SonicAngel is a unique hybrid of traditional record label and crowdfunding platform that allows fans to become investors and artists to reap a larger percentage of revenue. They began in Europe, where they've had one standout success in Tom Dice, and now also operate in the U.S.
SonicAngel launched in January 2010, the creation of Maurice Engelen of Lords of Acd and Bart Becks, former CEO of Belgacom Skynet. Music genres include pop, rock, alternative, hip hop, electronic and classical.
The basic concept is that artists sign up and build support from fans who also join the site. Outstanding artists, as determined by both fan support and SonicAngel A&R's, are signed by SonicAngel to what appears to be a one release deal.
SonicAngel then provides the platform for crowdfunding with options for direct fan investment via FanShares as well as the now traditional tiered offerings including signed albums, merch packages and special events. However, there are also opportunities for corporate funding via a "series of interesting products, services and events for companies."
Once funded, albums are produced in both digital and physical form and SonicAngel provides marketing, sales and even touring support. Fans and artists are paid after expenses and artists receive between 30 and 40% of net royalties.
It's a rather complex and detailed creation that could use a nice graphic presentation for each of the parties involved. An extended FAQ breaks it all down if you're willing to, you know, read a lot!
SonicAngel's first big success has been Tom Dice, a singer-songwriter whose first album with the company was a hit in parts of Europe and is said to have repaid fan investments 330%. His second project with SonicAngel hit its funding target of 64,500 Euros in a couple of days (that's around $89,000 US).
SonicAngel is an interesting example of a hybrid business model that potentially benefits all parties involved. Like most emerging approaches utilizing the web, it emphasizes the ability of bands to create their own authentic fanbase.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He blogs about web business models at Flux Research and the world of dance at All World Dance. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.