PluggedIn: Bands, fans find new ways to connect
By Yinka Adegoke
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lily Vasquez, a marketing manager from Clifton, New Jersey, spent nearly eight years trying to break into the music business as a singer before she stumbled across SellaBand.com.
The Web site is one of several where artists can have their albums funded by fans -- a proposition that takes advantage of digital technology, online social networking and the current uncertainty in the established music industry.
The sites are reinventing the relationship between artists and their fans, upsetting the traditional role of the record label as the tastemaker, promoter and distributor of music.
"I didn't really understand the site when I joined; I thought it was just like MySpace," said Vasquez. "But after I uploaded a few of my songs, I noticed people started adding money to my page; it was a nice surprise," she said.
SellaBand, founded in 2006, works by allowing fans who believe in an artist's music to buy "parts" of the work at a minimum of $10 each with a view to funding the professional recording of an album.
Once the total amount funded by fans reaches $50,000, SellaBand will help the artist choose a recording studio and producers. The manufacturing and distribution of the album will be paid for by the money raised by fans. In 18 months, 13 bands have raised $50,000 each.
Vasquez passed the $50,000 mark in nine months and to date has 543 "believers," including one from Austria who bought his part for $5,000. She even had enough left over after spending on her album to make a music video.
"It's a dream come true for me," said Vasquez, whose debut album will soon be available through retail outlets like Amazon.com Inc. Continued...