Rock 'N' Returns

Wish you could have bought shares in Elvis? SellaBand lets you play Colonel Parker and fund up-and-coming musical acts.

By Melanie Haiken, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Imagine if you could have invested in the Rolling Stones in 1964. Well, you can't always get what you want - but now you can buy the shares you need from SellaBand, a German company that lets music lovers invest in startup bands, financing their albums in return for a piece of the action.

For musicians, SellaBand works like MySpace: A band uploads a profile page along with songs for free streaming at For fans, it's a bit like a musical E-Trade: You sign up online and purchase shares of a future recording for $10 each. After a band raises $50,000, SellaBand provides a producer and an A&R rep and covers the cost of making 5,000 CDs. Revenue from CD sales and ads on are split among the company, the artists, and the investors.

Since few bands can raise $50,000 on their own, SellaBand offers them a vehicle to leverage Web-based popularity. Backed by angel investors, SellaBand is riding on the reputation of CEO Johan Vosmeijer, a former Sony Music executive whose connections give bands access to veteran producers.

A month after its official launch on Aug. 15, SellaBand had signed more than 250 bands, and nearly 2,000 music lovers had ponied up $35,000. Dutch goth-rock band Nemesea has raised nearly $11,000.

"Being the best-selling band at SellaBand so far has helped us a lot," says singer Manda Ophuis. "The more publicity they get, the more publicity we get."  Top of page

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