Sydney entrepreneur Andrew Sellen is in the process of launching a crowd-funding site for musicians, suggesting that there could be a growing market for it in creative industries.
Sellen, 28, recently quit his job to create Start Music, a crowd-funding site for musicians who want to record their music but don’t have the funds to do so.
A musician for more than 10 years, Sellen says he was inspired to start the site based on his experience of having “zero money to record”.
Sellen, whose background is in finance and marketing, initially cut back to part-time work so he could teach himself how to program before leaving his job.
He has his first artist lined up and is hoping to start the crowd-funding process in several weeks, but Sellen says it took time to sell the concept to some musicians.
“A lot of musicians and artists haven’t heard of the concept of crowd-funding but I find they get it very quickly when I start explaining it,” he says.
Sellen says he’d like to see a wide range of artists on the site – “from garage bands to artists who would like to produce a recording that may get them a signing in the future”.
He isn’t concerned that his site will be dwarfed by the likes of Pozible and Kickstarter because both run projects for a wide range of projects whereas Start Music will focus solely on musicians.
“I’m also going to have a system of milestones rather than a simple success/failure system … (I want to create a system) so there’s the ability for artists to produce a number of milestones, so fans are still engaged in helping them reach their 100% target,” he says.
Sellen says he’s hoping to secure investment funding later in the year, having spent several thousand dollars to date, but first he wants to demonstrate that his marketing plan is working.
“My marketing strategy will revolve around contacting the sort of artists I’d like to see on the site. I’d like to see bands on there that are buzz bands – newer bands but growing in popularity fast,” he says.
Rick Chen, co-founder of Pozible, says he’ll be interested to see how Start Music fares in the crowd-sourcing scene.
With offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Pozible is a crowd-funding platform and community for creative projects and ideas, encapsulating artists, musicians, film-makers and designers.
Chen says while there’s a market for each individual profession within the creative sector he suspects that honing in on one particular profession could be “too narrow a focus”.
“The market’s not that big so that could be a potential threat to the success of the business,” he says.
According to Chen the film and performing arts industries hold the greatest potential for crowd-sourcing because players in those industries generally have a more natural fan base, making it easier to drum up support.
“Government funding is also drying out so that’s a definite push because it gives crowd-funding a brighter future,” he says.
“Crowd-funding is different to government funding in that it’s a real thing and a real game, it requires more of the public eye as a filter and can therefore be a great way to test your idea.”