a new marketplace for media

mediAgora defines a fair, workable market model that works with the new realities of digital media, instead of fighting them.

  • Creators should be credited and rewarded for their work.
  • Works can be incorporated into new creative works.
  • When they are, all source works should be credited and rewarded.
  • Customers should pay a known price.
  • Successful promotion of work should be rewarded too.
  • Individuals can play multiple roles - Creator, Promoter, Customer
  • Prices and sales figures should be open
  • Relationships are based on trust and reputation
  • Copy protection destroys value
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The need for sensible defaults in derivative licensing

DJ Z-Trip explains how hard it is to commercially publish his creative work, as it consists of mixing other peoples music in interesting ways:

As most of you know, I am in the middle of trying to make this album happen. It's a bit of a struggle due to the large amount of songs that require such heavy sample clearances. It seems like lately, trying to get OK's from everyone involved in the artists career, has turned out to be my new job....
Its hard to explain how my mixes are bringing new life to the game, but they are. Some of this music would never have gotten to the audiences ears had I not put it in my record crate. It could be anything? Brand new music, music that's been forgotten, old, new, whatever?or?. better yet (my favorite) a new fan of mine AND of the new style of music, or song, or artist I turned them on to. I get nothing but good feedback from how my mixing these songs makes people feel. Even though the artists I use to do this might not understand what is going on, it helps them out. If I've got people looking for old "Kansas" records after hearing me spin?. Then one way or another "Kansas" is winning.
But this is hard to explain to "Kansas"

This is is where we need a new model. Creative Commons works to disclaim payment, but not to claim it. Compulsories are there for songwriters but not for performers.

The model I propose for this is quite simple, and it can be thought of as an adaptation of both the compulsory licensing notion, and the doctrine of first sale to the world of infinite replicability.

Under the mediAgora model, each Work has a price set by its Creators. If Works are incorporated into another one, such as a mash-up, then the default price for the new Work should be the sum of the prices for the originals, plus whatever the Creator of the mash-up wants to set.

This can be done automatically, without any need for negotiation, though of course the possibility of negotiating is always there

For example, when I buy Z-Trip's mix featuring Kansas, I buy the source tracks as well. Kansas and teh oether sources get paid for the full price of their songs, and Z-Trip gets his margin for the work he did.

Some wrinkles and subtleties - you don't have to buy the same Work twice. Had I already owned the Kansas track, I would only have paid Z-Trip and the other artists in the mix.

The second subtlety is the Promotion Fee model, whereby some of the sale price is set aside to reward Promoters. Z-Trip would be acting as promoter for both the other songs, and would reap the benefits of the downstream promotion fees. Conceivably this could be enough that he didn't need to charge much if at all for the mash-up directly.

Taste Tribes

Johnathan points me to Joshua Ellis writing eloquently about "Taste Tribes", his term for the loose clusters people from around common cultural interests
In the end, it is not the record labels and the movie studios who decide what's cool. We do. The media suppliers follow our cue, rather than the other way around ? which is the way it should be. Taste tribes may turn out to be the best way to filter out the bad media and let in the good ? to turn up the signal and wipe out the noise, as Peter Gabriel says on his most recent album. Which is great, by the way. You should go get it. Trust me.

mediAgora is designed to reinforce this natural tendency and harness it so Creators can be paid for their creations, and those who recommend them can get some remuneration too.