About Me

Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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August 27, 2008


Ed Chappel

I completely agree that it was naughty of the Guardian to present Bandstocks as the trailblazer, particularly when they've given Sellaband so much attention. I've got to say though, I don't think Bandstocks is an improvement from what I've seen. Its so halfway house between trying to satisfy investors and reach out to fans that it does neither. With Sellaband, if you invest your $10, you are guaranteed either to get your limited edition CD or your money back if not enough believers back you. Not the case with Bandstocks, firstly they can't guarantee you any return on your investment, secondly they tell you that you're unlikely to make any profit, only invest if you love the music. I think Sellband offers a much safer proposition for fans.

Also having taken 4 years to get Bandstocks up and running, watching Sellaband and Slicethepie sprint off with the same ideas, it seems that the company is positioning itself as the fan-funded model for 'good' bands, for bands that 'would have got signed anyway'. Raising their nose at models like Sellaband and Slicethpie in such a snobby way plus siding with the traditional record industry establishment is hardly going to endear fans to Bandstocks.

These mixed signals - we are the professional outfit for the 'good bands', but stay away grubby investors, only music lovers please, - we'll have to wait and see how it all pans out but from the outset I'll say that I prefer the values and offering of Sellaband.

Jeff Howe

Ed, Great points. I find Bandstocks both improved over the Sellaband model, and also lacking in democratic impulse, along lines you mention. It seems to want to have its cake and eat it too: Looking for support from the audience, but denying them the opportunity to help choose the bands.

Ed Chappel

Thanks Jeff!

I'd be interested to know where you think the improvements are!

I think it breaks the cardinal rule of both crowdsourcing and one of the main principles of web 2.0 - don't supersede the wisdom of crowds with the authority of the few. If Bandstocks want to attract the music fans who have helped over 25 bands at Sellaband to reach $50k in two years, they need to lose the elitist, expert tone and quickly. I think their ability to circumvent the 1st round of democratic voting and place artists straight into the investment stage also seems like a continuation of the industry's paternalistic 'eat your greens' approach.

They should also remember that both Sellaband and Slicethepie were developed on the basis of perceptive consumer insight: people are tired of being powerless and passively fed music that executives choose for them. If the fans are made to feel like they're only partially in control then it doesn't work. In fact I think it's even cheekier, almost like the industry saying 'we've chosen this meal, you can pay for it'. With their quality control procedures ensuring that they decide on who is worthy of receiving votes, any sense of fan-driven democracy is still controlled by the experts.

Whilst it is true that Sellaband and Slicethepie will have a great deal of rubbish on their sites, the people are allowed to decide what's rubbish and what's good.

Time will tell how it all works out, but I think Sellaband is far more aligned to the democratic, underground, egalitarian instincts of the web's 'hive-mind' and will probably retain most of its users and traffic.

Pim Betist

Thanks Jeff for the article. As you know here at sellaband HQs we value your opinion and are also interested to find out how you see bandstock improved the model. In any case it's good to see that more and more companies are inspired by the crowdsourcing/funding model.


Hi Jeff,
My addition to this article would be this:
See you thursday in Rotterdam!


Another great site for crowdfunding is Its like Sellaband and Bandstocks,except for movies. Filmmakers can post their projects and users can decide to contribute money to help the projects get made.

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