Financing An Album

Bit of a weird question, but a good friend of mine is looking to record a first album with his band early next year. They’ve put together a business plan to try and get someone to invest in it but no success so far. Just wondering if you knew of anyone interested in helping new musicians finance their projects in some way…
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Actually I doubt whether the traditional business plan/single financial investor route is going to get your friend anywhere in the present climate. Every single business sector is chasing investors right now. With the record industry in terminal decline the very few people who have cash to spare will want a much safer home for it than an acoustic alternative rock band.

The traditional music business model is fucked. According to visionaries like Terry McBride (see Wired interview) the only sensible way forward for most artists is through building a fanbase and then involving the audience directly in financing and promoting the product.

If your friend’s 13,000 MySPace friends are for real then the band can probably finance the album themselves. If even 25% of those friends are genuine fans dying to hear the album – and prepared to preorder it at (say) £7 a head – then that’d be £23,000 worth of no-strings finance at a stroke.

This process can be done ad-hoc via MySPace – it worked for Kat Flint, and blimey she made a stunning album financed by complete strangers who liked her music. But most artists going this route rely on dedicated websites such as
SLICETHEPIE.COM
ARTISTSHARE.COM
SELLABAND.COM

Sites like Sellaband are brutal but fair – all you have to be is exceptionally good. If the songs are immediate enough to catch the imagination of random punters browing the site, they quickly attract enough finance to make the record. If they aren’t, they don’t.

For other innovative blue-skies-thinking approaches to building a career in music I’d strongly recommend Andrew Dubber’s New Music Strategies website.

Hope this is some help to your friend…

Tom x

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More…

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