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What the future of art and music on the web could be. A conversation with the Free Music Archive

On the podcast, I met with Hessel van Oorschot from the Netherlands who's company Tribe of Noise bought the creative commons music site Free Music Archive.

As we were talking he told me about the companies he's been meeting with to discuss new and streamlined ways to help artists, musicians and creators make more of a salary on the internet as a whole and how it's being backed by some of the larger internet services.

What the future of art and music on the web could be.

We teamed up with an organization called Grant for the Web. Not sure if you've seen that but Grant for the Web is an organization that is backed by creative commons, Mozilla and Coil

These are organizations that are trying to find new ways, just testing dozens of models. Like if there's something on the internet and you own the intellectual property what if we can not just share it with the world but see if there is a way to monetize this? 

What if that can also be like a model where you pay per second or a model where you become a co-owner of the intellectual property? So the testing dozens of models just to see, does this work for this specific content? Games? Music? Photos? Books? Podcasts? 

They're not just doing it with words, they actually have a hundred million dollars to spend on testing this, to see if this sticks. Because they want to get rid of the two big business models that we have today. One of them of course is advertisement driven revenue and the other one is subscription-based, the paywalls where you can't access any content unless you put your credit card in. 

They want to offer like a third and a fourth and a fifth and a sixth model that actually is way more attractive for the audience and also way more attractive for people that actually own a photo or a song or a lyric or whatever. To play around and see if it monetizes. 

And we got evolved with them a couple of months ago. We had a plan to say one of the things that we can do is if you have a music page of an artist, why don't we put a little piece of code on that page and then ask for all the people that actually are already with this with Coil, with this service to go to the page and just stay on the page and listen to music, read the bio, listen to all the curated content on there. 

And for every second that they actually are on that page small amounts of money will automatically travel to this to this page. 

Baby steps, you know? Because of course, you need a big audience to pull this off. If you really want to make money. 

But just the idea to get money per second is a really fun mechanism. Just what can I offer to you? What can I offer to Tom? So that Tom stays for an additional minute on my web page and small amounts without me putting in my credit card details or whatever. 

It automatically transfers small amounts of money to the website. 

You actually described that to me better. Because I remember the Coil thing and I had looked into it and I was a little confused at first. 

This reminds me of Flattr. 

Absolutely! So in some ways, it actually goes beyond Flattr

But the cool thing also for Flattr and also for Coil is that, and this is what I really believe in because I'm an advocate for open in general. Open content, open governments, open everything! 

And what I really believe in is that if an end-user like somebody who uses the internet during the day to listen to music, to read articles from great journalists, to download a photo because they want to use it in a PowerPoint presentation, to do all these things on the internet during your normal day. 

If they had some amount to spend on the monthly base and now let's say it's five bucks that you want to spend. Five bucks. 

But say I'm willing to spend that money without any hassle over the platforms that I use. My daily Search for music and stock photography and reading articles or whatever. But without me filling out details. Just automatically the money moves and every month I spend five bucks and it's gone and I know that people who actually have that content are getting remunerated for offering that content to me! I love that idea! 

I do too! 

And maybe I see a really cool picture that I want to use in a PowerPoint presentation tomorrow. Five cents travels to that owner of that picture. So I love that system and you need a lot of people who have that who are willing to spend that five bucks a month of course. Because otherwise, those micropayments will never end up as a salary to artists in general. 

You need enough platforms to join. There is one that's called Cinnamon TV and there is one doing it for animated gifs. There is one doing it for journalism, they have hundreds of websites already participating. 

What is promising is, I hate asking people to go through hoops just because I want them to pay me to do my own stuff. And that's what looks cool about this Coil thing. 

I don't want to sound like this is the new big hype I don't want to over-promise. It's early days. But it's a model that has momentum. 

There's an organization behind it that that can push money into directions to say if this doesn't work let's test this one or let's try to apply this to journalism or let's try to apply this to photographers or you know they can really go into many directions to make this work for a lot of people.


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