Sellaband teams up with Public Enemy

[Netherlands] Hip hop pioneers Public Enemy will partner with fan-funding site Sellaband to finance their next album. Public Enemy is one of the first established acts to sign up to Sellaband’s new custom funding program and aims to raise $250,000 for the album in $25 increments. Public Enemy was incidentally also one of the first acts to release music on mp3.

Amsterdam-based Sellaband allows artists to request support from fans, or in Sellaband parlance “Believers”, who invest anything from 10$ up in an album. Funding music this way is not for everyone but it does add a novel and badly-needed niche to the music business ecosystem. Sellaband’s next challenge is to prove that fan-funding can work for artists at any stage of their career and that the model will transfer from Europe to the US. The Public Enemy announcement is an attempt to hit both of those birds with one stone.

How Sellaband Works

Once the funding target is reached the album is made and the proceeds are split between the artist and the believers. Various incentives like downloads and concert tickets can also be offered to believers.

Since Sellaband started in 2006, over 2.5 million dollars has been invested and 34 artists reached the original funding target of 50,000$ to make an album. Reaching the funding target has taken anything from 50 days to over a year. There are also distribution deals with, the biggest dutch online retailer, and Amazon. Currently around 5000 artists are looking for funding.


New funding models

Thus far Sellaband artists have tended to be unknowns who wanted to make their first album. Sellaband recently changed the funding models available  to also target established artists. The two models are as follows:

  • Standard: The funding target can be anything from 10,000 to 100,000$, the minimum incentive for believers is free downloads and artists choose how revenue is split between themselves and the believers. Previously there was a fixed funding target of 50,000$ per album.
  • Custom: Sellaband a la carte. There is no limit on funding targets, the funds raised can be used for any purpose, e.g. concerts or promotion rather than recordings and the revenue split and incentives are entirely customizable. The custom model is invitation-only.

In both models the artists retain all master recording and publishing rights. The revenue share between artists and believers continues for a period of 5 years. Sellaband gets a 10% fee for each funding target reached. The new models can also seen as a reaction to the fact that recorded music is getting cheaper to produce and artists may want to spend the money raised in other ways.