SellaBand takes audience participation in independent music to the US

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SellaBand, the social music startup which encourages music fans to invest in up-and-coming artists, is expanding its offering to the US in a deal with Amazon.com company CreateSpace.

The deal relies on CreateSpace’s Disc on Demand service, an inventory-free solution in which discs are manufactured only after a customer places an order. It’s an elegant and affordable solution to a common problem – you go to a gig, see an up-and-coming band, fall in love with their music – and then have to live with bootleg recordings or crappy quality MySpace streams or YouTube vids because the band’s so up-and-coming they can’t afford a CD run.

SellaBand’s model turns the recording industry model on its head; leaving it to the audience rather than the label to invest in talent in an IPO-stylee share sale. Any artist can sign up to the site and showcase their music to the general public. As part of signing up, the artist issues 5,000 ‘parts’, which sell for US$10 each. When someone buys a part, they become a ‘believer’. With enough believers behind them, a band can raise the $50,000 it takes to get into the studio and produce an album.

To date, SellaBand believers have helped 30 artists from 13 different countries raise the full $50k, and invested over $3m in unsigned artists. Investors receive a limited edition copy of the resulting album. On top of that, the artists and their fans share in album sales revenue.

SellaBand has collaborations with Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, and recently appointed Public Enemy frontman Chuck D as ambassador for the company, supporting its US expansion.

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