Ann Arbor startup MyBandStock.com faces high-profile Brooklyn competitor
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 MyBandStock.com, which gives music fans a chance to invest in upstart independent artists, is pursuing a business model akin to that of Kickstarter.com. 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 MyBandStock.com (File photo by Robert Ramey)