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$20 = 1 Year Subscription
Radiohead said “name your price” with In Rainbows. Prince gave a new album away for free in the pages of the Sunday newspaper. Label execs grabbed a share of artist merchandise and touring revenues through “360” deals. The industry is turned upside down, and major labels and their artists are throwing anything at the wall to see if it will stick.
And in the midst of this maelstrom, along comes a small independent band from Boulder to try their hand at creating a business model that benefits fans, bands, and society as a whole. The premise is simple, but revolutionary. To our knowledge, SoundRabbit is the only band on the planet running this particular model – doing so since November of 2007, long before Kickstarter and other microfunding sites started gaining traction.
We believe in giving back, BIG – to charities and organizations doing great work for those in need, and we believe in giving our fans a rock solid community built upon great music, great shows, and great generosity.
Aside from the huge charitable giving component, which we’ll get into in a minute, we’ll cover the “fan club” difference first.
While most bands have “fan communities,” the Backstage Community is different in two very important ways:
Ever join a band fan club? It typically costs you $20 or so, and you may get advanced access to tickets, or behind-the-scenes videos, but when the band comes out with a new album or DVD, you have to head to iTunes or Amazon to buy it.
When a fan signs up to be a Backstage member, he/she receives every single music release available during the period of the membership – new albums, old albums, live recordings, etc. A great example of the access provided to fans occurred when SoundRabbit completed their sophomore album, Tree Trunk Airplanes. The band posted the entire album to the Backstage for download within 2 hours of the final studio mastering being finished; so quickly, in fact, that two of the band members actually got their own copies of the album from the Backstage website. There were fans who had the album before the band members themselves.
As the program is web-based, the list of Backstage Member goodies is always growing. For now, it includes
SoundRabbit realized early on that by generating residual revenues from Membership renewals, they could make the band an engine for charitable contributions. Other revenue sources like merchandise sales, ticket sales, and iTunes sales that are traditionally the bread-and-butter income for a band can instead be used for charitable causes. The financial support of the Backstage members allows the band to donate time and money to charities in ways that artists locked in the traditional industry model cannot.
Since fully launching the Backstage Program, SoundRabbit has donated thousands of dollars to causes including
SoundRabbit was also among the early donors to the Red Cross in Japan and in Haiti, within hours of their respective natural disasters. Donations were made on behalf of the Backstage Community.