything about what's happening. But Bandcamp is largely a platform that courts super-fans and a sizable portion of this people are keyed into independent music, with all its happenings and drama. This is especially true for the successful bands, labels, and journalists who use their platform. So while 99% of their users might have no idea, the 1% that does contains many people who are heavily involved in making and influencing independent music. We see visible evidence of this in the number of music news sites that are posting updates on the situation. And I see evidence through the volume and intensity of feedback I'm receiving.
If trust and goodwill are eroded, then the platform loses its value.
Glad to see an independent initiative in this space.
That's exactly what makes developing a replacement difficult. It's not the software. I'm sure that a very large majority of people here could write that in a reasonable amount of time.
But the software isn't really the main value that Bandcamp provides. For a service to replace Bandcamp, it needs to be trustworthy and have a track record of doing right by both artists (and mostly small indie artists) and audiences. That takes time.
Saying bandcamp isn't complicated isn't the same as saying it's easy to replace. I'm just saying it's feasible to try with a small team and small amount of capital.
While the core technology may not be as 'complicated' as quantum computing, the unique challenges in execution, user engagement, and market fit should not be underestimated, simple is hard ya'll... The real value and are far from trivial to replicate and come from the people.... no offense just sayin' this is a funny pattern around here.
I'm also reminded of the old saying that "nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it."
In before the true scotsman of software lifecycles.
I don't even think it's necessarily profit vs. non-profit, I think it's private vs. shareholder ownership. Once the shareholder brain-worms take root, a company will set itself on fire to maintain the illusion of quarterly growth, because anything else is failure. Even if you somehow managed to dominate a market to complete exclusion of meaningful competitors, if you fail to grow, you are failing. That is fucking absurd. A company reaching a natural plateau of steady customers generating excellent profits is, by Wall Street's definition, a failed business. I'm reminded of Greta Thunberg's notion of "the fantasy of infinite growth."
For-profit entities certainly can do some sketchy things to ensure profitability, and that warrants skepticism. But you really only see the truly brain dead nonsense decisions from publicly traded corporations. Shit like laying off 2/3 of your staff because you had a less profitable period (not not-profitable, _less_ profitable!).
This is a trope in Silicon Valley, but it's simply not true. Most companies in a developed economy aim for a stable state, i.e. close to zero real growth with payments made to investors via sole proprietorship pay-outs, dividends and/or debt.
Now a growth company is worth more than a stable-state one, ceteris paribus, so there are incentives to promise it. If your promise growth and fail to grow, you are failing. That doesn't mean the company is failing. It's just mismanaged and likely misrepresented by its capital structure.
FFS, Amazon promises growth. Amazon! A company so formidable that even it announcing it's thinking about entering a market causes a small stock blip to any major companies in that market, because it's presumed they will fucking obliterate them.
The entire E&P sector comes to mind. For example, Marathon Oil "expects to deliver maintenance-level total Company oil production" this year .
Note that "publicly traded companies constitute less than 1 percent of all U.S. firms and about one-third of U.S. employment in the non-farm business sector" . Most small businesses aim to stay small.
Wait, when was Google a non-profit?
Honestly, the non-profit engine was not nearly as good as the one the subsequent for profit business created.
It is difficult to prevent enshittification when it requires people to refuse to get rich. Most aren't willing to stick to their principles in the face of that.
Union membership fell to an all-time low in 2022 . Given Yellow's bankruptcy and the writer lay-offs, I'd expect that to have continued this year.
Since the 1980s the trend has been that unions, unionized workplaces, and union memberships have all been on a steep decline (along with pay, worker rights, etc.). It is not surprising that union memberships will continue to decline given the previous trend, but also the confounding variables of union member being more likely to be close to retirement age, rate of unemployment, gig workers, contractors, etc.
However, this trend is starting to reverse. There have been several high profile workplaces unionizing, several high profile unionizing efforts, and a general positive reaction among the working public. Notable also—and very much a part of this wave—are several high profile strikes, near strikes and other direct action. UPS narrowly avoided a strike, UAW are striking, screenwrites had one of their longest strikes, actors are in one of their longest strikes. Amazon has seen walkouts, etc.
This is very much a wave, even though one particular line does not reflect it.
Public opinions is high and rising  and election petitions are up . But job growth is accelerating towards non-union sectors with no sign of the unions following .
It's a plateau, not a wave. Unions are diminishing. But where they exist, they're expressing themselves more forcefully. The conditions for a wave exist. But a combination of labor law restrictions on unions and disinterest among nonunion workers fundamentally limits reversal.
When everyone knows hosting costs equate to a fraction of a penny per sale, you'll need to strongly justify that 5% fee. You'll need to pay ~3.5% in PRO fees just to have public playback on the site -- even if there's not a single cover song among the uploaded albums -- so let both the artist and fan know where that money is going and why.
A huge problem with the "pay what you want" model is that the host and PRO still get to middleman what is fundamentally a tip from the fan. Find a way to implement a secondary form for tips that go straight to an account the artist owns, without making the purchase form more complicated, and you'll have an attractive and unique feature.
However, Fourthwall already has a polished version of your product roadmap and charges less for it, albeit without the music-specific theming, and even Patreon recently implemented direct digital sales. You're facing an uphill battle against entrenched and VC-backed products.
That is why I'm wondering if the new owner doesn't care about what makes basecamp work and just wants to use all of basecamp data for its "AI" business. Otherwise you're left with another owner who doesn't understand what they bought.
Which data specifically? The music itself belongs to the artists and labels, which leaves us with the user activity data, but that must be acquirable much cheaper with larger amount of data elsewhere. Also the data would be tailored to indie/electronic music, rather than applicable to pop music, so the usefulness of even user activity data seems kind of low.
As if not owning the data has stopped AI companies in the past.
Otherwise the new owner doesn't get bandcamp and why so many of its customers like it.
I couldn't imagine who you might be referring to!
What is the difference of your service with eg. Deezer? Someone in another thread mentioned it offers lossless DRM-free downloads these days.
In case anyone else was curious about Public Benefit Corporations, or PBCs, I found this comparing them with a B Corp: https://socapglobal.com/2021/04/whats-the-difference-between...
Cory Doctorow talks about using Ulysses pacts like this to protect against future bad behavior, but I’m wondering, what is the strength of the pact?
That's a long way of saying what you said: I want it to protect against future enshittification. I want it to work.