another conversation

(10:45:24 AM) joe hahn: http://createdigitalmusic.com/2007/10/25/reznor-saul-williams-one-up-radiohead-with-free-album/
(6:29:57 PM) William Maggos: you wanna be on the board?
(6:30:30 PM) joe hahn: totallee
(6:31:11 PM) William Maggos: i think it should start with just mp3, music and audio podcasts
(6:31:33 PM) William Maggos: i know audioscrobbler works with ipod, but that might be it
(6:31:57 PM) joe hahn: have you considered contacting lastfm already?
(6:32:12 PM) joe hahn: seems they already have the technology you could piggyback on
(6:32:27 PM) William Maggos: no, cause audioscrobbler is open source
(6:34:17 PM) joe hahn: aah.. i was a scrobbler before they gave birth to lastfm. the switchover was sort of confusing/disconcerting
(6:34:33 PM) joe hahn: or more like lastfm adopted audioscrobbler
(6:34:43 PM) William Maggos: ugh, looks like iphone doesnt work
(6:34:59 PM) William Maggos: http://www.last.fm/help/faq/?category=iPod+Scrobbling
(6:36:41 PM) William Maggos: http://www.audioscrobbler.net/
(6:37:40 PM) joe hahn: purportedly the iphone’s sdk is being released soon
(6:38:01 PM) William Maggos: right, hopefully that will help
(6:41:20 PM) joe hahn: currently im working on my DJ music filebase. about 2/3 of the tracks i am editing and preparing i pirated AND were only available to me through pirate channels. stuff from the 70s and 80s only released on vinyl, and nearly impossible to acquire otherwise
(6:43:11 PM) joe hahn: less i want to pay $200 for someone’s original.. which i would simply record to wav and put into storage
(6:43:39 PM) joe hahn: the artist wouldnt see any of that $$
(6:43:52 PM) joe hahn: but theyre probably dead now anyway
(6:44:38 PM) William Maggos: with pp, all theyd have to do is put it on a website and register with pp and they could get paid
(6:45:50 PM) William Maggos: oh, so i also decided that in order to be reimbursed youd have to offer it free on a site that you could verify an email to that domain
(6:45:53 PM) William Maggos: i think
(6:48:16 PM) joe hahn: meaning the artist is demanded to make their music freely available otherwise they are ineligible?
(6:49:16 PM) William Maggos: it could be at www.domain.com/safklja;lskjfl;akjsfl;jaslkdfjl/song.mp3 but yeah
(6:51:19 PM) William Maggos: in order to verify it is their stuff, theyd have to give the site an email address lkajsdflkj@domain.com that they could reply to an email from
(6:51:35 PM) joe hahn: hmm… i guess that would be good for making certain people involved understand newer technology to a degree, but what about people who made music years and years ago thats floating around?
(6:51:45 PM) joe hahn: they snooze they lose?
(6:52:40 PM) William Maggos: i dont think its too much to ask that they set up a website and put the music there, right?
(6:53:28 PM) William Maggos: im just concerned about making it a little more difficult to have folks get paid for other people’s stuff
(6:53:39 PM) William Maggos: at least this way, it can be tracked a bit
(6:53:48 PM) joe hahn: right. thats smart.
(6:54:52 PM) joe hahn: possibly your service could make $$ assisting non-tech-inclined people in getting their sound online. lastfm does that.. they do it for free though. hhmmm.. maybe they charge if you have to mail in a record or cd though. ive only used their site to upload and ftp
(6:59:46 PM) William Maggos: maybe, but only through instructions or directing them to others who would help
(6:59:51 PM) William Maggos: wanna keep it simple
(7:02:51 PM) William Maggos: if people do a recurring monthly donation, minimum $5, pp essentially has their $5 in the bank the whole time
(7:07:30 PM) William Maggos: which means pp earns (@ 3% interest) [ 5x12x.03 ] at least $1.80 per $5 user per year without cutting in on the artist
(7:07:38 PM) William Maggos: not sure thats enough to operate
(7:09:17 PM) William Maggos: but at a million users who only give $5 a month, it is $1.8 million
(7:12:27 PM) William Maggos: more realistically, $180,000 on 10,000 $5/month users
(7:22:11 PM) joe hahn: smart
(7:22:39 PM) joe hahn: i just made some food. bbl. this is really interesting

a conversation

(8:09:30 PM) William Maggos: you have too many IM accounts
(8:09:44 PM) joe hahn: hah. yea.. i logged into all my old ones to see what happenes
(8:10:11 PM) William Maggos: http://publicpatron.org/?page_id=2
(8:10:16 PM) William Maggos: does that make sense?
(8:18:51 PM) joe hahn: +
(8:19:05 PM) William Maggos: what do you think?
(8:19:09 PM) joe hahn: check out an app called freemind. ive been using it for brainstorming
(8:20:00 PM) joe hahn: i like it. how small could transactions be/
(8:20:00 PM) joe hahn: ?
(8:20:36 PM) joe hahn: the first thing i thoguht of was somethign that integrates with paypal, running on the taskbar that can communicate with a standardized website widget or something
(8:21:05 PM) William Maggos: well, i think id limit fans to at least $5 a month
(8:21:49 PM) joe hahn: one would have to spend at least $5 a month or else the remainder is donated to charity or something ?
(8:22:06 PM) William Maggos: i didnt think of how low the distribution to artists would be
(8:22:29 PM) William Maggos: maybe it only gets distributed once it gets to be over $5…
(8:23:26 PM) William Maggos: when the fan sets up the monthly donation, you could use paypal or a cc…
(8:23:48 PM) joe hahn: aah.. google ads owes me about eighty dollars.. they pay out at 100. its taken about two years to get there 😛
(8:24:14 PM) joe hahn: i was thinking the fan should be encouraged to spend
(8:24:16 PM) William Maggos: audioscrobbler (what last.fm uses) is open source
(8:24:33 PM) William Maggos: shouldnt be hard to make it track time and work for video
(8:24:59 PM) William Maggos: ive been thinkin about how to encourage the fan to donate more per month
(8:25:21 PM) joe hahn: what if 30min of content takes 30sec to download and the fan disconnects while listening to the 29:30 remaining?
(8:25:24 PM) William Maggos: the site would tell you your DPM (donation per minute)
(8:26:58 PM) William Maggos: you wouldnt always have to be connected, just like last.fm knows what i listened to on my ipod
(8:29:24 PM) William Maggos: it would be based on what you actually listened to, as directly as possible
(8:29:32 PM) joe hahn: +
(8:30:19 PM) joe hahn: id be interested in getting in on this if you are seeking to form a team or anything
(8:30:34 PM) joe hahn: im also about to go with digital distro for PROTMAN and other releases of mine
(8:31:02 PM) William Maggos: thanks, im trying to figure out the pieces
(8:32:20 PM) William Maggos: im gonna try to use the website to lay it all out
(8:33:34 PM) joe hahn: ive got a fatty new server, too
(8:36:02 PM) joe hahn: so you arent trying to repair or replace the itunes model.. you just want to have something a little more pinko for people who want to give people more choice in deciding the value of media so the consumers can spend what they want, and the producers can avoid a greedy middleman?
(8:36:29 PM) joe hahn: btw.. scott mcloud is speaking at columbia soon
(8:37:54 PM) joe hahn: def check this out http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/icst/icst-5/icst-5.html
(8:38:01 PM) joe hahn: though it is dated like it says
(8:41:01 PM) joe hahn has left the conversation.
(9:19:10 PM) William Maggos: The service would not store or distribute content, but it would facilitate the free distribution of content that the internet was built for.
(9:19:25 PM) William Maggos: not sure if that was clear, and i added it to the post.
(9:19:26 PM) joe hahn: riiight
(9:20:03 PM) William Maggos: i asked clint what he thought of it too, and i think he was confused.
(9:20:04 PM) joe hahn: its strange for me to wrap my head around a little since im so used to being able to be so DIY about hosting my own content
(9:20:31 PM) William Maggos: but you give away your stuff, right?
(9:20:54 PM) William Maggos: this just makes it as easy as possible for fans to support you
(9:21:54 PM) William Maggos: im actually trying to replace just about everything, for those with a broadband connection
(9:22:20 PM) William Maggos: but thats longterm, it plays on the independent artists in audio and video at first
(9:23:14 PM) William Maggos: no need for cable tv or labels or netflix if it takes off
(9:23:19 PM) joe hahn: what if I want to decided the price?
(9:23:26 PM) joe hahn: but keep it reasonable
(9:23:56 PM) William Maggos: well, how you get your stuff to the fan is up to you
(9:24:13 PM) William Maggos: but the way of the internet, kinda hard to stop
(9:24:30 PM) joe hahn: ex: i intend to give away mp3s, but if people/DJs want flac or wav, i decide.. i suppose in that instance the casual listeners can tip me for mp3s
(9:24:43 PM) joe hahn: true true true
(9:24:45 PM) William Maggos: and this system would encourage you to put it out free, if the DPM becomes high enough
(9:25:03 PM) joe hahn: so it would give even pirates a convenient chance to tip
(9:25:16 PM) William Maggos: people stumble upon it and they are using PP, you get paid
(9:26:29 PM) William Maggos: its all about the DPM of the people who listen to your stuff, and its automatic
(9:27:04 PM) joe hahn: lately ive been paying for software more often.. and donating where they allow you to donate whatever you wish via paypal
