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Posted on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 2:03 p.m.

Ann Arbor startup faces high-profile Brooklyn competitor

By Nathan Bomey

The heightening national profile of a Brooklyn, NY-based Web company is not intimidating an Ann Arbor startup with a notably similar business model.

Ann Arbor-based, which gives music fans a chance to invest in upstart independent artists, is pursuing a business model akin to that of The New York Times yesterday featured Kickstarter prominently, detailing the company’s offer of “insider’s access to the projects” financed by fans.

That’s the same strategy of MyBandStock, which distributes “shares” to fans who pay fees in exchange for specialized content or services.

Drew Leahy, a University of Michigan student and CEO of MyBandStock, said Kickstarter is pursuing a similar approach as his company. Kickstarter has reportedly raised $300,000 for its artists, compared to about $7,500 for MyBandStock.

“They’re definitely one of our biggest competitors and they’re working with a lot of pretty big independent artists,” Leahy said. “Their model is similar to ours, but I think what’s really cool about ours is the whole stock piece - that at some point this investment that you’re making will eventually be something bigger than you started with. Shareholders are connected to the artist more.”


MyBandStock has sold about 750 shares to consumers, Leahy said. The company has selectively signed 10 independent artists to build profiles and raise cash for their bands.

Leahy said he hopes to add another 20 bands by year’s end. He said MyBandStock’s challenges are not technological but instead focused on traditional issues often associated with entertainers.

“They’re musicians, they’re artists, they’re not necessarily always business people,” Leahy said. “They’re good at playing music, but when it comes to taking care of business and knowing how to go about marketing, they struggle.

"Even record labels which think their band sounds real good, they put a lot of money into them but no one buys their record.”

Photo: Drew Leahy, CEO of (File photo by Robert Ramey)

Contact's Nathan Bomey at or (734) 623-2587, or follow him on Twitter.



Fri, Aug 28, 2009 : 9:57 a.m.

Then he probably shouldn't have named his company myBANDstock, heh. Also, I mistakenly clicked on the link to and was aurally assaulted by some musical cancer called Summer Highlight. Can I pay for band NOT to succeed? I didn't realize that Pete Wentz, from Fallout Boy, had his very own cloning machine. /rant

Nathan Bomey

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 3:35 p.m.

Jeremy, true for now! Drew Leahy says, however, that MyBandStock envisions eventually expanding its strategy to include movies and other content.

Jeremy Peters

Wed, Aug 26, 2009 : 3:32 p.m.

There is an obvious difference between the two in that Kickstarter doesn't limit itself solely to music.