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Peter Van Rompuy, Belgian parliamentary and son of EU President Herman Van Rompuy, introduced a proposal today to significantly raise the crowdfunding potential in Belgium. This proposal would have quite some impact on the crowdfunding potential in Belgium, and bring us up to level with our surrounding countries such as The Netherlands and the UK.

De Tijd, the leading financial newspaper in Belgium, reports today about that this new proposal. Currently, the limit of the maximum budget to be raised is set at 100.000 EUR per project. For the music projects that we enable via – this is sufficient for most projects. But now that we’re moving into films and TV productions via FilmAngel.TV, higher budgets could quickly be required. Most importantly, we are launching to enable crowdfunding for startups to find their seed equity, and ofcourse there the 100k€ limit is clearly an issue to realize the potential of the startups, and hence the competitive situation of our country related to our surrounding countries that allow seed equity crowdfunding up and over 1 million EUROS.

I’m quite convinced that we can find a balanced proposal that enables the creative economy and the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the one hand, and protect fan investments and rights on the other.

The full article, quoting Senator Peter Van Rompuy, regulator FSMA CEO Jean-Paul Servais and myself here below (in Dutch, from De Tijd).

No need to say we’re in full support!



From: De Tijd
Crowdfunding moet naar 1 miljoen euro

Crowdfunding is een manier om projecten gefinancierd te krijgen door bij een groot publiek kleine bedragen in te zamelen, vaak via het internet. In België financierde de muzikant Tom Dice zo zijn eerste plaatje nadat hij geweigerd was door klassieke platenfirma’s. Zijn fans konden zich inkopen in zijn project en ontvingen maar liefst 260 procent winst per aandeel.

Tom Dice deed daarbij een beroep op SonicAngel. Dat bedrijf werd in mei 2010 opgericht door Bart Becks, ex-CEO van Skynet, en Maurice Engelen, frontman van Praga Kahn, om muzikanten via crowdfunding aan het nodige kapitaal te helpen. Het eerste bedrijf dat in ons land gebruikmaakte van het systeem was Akamusic in 2008.

Maar anders dan in andere landen is er in België geen specifieke regelgeving. Volgens de bestaande wetgeving kan in ons land zonder al te veel rompslomp 100.000 euro worden ingezameld. Als het om een hoger bedrag gaat, wordt het project beschouwd als een financiële instelling die een ‘beroep doet op het openbaar spaarwezen’. In dat geval moet de financiële waakhond FSMA een vergunning afleveren.

Het wetsvoorstel van Peter Van Rompuy moet het mogelijk maken dat zonder vergunningen tot 1 miljoen euro kan worden ingezameld, waardoor meer projecten in aanmerking zouden komen. ‘De kredietcrisis maakt het steeds moeilijker voor projecten voldoende financiering te vinden via de banken. Waarom geven we burgers niet de kans te investeren in initiatieven van hun keuze?’, zegt Peter Van Rompuy. Hij wijst er nog op dat de rente op spaarboekjes historisch laag is, en dat crowdfunding een hogere return op spaargeld kan opleveren. ‘De Belgen hebben maar liefst 225 miljard euro op de bank staan. Crowdfunding maakt het mogelijk een deel van dat kapitaal te investeren in projecten van eigen keuze – en  vaak ook van eigen bodem – die een grotere return kunnen hebben.’

Een goede zaak, vindt Bart Becks. ‘We willen ook films en ontwerpers financieren met crowdfunding. Daarnaast denken we aan zaaikapitaal voor start-ups. Dan heb je een veel hoger budget nodig.

De financiële waakhond FSMA zal volgens beiden wel een oogje in het zeil moeten houden, zodat crowdfunding niet leidt tot oplichting. ‘Er moet een goed evenwicht worden gevonden tussen het aanmoedigen van financiering via crowdfunding en de controle van de aanbieders’, zegt Van Rompuy.

FSMA-topman Jean-Paul Servais liet onlangs zelf weten dat de waakhond zich wil buigen over het populairder wordende crowdfunding.

Yep, we’re pretty happy & proud that MIDEM just selected SonicAngel as one of the global music industry innovators.

Happy for the nomination, proud of our team! Team means: the team working day to day, but certainly all the fans, all the artists and everyone involved. It will allow us to tell our story to the international music scene. Additionally, Tom Dice is also selected for the NRJ music awards that is held during the MIDEM conference – so we’re present twice, with our platform AND our music!

Crowdfunding is becoming a gamechanger in empowering talent across the world, even if I see crowdfunding as a start (and not the end) of creating a new creative ecosystem. More about that later.

For now: thanks. Very grateful. Short video below (don’t mind the quality – but it does tell our story).


Paris: Official Press Release related to MIDEM – the global music conference (28-31 January 2012, Cannes/France)

Midemlab, the international pitching competition for ground-breaking start-ups and app developers across all sectors, today unveils the 30 finalists poised to be the innovators of tomorrow’s music industry. The finalists – chosen by UK digital consulting company Music Ally and French specialist open innovation consultancy, bluenove – will present their projects to a jury of leading international digital experts including potential business partners and leading investment firms.

