Internet business model that seems to work
June 26, 2007 3:24 AM   Subscribe

Sellaband launched in August of 2006. You get the chance to buy $10 shares in a band and when they reach $50,000 they get to record an album - it was met with cynicism in some quarters. Ten months later six bands have reached the $50,000 mark and the first two albums are available [Dutch nu-metallers Nemesea & Hawaiian singer-songwriter Cubworld] with four other artists about to enter the studio - Second Person from the UK, Clemence from France, Lily from the US and Maitreya from New Zealand.
posted by meech (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I tink dis be a double
posted by Jofus at 3:58 AM on June 26, 2007

Jofus, that post is included by meech - 'cynicism'. I think there is a point in going back to see how Sellaband is doing, almost one year on. I've bought a lot of parts myself though, so I might be biased.

I find it a very fun way to buy music, and listen to new artists.

Mandyleigh Storm from Australia will be the next artist to reach $50000 dollars.
posted by magnusbe at 4:43 AM on June 26, 2007

Didn't notice you'd included the link there meech. My bad.
posted by Jofus at 5:07 AM on June 26, 2007

*torrents a load of old rubbish*
posted by Wolof at 5:14 AM on June 26, 2007

I accidentally ran into this site the other day. I think it's a great idea, though the music that I heard that day on their site wasn't all that good. (Not that that's their fault).

On a related note, now that we are on the subject of shares and music, I think it could be a good place to link to the Bowie Bonds, in case someone hasn't heard about it and finds it interesting.
posted by micayetoca at 5:17 AM on June 26, 2007

Are the bands locked into record at a certain studio? $50k seems like a lot to record an album. I might do it if the $50k was for promotional costs or something.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 AM on June 26, 2007

40% is for printing and mailing out 5000 CD's to the ones who believed/supported you, the rest is for recording, artwork etc...

The artists can choose their own producers and studios.
posted by magnusbe at 7:09 AM on June 26, 2007

40% is for printing and mailing out 5000 CD's to the ones who believed/supported you, the rest is for recording, artwork etc...

so $20K for a a 5000 disc run and postage? That's not a great deal, right there. The dupe run with a decent full-color booklet and jewel cases shouldn't run you more than $6-7000 at that scale—and you could probably do better—which leaves better than $13K to send out 5K CDs. You can beat that with standard USPS mail and padded mailers, no question.
posted by cortex at 7:52 AM on June 26, 2007

50K is way, way, way too much to record an album. We just did one for under 5K. Now, that doesn't include replication, which will be between 5 and 10 K. It also doesn't include distribution, but that's kind of the sticky wicket here.

I'm currently going through some kind of crisis of faith because all my band mates want to get a record label, and I'm really up in the air about it. If we did get a label, we'd be super careful about getting into anything we didn't want to, we have a lawyer we can run stuff by. And, we're all really busy/lazy so the idea of someone else handling national distro is really appealing. But I just don't know how I feel about this stuff anymore. I don't even really want to make cd's anymore, if it was up to me we'd do vinyl and mp3's. Vinyl gives you quality and mp3's give you portability, it seems like cd's are obsolete to me.

Stuff like this seems like a step in the right direction, but it also feels like Sellaband is skimming the cream and leaving the work of building an audience to the band. Not that a band shouldn't do that, but what's the value added by Sellaband? You can build your audience, then get cdbaby to distribute you, and you're off and running. I don't know, I'm really confused about what to do about our album right now.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2007

Regarding the price, looking at the website, the actual breakdown is:

60% ($30k) : Recording Costs
22% ($11k) : Mailing Costs
18% ($9k) : Duplication Costs

On the one hand, this sounds more expensive than some resident experts are saying it should be -- though I'm not sure if that takes into account the real possibility of international mailing.

On the other hand, even if sellaband is making some "handling fees" off the 22%/18% chunk of it, from a band perspective, this still seems like a decent deal.

I Am Not A Band Member, but this seems like it is far less risky than funding something like this entirely on your own, yet has far fewer drawbacks than the stereotypical terrible recording contract. You get the funding required (more than enough, really) to get yourself into a studio with experienced professionals to help you make a solid album, and the people who help make that happen (the "believers") get something for their investment.

Also, the results so far seem decent. Obviously, not every album is going to be the greatest, and in fact the two available right now aren't even really my taste, but they do sound like they are well produced and I can see that they might be appealing to people who are into their respective genres.
posted by tocts at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2007

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