(9:27:11 PM) William Maggos: and the fan doesnt really see any additional cost, just whatever they are willing to donate per month
(9:27:16 PM) joe hahn: but its only for applications where i can donate or pay less than $20
(9:27:50 PM) William Maggos: and the neat thing is their donation is actually gonna go directly to the creators of the stuff they listen or watch, no middlemen
(9:28:19 PM) William Maggos: that means if they want more of it, they have direct incentive to donate more per month
(9:29:30 PM) William Maggos: for the fan, its like a cable or netflix subscription
(9:31:05 PM) joe hahn: hmmm
(9:31:16 PM) William Maggos: and if you only listen to one album all month, they get all your money
(9:31:29 PM) joe hahn: what about this instance………….
(9:31:37 PM) joe hahn: when i am seeking music to DJ
(9:32:01 PM) joe hahn: i enqueue the download of hundreds of mp3s and wait a day or so
(9:32:18 PM) joe hahn: the next day i take the hundred or so that have completed, and put them into a folder on my computer
(9:33:09 PM) joe hahn: i then listen to about fifteen seconds of each. the beginning, skip to the middle for five seconds, then somewhere in the last third
(9:33:36 PM) joe hahn: deciding if i want to listen further or DJ it later.. i put it into a new folder or tag it, rate it with more stars etc
(9:34:34 PM) joe hahn: i then might put them on a cd for use in a CDJ as cd audio or mp3s. or i might use a different computer for DJing, or even an SD card for listening in my car stereo
(9:35:38 PM) William Maggos: its up to you and your media player, but you never pay more than you want to per month
(9:36:28 PM) William Maggos: whatever you play it in, if you can install the plugin there, it would track the time you actually listen and what you listen to
(9:38:29 PM) William Maggos: instead of this crappy itunes or other system, you can do whatever you want with the files
(9:40:05 PM) William Maggos: those 15 secs of each song are registered if you listen in a media player with the PP plugin installed, but you dont pay anymore per month
(9:40:05 PM) joe hahn: I am currently idle.
(9:42:09 PM) William Maggos: your monthly donation is always whatever you choose to pay, and the creators of those tracks just get some money that month and the creators of other files that you listen or watch get a little less
(9:57:37 PM) joe hahn: very interesting
(9:58:57 PM) joe hahn: i was just talking to rita about this. i sort of broke it down as trying to find a way to maximize profit to the artist while accepting the inevitability and ubiquity of “piracy”
(9:59:31 PM) William Maggos: yep, thats about it
(9:59:43 PM) William Maggos: i modified the post to say that more clearly
(10:00:00 PM) William Maggos: The internet is not only the perfect distribution system for text and images, but also for audio and video. The main problem left 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. We dont need another service or method to store or distribute content, but we do need to better facilitate the free distribution of content that the internet was built for.
(10:01:02 PM) William Maggos: damnit, hold up, somehow i lost the important part
(10:03:25 PM) joe hahn: 😛
(10:03:53 PM) joe hahn: i have 40,000 myspace friends btw if you ever want some targeted publicity
(10:04:06 PM) joe hahn: for my protman music page
(10:04:47 PM) William Maggos: nice, not yet, but a big part of this going to be getting the creators to tell their fans about it
(10:05:07 PM) joe hahn: +
(10:05:23 PM) joe hahn: also.. i take a lot of consideration into the naming of the mp3s i make available
(10:05:48 PM) joe hahn: though i guess ive been pretty dumb about id3 tags
(10:10:05 PM) William Maggos: The internet is not only the perfect distribution system for text and images, but also for audio and video. The main problem left 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 acceptthat 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.
(10:40:09 PM) joe hahn: what do you think about the polarization of the people who opt-in vs the people who opt-out and are villified by the opt-inners?
(11:16:46 PM) William Maggos: id love to set up a caste system, but unfortunately, your fan account would be private
(11:16:56 PM) William Maggos: creator accounts would be very public
(11:17:29 PM) William Maggos: id love to somehow give a greater incentive to opt-in and have a high DPM
(11:17:41 PM) joe hahn: thats another thing i was gonna ask about the privacy of what you listen to. lastfm makes what you listen to public
(11:18:00 PM) William Maggos: right, on our system, it would be private i think
(11:19:53 PM) William Maggos: it would be great to be able to incentivize large buy-in by somehow letting artists give higher donators first access at tickets or something, mabye
(11:20:40 PM) joe hahn: do you think there are any ways artists could exploit the system
(11:20:42 PM) joe hahn: ?
(11:21:02 PM) joe hahn: such as releasing the same content under different names. i suppose there could be backlash from the listeners
(11:21:38 PM) joe hahn: though it guess it is time based, and not per-track like lastfm
(11:21:46 PM) joe hahn: gotta reboot. btb
(11:21:47 PM) joe hahn: brb

