It was when Kevin Rudd, the current Australian Prime Minister, first took the reigns of government that he was accused of working too hard. He made no apologies ofcourse, and at first I thought it was an absurd accusation. But an ex-Prime Minister of the same denomination, Paul Keating, said it was a mistake to work like that, because one needed time to think. Time allows the dust to settle and thoughts become clearer. Without time, there is greatly reduced clarity.
Now, I know that many people have lost patience with Ambisonia. The current site has not moved in a long while. Over the past several years I have had email communication with a number of people enthusiastically engaging with Ambisonia, only to see them eventually lose interest. Understandably so. I guess if I’d been smarter I would have pulled some financial assistance… and the site would have moved faster.
None the less, I’m still here, and I’ve had a hell of a lot of time to think (whilst looking after my 14 month old son).
Today I “surrendered” to something that has been pestering me for a long while. I realised that it had been pestering me for a long while by the un-anticipated sense of relief I felt when I decided to surrender to it.
It is the uploaders who should support Ambisonia (not the downloaders). Ambisonia offers a publication service. It offers ‘access’ to audience who know how to consume ambisonic content.
One of the early rules that I had set for myself was that I needed to optimise publishing volume. That meant not charging for uploads. I had to find a way to charge the downloaders. Micropayments for music are very difficult to do, but there are strong signs that patronage (or voluntary payments) could work. So I decided to go with patronage.
And I still intend to build-in a patronage system (to generate revenue for the uploaders).
But I cant rely on that to be the bread-and-butter income of the site. Its too risky. Because if it doesn’t work then I’ll be racking up lots and lots of bandwidth and storage costs, and that has the possibility of knee-capping the whole site when one spritely morning I wake up and realise its either the site or the mortgage (i.e. my house).
Its fascinating that the business model of a venture can either come from the producers or the consumers. Its a strange question …. should I charge the producers, or should I charge the consumers.
I guess its the kind of thing that business school students write essays about.
I was trying to think about the similarities and differences between Ambisonia and SoundCloud.com. SoundCloud have a simple model. Pay by the month and use their service to publish your work (amongst other things). I always thought that Ambisonia would be more of a YouTube.com model. Its free, “get lots of content up and work out a business model later”.
Later is now. Ambisonia offers a publishing service for producers working in Ambisonics.
This, perhaps ‘obvious’, business model does have some significant advantages. Downloads (of 5.1 material) can remain free. Downloads of the *.amb files can remain free (instead of the messy subscriber model). And producers can still make an income (via patronage).
The “new” Ambisonia is only about 5 full days of work away. It’ll probably take me a month to get that work done. But now that I’m finally feeling comfortable with the business model, I’ve got a bit of extra energy.