Sellaband is something like a crowdsourced A&R firm, in which fans decide which new acts get albums produced. In order for Sellaband to "sign" an artist, the artist must first raise $50,000, generally by scoring $10 investments from 5,000 fans (or "believers," as the site calls them). Once that happens, Sellaband helps the artist professionally produce an album and sells it via the site. Believers automatically get a limited edition CD of the band they sponsored and get a cut of the album sales.
So far, 11 acts have hit the $50,000 threshold and created an album through Sellaband. The company says that they've also doled out $25,000 in commissions to artists and believers in the past three months. Getting music on Amazon, though, gives Sellaband artists a far more visible distribution platform.
According to Sellaband, the site receives about 150,000 unique visitors per month, but their main focus is artist development, not creating a consumer-focused destination site. That means that deals like the one with Amazon are key to actually selling the music their artists create.
Amazon will also help more bands hit the magic $50,000 -- any band that reaches $30,000 will get an automatic $1,000 investment from Amazon to help them along. To date, over 6,000 bands have uploaded tracks to Sellaband, and $1.3 million has been invested in them, according to Pim Betist, one of the site's co-founders.