Slicethepie. I’ve been banging on about Sellaband for a while now, but I’ve got to say that this effort knocks it out of the park. Again it’s a new style artist label community play, but with some lovely features and significant differences to the Sellaband model. For a start, this bunch don’t take away the artists publishing or copyright (Sellaband take away the publishing rights on every track they help produce). It’s a smallish point, but important.
Secondly, the interaction and cross-promotion on Slicethepie is a joy to behold. Not only can fans find artists and support them financially by buying £5.00 ‘backstage passes’, but they can also trade in the artist’s future success by buying contracts on how many singles or albums you think they’ll sell over a 2 year period. This is suspiciously like a derivatives market, but we’d better not go into that right at this moment, eh?
The community also has the chance to do some scouting for new talent on the site, but in this case they get…wait for it…paid. Gasp! That’s right, for every listen and review of an artist that you do as a Scout you get paid cash on a sliding scale depending on your reputation and reviewing skills over time. You can use this money to buy backstage passes, purchase contracts or convert to cash via Paypal. Don’t order the Porsche right yet, though, the starting price is a mere £0.03p per track, so it’s definitely A&R on the cheap, but still, what a crack eh? There’s even a Facebook Scouting app, so you can challenge your buddies and make it more of a game. The top Scouts are reviewing around 20 tracks an hour, which implies either an incredible grasp of musicology and leet skillz, or a touch of the 60 second dumpsters.
And that’s really what the whole thing feels like, a game. Slicethepie is superb simply because it combines the fun of an absorbing, fun game with the real life challenge of helping artists get enough cash together to record an album and start a real career. The UI is a maelstrom of trading card colours and shapes, jumbled into a kaleidoscope of chaotic cool, but it doesn’t matter, because it fits the theme perfectly. And more to the point, the MySpace crowd will warm to it immediately without feeling patronised.
Nothing stands still either. Showcase bands have a mere 7 days to raise enough cash to go forward to the recording contract, but the fact is by that time they should have enough fans and supporters to make it happen if they’re good enough. In that time they need to sell 3000 passes at £5.00 each, which is not chump change, in order to get the recording contract. It’s definitely achievable, but it clearly is not an easy job. Once an artist gets the deal though, then their fans start to share in the booty, getting a free album, plus a share of sales from thereon in.
All in all, this is one heck of a bold and brassy experiment in the new wave of music promotion for the future (pun intended). With the right amount of traffic and a reasonable amount of the Facebook type traffic numbers this could go mega, and really make a massive difference in the way the music biz moves in the future. Sure it’s cravenly commercial, and yes the artists can come across as second fiddle to the whole game orientation, but hey, if it takes this kind of model to break the back of jaded music industry suits selling dreary safe blonde pop, then bring it on. And pass the trading stamps, Jack, I fancy another punt.
Slicethepie enables artists to raise money directly from their fans to professionally record and release an album. How? We turn every music fan into a record label. On Slicethepie: o Artists can raise money directly from their fans to professionally record albums o Fans can become emotionally and financially involved at all levels of the music industry – scouting, breaking, investing in and influencing real artists o Investors can gamble on, trade in and profit from the success of these artists o Artists who secure finance pay Slicethepie a small royalty on album sales but keep all their copyright and publishing rights.