Why Matthew Ebel Is Leaving SellaBand
Last week's bankruptcy and resurrection of fan to artist funding site SellaBand caused many to take a closer look at the model. Indie artist Matthew Ebel, familiar to Hypebot readers for his success selling subscriptions to his streamed basement concerts, has decided to pull out of SellaBand entirely. While this guest post shares Ebel's story, there's a broader message about the cost of putting anyone between an artist and their fans.
A modern artist really doesn’t need microfinancing of any kind. Especially micro- financing that’s badly managed to the point of declaring bankruptcy. The easiest way to cover this is a simple comparison between Sellaband and my own subscription service, Matthew Ebel dot net. Of course, by “my subscription service”, I mean “what any artist can offer direct to their fans”.
|What Sellaband Offers||Matthew Ebel dot net|
|Artists can ask their fans for album funding.||I get funding directly from my fans on a monthly/yearly basis.|
|Believers are promised one new album once $15k (or whatever) is reached, if ever.||I already give my subscribers 2 new songs, fully produced, every single month.|
|If the target is ever reached, an artist can hire a professional studio, engineer, and producer.||For as little as $5,000 I can buy better equipment and hire a professional engineer in my own studio.1|
|If the target is ever reached, believers get one album (retail value $10) from their artist.||Every year my subscribers get one or two albums’ worth of new material and, depending on the subscription level, stickers, mugs, shirts, etc.|
|Sellaband holds onto believers’ money until the artist’s goal is reached, if ever. If they disappear, so does the money.||Subscribers’ money goes directly into better studio equipment, goodies for the annual goodie bags, the annual Beer Bash, touring, rent, food, etc. with no one holding the money hostage.|
|Sellaband charges a percentage to handle the money, on top of anything PayPal takes.||PayPal is the only middle man taking a cut, and even that may change soon.|
|Believers may, if the artist allows, share in revenue generated from the album if it is ever produced.||Subscribers can use affiliate links to share in revenue from referrals for as long as they stay subscribed.|
I’m sure there are other comparisons to make, but frankly this was enough for me. What it all boils down to is one simple equation:
If every fan who bought a Part via Sellaband spent the same money on a Matthew Ebel dot net subscription instead, I would be able to make much better music and they would get music and goodies immediately.
This is true for any artist, not just me. It’s why I’m leaving Sellaband, and it’s why I think artists should take a much more critical look at micro-financing schemes before jumping on board with them.
1 – Don’t ask “what if I don’t own a studio?” All of the gear I use right now, including the MacBook, cost me less than $6,000 and some of it is unnecessary for a band on a budget. I recorded “Beer & Coffee” in a dining room with Apple’s Garageband and “Goodbye Planet Earth” in my bedroom.