cultureburn dot org

Pretty simple. I am starting a new blog at cultureburn dot org. That will be my new home, aka the site where I bitch about the state of the world esp as it comes to media and culture and how the internet could really put things right if we understand its true potential as infrastructure and build off of it in the right way. I’m gonna move most of the old posts from here over there as well.

The plan for publicpatron dot org is to still be the home of one of those pieces that builds off of the internet as cultural infrastructure. Like I have written before, a non-profit tip jar. But my rants will be moved over to the new site while I try to turn this site into the place that provides the service. Bout it.

Cultural Openness

Most of the sites and platforms that have made publishing one’s work as easy as clicking a mouse aren’t “open source” in the formal sense that applies to software. Instead, they’re tools to facilitate cultural openness.

That quote comes from a Wired article about how the internet is supporting the rise of a real alternative to “mass media”:

The dirty secret of mass media, though, was — and still is — that a great deal of it belongs to the companies that distribute it, rather than to the people who make it. That’s begun to change as the internet rewrites the rules about who can put creative work into the public sphere as well as who can take it out. Mass culture has traditionally required corporate middlemen to operate the machinery of publishing and broadcasting; without them, no one’s creation had any hope of reaching a broad audience. In the age of Flickr, Blogger, YouTube and Twitter, that’s simply not true anymore.

