Month: October 2007

Music and Podcasting

To begin, a great rant about the music industry.
Ive decided that if I really want this PP idea to get off the ground, Ive gotta start simple. If I limit it to just the audio files that audioscrobbler can already handle, the rest of it should be pretty easy and not difficult to test. And yet it would still help to address the problems of the music industry and independent audio podcasters.
Let me explain how this would work.
Artists create a website where all of their music or podcasts are free to download and without restrictions like DRM. Then, the artist registers as a creator at This involves telling PP where on the artist’s site to find their audio files, and telling PP how to pay the artist. In order to verify this artist has access to the website they claim is hosting their content, they must also host a file listing their PP creator id where they host their audio. Then, if they want to get support for their creations, their listeners need to set up an account on PP as well.
The system depends on listeners’ willingness to support artists, but PP makes this as painless as possible and encourages a pro-consumer and pro-artist movement for digital media. When listeners register with, they set up a monthly donation of at least $5 and then download and install a plugin for their media player. This monthly donation is then divided among the creators registered with PP whose work the listener listened to that month, as reported by the plugin, based on time spent listening. provides the tech and financial support to make this happen, bundling listeners’ donations to artists based on time listened to an artist’s works. PP is a non-profit organization, whose sole existence is to provide and extend this system of artist support. While it may need some additional funding to take off, the plan is to support the system solely on the interest made on the donations after they leave the listener account and before they reach the artist, perhaps two months. The hope for the future is to extend the system to ever more media players and video files, handling streaming files eventually. With the increase in accessibility of mobile broadband, the goal is to make most media open and independent.
But this requires people to support artists even as they get their creations for free. Will they? Would you?

Internet TV

The Future of Online Video Should Be Open
and a response by the folks who think it should be supported with advertising. (boo, hiss)

What’s the Big Idea?

“What we want, when we want it, and where we want it.” – Cali on
We have an amazing opportunity here.
The internet is not only the perfect distribution system for text and images, but also for audio and video. The main problem is how to fairly reimburse the creators of all this great content, while maintaining the open nature of the internet for those of us who just want to watch or listen. What we need to do is accept that the internet is the perfect system for the free distribution of content, and fans are gonna need to find a better way to support the creators of the stuff they love if only for the selfish reason that they want more of it. We don’t need another service or method to store or distribute content, but we do need a new way to support artists that is internet-friendly.
My idea is to create what amounts to a universal tip jar. It would consist of a media player plug-in like audioscrobbler, a web site, and a non-profit organization to run it and promote it. On the website, you could create either a fan account or a creator account, or both.
Basically, fans would be encouraged to set up a fan account on PP (, and attach to it some monthly donation. They would then download and install a plug-in in every media player that they use. The plug-in would track how much time the fan listens/watches each media file/stream. That information is then regularly transmitted to the web site, which totals the time spent watching/listening to all media for that individual fan for an entire month, and then divides their total monthly donation among the creators of those files/streams based on percentage of time each file/stream was watched/listened to.
Of course, that leads to creator accounts. Creators are encouraged to create a creator account on the site, listing their files/streams and giving the site information on how to distribute them funds.
I believe that by investing the money between the time it is donated by fans at the beginning of the month and distributed at the end of the month to artists, the entire service could be paid for without taking a bite out of the fan getting money to the artist. I think being a non-profit is important to encourage transparency, minimize costs, and discourage competition that might break the system.
If you would like to help make this a reality or have any suggestions, leave a comment below.

Took Them Long Enough

In the past few days, we have been witnessing the early stages of a new media war, mostly over network and cable television programming. NewTeeVee has a post linking to some of the battles so far, but the larger point hasn’t been covered. It is all about the old control over distribution disappearing, and how that results in a business model built on control over distribution failing as well. Its the exact same problem that the music labels are facing, with disastrous results.