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Movng forth...A New Music Distribution System
Old 9th December 2014
  #1
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Movng forth...A New Music Distribution System

Hey guys, have seen some really interesting discussions recently, especially in the wake of Spotify controversy....here is my basic idea for a new system to replace spotify/youtube/itunes.

Discuss!!

PS can a mod edit the title to "Moving", cheers!


THE CONCEPT
An eco-system for musicians of all experiences to distribute their recorded music/videos and to retain control, ownership and 100% of profits. Service similar to a combined youtube/Bandcamp/Spotify - where you can purchase/download and/or stream. The goal of the site would be to capture as close to 100% of independent artist distribution as possible, through being such an amazing, loyal service that works for them while heavily nuturing artist-fans relationship. With it being a one stop shop for downloads, streaming and music videos, artists could potentially remove their product from all other sites, creating a situation where they have complete control of their relationship with their fans without any corporate middlemen. It could also become a very powerful union if artists were to remove their product from other sites.

ADVANTAGES TO CONSUMERS
Through creating a distribution service that so closely connects the artists and their fans without any middlemen whatsoever, that in turn creates a trusting relationship where more consumers are willing to support their favourite artists by purchasing their music. There would be no all you can eat streaming service (rather a streaming service for consumers of their own library of albums/songs they’ve purchased), as I think this has been proven to devalue music, but with more supporters and no middlemen, the music could be offered at lower prices which would help to generate much good-will between the music fans and musicians. With this good-will, we can re-generate perceived value in recorded music to have even greater numbers of paying supporters than there were in the pre-internet age.

WHO OWNS IT?
No one. It’s a non-profit, social enterprise for the benefit of generations of musicians to come. It would have 100% transparency of it’s maintenance costs and artist services available for viewing at any time.

WHO RUNS IT?
The musicians of the world.
An elected board with annual meeting to discuss issues and direction (comprised of notable artists/producers and music affiliated people). 2 year limit on board members, then they must be replaced, to keep it fresh (but can be later re-elected).
Following the annual meeting, referendums are held, voted on by all musician members on any decisions to be made (if any).

WHO PAYS FOR IT?
Crowd funded setup (target TBC, probably would be millions).
Then ongoing tech/maintenance staff, paid by a minimal fee from sales (<1% ?).
The setup cost would be huge, but I’d expect the maintenance would be much more modest, if the system was set up exceptionally well.

MORE DETAIL...
Presentation:
It would have a clean look, more akin to an art gallery, devoid of distraction.
Each artist has his own page which can be customized to a certain minimal degree, ala bandcamp. Any artist that wants more graphic control can embed their Music World albums into their own website.

Purchasing:
When a consumer purchases an album/song, that album/song becomes available to them both streaming on the cloud and as a download, so the consumer can use whichever method they prefer.

Radio streaming/music discovery:
One big advance in streaming sites has been in the aspect of music discovery. On Music World, an artist could pick any number of their songs to go into Music World Radio rotation to gather new fans.
Old 9th December 2014
  #2
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midiquestions's Avatar
Please see US Federation of Worker Cooperatives | Farther - Faster - Together for more information about democratic ownership and management, white papers and other resources. I would be happy to help, obviously not on this thread though.
Old 9th December 2014
  #3
Maybe musicians should own it.
So anyone who wants to be paid for their work, pays a sub and joins the service.
I'm not a fan of crowdfunding. But how would you crowdfund something when the funders don't get a product at the end?
Also, I think your running costs have to be realistic.
You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Offering the large number of people who would need to run this minimal income is going to leave the service open to unmotivated, sloppy workers. Also, possible corruption. The PRO's - ASCAP, PRS etc have a highly paid, experienced and efficient workforce.
As for the board. Not many people want to do that work.
I don't think I've ever voted in a musicians union or PRS election.
I was on the committee running our apartment building. There were 42 apartments (with more than one occupant) and only 6 to 8 of us ever turned up to meetings.
Old 9th December 2014
  #4
A 'co-operative' you could opt in to might be a good idea.
Old 9th December 2014
  #5
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midiquestions's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
A 'co-operative' you could opt in to might be a good idea.
Yes, that is what organizations like USFWC are set up to advocate for and to help to develop. There are also cooperative lending agencies which give loans specifically to worker/producer cooperatives like this. What we need are by-laws, business model, technical specs for the start-up, etc. just like any venture. The difference is that they only are willing to fund and to develop ventures which have democratic constraints and which are backed by people who are willing to adhere to cooperative principles, e. g. http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/...operatives.pdf

As far as the staff, there are more people out there who believe in this kind of thing enough to work for less than top dollar because they/we see it as a major social positive, even as a political type of thing fighting back against economic injustice in a practical way.
Old 9th December 2014
  #6
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

A very simple fix would be to charge consumers a fixed price per stream. The more is consumed, the more they pay. Using the current and new billboard metric of 150 streams = 1 song, that comes out to $.00666 per stream retail.

That's what consumers get charged every time they stream a song. Every 150 streams = 99 cents, or the same as one song download. Now that there is a fixed price per stream the economics can scale to any size based on consumption. Spotify still get's 30% of gross and labels/artists/songwriters get their same proportional revenue on a PER STREAM basis.

$.00666 x 150 = $.99

Essentially consumers get 1,500 streams a month for $10... Play more, pay more. Play less, pay less.

personally I think it should far less plays to equal a download, maybe 50... somewhere there is an equation that makes streaming sustainable by paying Spotify charging for and paying for the fair price of goods.

This also means that every stream a person plays actually pays the artist being streamed.

Simple. Easy. Fair.

But Spotify is not a music company, it's a wall street instrument cooked up by silicon valley - they want to "pump and dump" to get an IPO not create a sustainable music business.

All of the problems with streaming, and all the solutions for streaming can be summed up in simple math...

New Math $.00666 : Billboard’s New “Consumption” Chart, Free Streams and the End Of Meaningful Metrics?
Old 9th December 2014
  #7
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
WHO PAYS FOR IT?
Crowd funded setup (target TBC, probably would be millions).
What is the incentive to crowd fund such an enterprise?

Quote:
Then ongoing tech/maintenance staff, paid by a minimal fee from sales (<1% ?).
The setup cost would be huge, but I’d expect the maintenance would be much more modest, if the system was set up exceptionally well.
Based on existing streaming sites, I don't think this is terribly realistic. Look at Spotify; they pay out 70% of gross revenue and still operate at a loss.

To expect the ongoing maintenance to account for <1% of sales revenues... not likely.
Old 9th December 2014
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post
What is the incentive to crowd fund such an enterprise?



Based on existing streaming sites, I don't think this is terribly realistic. Look at Spotify; they pay out 70% of gross revenue and still operate at a loss.

To expect the ongoing maintenance to account for <1% of sales revenues... not likely.
The incentive is for musicians to have a completely transparent and trustworthy distribution method available to them for life that covers their streaming, downloads, music discovery and music video distribution needs.

Spotify doesn't seem to have a very large paying membership base, I think fans would be much more willing to support a system that is a direct connection to the musicians they love without any middlemen or corporations in the middle of that relationship. And on a more minor note, where is the sudden wealth of it's CEO coming from? Those funds could be redirected towards a great maintenance staff.
Old 9th December 2014
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
A very simple fix would be to charge consumers a fixed price per stream. The more is consumed, the more they pay. Using the current and new billboard metric of 150 streams = 1 song, that comes out to $.00666 per stream retail.

That's what consumers get charged every time they stream a song. Every 150 streams = 99 cents, or the same as one song download. Now that there is a fixed price per stream the economics can scale to any size based on consumption. Spotify still get's 30% of gross and labels/artists/songwriters get their same proportional revenue on a PER STREAM basis.

$.00666 x 150 = $.99

Essentially consumers get 1,500 streams a month for $10... Play more, pay more. Play less, pay less.

personally I think it should far less plays to equal a download, maybe 50... somewhere there is an equation that makes streaming sustainable by paying Spotify charging for and paying for the fair price of goods.

This also means that every stream a person plays actually pays the artist being streamed.

Simple. Easy. Fair.

But Spotify is not a music company, it's a wall street instrument cooked up by silicon valley - they want to "pump and dump" to get an IPO not create a sustainable music business.

All of the problems with streaming, and all the solutions for streaming can be summed up in simple math...

New Math $.00666 : Billboard’s New “Consumption” Chart, Free Streams and the End Of Meaningful Metrics?
Interesting concept of pay per stream...

I wonder if it's still too devaluing to music though?
A one off fee of paying $5 to download or unlimited stream an album makes it seem like it's something to be more treasured than paying 12c to stream the album twice through right?

If it did work to help music sales though, I'd agree with you that 150 streams = a download is too high and that it should be closer to 50 streams. It's a rare song that I would have played more than 50 times ever. My favourite couple of albums I'd probably play an average of 5-10 times a year, but the large majority I'd play 0-2...
Old 9th December 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midiquestions View Post
Yes, that is what organizations like USFWC are set up to advocate for and to help to develop. There are also cooperative lending agencies which give loans specifically to worker/producer cooperatives like this. What we need are by-laws, business model, technical specs for the start-up, etc. just like any venture. The difference is that they only are willing to fund and to develop ventures which have democratic constraints and which are backed by people who are willing to adhere to cooperative principles, e. g. http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/...operatives.pdf

As far as the staff, there are more people out there who believe in this kind of thing enough to work for less than top dollar because they/we see it as a major social positive, even as a political type of thing fighting back against economic injustice in a practical way.
Looks very interesting, but would it help in a worldwide social venture? This would have to be non region specific...
Old 9th December 2014
  #11
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
The incentive is for musicians to have a completely transparent and trustworthy distribution method available to them for life that covers their streaming, downloads, music discovery and music video distribution needs.
So the crowd-funding would be coming from musicians then? Do you expect to raise millions from musicians alone?

Quote:
Spotify doesn't seem to have a very large paying membership base, I think fans would be much more willing to support a system that is a direct connection to the musicians they love without any middlemen or corporations in the middle of that relationship.
Do fans really care about that? Especially given a large proportion of the population willfully pirates music.

Or are things like convenience and least cost more important?

Quote:
And on a more minor note, where is the sudden wealth of it's CEO coming from? Those funds could be redirected towards a great maintenance staff.
Ek both founded and served as executives for various prior companies. His wealth is likely largely attributed to ownership stakes in companies including Spotify. Note that equity is not the same thing as salary. For example, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth billions, but have mere $1 salaries from Google.
Old 9th December 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post
So the crowd-funding would be coming from musicians then? Do you expect to raise millions from musicians alone?



Do fans really care about that? Especially given a large proportion of the population willfully pirates music.

Or are things like convenience and least cost more important?



Ek both founded and served as executives for various prior companies. His wealth is likely largely attributed to ownership stakes in companies including Spotify. Note that equity is not the same thing as salary. For example, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth billions, but have mere $1 salaries from Google.
If musicians believed it could be a be-all, end-all for their distribution needs that was 100% in their best interests, then yes, musicians and music supporters could raise millions. All you'd need is one big name supporter like Neil Young or Thom Yorke for publicity and it would take off.

Do you not think you could convince many more people to pay for music, by demonstrating that it really is all going towards the artists? A big problem people have with paying for music is that they think it isn't going to the artists, I've heard this many a time. Even if it isn't entirely true, that's the perception.
I think there are alot of people the world over that would support a concept like this, just for the reason that it's railing against corporate rule, and Wall St companies, before we even get to the music itself.

The key is building a completely transparent and trusting relationship between artists and their fans.
Old 9th December 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Maybe musicians should own it.
So anyone who wants to be paid for their work, pays a sub and joins the service.
I'm not a fan of crowdfunding. But how would you crowdfund something when the funders don't get a product at the end?
Also, I think your running costs have to be realistic.
You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Offering the large number of people who would need to run this minimal income is going to leave the service open to unmotivated, sloppy workers. Also, possible corruption. The PRO's - ASCAP, PRS etc have a highly paid, experienced and efficient workforce.
As for the board. Not many people want to do that work.
I don't think I've ever voted in a musicians union or PRS election.
I was on the committee running our apartment building. There were 42 apartments (with more than one occupant) and only 6 to 8 of us ever turned up to meetings.
Yes, you're right that the workers need to be competent and fairly paid. This is all about fair pay - not exploitation, nor excess.

Maybe you get a premium account or something if you donate? Waive the 1% (or whatever it turns out to be) service fee on your first 1000 sales or something?

I don't think anyone needs to own it per se....think of it more as a non-profit organization like wikipedia.
Old 9th December 2014
  #14
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
If musicians believed it could be a be-all, end-all for their distribution needs that was 100% in their best interests, then yes, musicians and music supporters could raise millions. All you'd need is one big name supporter like Neil Young or Thom Yorke for publicity and it would take off.
This is a lot easier said than done. Do you even know how much money you would need? You say "millions" but that's a pretty vague amount. Are we talking $2-3M? $5M? $10M?

Quote:
Do you not think you could convince many more people to pay for music, by demonstrating that it really is all going towards the artists? A big problem people have with paying for music is that they think it isn't going to the artists, I've heard this many a time.
That's just a rationalization for piracy if you ask me. It's easier for people to steal music if they believe the artists aren't getting paid either way.

Based on my experience, people gravitate towards services that deliver what they want coupled with pricing. Altruism doesn't usually rank very high on the list.

Quote:
I think there are alot of people the world over that would support a concept like this, just for the reason that it's railing against corporate rule, and Wall St companies, before we even get to the music itself.
Do you have any market research to back this up?
Old 9th December 2014
  #15
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
Interesting concept of pay per stream...

I wonder if it's still too devaluing to music though?
You don't have to wonder. Once the link between Consumption and Compensation is reestablished the market can find fair pricing. Also, by having a RETAIL price per stream, the market can allow participants to compete for consumer value by changing the the price - just like in the real world. Maybe Taylor Swift would charge 2 cents per stream but a developing artist would only charge the base $.00666 per stream. If you can command more for the marketplace, you should be able to charge more and get it.
Old 9th December 2014
  #16
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post
Ek both founded and served as executives for various prior companies. His wealth is likely largely attributed to ownership stakes in companies including Spotify. Note that equity is not the same thing as salary. For example, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth billions, but have mere $1 salaries from Google.
Private Jets and Mansions are not paid for with imagined equity or $1 dollar salaries…
Old 9th December 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post
Based on my experience, people gravitate towards services that deliver what they want coupled with pricing. Altruism doesn't usually rank very high on the list.
You're doing a lot of sniping. I sort of understand, as i have a lot of problems with the original proposal. But maybe look for constructive changes, rather than post after post pointing out the faults?

As to your quote above. Farmer's Markets are thriving, as is Organic. A lot of people support Fair Trade with their money.
You need a few visionaries to get the ball rolling. It's likely the difference between an exploitative music distribution and a positive distribution will be pennies for the consumer. Hopefully we'll one day look back at The Pirate Bay, Youtube and Spotify and say "what on earth were we thinking".
Old 9th December 2014
  #18
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ksandvik's Avatar
 

Consumers seldom care about who earns what music wise. They go to thrusted sources with the right pricing. Whatever that is.
Old 9th December 2014
  #19
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midiquestions's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd33 View Post
Looks very interesting, but would it help in a worldwide social venture? This would have to be non region specific...
Sure, you could set up different ones in different countries or whatever, just like multinationals have offices all over.

As far as funding, you sell member shares, take out loans, apply for grants, and of course charge customers.

Just to add, worker/producer cooperatives can be for profit. It is just a different method of ownership and management.
Old 9th December 2014
  #20
Because there never are going to be millions invested in this idea, and it's never a good idea to pay employees peanuts, I think it would make sense to start on a country by country basis. Maybe US first, then UK, then Europe.
There can be a confederation, but each country probably needs to be administered locally - like PRO's or musician unions.
Old 9th December 2014
  #21
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
Private Jets and Mansions are not paid for with imagined equity or $1 dollar salaries…
You're right, they are paid for with large bank loans.
Old 9th December 2014
  #22
Just dropping by to say.... it would be cool if the site/service was designed so that you navigate it through album covers. I just love seeing album art and if we had so that we used HUGE covers instead of those 300x300 itunes ones that would be really good. I would love a more "visual" music site instead of a bunch of menus and login screens like most sites these days.
Old 10th December 2014
  #23
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You're doing a lot of sniping. I sort of understand, as i have a lot of problems with the original proposal. But maybe look for constructive changes, rather than post after post pointing out the faults?
I'm like a perpetual devil's advocate.

Quote:
As to your quote above. Farmer's Markets are thriving, as is Organic. A lot of people support Fair Trade with their money.
The closet analog would be something like Fair Trade. But I think the inherent perception of relative worker conditions is a lot different. In the case of Fair Trade, a lot has to do with 3rd world working condition where you have things like Foxxconn employees killing themselves and garment factories collapsing in India. People can and do get upset over those things.

Meanwhile in the world of music and what is making the headlines? Millionaires like Thom Yorke and Taylor Swift complaining about Spotify.

It's a bit more difficult to get public sympathy when those people are your spokesmen.

Quote:
You need a few visionaries to get the ball rolling.
The irony is that the current visionaries are the Sean Parker's and Daniel Ek's of the world. They are the ones having the most dramatic effect on the music industry.
Old 10th December 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post
You're right, they are paid for with large bank loans.
Page and Brin have sold over $1 Billion in stock between them.
According to Forbes rich list.
Old 10th December 2014
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by shponglefan View Post

The irony is that the current visionaries are the Sean Parker's and Daniel Ek's of the world.
Only if you are tech obsessed and get your news from the internet.
Also, what they are doing is not visionary at all. It's straight out of the 19th century mill owners playbook.
Really, I find calling Parker a visionary extremely insulting.
Say I had an idea to illegally render a whole group of society's work worthless? You know I wouldn't do it, because I couldn't live with myself. But such is the love of money, he did it anyway.

I think Ek is slippery and untrustworthy, but at least he tried to do something legal and above board, albeit making himself money at someone else's expense.
I've never done that in my life.
Old 10th December 2014
  #26
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Page and Brin have sold over $1 Billion in stock between them.
According to Forbes rich list.
I know, I'm being silly. Sheesh, can't a guy poke a little fun?
Old 10th December 2014
  #27
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Only if you are tech obsessed and get your news from the internet.
Also, what they are doing is not visionary at all. It's straight out of the 19th century mill owners playbook.
Really, I find calling Parker a visionary extremely insulting.
Say I had an idea to illegally render a whole group of society's work worthless? You know I wouldn't do it, because I couldn't live with myself. But such is the love of money, he did it anyway.

I think Ek is slippery and untrustworthy, but at least he tried to do something legal and above board, albeit making himself money at someone else's expense.
I've never done that in my life.
They are visionary from the perspective of developing and exploiting new tech. You may not like it, but these guys are miles ahead of the music industry when it came to visualizing news ways of distributing music via the 'net.

Imagine if the music industry put its efforts into distribution instead of DRM and lawsuits? Maybe you guys would have your dream digital music service.
Old 10th December 2014
  #28
Yeah, I think you are missing a very fundamental point here.
I did not make my business a success by devising an illegal product or service, while trashing other honest people's lives. You make those conscious decisions, and I've made a decision to try and be a good citizen, earn less money and pay my taxes.
Sure, it's much easier to be a visionary and make lots of money if you are breaking the law (Parker - Napster and Ek - uTorrent).
You can celebrate them all you want, but I would definitely not want to be like them as people.
Old 10th December 2014
  #29
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Yeah, I think you are missing a very fundamental point here.
I did not make my business a success by devising an illegal product or service, while trashing other honest people's lives. You make those conscious decisions, and I've made a decision to try and be a good citizen, earn less money and pay my taxes.
Sure, it's much easier to be a visionary and make lots of money if you are breaking the law (Parker - Napster and Ek - uTorrent).
You can celebrate them all you want, but I would definitely not want to be like them as people.
The point I'm trying to make isn't about money or morality. The point is why you have the tech industry driving digital distribution versus the music industry.

People in tech saw an opportunity and created solutions to fill that opportunity. They pushed digital distribution forward. Meanwhile, the music industry tried to fight against it and put time and effort into preventing digital distribution.

One side won.

If you want to just make this about morality fine, but that's entirely besides the point. It doesn't impact the the existence of bittorrent, Spotify, Pandora, etc.
Old 10th December 2014
  #30
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Cool guys....so what about ideas?!
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