Web record companies fight for clients

Web record companies fight for clients

New music industry as fractious as last one

A war of words has broken out between two internet record companies after a band decided to switch from one to the other.

North London band Trail was signed to Sellaband, the first in a new breed of record companies that lets fans invest directly in music they like.

But after raising over £15,000 from investors the band upped sticks and went to rival label Slicethepie, where it has already picked up around £5,000 in investment.

"Sellaband's scheme is one of the first to allow fans to fund the making of your album, but they do get it wrong in one crucial way," said Charlie Afif, Trail front man and co-writer.

"They take 40 per cent of the publishing [song writing copyright] for life, yet the band's believers [investors] see none of that, even though they front the money in the first place.

"Slicethepie allows us to use a very similar fund-raising method but keep complete ownership of our songs and the master recording rights. Plus the investors get a share of the money we generate through album/single sales."

Sellaband has denied the gripes over publishing rights. "There is a big misconception about publishing," said Johan Vosmeijer, ex-head of Sony BMG in Holland and a co-founder of Sellaband.

"You do not sign away the rights to your music, but you buy a service from a company to actively market and promote your songs.

"Trail has now chosen between 100 per cent of nothing and 60 per cent of something and have obviously made the wrong choice.

"I still don't get their model and I really can't see why anyone would want to leave us and go to them but, hey, I'm biased."

Vosmeijer pointed out that fewer that two per cent of Trail's Sellaband 'believers' have followed them to Slicethepie, and that the band will be missing out on the promotional experience of the Sellaband team.

"The main difference for artists is that we offer a program [that] bands can benefit from, and we offer a team of experts in promotion and marketing," said Vosmeijer.

"From what I've been told, Slicethepie just sends you the money and does not care what you do with it. We, on the other hand, see producing an album as a profession we take pride in."