Thursday, October 30, 2008

Musopen: Making money on free music

Also on the UCSD music blog I mentioned (which, on closer examination turns out to be, ahem, the "music" category of the UCSD Arts Libraries blog) is a post on a Musopen, a free classical music site that, among other things, will let you pledge toward getting someone to record the public domain work of your choice and place the recording in the public domain (They call it "bidding", but I'm not sure that's quite the right term to use -- generally a bid is for the whole price and the highest wins).

The performer sets the price (e.g., $60 for Für Elise or $3500 for Mozart's Requiem). You tell them how much you'd be willing to pay to see it recorded. When the total pledges match the asking price, the transaction goes through, the performer performs and everyone in the world can listen for free, whether they contributed or not. This is effectively one of the business models Stallman mentions in the GNU manifesto.

The economics of this look interesting. I doubt anyone is going to get rich off of it, but there would appear to be some value to people in making a recording happen and free riders be damned.

[Museopen is still around, but without the business model.  The business model is still around, without Museopen, under the name of KickStarter, of course --D.H. May 2015]


earl said...

Nothing to do with this post, but I thought Field Notes might be interested in this:

David Hull said...

Field Notes found the article interesting, but was unable to get over its innate suspicion of all things "all different now". Field Notes is also not convinced Niccum has the facts on his side.

The GOP in general has proven quite computer-savvy in its targeted get out to vote efforts, and GOP-leaning blogs have been a major political force in the past few years. The McCain campaign itself and the RNC both advertised heavily online, at least on sites that Field Notes happened to follow.

Nor is Field Notes convinced that the ability to unlearn and relearn is dramatically more valued or even more prevalent in These Modern Times, or that Folks of a Certain Age are dramatically less connected or web-savvy than Kids These Days.

Granted, Kids These Days seem might be more interested in doing things webbily, while those of us of a Certain Age feel more able to take it or leave it, but like anything else eminently plausible, this notion invites particular empirical scrutiny.