Sellaband.com: "You Are The Record Company" posted on June 1st, 2008
The advent of online communities has given people all over the world a new way to communicate. Combine this with reality television, and suddenly there’s a whole new media market. No longer are publishing companies and record moguls deciding what forms of entertainment people will enjoy, and this is opening up the art world to vast new forms of expression.
The publishing industry has recently been challenged by the website WeBook (www.webook.com) which operates American Idol style. Weekend writers and serious novelists alike post their work for review online, hoping to gain enough readers, editors and fans to be invited into a “voting cycle” where they will step up onto the big stage. There, the selected list of highly rated books will be read and voted on by the cyber world and the book with the most votes will be published and marketed by WeBook.
For many years in the music industry, bands have been able to share their music. Facebook and Garageband.com for instance co-created “iLike” where bands who share their music on Garageband can also share it on Facebook. Other sites, like Purevolume and Fuzz offer free band pages, music hosting, and mp3 downloads. However, the same brilliant framework that has made Idol and WeBook a success, has been embraced by the German-born website “SellaBand” (www.sellaband.com). Here’s how it works: Artists can join for free and and after creating a profile, can post up to 3 demo songs for the listeners to browse. When a listener finds a band he likes, he can pay $10 to purchase one or more shares (know as Parts) and thus become a “Believer.” When 5,000 Parts have been contributed to the band by the Believers, Sellaband hooks the band up with an experienced A&R person and a top producer to record a studio album and release it to the world, whether through iTunes, Amazon, or a stack on a table at the band’s next gig. Even if the band only has a few thousand die hard fans, together they can raise the remaining cash needed to reach the $50,000 dollar mark. Once the record is produced, all of the Believers receive a limited edition CD and the right to sell additional copies of the artist’s CD and related merchandise on Sellaband, all in spirit of promoting the music. The investment depends on the band’s success, but the payoff is incredible. Both the artist and the believers receive royalty on album sales and website advertisement, putting the artist and fans in business together to get the word about about the music.
At first, this all seems like a brilliant avenue for web inventors to make money, but Sellaband is not operated by your everyday dot.com debutante. Pim Betist, creator of Sellaband, has brough together Johan Vosmeijer and Dagmar Heijmans, two leading industry figures. Vosmeijer, an experienced music professional in Europe, has run the Epic label and Columbia for Sony Music in the Benelux, and recently launched Red Ink, a boutique label for SONY BMG. Heijmans has worked at EMI, Sony Music and Sony BMG as an industry expert. These individuals have the know-how to get bands in front of producers and managers that will launch them straight out of obscurity.
Radio does a service to bring us the artists we know and love. But with expanding platforms made possible by satellite and HD, there’s a channel out there for every kind of music. As sites like Sellaband work towards removing the barriers between garage band and Top 40, one can only imagine the multitude of new styles and brands of music that can be heard on the ‘airwaves’. Some people like “pop” and “jazz.” Others like “deep cut classic rock,” “vintage punk,” “J-pop,” and “merseybeat.” What if we all had a little piece of the airwaves?
YouTube recently featured the music video to the song”Wood,” a testament to the Sellaband process. The artist, “Second Person,” recently released their album, “The Elements,” after raising the necessary fanbase and funds through the site.