Entertainment behind the scenes
The road to rock stardom is increasingly going through the Internet. Fledgling bands can get a modest share of revenue from online streaming of their music on the site Last.Fm, and becoming a sensation on video sharing site YouTube.com can quickly make a singer a star.
The next step in turning the Web into a launching pad for emerging bands is to give bands the chance to tour. The Amsterdam-based company SellaBand.com is holding a contest for musical acts to not only join a U.S. tour in summer 2009, but to play in giant arenas in major cities. The contest basically comes down to which bands can attract the most support from fans online.
The biggest rock bands have always had relatively unknown bands open for them, but often those emerging bands had a following in the local area where the headlining act performed that night. What the Internet has done is allow bands to skip past becoming a local sensation, and instead appeal to a wider audience on the Web.
The nearly 20 bands chosen through the SellaBand contest will open for major headlining acts in venues that include American Airlines Center in Dallas, The Palace in Detroit and the Toyota Center in Cleveland.
“It’s the dream of lifetime for these guys,” said John Ossenmacher, president of ArenaWorks Entertainment Inc., which is working with SellaBand on the project.
“It is a chance for them to really get out there and show people what they can do,” he said.
The first round of the competition began on Dec. 1, and it ends on Feb. 28. More information is available at http://arenafest.sellaband.com.
Will tomorrow’s rock stars all emerge from the Internet, or will the major record labels still play a big role in serving as tastemakers? SellaBand began in 2006 as a way for bands to collect money from supporters and use the cash to go record an album. So far, 29 bands have done that through SellaBand, but the top band has only sold 5,000 albums.
“It would be great if ultimately the next Coldplay would emerge from SellaBand, but that’s not the basic goal,” said Johan Vosmeijer, CEO of SellaBand. “The basic goal is to get an artist to the next stage in their career.”
And for some groups, the next stage could be to stand in an arena and yell out “Hello, Detroit!”