The finalists will each outline their cutting-edge technical solutions that could offer new opportunities to industry executives, artists and brands to reach and engage with new audiences and generate revenues.

Previous editions have provided a launch pad for some of today’s major technological innovations, such as SoundCloud, The Echo Nest, Songkick and Root Music. The list of finalists for 2012 will herald the next generation of innovation.

Cannes, here we come!


A year ago, we started with the SonicAngel platform. Our launchparty was on May11 at Depot in Leuven. Happy days, thanks for all the support to all artists, fans, funders, partners and everyone who participated in one way or another.

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SonicAngel, which combines crowdfunding with label activities, celebrates first year of operations with strong results and international expansion.
One year ago SonicAngel launched their curated crowdfunding activities for emerging music artists combined with label activities. The first results are strong: 94% success rate in funding, a golden album and platinum single, 9 strategic A-brand partnerships and over 1000 gigs booked via the SonicAngel booking agency.

SonicAngel was founded by Bart Becks and Maurice Engelen. Bart Becks is the former CEO of Belgacom Skynet (Belgium’s leading ISP) and was previously Chief Innovation & New media for European media giant SBS Europe/ProSiebenSat1 media group. Maurice Engelen is the man behind electronic music bands Praga Khan and Lords of Acid, and previously founded the legendary Antler Subway Records (later sold to EMI). The background of the founders indicate the philosophy SonicAngel: combine technology and best music practices to build a crowdfunding platform combined with innovative label activities.

SonicAngel uses a selection method to present emerging artists up for fanfunding. The selection is based on traditional A&R, but also the social media score of the bands is of high importance. The social media score is calculated based on the SonicAngel FanRank, which measures popularity on social media such as twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others, plus measures the data intelligence from the NextBigSound tools. The funding amounts vary between 10.000 and 40.000 EUR, and are decided jointly by SonicAngel and the artist. Over the last year, 94% or 15 out of 16 bands, have achieved full funding, and are now in the recording studio or have already released an album. 12 of the finalized crowdfundings happened in the first trimester of 2011, indicating a strong uptake and fan satisfaction with the approach.

In order to manage success, SonicAngel also build out a sublabel, which has various genres. The pop/rock/alternative music label is managed by Nathalie Geradin (formerly at Universal), the electronic music side is managed by Bart Mandonx, who did groundbreaking work with Implant, Neon Judgement & the Bollock Brothers.

SonicAngel also hosts an intern division named F-A-B, which stands for Fans-Artists-Brands. The goal is to seek partnerships with brands, while respecting all parties in the equation. Market feedback is excellent, proven by the agreements with Hewlett Packard, Sony Ericsson, Beck’s (ABInbev), Randstad, Deloitte, ING and KPN which all concluded long term agreements.

After an initial launch in Belgium, SonicAngel is now rapidly expanding. A newly launched audition platform already saw inscriptions from 33 countries ( SonicAngel also selected 8 international bands up for funding, with bands originating from the US, France, Switzerland and Germany. On top of that, SonicAngel Lektroland ( is the company’s latest initiative, and includes a platform and label specifically dedicated to electronic music.

“From March 3 tot April 1, I will post every day ideas or thoughts about life, company or my personal trivialities”

We are living strange times in the music biz. EMI has created a total debt of about 5 billion USD, and got in the hands of Citibank. It generated a lot of comments, such as ‘The Day the music died (for EMI) is more trouble for the industry.” It’s totally unbelievable that a landmark like EMI may be gone foreever … What happened ? Well, risk averse non-digital strategy, poor debt handling but probably mostly incompetent management, who didn’t care about the music. I lived the case myself: former ‘A&R’s who’s ambition it is to talk about music and artists, but in the end are only interested in invoicing a max amount and scraping an additional percentage. But let bygone’s be bygone’s… I’l write about it another time. I must say that a lot of people at EMI are total pro’s. It seems to me that the publishing team has a better perspective that the label team, and that’s also how it will get auctioned up. I think you can get ‘EMI label’ for about 1 EURO, while EMI publishing will be faught for. Maybe the future of a label is to be publishing dependent, and maybe A&R becomes publishing driven in the future?

The normal and clear candidate for me was the merge EMI with Warner/Chappell (Chappell is the publishing arm – at SonicAngel, our publishing arm is named Glechar Music). But … Warner is now also for sale. Billboard just wrote an article that there will be 5 candidates, with bids no higher than 2 billion USD… So You can have it for about 1.5 billion USdollars.
So EMI and Warner are again in a race… Only this time to get acquired in order to survive.

To put things in perspective:
- Apple currently has a ‘war chest’ of 60 billion USD in Cash
- Facebook is valued at a massive 75 billion USD!

In other words:
Facebook is worth 50 times more than ALL of EMI …
Apple, who lead digital music sales via iTunes, could acquire both Warner and EMI, for less than 10% of their surplus cash.

Pretty crazy when you think about it. But that’s the current stade of the music industry.


