Fetters sings a different business tune
JILL ESTERBROOKS, Special to the Daily Transcript
Scott Fetters is a rock star in indie music circles.
Not only is he one of the biggest fans of emerging artists and undiscovered musicians, he's recently launched a new online social platform for showcasing and financing their rich talents.
"I've always loved finding new music and sharing it with friends," said Fetters, co-founder of Webceleb Inc. "Now, there's a way to enjoy great talent, bolster artists' careers and perhaps save the entire music industry."
According to Fetters, the industry is very volatile due in large part to the "devaluation of music" as a result of free downloading and music sharing sites like Napster.
"There's an inherent value to music and it shouldn't be given away," Fetters said.
Claiming to have "10 thumbs and no musical talent," Fetters' deep appreciation for music was fostered at the liberal arts high school he attended just outside of London.
A U.S. citizen born and raised abroad, Fetters put aside his fledgling career as a copywriter profiling independent businesses in Colorado to voice his "love for music and technology."
With seed money from friends and family, Fetters and two co-founders formed Webceleb Inc. in 2007 and launched its website -- www.webceleb.com -- in fall of 2008.
It is what Fetters describes as "the next-generation music store where everyone gets paid when songs are downloaded."
For instance, he says when fans spend $1 to download a song they also get one "slice" of that artist's financial pie. The musician nets 50 percent of the sale and 40 percent is split between every "slice" received within 30 days.
Music lovers can use their slice funds to buy more songs or cash out when they've earned $20 or more.
"The beauty of Webceleb is that, for the first time, when people make a decision to buy music, they will be give the chance to form partnerships with musicians and have a vested role in the marketing and discovery process," he said.
Through the online site that uses crowd-sourcing technology, artists' are rewarded with online exposure and music sales, and so are their fans who use their dollars and votes to essentially become investment partners.
"It's like a game," Fetters said. "Fans become early adopters and then as their favorites get more popular, they receive rewards like cash and free concert tickets."
More than just a music store, Webceleb also is active on other online social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, giving fans and artists a chance to post, tweet and instant message.
The fan-artist exchange isn't just online, Fetters said. An events-booking element was just added to further extend and enhance the overall music experience.
"This way, fans help venues like San Diego's Wave House find out who is hot locally and then book those popular artists," he noted.
His company, which earns a 10 percent fee per online transaction, currently is focusing on San Diego's vibrant music scene as well as a handful of other cities throughout the country, including Los Angeles, New York City, Oklahoma City and Austin.
The 27-year-old University of Colorado graduate applies his academic background in social psychology to Webceleb's business development.
His networking and relationship-building efforts have secured a number of vital partnerships that "bridge the gap between the online and real world," including a deal to air music videos on MTV Tr3s' "That Music Show."
His advice to other budding entrepreneurs with the next big idea: "Don't wait. Get to market as quickly as possible because there's someone else with the same concept right on your heels."