There’s been some new musings recently about how “the future of music is free“. The trigger, this time, is Radiohead (truly great artists) deciding to offer their music online for whatever sum the fans decide to pay for it.
The above linked article makes a few interesting points, like the average price of downloadable songs has dropped from $1.29 to $0.89 in 6 months.
Perhaps more interestingly, is the article’s suggestion of other revenue models that can be exploited. They are “live music, merchandise and limited edition physical copies of music.” Ofcourse, my first thoughts are how can these be applied to Ambisonia.
I also see, on Ambisonia, the possibility of creating revenue by selling hardware. The twist I suggest is that the profit from the sold hardware is shared amongst the contributors. The logic is that it is the work uploaded by the contributors that bring the customers to Ambisonia.
Whatever successful business model might overthrow paid downloads of digital music, there is one thing I’d like to make very very clear. I dont believe in sweat equity. I have, for years, engaged on multiple projects which have run entirely off sweat equity. I know many artists who have, and some still attempt to survive off sweat equity.
Sweat equity is unsustainable. I dont know of any project, or individual, or endeavour that hasn’t either expired or significantly fizzled from lack of finances.
So my point is that it is fine for the future of music to be free… but I dont think there’s any point in pursuing a world where we consume works produced by artists working off sweat equity. Doing that or suggesting that, I believe, is worse (far worse) than forcing consumers to use DRM.
Its actually an exciting time, and Ambisonia is in an exciting position to be able to participate in the development of a new digital-media business model. But it is going to be difficult.