RadicalG is the fastest funded artist ever. In only 3 days, he collected his budget on and got all the fans to support him. Next, we invited him to be the opener at the SonicAngel tour with Lords of Acid in de US. That’s how quick it can go. One day he was thinking, the other day he has a record deal and making a tour that makes most Belgian bands just dream! Who else can say they toured in 22 cities, with crowds of 1000 tot 2500 people, from Los Angeles, to Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Texas and back to California…

Connect with him here on facebook.:

Today, we’re showing you the preview of his video:

RadicalG: ‘Lucifer’

It’s Sunday March6. So much things happening at our company. Just to give you a snapshot:

1. Lords of Acid and SonicAngel opener RadicalG are touring the USA. On Sunday, we’re playing Seattle. Reviews are really strong, and you can see a video right here
2. Tom dice played for the first time in Vorst, opening for Taylor Swift. Great singer, entourage, manager… Sold 19 million albums and 33 million singles. 10.000 is gold in Belgium nowadays … Tom and band are becoming quite a strong band! You should discover them, they’ll surprise you. Happy that I could arrange this gig for Tom, both in Brussels and in Rotterdam tomorrow. Reactions were … wow.
3. On top of that, a full concert of Tom Dice was broadcasted on VT4 after the finale of lost.
4. Barefoot and the shoes played an amazing gig in Leuven. These guys will be the revelation of 2011-2012. Incredible artists, music from the heart, working like hell to get there. We’ll be playing quite some shows across belgium, try to catch them to be amazed how a 16 and 18 year old and their band can capture an audience. Love them.
5. we kicked off our audition booth in Belgium searching for new talent on (already 5 candidates)
6. we also kicked off our audition booth in USA searching for more talent: (already 10 candidates)

and to finish it off: late at night VIENNA got fully funded !!! THIS IS OUR 11th fully funded artist in 2011 in Belgium !!! continue reading…

* Went to see ‘Runkskop‘ for the 2nd time this evening. Femke hadn’t seen it yet. M Schoenaerts as lead actor, directed by debutant M Roskam… Fuck man, what a movie… Impressive smack in your stomach and mind. Bravo to all, certainly to my good friend Peter Bouckaerts who co-produced the movie. The only negative point, and I cannot understand this remains in, is the semi-comic persiflages of the wallonian characters which are played dumb, ridiculous and tv-sketchy. Even with the intermezzo of 2 clownesk garagists, this movie is amongst the better flemish movies ever made. And Matthias Shoenaerts just showed he is the leading actor of his generation, lifting the movie at every appearance…

* After the movie, started working on our release plan and actions for the US. We’re now launching the SonicAngel audition booth to open up for american bands. We have already signed our first 2 bands, and now need to release fast and furious. Just had a coordination call with my partner Maurice (yes, I’m aware it’s 3 am :) . Amazing reactions in the US. Maurice is experiencing it on the road, and here are 2 cool articles:

Enroll here to audition for the SonicAngel USA (and Canada) roll-out.


“From March 3 tot April 1, I will post every day some achievements, ideas or thoughts about life, company or some random trivialities”

Day1: It’s around midnight, and I was looking back at the day. Some stuff that comes to mind.

* startup culture: we just hired 2 new persons to manage the artist, repertoires and labels at SonicAngel. Both have a different background, but will bring a lot of expertise, dynamism but also structure at SonicAngel. However, we still needed to find the proper desks, since our space is kinda filling up (we’re currently 12 FTE’s, 2 stagiaires and a load of freelancers). However, they took the initiative to go to ikea, to buy some desks and office material and install it themselves. Yep, it’s part of the startup culture! Thanks and welcome in the team natalie & bart.

* VRT made a newsitem about Dries Buytart (@dries), the founder of drupal and acquia (Acquia is for Drupal what Redhat was for Linux, proving services and support mainly for midsize and large enterprizes). Dries is a true thoughtleader, and someone I respect a lot! He’s also the very first FanShare buyer of Tom Dice (about a year ago!). Last time we had lunch (somewhere in Antwerp) he had just decided to move to Boston. Rightfully so. It’s very unfortunate that ‘Belgium’ lost this amazing talent, who might even become our most famous Belgian entrepreneur. It made me think of 2 things, which are on my mind since quite a long time: continue reading…

There’s so much happening at my dear SonicAngel for the moment. And sometimes it’s impossible to communicate it all. So someone told me today: ‘Why don’t you just blog about your evolution and share it via twitter and facebook’. And indeed, why don’t I ?

So for the next 30 days, I’ll be writing up what we’re doing, which is mostly but not only SonicAngel. I’ll write about things going well, but also about things that’s we’re struggling with. And probably Charlie, my little son, will appear now and then.


Hey all,
best wishes to all for an amazing 2011!

To start off our year, here’s already the first SonicAngel announcement. Lords of Acid will be doing a supercool tour in the US named ‘the SonicAngel tour’. And yes, that also means the kick-off of SonicAngel USA at that same time. Dates and locations below – start is at the amazing Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on March 2nd.

One of the opening bands is RadicalG, an amazing artist from Belgium, newly signed on the SonicAngel label. In the coming weeks, FanShares will become available! I’m a huge fan.

More info later on -
Greetz from the US!