Social networks for bands are great for networking and getting your music heard, but passed that point it’s pretty hard to determine whether or not your music is really appealing to others. Your family is certainly not the place to start to feel validated. Your friends can deliver better insight, although their point of view is obviously biased. As for Myspace, it’s a lot easier to add thousands of friends than to acquire real fans.
There are some websites who put more emphasis on the interaction between bands and their fans. Those websites not only represent real validation for the artist, but also big-time opportunities. The other day we took a look at DeepRockDrive, a great site that allows fans to get their bands booked for an online show. Today we’ll look review two websites that allows fans to fund your albums.
Sellaband.com is a place where music fans can invest in upcoming bands. If a band finds 5000 people to spend 10 bucks on the making of their album, they get sent into a studio to record it. In other words the site helps bands raise $50 k from the community to produce a set of songs. The ‘believers’ as they call them, are then entitled to royalties on the album sales. A nice web 2.0 win/win solution that has attracted a lot of hype. The community is creating the content but it’s also choosing and funding it.
Not only has Sellaband recently raised a big chunk of money from its investors to further developp its model, but an analog UK website, barely founded a year ago, has now apeared to fill in the european market.
Slicethepie.com is a little more complex than sellaband in that it filters bands thanks to ‘scouts’. Before reaching the financing stage, bands must first be subject to preliminary reviews by music fans. Anyone can sign-up as a critic/a&r, head for the ‘scout rooms’ and get paid for their reviews. On the artist front, they enter ‘arenas’ where they are opposed to up to 1000 other bands. A maximum of 20 will make it through to a voting stage. The most popular bands receive £15,000 to finance their album. Fans can also directly invest in an artists giving them royalty benefits and other goodies. But here things get complicated so I really suggest reading how their whole financing plan works cause I will certainly not explain it better then they do (in summary the fan/investors get backstage passes and free CDs plus the possibility to buy stocks/contracts that they will be able to trade and sell in the Slicethepie market place). What’s important here is that fans become emotionally and financially involved in their band’s progress, and start to feel like A&R stock-exchange record-label broker journalists or something. I have been on their forums and read that people spend hours a days reviewing music and getting paid for it.They aren’t making a living but they have a blast.
Here both fans and bands get validated actually, portraying what the future myspaces might become: interactive websites where this simple calling-card profile type model is obsolete, moving onto more dynamic places where interaction and validation are as important as what the band wants to display.
Concerning band validation, I suggest a great post form the Music Think Tank blog: create, validate, sell.