In October, Public Enemy announced plans to fan-fund their next studio album, using SellaBand’s platform to raise $250,000 in individual donations of $25. It was big news for SellaBand at the time, and renewed proof of Chuck D’s eagerness to explore new music business models. So how’s it doing?
Er… not so well, to be honest. So far, Public Enemy have attracted 916 ‘believers’ on the site, donating a total of $71,625. They reached $50,000 from 700 fans on 21st October just a couple of weeks after the announcement, so the fundraising has slowed down considerably since then. With more than $178,000 to go, that new album may not be on the way anytime soon.
Proof that the fan-funded model doesn’t work? It’s a bit early to say that. Maybe the $25 minimum donation is too high, maybe the band’s fanbase has dwindled more than we thought since their heyday, or maybe people are looking at the huge amount still to be raised and deciding not to bother.
It’s to SellaBand’s credit that we can see this data openly, of course, and to Public Enemy’s credit that they’re trying this model. But it will be interesting to see how they try to reinvigorate demand from their fanbase to get the record made."