It's not a new idea, but the involvement of Steve Pankhurst has helped generate some interest in Bandstocks.
Pankhurst was a founder of Friends Reunited, the service which lets you find out where the people you went to school with are now ("on Facebook", normally) and he's put some of the cash he got offloading the site to ITV into the new scheme. It's another one of those places where bands can appeal to fans to pay the costs of producing an album up front:
Investors will get a copy of the album, a credit on the CD sleeve and a percentage of the profits from its sale and licensing. They will also get priority ticket booking and the opportunity to buy limited edition releases. For the artist, founder Andrew Lewis claimed that Bandstocks would offer a better return than a major-label deal, as well as more freedom and control over copyright.
It's a great idea, but we're still puzzling over how a 100 grand album, paid for in ten quid chunks, would find space to squeeze in the names of ten thousand sponsors on the CD box.
Still, it's an idea that does work - and, effectively, puts 'funding an album' on a par with 'sponsoring a lemur at Chester Zoo' - although if you sponsor a lemur you get free tickets to see him do his thing. But not a free record.
Bandstocks has apparently got Martin Carr lined up to raise funds through its service, and - the crucial difference with similar services - it looks like the idea is to exert a quality control-cum-artistic judgement criteria on who will be able to apply for funding this way, rather than just providing the tools and inviting everyone to wade in. That, then, should help tempt cautious investors by building up a more positive track record of success.