Crowdsourced Label Feedbands Launches Web Streaming…

Feedbands, a crowd sourced record label, announced today the launch of their streaming service for the web (previous voting on submissions solely occurred through mobile apps on iOS and Android).

The new web player not only allows listeners to stream and vote on music that they want pressed to vinyl, but also offers digital downloads that can be purchased directly through Feedbands. Feebands takes 15% of the revenue and 85% goes directly to the bands.

3 Responses

  1. Chelsea

    Hi! Chelsea from Feedbands here. Thanks for the press, DMN!

    I just wanted to give you guys a link to our web stream:

    We’re really excited to provide all of our users, not just those with smartphones, a way to listen in and vote. I’d be happy to answer any questions about Feedbands here in the comments.

    Rock on, music fans!

    • Jack Samuels

      Response to Critics?

      So, I’ve been researching what seems to be a cool idea to me. Of course I find naysayers out there as always. I’m just curious, what would your response be to this piece about you?

      I know, as they say, haters gonna hate. At the same time, in a world where we have been burned so often, sometimes you wonder what’s gonna happen when the other shoe falls. Sorry I’m so skeptical. Maybe I just read the words “Columbia House” and had flashbacks that made me cringe. I want to believe…

      • Chelsea

        Hey, Jack. Thanks for checking us out!

        Oh boy, where to begin responding to that piece. I guess us vs. Columbia House. Now, right off the bat I have to say I’m no expert when it comes to Columbia House history. I certainly can’t speak for everyone here, but I personally had never even heard of Columbia House until I started working with Feedbands. I’m a millennial; I had maybe two cassettes before CDs became the norm, and that’s about as far back as my audio tech went while I was growing up. It’s actually kind of interesting when people compare Feedbands to Columbia House or claim that we “stole their business model” because Columbia House did not and has not in any way been a basis for how we do things here. The one thing we have in common is a subscription, but these days there are subscriptions for shoes and snacks and razors and contact lenses, so it isn’t exactly a totally unique concept.

        But for arguments sake, let’s compare: true, our models are/were both subscription-based music services, but the similarities end there. When it comes to our mission, we couldn’t be more different. Columbia House was about selling music for cheap to customers regardless of location, thereby tapping into an audience base in rural parts of the country where access to record stores was probably limited. What we strive to do at Feedbands is make a difference in the lives of bands and the lives of listeners. I know it sounds idealistic, but we really do want to help feed bands. When we offer to press an artist, we pay them thousands of dollars (Literally. There are four digits on those checks.) while other top music companies and streaming services would be paying them pennies. (Again, literally.)

        You can see our latest video of when we paid this month’s band. They’re super happy and so are we.

        It’s also important to keep in mind that we aren’t dealing with the mega-star acts that Columbia House churned out, selling thousands of CDs for artists that were already signed to major labels and pulling in millions. We’re dealing with artists who are completely independent, making amazing music, and trying to figure out how they are going to eat and gas up their van for their tour. At Feedbands, we pay the cost of pressing an independent artist’s album to vinyl, pay the artist upfront for the pressings, and ensure that the artist keeps all the rights to their music. As far as I know, that’s not what Columbia House was about. At best, they manufactured and distributed major label releases en masse, which worked for a time, but that’s not us.

        Columbia House also never offered crowdsourced content like we do through our app and web player, which create a forum where the best Feedbands music can rise to the top based on what listeners think. In the article you mention, the author points out that there is “no need for curation,” but we feel that with thousands of songs getting posted on the Internet each day, there most definitely is a need for curation. We listen to all of our submissions and approve the best. Granted this is an editorial decision, but we need to start somewhere, and believe you me, no one would come back if we simply streamed every piece of music submitted to us.

        On the other hand, we’re not, as the author of the article in question suggested, simply looking for what’s “sellable” (meaning not “anything too weird” that could polarize people, even if it’s good.) We’re not looking for cookie-cutter pop hits. We love weird! Weird can be great! Sure, not everyone is going to like weird, but that’s where voting comes in. Voting ensures that the music we press isn’t just what we at Feedbands like and isn’t just what some statistical focus groups like—it’s what our subscribers like.

        Now, according to the guest poster on Omnicity, the problem with this is that “people are mostly pretty stupid.” Well, I wouldn’t say that, but I get his concern: all those votes could even out to something relatively likable but generic, or one artist could just get all their Facebook friends to upvote them. And this is where curation comes in again. We pay careful attention to what tracks are getting a lot of votes, and then we go through and carefully evaluate each artist’s album. Was just one song on the album a hit, or were they all hits? Is the song representative of the album overall, or was it a fluke? Once we find that one amazing album that just needs to be on vinyl, we send it to the presses.

        And then there’s membership. From what I understand, attempting to end a relationship with Columbia House was not exactly a walk in the park. In fact, their business was based largely on their subscribers not reading the fine print, which roped them into buying more and more items with crazy shipping costs. At Feedbands, our fine print is not so fine. (I mean it’s a fine bit of legal necessities written up by fancy-lawyer-types, but it’s pretty straightforward and right there in black and white, plus we’re always happy to answer any and all questions.)

        Jack, you have every right to be skeptical, and I know it’s hard to believe, but believe, my friend. Believe. We really do just want to provide vinyl-lovers with great records and provide musicians with a means of supporting themselves. While we do that, we try to be as transparent and open as we can. If you don’t like a record, give us a call and we’ll give you a refund. If you sampled this month’s music on our site before even getting the record and it’s simply not your thing, give us a call and you can skip this month. If you really truly want to cancel your subscription, give us a call and it’s done. We’ll be sad, but it’s done. No strings. And then if you want back in at any time, give us a call and you’re welcome back with open arms and record-shaped stickers! My point is all you have to do is give us a call.

        Are we a record label? Yes: we produce vinyl records, ergo we are a record label. But do we take any of the rights from artists? Not a chance. Do we laden the artists with debt that must be paid back? Nope. Do we only pay artist through trifling royalties? No way, Jose. Have we figured out a way to pay the artists upfront when no one labels seem to make that a priority? You bet.

        Getting a vinyl record pressed can be a major event in the lives of artists. Having records to sell at shows can be a total game-changer. Getting paid thousands of dollars definitely helps artists keep doing what they’re doing. And we love being a part of that. You’re right: haters gonna hate. So let them. We’re still evolving. In fact, some of the things criticized in that article have since changed. But there will always be skeptics, and that’s okay. In the meantime, we’ll continue building a great service, putting out incredible music, and let the rest speak for itself.