Public Enemy Trying To Get A Little Help From Its Friends

from the holding-songs-hostage dept

SellaBand is known for funding musicians' albums with contributions from fans -- contributions that not only help to record the music but also entitle the paying fans to a share of the revenues from the album after it's released. Up until now, the artists using SellaBand have not exactly been household names, making it susceptible to Masnick's law where critics could say SellaBand is only good for small bands. However, Chuck D and Public Enemy are aiming to prove that a big-name act can solicit $250,000 from fans to finance their next album. It's actually not all that surprising that Chuck D would go this route. You may not remember, but when Lars Ulrich from Metallica first freaked out about Napster, it was Chuck D who publicly debated him, and said that file sharing was "the new radio" and it was time to embrace it. Chuck D also testified before the Senate about how file sharing was a great distribution mechanism, and the recording industry was making a mistake trying to stop it. So you had to figure he'd be a fan of trying out smarter, fan-focused business models.

Similar to efforts by Trent Reznor, Jill Sobule, Kickstarter and many others, SellaBand also has a system of fan-fundable tiers for its artists. For Public Enemy, supporters can buy into the project in $25 shares in order for Public Enemy to reach its ultimate quarter million dollar goal. And the more shares you buy, the more you get.
  • 1 Part ($25) = "Believer" Level Incentive: Exclusive, numbered CD in Digipak
  • 4 Parts ($100) = "Hype" Level Incentive: "Believer" Level, plus the opportunity to buy 2nd CD at 50% off, & Name in booklet
  • 10 Parts ($250) = "Rebel" Level Incentive: All of Above plus Exclusive Limited Edition Public Enemy T Shirt
  • 20 Parts ($500) = "Posse" Level Incentive: All of Above plus Autographed Copy of CD signed by Chuck D
  • 40 Parts ($1,000) = "Terrordome" Level Incentive: All of Above plus Unlimited backstage pass for 3 years [Limited to 50]
  • 200 Parts ($5,000) = "Bring The Noise" Level Incentive: All of Above plus Executive Producer Credit on Album [Limited to 15]
  • 400 Parts ($10,000) = "PE Number One" Level Incentive: All of Above plus Studio Visit during recording session [Limited to 5]
But unlike Josh Freese, Public Enemy's tiers are missing a certain je ne sais quoi that could connect with fans or give them a compelling reason to buy a 3-year backstage pass for $1,000. These tiers lack some authenticity to me, though I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Public Enemy. But honestly, I can't really tell if Public Enemy came up with these levels -- because they sound so standard (especially if you look at other SellaBand artist tiers). Not to knock Public Enemy too hard, but they really should put a bit more effort into something like this. And SellaBand might also benefit from looking into floundering Kickstarter projects to perhaps get a better grasp of how to promote artists that aren't quite reaching their fund goals. One of the lessons learned is that contributing fans want to see some involvement and interactions -- you can't just set it and forget it -- if you're asking fans to part with a few thousand dollars. But on the other hand, SellaBand doesn't seem to have goal deadlines, so Public Enemy might have the fame and patience to attract 10,000 fans willing to fork over $25 each.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    On the right track

    But, yeah, you'd have to be a serious PE fan to go above level one.

    That said, there are an awful lot of PE fans out there, so this may work out for them.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Neat Idea I have to incorporate this into my little business plan

    279 note/entry) Fan and investor site to fund musicians albums for a percentage of the profit.

    280 note/entry) RtF(und) for each level of contribution/investment.

    Big Ole GRIN !!

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    Will the Bomb Squad produce? If not, the new CD won't be worth buying.

    Does anyone remember how awful the Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black CD was? Heck, does anyone actually even remember that CD at all?!

     

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    Robert Ring (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    "Unlimited backstage pass for 3 years [Limited to 50]"

    ...uhh

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      Assuming you weren't being sarcastic (damn detector ran out of batteries again!), that means there are a quantity 50 of unlimited passes.

      Obviously backstage areas can only accomodate so many people...

       

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        iNtrigued (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: @Dark Helmet

        Well I have my legendary detector overclocked to 6.66 Gghz(Google Hertz; as in a '1' with a million zeros, not the search engine) & it is telling me he was most definitely being sarcastic.

        As I mention below(or above depending on if it is threaded or flattened, respectively), whats the point of only 50 people being able to get it; regardless if only 50 can go back stage, just alternate or something.

         

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: @Dark Helmet

          "As I mention below(or above depending on if it is threaded or flattened, respectively), whats the point of only 50 people being able to get it..."

          If they sell out, 'the point' is around US$150,000.

           

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          iNtrigued (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: @Myself

          It would seem I made a *slight* typo. It should be Googol not Google. But if ye tell a soul, I'll make ye walk the plank!

           

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: @Dark Helmet

          "As I mention below(or above depending on if it is threaded or flattened, respectively), whats the point of only 50 people being able to get it; regardless if only 50 can go back stage, just alternate or something."

          Three reasons to limit that I can think of:

          1. It's a RtB-RN(right now!)...urgency is always something you strive to instill in sales.

          2. Depending on the venues and their normal level of back stage attendance, there is only so much space that they can give out (comfort, fire code, etc.)

