Public Enemy Crowd-Sources Its Next Album

I’ve argued in private for a while that, with advances in recording technology and distribution, record companies are going to all but disappear. Now, rap legends Public Enemy suggest another reason why big record companies’ days are numbered:

Hip hop pioneers Public Enemy will partner with fan-funding site Sellaband to finance their next album. Public Enemy is one of the first established acts to sign up to Sellaband’s new custom funding program and aims to raise $250,000 for the album in $25 increments. Public Enemy was incidentally also one of the first acts to release music on mp3.

…Once the funding target is reached the album is made and the proceeds are split between the artist and the believers. Various incentives like downloads and concert tickets can also be offered to believers.

No doubt this funding mechanism, which seems to mix prepayment with profit sharing, will end up a niche practice. But it does suggest that, these days, pop artists are increasingly able to reach their fans without need for a middleman.