Les groupes indie peuvent maintenant se faire financer directement par leurs fans ou encore des inconnus!

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Deux sites Web offrent ce service aux bands indie ou émergents qui se cherchent un financement pour produire et réaliser un album: www.Sellaband.com et www.Slicethepie.com Une véritable petite révolution du mécénat en musique, expliquée par le magazine Billboard aujourd'hui:

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Indie bands go online to seek funds from fans

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The patronage model is not a new concept. In feudal Japan and Renaissance Europe, wealthy benefactors underwrote works of art, music and philosophy to benefit society and for their own gain.

Centuries later, many up-and-coming indie bands used a similar model, only the "wealthy supporters" were usually parents, friends and credit card companies. In the last few years, however, the model has gone online and become streamlined, standardized and a new way for bands of all sizes to finance recording time.

The most recent, and perhaps most well-known, exemplars of the trend are seminal German industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten, which has funded its past three records using donations from a group the act refers to as "supporters."

Neubauten charged between 35 and 65 euros ($49.50-$92) for the ability to interact with the band via webcast during the recording process as well as a copy of the finished product.

According to frontman Blixa Bargeld, the supporters "(did) not want to change the music, and would actually dislike us changing our music in order to please specific listeners, because they are funding, among other things, our creative freedom." He also said that the band did not feel beholden to any of the fans who were supporting them financially.

A number of smaller unsigned bands have also used the Web to raise money for recording expenses from fans and strangers. Two sites, Sellaband.com and Slicethepie.com, enable listeners to "invest" in unsigned bands, with the investors betting that the acts eventually will sell enough records to make them a profit. Investors are also granted access to the band and free copies of the records.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

Thus far, eight acts have used Sellaband to raise the $50,000 needed to begin recording. Of those acts, the three that are based in the United States told Billboard that their experiences with Sellaband and the investors were mostly positive but time-intensive.

Jamie Greenslade, a rapper originally from New Zealand, said that he spent a lot of time writing e-mails and that the fans "really want to get inside your process." Lily Vasquez, who is in the process of recording her Sellaband-funded album, likewise said that she was in touch with some of the investors on a daily basis. Despite the constant communication, neither artist felt any significant pressure from the investors to change their music. "I had some people tell me they wanted to hear me sing the blues," said Vasquez, who is primarily a Latin artist, "but most of the funders were really hands-off."

Likewise, U.K.-based service Slicethepie allows fans to interact with the artists they are funding, and in fact "wants them to feel like they are involved in the process," site representative Sarah Dando said. "A lot of the bands want to get input on things like album titles," she added. "Many of them are blogging on a daily basis and using other social networking sites in order to build relationships with the investors."

Some independent artists skip the sites and prefer to simply raise the funds on their own. California-based singer-songwriter Adrina Thorpe created a tiered system that rewards supporters with everything from copies of her forthcoming album to personalized songs thanking them for their donation. She is not the first to sell songs to donors. Scottish musician Momus sold song portraits on his album "Stars Forever" to raise funds to pay legal fees when his label was sued.

While the artists of yesteryear occasionally had their heads cut off if their work didn't please his lordship, those working within the new patronage system seem satisfied with the artistic freedom it grants them.

Bargeld said, "It has become increasingly obvious that regular record companies are less interested in promoting music ... than their bottom line. Any band that wants to pursue their own creative vision instead of just cultivating a popular image would be better off going directly to their listeners, if they have something authentic to offer."

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