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Name: My Major Company
Quick Pitch: This online, fan-funded record label — which recently launched in the UK — mixes traditional A&R and crowdfunding.
Genius Idea: You know how your one friend in that kind of terrible synth band raised a ton of money on Kickstarter to go on “tour” (a.k.a. a road trip to Jersey, Maryland and maybe New York)? That was a wash, huh? Well, My Major Company adheres to the Kickstarter model in some respects, but diverges in ways that contribute to quality control and reward fans for their loyalty and money.
The first iteration of My Major Company launched in France in 2008. The premise was basically that fans and artists could join the service — fans as investors, because they were called upon to contribute money to an artist in order to get his career off the ground. According to CEO Paul-Rene Albertini — ex-CEO of Warner Music International — the model was very successful, launching 10 bands. Albertini counts Gregoire — a popular musician in France — as the service’s most exemplary artist.
My Major Company — which plans to expand to more countries come summer — just recently launched in the UK, where the model has changed slightly. In the UK so far, the service has mixed in a little more traditional A&R, selecting around 12 musicians to feature that fans can invest in.
Unlike services like Sellaband — where fans can help bands tour or buy a van, etc — MMC has a more overarching goal: to launch the career of an artist.
An artist must raise 100,000 pounds (around $161,200.12) in order to reap the benefits of funds raised. With that money they can release an album, go on tour and market their music. Fans can also interact with the bands, who can ask investors for advice with regard to the production and release of the album.
Fans, in turn, receive 40% of all revenue their bands raise, bands get 20%, and MMC gets 40%. Still, the 40% that MMC rakes in can also be allotted to the band if they need more cash for another project.
Albertini sees a need for MMC due to the shrinking music industry. “This generation needs professional support to monetize,” he says. “Record labels cannot sign the 10 artists that they used to sign, now they sign two. So we offer a solution whereby we can take on more artists, but we put the same muscle behind them to break them into the market professionally.”
He adds that the time is right for such a movement, given the nature of this new crop of artists. “There’s a new generation of artists out there, the DIY generation,” he says. “I personally think that the new generation of artists is savvier than it has ever been in the past. They have access to all possible information and all sources of information through the web. They know how to position themselves out in the world.”
Right now, the UK service is more of a closed society — think Crowdbands, which chooses which artists fans can interact with — this means artists can’t just apply to be featured on the site. Two such artists have already been funded (more info on those bands here). Still, Albertini says that MMC will open up to the wider community soon.
What do you think of this investment model? Would you dish out cash to a promising band if you got a piece of the pie in the end?
Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark
BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.
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