Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Music Funding Start-Up May Have Run Out of Funding UPDATED

Sellaband, the Dutch start-up that was supposed to let bands raise money directly from their fans, may have run out money itself.

We can’t verify this directly with the company, since its site is down and has been for several days. “Dear Artists and Believers,” it says. “We have extended our maintenance window. We expect to be back tomorrow at the end of the day.”

But Hypebot points to a document filed in a Dutch court yesterday that appears to indicate that the company has filed for bankruptcy. UPDATE: Sellaband’s site now says it is indeed in bankruptcy, but that “the completion of a transaction with a potential buyer of the business, is to be expected soon.”

The giant caveat: None of the reports on this story seem to be written by anyone who speaks or reads Dutch or understands the Dutch legal system. So it’s possible that all of this means something else entirely. If you want to take a crack at it yourself, here you go.

Meanwhile, some background on Sellaband: Founded in 2006, it was designed to let musicians, ranging from groups you’ve never heard of to ones you used to hear a long time ago, finance recordings by soliciting their fans.

Sellaband would distribute the albums–the company negotiated a deal with Amazon (AMZN) to help move the discs–and would sell advertising against the artists’ fan pages. At some point, in theory, revenue would be distributed to both the acts and their fans/investors.

Sellaband claimed to have raised more than $2.5 million for several dozen albums this way. But a recent campaign to fund a new record by hip hop pioneer Public Enemy had stalled and was moving backward as of last week.

Here’s a promo for that effort and an opportunity for me to type “Don’t Believe the Hype”! (Sorry. I’ve been saving that one up since 1988):

Public Enemy/ SellaBand Promo from Command Pictures on Vimeo.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus