U.K. label B-Unique's managing directors Mark Lewis and Martin Toher have signed up as consultants to a new investment scheme, Bandstocks, which allows fans to buy a stake in artists' album releases.

Bandstocks has been launched by Civilian Industries, a London-based company headed by music industry lawyer Andrew Lewis.

In contrast to existing fan-funded ventures, unsigned artists wanting to raise funds via www.bandstocks.com will be assessed by Lewis and Toher, who will act as A&R advisors. B-Unique became integrated into Atlantic U.K. in February; Kaiser Chiefs and The Automatic are licensed to UMG's Polydor label.

Artists signed up to the service so far include London singer songwriter frYars and Leicester-based artist Jersey Budd.

Bandstocks are available in £10 ($18.26) units and there is no limit to the amount of units that can be purchased up to the target. Investors' money is held in a separate trust account until the required amount for the recording and marketing is raised; if it fails to reach the necessary level, the investors' money is returned.

When artists have recorded their albums, Bandstocks will make distribution and marketing options available to them, or a release could be licensed to a label on terms that give investors a reasonable return. The company has a distribution deal with PIAS.

Artists receive 50% of net receipts, with investors receiving 30% and Civilian Industries receiving 20%. The company also takes a 5% commission on funds raised. The rights to albums released through Bandstocks revert to the artists after five years.

"We have worked really hard to get the details of Bandstocks right," said Lewis in a statement. "There are plenty of websites for unsigned, unsignable bands, but www.bandstocks.com isn't one of them."

Fan investors also get a credit on the first run of albums, a free download and special privileges including priority booking for concerts.

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