Sellaband teams up with Public Enemy

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[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.

  • Mikael Benfredj

    impressive !

  • Hmm

    Chuck D is speaking at my uni tonight:) wohoo.

  • JB

    Why do they need $250,000 to record an album in this day and age?

    • techy

      Why don’t they just have flavor flav pay for it?

  • drew

    has anyone checked out in the US?

    • thelam

      Yes,definitely do check out Mybandstock.

  • Robert N. Lee

    Man, if I didn’t have so many Kiva loans outstanding, I’d totally jump on this. But that farmer in Paraguay just won’t pay up!

    • techy

      Hey stop complaining!

      Public Enemy needs a quarter of a million dollars so they can continue doing more important things… like rap … and … “fight the power”

      So you just need to dip into your pocket a little deeper so you can fund their record for them.

      • Robert N. Lee

        I was joking. I’m totally doing this.

      • Flavor Flav

        Clara, the $ goes before the number. Also, my they’d been have done gone do’n fo dis not no music. Yo yo ma and shit.

  • Digital Shiv » Public Enemy will partner with fan-funding site Sellaband to finance their next album.

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  • zx81

    in France we also have w

  • david geertz


    Love the joke about KIVA….that is priceless…

    We’ve been fans of sellaband for 3 years and I think this removal of restrictions is the best thing they’ve done…good job.

    We’re about to launch our social utility for filmmakers at

    Go preregister and help us with the beta and receive some cool benefits.

    thanks sellaband for sticking with it and providing an amazing service.

  • Gary Mcrea

    4 years and they have only raised funds for 34 artists?

    No wonder they needed 5 million in funding….

    The reason this will never get in the States is due to regulations. They also charge $31% transaction fee on the site! What the ??

    • drew

      gary, you are 100% right. any sort of “possible return on investment” is considered a security here. sorry guys!

      • david geertz


        This is not a security and the issues around this have been addressed as to the structure of the program. Its simply a pre ordering of a product. Additionally all the terms and conditions outline the risk so if it was an “investment” you would need to agree with the terms set out. If the site did not refund your money in the event of an inability to fund that would be considered risk; however, seeing that the funds are held in trust until the 100% marker or trigger point you are not at risk and you will get your copy of the project.

        Crowdfunding models are popping up all over the place and there are ones that are offside with the SEC but this is one that is not.

  • Daan

    Once serious players get involved, serious stuff will go down! This is real hip-hop!

    I am very impressed on what has achieved!

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  • Engago team

    We want you to donate $1mio for our first record (although we can’t sign and play music).
    Just send in the money and don’t ask questions.

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  • david geertz

    Engago team,

    I like this comment even though it is a joke as you do bring up a contentious issue with a lot of crowdfunding sites, and that is “how do we filter the projects or act as an incubator before allowing people to buy in”?

    I believe sellaband requires you to list previous tracks that you have recorded. I know in version 1 that this was mandatory. In addition to this they monitor the cashflow of the production by not giving the artist all the funds once they raise them. I applaud this effort as we are doing the same thing over at our site at

    Most of the crowdfunding sites that have been shut down were closed as a result of mismanaged funds on behalf of the fans. There were no requirements for listing, so essentially most of these sites were glorified paypal escrow accounts with no moderation.

  • serial entrepreneur

    Interested. Their P2P funding model is similar to which I’ve used before to raise money for projects. Now that they have celebrity support, this could give them a boost. Good luck because I think this is the new finance model… Finance 2.0

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  • Aly Cook

    Sellaband is absolutely awesome fans enjoy being part of the projects. Fans decide what music they want to hear recorded.

    In a time when illegal downloading has ravaged the music industry. Fans having some sense of ownership with the music they love is a great way forward.

    Essentially with fan funding. A band just needs a great promotional team, leading to less need for singular investment by large companies & a more close connection with their music fans.

    Sellaband has until now been developing the platform with independendents starting out.

    As Public Enemy said on their sellaband blog..

    “When the tide rises so do all the ships”

    This is the way forward in music.

    • fred perry outlet

      I like gameloft’s marketing strategy better. They tease us one day than release the game less than a week later :)

  • Daniel

    You all should check out It’s a really successful crowdfunding website that just opened up its platform to support music projects.

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