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    Fans Splash Cash For Hot New Band

    Would you put off a luxury holiday and give the money to your favourite new band instead? Would you delay buying a new kitchen to help a great new group off the ground? Would you give them your life savings?


    About 30 dedicated fans of Leeds band Four Day Hombre have gone above and beyond the call of normal fandom by funding their debut album, which is out on Monday. Many have ploughed thousands of pounds into the group's own label, which they set up after other record deals fell through.


    And the investment could be about to pay off, with the band being described as "somewhere on the radar between Coldplay and Radiohead" by The Sun.When Four Day Hombre were offered a string of record deals two-and-a-half years ago, the financial clout and creative control the band wanted were missing.


    "We came close to a couple of (major) deals and then we were going to go through an independent label, but then it just fell through," singer Simon Wainwright says.


    "We decided that it was either carry on and get the money one way or another and set up a label and do it ourselves - or it was just throw the towel in and say enough's enough. And none of us were really ready to do that."


    So the band sent an email to fans asking them to buy shares in their own label. Alamo Music was born and the band promptly gave themselves a three-album deal.


    "Let's say we raised more than we would have got from a good independent deal," Wainwright says. "In fact, let's say we raised a lot more. It was brilliant. "The people really, really do support us that deeply - it goes to an incredible level. People were literally giving us their life savings. I just hope we don't muck it up."


    The practice of fans directly funding their favourite artists is not unknown in the music industry. Marillion followers have bankrolled the group's past two albums, while John Otway supporters paid up to £7,000 to fund a world tour. But they already had large, established and highly dedicated fan bases.


    Ben Denison, a 28-year-old IT manager from Leeds, has ploughed £2,400 into Four Day Hombre. "I thought it was an opportunity I couldn't really miss," he says. "I had to get it past the girlfriend first - it was a new kitchen or a share in an indie record label."


    Asking fans to invest also means they have a vested interest in spreading the word, and Mr Denison has helped set up a street team for the band. "I just had faith, just had a good feeling, and it was put your money where your mouth is," he says. "I'd been an armchair 'I saw this band first' type of person. It's a gamble I suppose and I went into it eyes open knowing that probably I would lose all the money. But along the way I hoped to get in return a lot of experience in the industry and a lot of excitement as well."


    And if the album does do well, the investors stand to get a share of the profits. "There's always in the back of your mind the hope that things might go amazingly well," Mr Denison says. "But that's not really what I was in it for. Other people might have felt differently."


    Another shareholder, Mark Parrini, 35, says he is "absolutely not" worried about recouping his £3,500. "How about in five years time when they're the next Coldplay, that you miss out on that initial lift for them to get the ball rolling?" he says. "It's not an investment opportunity at all. I might end up throwing away £3,500, but at least these guys have had an opportunity to get out there so a lot more people can see what they're like."


    Source: BBC.co.uk

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