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March 8, 2010
Recording for People Who Want to Listen
Last month I noted that Blizzard were creating the World of Warcraft magazine purely for people who had already subscribed. In effect the publication was done for people who had already said (by virtue of plunking down money) that they wanted to read it.
A friend just pointed me to Kim Boekbinder
's attempt to do the same thing with her latest album. The project, called "The Impossible Girl", has a preview song and status page up on Bandcamp
on which she notes that the album is intended to be funded entirely by pre-orders. It's not clear what happens after that - possibly an attempt to shop the album around to the major labels for larger-scale production. Boekbinder's sound and style aren't exactly mainstream pop/rock but neither is her style that different from a hundred other solo female artists who have been mainstream-produced.
This idea has been kicking around the net for at least a couple years. I found three sites/companies that are trying to organize this sort of effort, or at least provide a little framework scaffolding for new unsigned artists, and I'm certain there are many more out there: SellABand, Slice The Pie, and ArtistShare. Each of these three has a slightly different model and each provides different services. Of course, these services want some bit of the funding in order to pay for what they provide. Several of them also offer ways for people to invest in the artist, and potentially make revenue on future sales or advertising around the product they've invested in.
None of them have the kind of clout, either in marketing power or established fan base, that Blizzard has. That struggle to be noticed may well be fatal to an effort like this, which depends on getting the word to the people who care and have cash. Maybe that situation suggests that a big name can buy/build/partner their way into this space and by doing so bring in the number of viewers who would be necessary to get more of these artists produced and turn music on demand into a profitable business line.
MTV, are you listening?
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