Why SellaBand's Demise is the Music Industry's Loss

Yesterday fan funded band site Sellaband was declared bankrupt by a Dutch court.  This may be ‘just another digital music start up that burnt through its investment money with no proven business model’ but its demise is disappointing.

Semi-pro sites and services are a crucial part of the digital music ecosystem and despite this setback they will grow in importance.  Services like Sellaband, MyMajorCompany, TuneCore, Sound Cloud and MySpace, each in their own way, lower the barriers in the artist-fan relationship. They enable artists to reach out directly to their audiences and develop engaged relationships that make the fans feel a part of things.  The shift from photocopied fanclub newsletters mailed in the post, to active online fan communities is little short of a quantum leap. The advent of social music tools are the music business equivalent of the transition from the stone age to the bronze age.

Of course if you follow my analogy on, there’s still a lot of distance to go before we reach the iron age and beyond. SellaBand wasn’t the first high profile victim (anyone remember Snocap?) and it won’t be the last. 

Back in December I predicted strong progress for semi-pro sites and services. And though I qualified my prediction with stating 2010 wouldn’t “be their year” I didn’t expect SellaBand’s demise either.  I remain convinced of the potential of these sorts of services and it is crucial for artists and the music industry more broadly that these social music tools prosper.  If they don’t then so much of the Internet’s potential remains untapped.


re: Why SellaBand's Demise is the Music Industry's Loss

Hi Mark
thanks for the heads up for SellaBand where i worked for the last few months...
There certainly is a need for crowdfunding companies like SellaBand, Slicethepie, Kickstarter.
SellaBand will restart soon with a new German owner and move further.
The new entertainment industry will move from a very "Push" driven model, where the old industry and mass media selected the artist to market towards a consumer, to a "pull" driven ecosystem where the direct relationship between Artist and Fan is crucial. The new media and the DIY services around that will facilitate the Artists to reach more Fans. A FanFunding platform like SellaBand takes care of the funding and needs to partner up with other specialist services to facilitate the Artist. So it's a DIY together Ecosystem that will make it happen. There will be need for "push" marketing as well, and that's where to my opinion the network and knowledge of the "old" industry is very valuable.

re: Why SellaBand's Demise is the Music Industry's Loss

Hi Mars

Thanks for the update on SellaBand.

I agree that services like this will be part of a broader mix in which more traditional 'push' tactics and strategies will remain important.