Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The Silent September hack, Musician Royalties, and a bit of Querki

Just came across this interesting article on Medium. It's worth reading through -- it's not horribly long, and it points out that your music-streaming dollars (assuming you use one of the music-streaming services) probably don't support your favorite artists to the extent you expect -- but the tl;dr is that if you're a light user, your subscription money essentially winds up getting hijacked by the heavy users. And potentially, by fraudsters. I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with the article's response to this (which is to essentially democratize the same fraud in protest), but it's a good point, and worth knowing about.

I confess, I'm a bit appalled. I had been just sort of assuming that subscription money was allocated according to what the article describes as the "Subscriber Share" method, because that's pretty obviously the *sensible* way to do it. But the services are apparently lazy, so they wind up using the "Big Pool" method instead, which leads to this hijacking by the heavy users. Basically, they've incentivized people to stream music 24/7, which is kind of idiotic but typical of the modern Internet company.

I don't know if "Silent September" is going to get enough peoples' attention, or whether it will change the companies' behavior even if it does happen in a big way, but the article's main point is correct. Companies like Spotify *should* be allocating their funds using the Subscriber Share method. As it stands, a lot of artists are getting badly ripped off by people who are gaming the system.

Why is this relevant to Querki? (Besides the fact that everything relates to Querki in my head nowadays.) Don't take this as gospel -- it's business-plan stuff, and subject to change -- but one of my medium-term goals is that Querki should have revenue-sharing for apps. That is, we'll be adding "apps" -- socially-shareable simple applications within Querki -- later this year. Since Querki is subscription-based, apps aren't going to be individually priced (at least mostly not; we might add that later, but separately-priced apps are tricky to fit into the business), but I do want folks to be able to make some money off of their work. So the current plan is that we'll allocate a portion of each user's subscription fees for apps, pro-rated based on how much that user uses that app. (Using the "Subscriber Share" approach, because like I said, it's the obviously-correct way to do this.)

We'll see if all of this passes a sanity-check: there are all sorts of challenges (a few technical, mostly legal) to deal with here, and it's not going to happen for at least a couple of years. But the hope is that, just as Querki makes it Very Very Easy to create new Spaces, it'll also make it similarly easy to make at least a bit of money off of apps. I don't expect many people to get rich this way, but I figure that if you can build a useful app in a few hours, and get an income stream of a few hundred dollars a month from that, that's not a bad deal...
Tags: querki

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