[Italy] BuskerLabel thinks it has a new take on crowd-financing for unsigned bands. The Roma, Italy-based startup lets fans sponsor an artist’s upcoming album not at the point of pre-production but ramping up to its release. In return for pledging cash, fans get early access to the music and, upon release, are rewarded with a credit on the album’s digital sleeve notes and a high quality ‘lossless’ download. The bands themselves are able to build fan loyalty and get to keep 80% of any cash pledged with BuskerLabel taking the remainder.
Interestingly, all of the music released through the site is Creative Commons licensed, meaning that it is free to download and distribute for personal, non-commercial use. In other words, fans aren’t required to pay anything to download the music once its released, only if they want early access and the additional perks.
To begin sponsoring a band, fans sign up and create a profile and then browse any upcoming works. Bands get to offer a single track as a promo before the full album is released and it’s based on this that users can decide whether or not to make a pledge using BuskerLabel’s own virtual currency. One ‘Koin’ is equal to one Euro. Fans can listen to a stream of any album they have pledged to sponsor and if they don’t like what they hear, can withdraw that support up to 5 days before release.
BuskerLabel, which is currently in private Beta, competes to varying degrees with Sell-A-Band, Kickstarter and Jamendo, although the startup is keen to stress that it focuses on the moment new music is released, not on financing the cost of recording. BuskerLabel is currently Angel-funded to the tune of €20k and plans to open the site to the public on the 1st of March.