Indie Band Goes Venture Capitalist

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter


With every singer/songwriter and indie rock outfit now being plugged for a Grey’s Anatomy spot or late-night guesting, the definition of “independent” has become a flexible one, to say the least. To stay ahead of the curve, bands are adopting the pay-what-you-will model or jump-starting their own labels to gain the same street cred that used to come along with having a Sub Pop or Merge logo on your jewel case.

With every singer/songwriter and indie rock outfit now being plugged for a Grey’s Anatomy spot or late-night guesting, the definition of “independent” has become a flexible one, to say the least. To stay ahead of the curve, bands are adopting the pay-what-you-will model or jump-starting their own labels to gain the same street cred that used to come along with having a Sub Pop or Merge logo on your jewel case.

Well, now we can add one more marketing ploy to the list. Relatively unknown musician Francis Farewell Starlite, front man for New York band Francis and the Lights, has bypassed the traditional label contract completely to become a legitimately incorporated business entity. Francis and the Lights, LLC, as they are now known, comes at the behest of Normative Music Company after a $100,000 investment lent the band a valuation of $1 million.

“When we hear the term ‘independent music,’ we should recall its actual, forgotten promise of unmolested artistic integrity,” says Normative president, Jake Lodwick. “In 2008, such music cannot exist with submission to the whims of a brittle industry, nor with automatic rejection of anything ‘corporate.'”

Behind his ideals, though, Lodwick claims to simply be a fan of the band, looking on the deal of a wise business investment.

“Francis Starlite is an uncompromising musician and a strong leader,” he said. “I believe he will bring Francis and the Lights to international stardom.” Whether or not such high hopes will be worth their weight in gold as Normative promotes the release of Francis and the Lights’ full-length debut, A Modern Promise, only time can tell. As far as business models go, though, kudos to these two entrepreneurs for some gutsy maneuvering.


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