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An online record label specifically constructed to support the sale of copyleft music.

It is a highly simplified form of The Digital Art Auction that operates on the basis of a fixed price of £1 per released work.

A musician’s fans may pledge towards the release of a new work, and the musician can choose the moment at which to release, whereupon pledges held in escrow are exchanged for copies.

A musician’s fans may also purchase a copy of an already released work, whereupon the exchange is performed immediately.

Busker Label, I've Been Expecting You · 5 October 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

I read on Indie Music Tech today about BuskerLabel: crowd funding platform for artists to distribute their music for free.

BuskerLabel is very similar to my site QuidMusic of 2004. I’d started it’s development earlier still, expecting to call it MusicPatrons.com. That, in turn, was based on The Digital Art Auction (which I thought up in 2000), but I figured that sponsoring the production and publication of a music track at a fixed price of a pound was a simpler proposition (T’DAA! was far too complicated/advanced – something for a decade hence).

As it turned out, the QuidMusic prototype both convinced me this model was the future and in particular, made me realise that I wasn’t necessarily going to pick the best value proposition to start with. QuidMusic would still only now just be beginning to gain credibility, primarily because it is only now that enough people are sufficiently disillusioned with copyright and the traditional record label deal that both artist and audience are open to a new, more direct and libertarian deal. Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans article of 2008 has helped too, along with Fundable.com and now KickStarter.com.

I knew that if I continued with QuidMusic I’d eventually end up as just another ‘also-ran’ with umpteen varieties of the same model sharing the market. I figured that I should therefore focus on my strength, building a back-end that would support all manner of similar sites.

And this is where I am today, still plodding along, working on that back-end, The Contingency Market and a simple demonstrator, 1p2U, just as the hare is catching its breath before the final straight…

Art for Money, Money for Art · 4 June 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

Lucas Gonze raises some great points concerning the paradigm shifting upheaval and changing roles in the music market, particularly with regard to record labels.

What I think we’re seeing is a market inversion1, that we’re currently bang smack in the midst of.

When this inversion is complete, instead of a label acting as an artist’s promotional agent maximising the sale of their music to their audience, we’ll have an audience’s discoveral agent maximising the discovery and commissioning of the music they like.

A label in this case will be just like 4AD, but instead of representing a common je ne sais quoi character of the signed bands, will represent a common undefinable taste of the represented audience members.

The audience will subscribe to the discoveral agent and this agent will then patronise/commission those musicians it believes can deliver what will most please and swell its audience/subscriber base. Members of an artist’s audience can of course also patronise/commission their favourite musicians directly.

It’s all very similar, it’s just inverted.

But, don’t worry, the musicians still get paid! (although it will be a bumpy ride through the transition)

See Doc Searls’ ProjectVRM to find others who have already twigged about this inversion.

1 The inversion is actually a reversion to nature – due to IP reverting from its unnatural inversion by copyright, and also helped by the fact that individuals are once again able to participate as first class citizens in the market place (instead of passive consumers to mass producers).

The market for recorded music is NOT in rapid decline · 15 January 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

The market for copies of recorded music is in rapid decline.

If anything, the market for recorded music will go from strength to strength as musicians realise in ever greater numbers that this is what they should be selling to their audience, rather than their souls to misanthropic record labels who believe in a god given right to sell snow to Sámi.

The summer is over and it’s started snowing.

It’s Fimbulwinter for the RIAA.

The Patron's Jukebox · 13 August 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

It’s 2010, and yet another premises, an all night diner, installs the new Nokia JB320 Jukebox. It’s very cheap, consisting only of a user-hardened touchscreen web terminal with e-cash reader (and dollar coin-slot for the oldies), wirelessly linked to the diner’s hifi system and central server.

This is connected to the Jamendo musique-libre repository, and shares high quality digital masters – with no royalty due for public performance, and no copyright infringement for sharing or public performance.

The owner of the diner believes in encouraging musicians who submit good music for the entertainment of his customers. He is therefore quite happy that the jukebox charges a dollar for the playback of each track, as then the most popular music provides a proportionate reward to the respective musicians.

He’s happy because he only pays a minimal one-off charge for the price of the jukebox user panel and the electricty the sound system consumes. His customers are happy because they get a vast variety of decent music (punters only tend to play music that’s worth paying a dollar to listen to). The musicians are happy because they get paid by people who like their music.

There are a few music tracks that the control panel denies payment for. These have been specially marked as CC-Non-Commercial to indicate that the proprietor would be prosecuted if money was charged for them.

These tend to be recognised for what they are: promos by bands signed to old fashioned record labels. There’s the occasional hard core Cliff Richard fan who’ll try out his latest track, but most of it is ignored as dross – only used by the proprietor to check the system’s up and running each morning.

Kids find it hard to believe that only a few years earlier about 95% of all the money they spent on music went to record labels and collection societies, with only 5% left for the musicians (once all costs had been recouped, which took a few decades and several chart hits).

Today, musicians tend to get about 95% with 2% taken by e-cash handlers. Of course, out of this the musicians still have to pay for the costs of production, but then they have the luxury of very much cheaper music distribution and recommendation services. CD manufacturing occurs independently and promotion costs are far cheaper.

Today musicians just upload their songs to the Jamendo repository, they’re analysed, distributed by CC-Torrent and then recommended by Pandora according to the taste of the person who visits the Jukebox with the intention of paying for a tune to be played that they like. The band gets a dollar each time minus a penny each to Jamendo, Pandora, and CC-Torrent.

Status · 13 June 2006 by Crosbie Fitch

The next steps in QuidMuic’s evolution are as follows:

  1. Temporarily relocate site to quidmusic.digitalproductions.co.uk (by July ’06).
  2. Replace existing PHP based ad hoc engine with Contingency Market.
  3. Given CM supports PayPal payments, make this clear on QuidMusic.
  4. Move to zero commission on CopyLeft sales, and 10% commission otherwise. CM exposes payment provider surcharges to depositors.
  5. Review site content and add various cosmetic enhancements
  6. Add facility for musicians to sell their previously published music (in addition to inviting pledges for unpublished music).

Traditional Approaches · 19 May 2006 by Crosbie Fitch

Let’s collect some jaded cynics’ opinions concerning the success of copyright based business models for musicians:

By the power of Satan…Lee Diamond


Courtney Love does the math

Please let me know of any more.



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