Sellaband offers a model of free legal distribution of new music by enabling a direct relationship between developing artists and their fans. The site enables fans (â€?believersâ€?) to buy $10 shares in unsigned bands to fund the professional recording and distribution of an album â€“ including A&R, marketing and publishing. In a phrase, itâ€™s a more overtly music-focused MySpace.
The people behind Sellaband are Pim Betist, Johan Vosmeijer and Dagmar Heijmans. Vosmeijer ran the labels Epic and Columbia for Sony Music in the Benelux region and recently launched Red Ink, a boutique label for SONY BMG. Heijmans is ex-EMI.
How does it work? Once the unsigned band has made $50,000 (or 5,000 fans pledging 10 bucks each) they get a professional CD cut. All the ad revenue from the site is shared between the bands, artists and SellaBand. Note, the band and fansâ€™ share depends on the â€˜market shareâ€™ of the bandâ€™s music, which is unspecified as yet.
The idea is that this crowd-sourcing takes away a lot of the risk associated with new music and offers a new way for bands to a) get the big record deal or b) keep their destiny in their own hands.