My hope with Public Patron is that creators, at least of video & audio content, could make their creations accessible to the whole world without losing the creative rights to them, while simultaneously supporting themselves and a family. Culture should not be held hostage behind a pay wall nor reliant on the whims of commercial interests for distribution. We need to, and now we can, make it simple and almost automatic to support a lot of the culture that defines us.

No Hulu On Your HDTV

HULU got yanked off Boxee last week, and this week a great episode of TWIT discussed why. First, a primer:

With Boxee, you can hook up a mac or linux box to your HDTV and watch almost anything available on the internet on-demand on your nice big screen TV while using your remote and relaxing on your couch. While the geeks don’t talk about it enough, this switch from the experience of internet video on your laptop/desktop to internet video on your big HDTV is huge. Its cultural. And when you add HULU, arguably the most consistent higher quality free LEGAL content out there, it is quite hard to beat, if you dont mind the advertising.

But its over now. And it was the broken advertising/commercial business model built on controlling distribution that killed it.

For some reason, at some level, content producers make more money from advertisers if you get this stuff over broadcast or cable than if its streamed or downloaded over the internet. Most likely, its a function of CPM, where advertisers pay some amount for every thousand eyeballs, and the CPM is higher for broadcast & cable than for internet viewers, right now. So the content providers told HULU to tell Boxee that they are not allowed to pipe HULU through their application. They desperately want to prevent more people switching from watching their content over broadcast or cable to the internet, cause they’d make less money. And getting anything you wanted on-demand over the internet and onto your big screen HDTV, like Boxee+HULU supported, was a huge incentive to do so. They see putting their content on the internet and viewed on a desktop/laptop as an opportunity to add viewers, but viewing that same content distributed over the internet on your TV is understood as subtracting from the bottom line.

This is the convention wisdom on why HULU was forced to disconnect from Boxee, from the few of us who even think about this stuff. From a big picture perspective, this demonstrates how the big media companies are not too concerned about internet video on your desktop, but are scared sh*tless of the day that the internet makes open & independent HQ video a reality for most Americans on that big flat cultural icon in your living room. Big media has control of broadcast and cable, but the internet is truly an open media landscape. They don’t want folks even thinking about whats possible when you really bring the openness of the internet to television.

And it also points out how the business model is broken, how the incentives in the model fail those who are supposed to be at the center of the transaction, the creator and the fan. The people creating the content and the fans who love it are being shortchanged when advertisers have a voice in the creative decisions and when supporting the legacy big media distribution businesses prevent wider dissemination and enjoyment of the content. The creative teams want artistic freedom and to be fairly compensated while fans want great content at a fair price and to be able to experience it however they choose. We can do that.

Case Study: Radio Paradise

Radio Paradise does internet radio right. And the way they pay for it, well, it basically demonstrates that the Public Patron model could work. From their support page:

Our plan is simple: we create the best station we possibly can, refrain from contaminating it with advertising, and then ask you to pay us what you think it’s worth. So far it seems to be working out nicely. We’re not likely to get rich this way, but that’s not our goal.

Here at RP we’re not just non-commercial. We’re anti-commercial. We feel that quality radio programming and advertising just cannot co-exist. We also choose to refrain from forcibly extracting money from you by charging subscription fees. We leave it up to you to decide what our service is worth to you.

Your voluntary support enables us to devote all of our time and energy to making RP the best station possible – and pays for the bandwidth, equipment and services required to keep the station online, and for the rather substantial copyright royalties we are required to pay.

The amount of your contribution is up to you – based on your opinion of how much you enjoy RP & what you can afford. A number of listeners have adopted the “one hour’s wages per month” formula – some can afford to send even more than that (thanks!), others can afford only $5 per month.

We particularly appreciate automatic monthly, quarterly or annual support payments. The more regular ongoing support we receive in that fashion the less we have to bug you on the air. Please consider choosing that option on the support form.

And, as always, we understand that contributing money is just not an option for some of you. That’s fine. All streams and services at RP are open to everyone, and we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.

Please check out their great website and their broadcast. And of course, check the wiki, especially the In the News section under External Links.