Sellaband Business Model Visualized

Picture 1 Although strategy consultant Ouke Arts had seen many businessess and business models before – he had a hard time figuring out how the model of Sellaband exactly works. How does their model differentiate from the established music industry players? Who are the clients of Sellaband? What are their activities? How do they sell their services? What are their core assets and how do they make money in the end? 

Ouke could not imagine he was the only one trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Would it be an idea to visualize the business model? Ouke contacted Sellaband owner Johan Vosmeijer to arrange a meeting to explore their business model. I (Patrick) joined Ouke and together with Johan we put the post-it notes in the Business Model Canvas. Interesting. We understood the business model is a Multi Sided Platform. This means that Sellaband brings together two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers. Such platforms are only of value if the other group of customers is also present (source: Business Model Generation book by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur). In this case the Believers, Artists and Music Buyers. Johan got excited about the results of the session and said: “I would love to put the visualized model in my room so I do not need to explain it all the time.”

Together with Wouter Boog (JAM) we worked on the visualisation of the model. We translated the Business Model Canvas with post-it notes to visuals. According to the visual design process JAM developed, we first understand what the several elements are. Then we try to understand their relationship. The Canvas helps as the 9 building blocks are put in the right order. By means of several discussions and feedback Wouter drew the first version. IMG_1398

Ouke and I went back to meet Sellaband with a big poster drawn by Wouter. Now we had a meeting with Sellabands’ General Manager Dagmar Heijmans. We put the poster on the table and started a discussion. Can you explain us your business model? Are there things missing? We had a very interesting discussion how Sellaband is working on his business model from the start, creating various prototypes, learning by doing. But what is the advantage of this visual? “Let’s bring the other colleagues to the table” Ouke said. Dagmar invited his colleagues and the discussion started again. “Wow!”, one of the new colleagues said. “Now I know exactly how Sellaband is making their money.” “Very powerful tool!” 21072009409We concluded that Sellaband now has a common language when it comes to their business model. 

We concluded ourselves that the model of Sellaband is a very good example of how a complex business model at first sight can be easily explained through visualization with the canvas. The Sellaband model now serves as a case study in the Business Model Generation book that will be released in September 2009.  You can read all about it in the book.



  1. Mmmm i think the model is really easy and the revenue streams are as well, let’s not make Business Models more than they are 😉

  2. @ Erwin It might be easy for you as you have seen and explored more models before and you have been working in the industry as well. But we found that other people do not consider it an easy model for the simple reason that it is not common to them. We use Sellaband as a case study in our training courses and more than half of the people is not able to complete it…

  3. OK than i say sorry 😉

  4. […] made by Business models inc via @Patrick Tweet This!Digg this!Share this on del.icio.usShare this on FacebookPost this to […]

  5. A model based on which business plan? It changes every year and I wonder if SellaBand itself knows what their model is. I’ve been a believer on SellaBand for over two years and I still don’t know what they are.

    A visualisation might help but it is very temporery in this case. But maybe a cool project for school 😉 anyway, looking forward to reading (looking at the models in) that Business Model Generation book

  6. We see that you need to develop more business models in order to make it work. Nowadays there are too many variables which are unpredictable. Take for example customer behavior. It is wise to work on some business models and generate options. And learning by doing. I believe that is what Sellaband is doing as well. And… in the end. If you believe… you will make it work.

  7. True, many business grow by learning by doing. Also very much agree that if you believe in a model you will help it grow. Unfortunately it’s not something you can always do though. Helping takes commitment from both sides. And then the question is, is SellaBand learning by doing?

    This is not SellaBand bashing but just giving some insight in my experiences. And yes I still believe SellaBand can work and to help me understand how they think what their model is I can’t wait to see your visualisation.

    (I just learn that by clicking on the picture I can watch a larger version of the picture. Thanks)

  8. […] Dat canvas zijn de 9 bouwstenen waar een goed businessmodel uit bestaat. Wat je in het schema ziet […]

  9. […] voorbeeld van hoe je het canvas kan gebruiken, kan je hier zien. Het gaat om Sellaband. Helaas failliet, maar aan het gebruik van het canvas heeft dit niet […]

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