Crowdsourcing. Vinyl. Gamification. Subscription. Sustainable. Artisanal.
These are quite the trendy words, and all of them apply to Feedbands, a crowdsourced record label that lets its users vote on which music should be pressed into vinyl records and delivered to subscribers. It’s an old-meets-new concept that just might be crazy enough to work — especially now that FeedBands has added the ability to listen to and vote on tracks using not only the app, but any web browser.
As mentioned, Feedbands asks its users to help decide which artist’s music gets pressed into a vinyl; subscribing to the vinyl (one per month) costs $15/month. In some ways it works like the ever-entertaining Threadless a crowdsourced t-shirt website which allows artists of all talents to submit their work and allow the community to distill the best, which is then manufactured for sale.
In the case of Feedbands, a user must first subscribe, which is free for the first month (and costs $15 a month after that). Subscribers can vote, buy, download, and create playlists out of the available material on the app or website for as long as they subscribe, but the real treat is the vinyl.
To compensate bands more fairly than they sometimes are, Feedbands takes a mere 15 percent of the revenue leaving the remaining 85 percent for the artist or band. The artist even gets paid upfront, once their record has been selected for vinyl pressing, so there’s no doubt over whether its eventual success will come into play over payment disputes, as with typical label deals.
Feedbands takes its artist-first approach a step further by allowing artists to retain full creative rights over their music, even if it does eventually get selected to be pressed onto vinyl.
Oh, and as if all of this feel-good stuff weren’t enough, they include a download card with each record that’s biodegradable and can even be planted in the ground to produce a plant, because each download card has a seed in it. It’s almost too much sustainability to take. Oh, and yes, vinyl enthusiast, you can get 180-gram vinyl, for an extra $5 per month.
For musicians, this process isn’t quite as simple as just posting music to Feedbands and reaping the rewards. Before any music appears on the site, Feedbands staff first listens through the new submissions to determine if it is, “the best we’ve heard all week.” If so, it gets approved for streaming on the website and in the apps (iOS and Android).
Also, users help decide which albums get made, but the final decision is up to Feedbands, which is great, because it will stop fans of horrible music from gaming the system.
Ultimately, Feedbands looks like a great, odd hybrid that can make sure that at least one new record — always a first pressing — from a band you’ve probably never heard shows up on your doorstep each month, so you don’t just get stuck spinning those cheap-o oldies records from your neighbor’s garage sale.