CAMPAIGN: SellaBand: enabling fans to invest in new music

SellaBand is an online company offering a new model for free legal distribution of new music. They recently launched in the UK...

SellaBand: allows emerging artists to create profiles that will appeal to investors
SellaBand: allows emerging artists to create profiles that will appeal to investors

Client: SellaBand
Campaign: UK launch of online music site
PR Team: Cohn & Wolfe
Timescale: December 2006 to June 2007
Budget: Undisclosed

The site works by providing a direct link between developing artists and their fans. The site enables ‘Believers’ to buy shares in unsigned bands. When the fund reaches £25,000, SellaBand provides the band with an experienced A&R person to guide them through the recording process, a producer and studio sessions to record their best songs.

Rather like a MySpace account, the site allows artists to create a profile to appeal to potential ‘Believers’. They can upload pictures, a biography and three demo-songs as well as gig listings and links to other websites.

Believers also get a limited edition of the CD produced at the recording session, and have the right to sell additional copies through SellaBand.

To raise awareness of SellaBand and the concept behind it among consumers. To recruit potential ‘Believers’. To create positive traction with trade media. To recruit other online companies to forge strategic partnerships. To raise awareness of the site among potential advertisers.

Strategy and plan
To build awareness among potential ‘Believers’, Cohn & Wolfe built a consumer-focused campaign that highlighted SellaBand’s key messaging. Central to the campaign was the concept that, for the first time, music lovers could have a say in the music that they want to listen to by investing in their favourite new bands.

Trade and business media was sold in on the fact that SellaBand is a new business model for the free distribution of quality, unsigned music.

Cohn & Wolfe came up with a number of tactics to promote the story including ‘guru training’, ‘anti X-Factor’ and ‘buy a band for Christmas’ storylines. Additionally, the agency held a London briefing day for priority media.

The next stage was to focus on the bands themselves, so a plan was drawn up to publicise the first UK artist or band to hit the magic £25,000 mark.

Measurement and evaluation
Over the course of the six months, the campaign was covered in 18 print-media interviews, two broadcast interviews (BBC 24 and The Money Programme), 12 national print articles (including The Guardian and The Evening Standard), and three online articles (, Reuters and Bloom­berg).

It also featured in three regional print articles (thelondonpaper, London Lite and the Evening Standard) and 12 consumer and trade titles, including Stuff!, Five Eight and NMA.

All the coverage secured during the campaign carried the core messages that SellaBand is a way for music lovers to have a say in the music that they want to hear by voting with their wallets.

Prior to Cohn & Wolfe’s campaign work, the UK was ranked as SellaBand’s fifth largest market, with between three and four per cent of site traffic coming from these shores. As a result of the campaign, the UK accounts for over 12 per cent of all visitors to the SellaBand site and is now the second largest market.

‘When we launched we wanted an agency that understood what we were trying to achieve,’ says SellaBand founder and MD Johan Vosmeijer. He added: ‘Together, I feel we’ve achieved some amazing results.’


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