What’s the Big Idea?

“What we want, when we want it, and where we want it.” – Cali on Geekbrief.tv
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 (publicpatron.org), 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.

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