Seems like every week a new service claiming to revolutionize the online music space — or at least take another chunk of market share away from MySpace — appears. Whether it's RCRDLABL, Virb, SecretRemixes or one of the others on the Web, everyone's just one niche-play away from kicking some start-up arse.
Enter the latest player in the space, the Brighton-based MyBandStock, which launches this week. Not a record label, and not a pure social networking site, they're yet another hybrid looking to make a difference in this confusing new music industry. If you've heard those seemingly never-ending NPR features about how great it is that Jane Siberry is letting her fans finance her new record, then you kinda get the idea of MyBandStock. If you're Fresh Air-averse, though, here's the skinny:
MyBandStock acts as a sort of intermediary holding company-type entity for bands looking to get some dough to record their next record, tour or accomplish many of the myriad tasks associated with merchandising an indie band that are often challenging, financially or time-wise. Then they help them do the deed once the money's "invested" by fans.
MyBandStock fancies itself a harbinger of a music revolution or, as they say in their mission statement: "MyBandStock is a social movement dedicated to networking the resources of the music community, giving music back to the people who live it: the Artists and their Fans … Join the revolution." (So, as you can see, and with apologies to Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will be monetized.)
So, a band applies for MyBandStock (even though the service is free, you have to be vetted before you can go live with your monetary pleas), creates a profile and says, "We're looking for $1,000 to make our next record. Everyone who contributes $10 gets a copy of the record." Fans get to peruse media-rich (if super-dense, white-on-black-text-heavy) profiles to see if they want to invest in said jams. If so, then MyBandStock is more than happy to collect and hold the moolah. Everything seems pretty above-board from a consumer perspective. When you make a pledge (hey, maybe there's something to this public radio commonality, after all!), your name gets listed among the contributors. In the example above — which is the goal set by iconoclastic Ann Arbor dance-floor funk-rock enthusiasts My Dear Disco — the number of "shares" sold as of this writing is up to the equivalent of $120. But if a band hits their goals, MyBandStock has hooked up with corporate partners to offer "preferred rates" on services.
Although they haven't reached the kind of critical mass it takes to truly legitimize a service, they've started to assemble a who's who of up-and-coming and semi-arrived Tree Town-and-outer metro region-based folks on the service, including the aforementioned My Dear Disco as well as folks like Lightning Love, SoulDub, Bird Dog, and others. And they're launching the whole shebang this Friday, April 17, with a shindig at the Cavern Club (210 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-332-9900), featuring a bevy of DJs, dance groups, indie rock, folk-rock and other acts, including rightfully buzzed-about dance rock darlings Millions of Brazilians and performances by Ann Arbor folk-rock chanteuse Charlene Kaye. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com for $10 in advance, or for $12 at the door, and 18-years-plus individuals are welcome. Doors are at 8:30 p.m.
BTW, the aforementioned Kaye played an in-studio at Ann Arbor's WCBN-FM and the results can be heard here: tinyurl.com/cc3slp.