Public Enemy Lacks SellaBand Believer$

The press releases were flying on October 6th when Public Enemy announced that they were going to their fans via SellaBand for $250,000 to record and promote a new album.

image from blogs.dallasobserver.com "Through its partnership with SellaBand, PE is offering a total 10,000 parts for Believers at a value of $25.00 each to raise a total of $250,000. The $250,000 will be used to: a) fund the complete recording costs and expenses for its next album and b) fund a strategic marketing plan for the worldwide release of the SellaBand album in 2010.

Public Enemy has created an exciting incentive plan for Believers and looks forward to successfully completing fund raising by the end of 2009."

Now, more than two months later, and less than 20 days before the end of 2009, the band has only raised $71,620 or just 28% of its goal. This is despite offering "exciting incentives":

  • "Believer" Level = 1 Part ($25) Incentive: Exclusive, numbered CD in Digipak 1
  • "Hype" Level – 4 Parts ($100) Incentive: Exclusive, numbered CD Digipak, opportunity to buy 2nd CD at 50% off, & Name in booklet 4
  • "Rebel" Level – 10 Parts ($250) Incentive: All of Above plus Exclusive Limited Edition Public Enemy T Shirt 10
  • "Posse" Level – 20 Parts ($500) Incentive: All of Above plus Autographed Copy of CD signed by Chuck D 20
  • "Terrordome" Level [Limited to 50 investors] – 40 Parts ($1,000) Incentive: All of Above plus Unlimited use backstage pass for 3 years 40
  • "Bring The Noise" Level [Limited to 15 Investors] – 200 Parts ($5,000) Incentive: All of Above plus Executive Producer Credit on Album 200
  • "PE Number One" Level [Limited to 5 Investors] – 400 Parts ($10,000) Incentive: All of Above plus Studio Visit during recording session 400

No word yet on whether or not Public Enemy will extend the deadline for fan contributions.

Share on:


  1. First of all, it’s 2009 – PE shouldn’t need 250 grand to make a record and market a record. They’re stuck in an old world mindset. They should made the release for less than 50K, and sell it as a download for $4.99. Then perhaps make a premium CD version in limited quantities for fifty bucks, autographed with bonus tracks and demos etc.
    The biggest problem here is that they haven’t made a great record for what, twenty years? PE deserves huge respect for being innovators, but they were kind of done before the hip hop wave really caught on with a mass audience. Its not like they didn’t make records over the years, it’s just that they all stiffed, and no one with any sense would give them a quarter of a million dollars to make a record. Who are their fans?
    They need to completely reinvent themselves and get back to the streets. People that bought Fear Of A Black Planet in 1990 are not going to log onto Sell-A-Band in 2010 and give them money to make a record, any more than they’d finance a Kid ‘n Play comeback.

  2. shame on you for invoking Kid N Play when speaking about PE, KNP had “fad” written all over them from the door.
    agreement on most of your other points though, 250k to make an album is pretty steep though I understand why they feel they need that much.
    If they took advantage of the internet and technology more than just the website they should be able to do everything they set out to with 100k even

  3. I agree with the point about incentives. Getting autographed CD for $25 seems steep. But I also never heard of this campaign and I was a huge PE fan. Sellaband might want to step up THEIR marketing.
    Old Record Guy is incorrect that PE was “kind of done before the hip hop wave really caught on with a mass audience.” He obvious missed out their sold out arena shows from the US to London to every city on the planet. Granted is was a while ago, but they had a HUGE following and at one time were the biggest group in hip hop.

  4. If the album doesn’t get made, what happens to the $71k already raised? Do the investors get it back?

  5. ^they should, but I hadn’t even thought of about what Old Record Guy brought up…it definitely does not take that much to record a record. My label could release 6 records through traditional channels and still have extra money to use on co-op.
    I also agree that they should have made the deal with a more modern pop rap act.

  6. Hi rob. The investors, called “Believers” are free to pull back their parts from the Public Enemy fund raising and get refunded through Paypal or to take their parts to other music projects

  7. Probably 15 years ago, I helped work a PE record at indie retail, and the big challenge was finding their fanbase. Hip hop had diversified, gangsta rap was big, and most of the marketing effort was trying to figure out where their audience went. Everyone had massive respect for what PE did, but nobody seemed to want to buy their records.
    And it hasn’t gotten any easier in the ensuing years to answer that question, no matter how many shows they may have sold out back in the day.

  8. I’d be interested to hear how many folks on this thread would spend 250K of their own money on a new record from PE, if they had the $$. Or better yet, how many bought into the current offering on Sellaband.

  9. My first thought was this band has already made money. I’m sure many others arrived at the same thought that they didn’t need to support this project because PE already has the money. I’d rather donate to an up-and-comer who doesn’t have the financial resources.

  10. For me it shows how great expectations of fans are when musicians use crowdfunding to finance an album.
    But I think SellaBand shows proof how true fans (believers) can be, if they are really involved from minute one.

  11. I agree with the crowd: value equations are a mess, so failure is predictable. Who would pay $100 for 2 CDs? Why? That’s just crazy man! If you’re asking people to invest in your enterprise, they’re entitled to some ROI, not just spiffs. This isn’t public radio, but for-profit Public Enemy.
    To Old Record Guy: 2007’s Beats and Places is a damn good rekkit! Not 100% new material, but 100% slammin, and at least 3 really great songs. More collage than album, I suppose. Still, I’d say it’s a significant release, not filler and crap…

  12. LOL, Did someone mention the “C” word?? CO-OP is the 2nd biggest revenue killa (behind returns) for indie artists. PE is one the most important groups, hip-hop or otherwise to emerge in the past 25 years, PERIOD. In reading this post, a couple thoughts come to mind;
    How much $$ did PE actually invest of their own money into this project?
    Where are the majority of Believers located? Europe? America?, Japan? Mars?
    If they fail to reach their goal, does that indicate there’s a lack of interest in a new PE album? Should they bother releasing a record?
    $71K is a very good look, we should all be so lucky.

  13. Hey come on !!! This ain’t NEWS . It was clear from the start that PE would never reach 250K . Sellaband was already technical bankrupt early this summer … and the Sellaband management already succeeded in driving away most Believers ; by never keeping any promises and Fawlty Towers-customers service . When PE signed up it already was a concentration camp of BAD TASTE . And I’m not talking about genre or style , or that kinda things … on Sellaband CD’s you can hear ; instruments that are not tuned , no dynamics , out of tune singing … quite some Sellaband CD’s are totaly AUDIO-HORROR .
    A few Sellaband Artists , Like Confused5 , Mandyleigh Storm and SolidTube made very well produced CD’s … but the majority is worse than the average home-made DEMO I listen to … and that for $50.000 .
    I think that the reason that PE signed up with Sellaband is ; that no record company is interested in investing any buck$ in a PE CD .
    So they became Sellabeggars … poor guys 😛
    HAVE FUN !!! yours Pieps

  14. When I heard about PE working with SellaBand, I assumed it was a promotional deal on SellaBand’s behalf rather than a true way to raise money for PE. I figured SellaBand wanted an established artist/band to use the site to generate some buzz and therefore PE got involved because they were getting some sort of deal from the company. (Similarly, I’ve assumed that Ashton Kutcher got some sort of deal from Twitter for all of his promotion of the company.)
    Unfortunately, by not hitting the stated goal so far, both Sellaband and PE look bad, which should have been anticipated beforehand.

Comments are closed.