When Tim O'Reilly coined the term "web 2.0" in 2004, he undoubtedly could not have envisioned the amazing strides that would be made in the four years to follow. Hardly any industry has been as affected by the concept as the music industry. From Napster to MySpace, the Internet has demonstrated that the industry will never be the same.
The latest concept to make waves is crowdfunding, which TIME Magazine defines as:
One part social networking and one part capital accumulation, crowdfunding websites seek to harness the enthusiasm--and pocket money--of virtual strangers, promising them a cut of the returns.
Projects such as CatwalkGenius and Spot.Us, which exist primarily online, have utilized the concept for fashion design and journalism respectivel, but SellaBand, which connects unsigned artists looking to record albums with music enthusiasts willing to help back them, is taking the idea to the next level in its new partnership with ArenaFest.
Backed by L.A.-based Arena Works Entertainment, ArenaFest seeks to provide a live concert atmosphere for 16-to-28-year-olds, offering games, live social networking, music, sports, and other activities. 91 ArenaFest programs are planned in major arenas across the United States for 2009.
Just as SellaBand has changed the landscape for unsigned musicians by enabling them to record albums, ArenaFest will enable those same musicians to perform live at major arenas. Says SellaBand CEO Johan Vosmeijer of the partnership:
ArenaFest is a groundbreaking concept and fits perfectly in the philosophy of SellaBand. We aim to change what's been ailing the music industry, by trying to be different and innovative. On SellaBand, fans can find funding as well as world wide distribution for their music. The only missing link of the concept was the live element. ArenaFest is the perfect answer to that.
How will the partnership work?
Starting December 1, bands from North America and Europe can sign up and qualify to play at ArenaFest. To qualify for round 2, bands will need to either secure $10,000 in funding, procure at least 200 "believers," or have the most profile views for any given week. Details for participation can be found at the ArenaFest/SellaBand web site.
SellaBand itself has already proven its worth: Since its launch nearly two and a half years ago, SellaBand has welcomed 28 recording artists whose albums were entirely funded by their fands, and nearly $3,000,000 has been invested on sellaband.com.
That explains why John Ossenmacher, President of ArenaWorks Entertainment, is so excited about the partnership:
ArenaFest is a unique project. It is a place to meet friends and make new friends. But it also offers a break though opportunity for unsigned bands. By opening our arenas for indie bands, we aim to discover and develop the rock stars of tomorrow. We chose SellaBand as our partner, as we regard their concept as an innovative way to level the playing field in the recording industry. SellaBand is the future of music.
The merits of this partnership are quite clear: Just as MySpace has allowed small-town musicians to showcase their music and line up their tour dates in easy-to-build online profiles, SellaBand and ArenaFest will allow the best of those musicians to take their wares to the crowd, which will in turn determine the worth of any given band, funding the best and turning away the rest. Democracy in music, so to speak.
For more information, visit arenafest.sellaband.com.