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.

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Companies: sellaband

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Comments on “Public Enemy Trying To Get A Little Help From Its Friends”

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iNtrigued (profile) says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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…

zcat (profile) says:

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.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

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!

linus.maybe (user link) says:


@ 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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