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OurLabel: An Innovative Concept in Fan Funding

Well, I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.

With crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter growing exponentially in popularity, OurLabel in Chicago is taking the natural “next step” by creating a record label based entirely on fan funding.

The site is still in beta stage, so it’s likely there will be kinks to be worked out, but the short version of the concept is that where other crowd funding sites only provide a platform for artists to raise funds for their independent projects, OurLabel actually arranges for production, manufacturing, promotion and distribution of recording projects funded through the site. Fans not only have the opportunity to fund projects, but also to promote them through social media outlets. Royalties, according to the website, are distributed 50% to the artist/band, 25% to the label, and 25% to fans/supporters who funded and promoted the record.

A few details about the project, as told by the website’s FAQ:

  1. Incentives for funding projects will be fairly uniform, taking the form of pre-purchase items such as digital downloads, merchandise, autographed CDs, meet & greets, and even producer credit.
  2. If you are a signed artist, you can’t participate. OurLabel is exclusively for unsigned artists, making it a true indie label.
  3. Artists retain rights to all their work.
  4. There are no fees to join or to launch a project.
  5. There are no long-term contractual obligations.

Theoretically, this seems like a really good concept, and a natural progression in the new music market. Probably the biggest drawback is simply that it is new, which means that to make it work, indie artists are probably going to need to have an already-established fan base and social media presence in order to acquire enough participation to fund their projects.

And when I say “new,” I mean braaaaaand new. At the time of this writing, the site shows 15 artists, only five of whom are currently funding projects—and under 100 fans. There’s no cost or initial obligation to get involved; just know that this is a new effort that will take a little patience to get off the ground.

That said, it will be interesting to see how far OurLabel goes toward taking crowd funding to the next level.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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