          3. To your last point, how would one institute alternating unlimited passes? They're unlimited...

           

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          zcat (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: @Dark Helmet

          if they sell more than 50 then it's not 'unlimited' any more, you'll only be able to go backstage if 50 other people didn't get there first.

          Sheesh, this is exactly like ISP's overselling 'unlimited' downloads when they know that if even a small fraction of their customers take them up on the offer then everyone is going to end up surfing at dialup speeds.

           

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      Hiro Nogano (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      Meaning there's only 50 of those available.

       

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      iNtrigued (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

      Re: @Robert Ring

      Yea what the hell?

      "Unlimited backstage pass for 3 years [Limited to 50]"

      Lets say you fork over the $1000 price tag only to have them tell you, "Sorry, already gave out 50. Thanks for the one grand though!"

      Basically after 50 people pay into it, whats the point of anyone else to do the same? Just for the pure satisfaction of helping out your favorite band? Fnck That!

       

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        Michael Ho (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: @Robert Ring

        technically.. it's really limited to 30 people who *just* want that level, I think.

        It's not really clear, but that's how I interpret the levels. The 50 person limit could be reached earlier if people buy the levels above that one....

         

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    MarksAngel (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Had not heard of Sellaband

    I had not heard of sellaband until I read this article. I really like the concept, at least then I know where my money is going and that it's helping the artists I like want to listen to.

     

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      Michael Ho (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

      Re: Had not heard of Sellaband

      not only that... but you also get a share of the revenues after the album is released. So it's an interesting incentive model for fans -- as well as "investors"...

      I'm not sure how the revenue sharing actually works, tho. It seems possible that you could end up earning more money than you put in originally, but that aspect is not highlighted (presumably b/c the odds of it happening are either really low -- or it's not really possible).

       

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        iNtrigued (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re: Had not heard of Sellaband

        Michael Ho,

        I agree with you on them lacking that certain je ne sais quoi. It seems to me they aren't really taking it very seriously. They could just be using it without really believing in it; which could be responsible for the lack of that certain something, or effort for that matter.

        But then again I know not this "Public Enemy", so I could be mistake.

         

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          Michael Ho (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Had not heard of Sellaband

          If you also look at the SellaBand site... the Public Enemy project isn't on their "charts" yet? Which is kinda strange, no? Maybe it's just me, but it seems like they're holding back on really promoting this project for some reason.

          I sorta wonder who the Public Enemy fans are nowadays? People in their 30s? It'd be interesting to find out what the fan demographics are for Public Enemy.

           

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    JohnForDummies (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    @Ima Fish: Yeah... I remember it. Wish I didn't. Best album was Fear of a Black Planet. Downhill from there.

    @Robert Ring: That's what I thought, too, but I think they are only allowing 50 people to purchase the unlimited backstage pass deal.

     

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    thublihnk (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    F*cking love Public Enemy. I need 10 grand and I need it fast.

     

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    Eponymous Coward, AKA Doug (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Bass!!!

    How low can you go?

    Apparently, only down to $25.

     

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      Michael Ho (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

      Re: Bass!!!

      Well, you might be able to get $1 from 24 of your closest friends, and all chip in to buy 1 share of the Public Enemy album.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re: Bass!!!

        "Well, you might be able to get $1 from 24 of your closest friends, and all chip in to buy 1 share of the Public Enemy album."

        If it weren't for that amazingly feminine blue background in your comment, I would think that you were new here.

        Don't you know that sharing music is illegal, immoral, ugly, rape, murder, satanism, supporting Al Quaeda, supporting the Jewish Zionist Conspiracy, promoting Hitler, kicking puppies, drowning kittens, evading taxes, slandering the pope, urinating on Jesus, slapping Buddha, defaming Muhammed, anti-Amercan, anti-European, antivirus, harming the environment, pushing over nuns, eating meat, not taking mass transit, a homosexual act, a homophobic practice, and a hate-crime?

        Well....don't you?

         

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    Jason, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Will they put on a clown nose and dance naked in a kiddie pool for $25,000?

     

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    linus.maybe, Oct 25th, 2009 @ 7:29am

    Revenue

    @ Michael Ho:
    In THEORY, but only in theory, there should be revenue as soon as PE have made approx. 750'000 bucks out of their album, because they offer a 30% revenue. The problem is, that it is not entirely clear from what those 30% are calculated.

    I have registered as an artist with sellaband and went thourgh the terms & condition. It states clearly, that the revenue is meant for EVERYTHING you earn. If they really do what it write, there should be a return on investment. Think that the boys don't really need a label who prefinances studio costs.

    But as I've said. This is bare theory, if I had more experience with sellaband. I probably would bet on PE cause I think they are going to make some money with this.

     

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      Michael Ho (profile), Oct 25th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

      Re: Revenue

      linus.maybe,

      Sure, if the PE album is wildly successful, the original donors have a shot at actually getting a positive return on their investment. But I'm pretty sure that any savings account will have a better return in the short term.

      I'm actually interested in your experience with SellaBand -- are you planning to raise funds with the SellaBand service? Why or why not?

       

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