Budding Bands Get £150,000 Investment – From Online Fans

While EMI turns itself inside-out in Kensington to tackle digital distribution and marketing, one has to wonder if it will ever go as radical as one online upstart over in St Paul’s. Slicethepie, launched in June, lets its users “invest” in unsigned acts they hear on the site, “turning every music fan in to a record label”. Nine such artists (including Gilkicker, pictured) have been financed this way from a total £150,000 investment contribution in the last six months, Slicethepie said today, and it is now setting its sights on another 30 getting that sort of backing through 2008. Those investors make a return if their chosen artist sells over 1,000 albums or singles, and Slicethepie says this has earned its users £30,000 in pay-outs so far.

The site’s claim it will be “the industry’s biggest source of new artists in 2008” is too high on hyperbole (not only is the record business still a significant A&R on-ramp for talent, MySpace boasts tens of thousands of wannabe acts against Slicethepie’s mere 7,000). But this is now a music industry getting used to innovative artist-consumer relationships, being turned on its head by name-your-price sales models, label-less distribution and simply the sense of ownership fans feel from voting their favourite acts to TV show or website stardom.