Last October, rap’s favorite rabble-rousers, Public Enemy, announced the start of a unique experiment (for a mainstream, major label act): The seminal rap group would join forces with SellaBand and attempt to raise $250,000 for their forthcoming album by fan donations. While originally generating some $71,000 by December, the prospects of that partnership seem to be fading slowly as funds have not only stalled but have actually decreased.
According to Billboard.biz (via Prefix Magazine), the group had gotten to only 28% of its goal and had seen little more activity from December on. What’s more, a number of investors have since dropped out (about $4,000 worth), which has dropped the amount raised to $67,400. Of their 901 remaining investors, most had donated an average of $75; by contrast, the Polish power-pop group Mopi had raised about $200 per investor.
While the precise reason for the stall isn’t known for sure, Billboard points to a number of potential causes. As an already established act, Public Enemy’s fame and notoriety may be a hindrance, with even the most hardened fans questioning why the group needs any financial assistance. Marketing options within the SellaBand market may have been a problem, but one of the bigger causes may have been the amount raised and the gifts offered to investors. At $250,000, the total amount is much higher than targets set by others; of the 43 bands or acts who have reached their goal, 35 were under $50,000, with most being between $10,000-$20,000, and in terms of reimbursement, fans’ options were limited. A donation of $25 netted just the CD, with the more expensive options ($100 and $250) adding little more in the way of desirable returns (unless you’d like a shirt that basically went for $150). And for most fans, the $10,000 option is a little out of their pay grade.
We’ll have further updates if the album does ever get back on track.