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Love a band? Canadian website lets you put your money where your mouth is

Based in Montreal, a small team is currently working on Aquadima Prod,a website where Internet users can discover new artists, while alsocontributing to their careers by kicking in some cash.

Based in Montreal, a small team is currently working on Aquadima Prod, a website where Internet users can discover new artists, while also contributing to their careers by kicking in some cash.

Coming at the end of May, Aquadima Prod is going against other crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and My Major Company. Ultimately, the team will be up against titans like Facebook and iTunes. Aquadima president Rénald Prébé spoke with Metro recently.

What is Aquadima Prod?
It’s the first social label in North America. Our objective is to sustain the creativity. The website will be linked to a strong social network, Aquadima Lounge, (which is) something our competitors lack.

Users will then be able to invest in their favourite artists…
Yes. We fixed the minimum amount to $60,000 before the whole process is started. Once their page is online, they will have to raise the money in 12 months maximum. Each share is $10.

And what does an investor gets with those shares?
Everyone will get a vote to choose the single and the album cover, regardless of the number of shares they have. They will get the digital album and a return on their investment. The bigger investors (in the thousands of dollars) will get different things. A collector album, unique and autographed. T-shirts. Tickets to a show. Or even a weekend in Montreal to spend a day in the studio with the band, all expenses paid.

Should investors be worried about their money?
Absolutely not. We open as many bank accounts as the number of artists on our site, and we deal with a bank in Quebec. As soon as the money is transferred to us, it’s sent to the proper account. We never touch the money. And if the artist wasn’t able to raise enough money in 12 months, the account is closed and the money is sent back.

Where will the artists come from?
For now, our priority is to promote Canadian artists, mainly from Quebec and Ontario. But we keep our ears wide open. If we hear from someone in Italy, Chile or Brazil, at the end, it’s not (about) the market. We want passionate people. I've met so many people with such great talent who were never able to make it because of bad experiences and wrong decisions.

You will accept any style of music?
Yes, but there’s a basic selection that we do with our team, people with dozens of years of experience in music. And then the public will have to make their choice. We don’t want to get 5,000 artist pages with all sorts of weird and bad things. It’s real work to be a musician. It’s hard. On akamusic.com, for example, it’s a catastrophe. They have something like 10,000 artists. Even My Major Company, a really good site and a great company, the door is open for too many bands that are not ready to make it yet.

How will the artists benefit?
We give them different tools to promote themselves and raise money. We need to know they are serious, we’re not there to do this work for them. But after that, they will get their first studio album. We will take care of the production, promotion and tour management. The albums will be available online on the Aquadima Store (to be launched this summer), but also on other platforms like iTunes or Amazon throughout the world.

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