After this article went up, I received the following thoughtful email
from a reader named Chel van Gennip. He comes to focus on the issue I
didn't dare try to solve in the article: payment to artists.--Andy Oram
I understand you are proposing the construction of art in the same
way open software is produced now.
I am familiar with the open software model, I've contributed to it,
I've done promotion for it, and make a living of it.
I do have some experience with art too, not as a creator, but my
son Serg van Gennip is a creator of art.
There is however a difference between software and arts. The main
difference is that software is like infrastructure, many contribute
to the infrastructure, many make a living with this infrastructure.
Arts are more like a finished product.
This is why you do have "free" roads, but no free beer. You use the
roads many times to produce beer, but the finished product is not
free. (Or please tell me where to find it :-)
Some arts could benefit a lot from the internet. Any art form
that can be multiplied and can be distributed over the internet
can face a revolution.
At this moment some big organizations control the "old" distribution
mechanisms. Let's focus on music. The old way to distribute music
is creating a carrier and sell the carrier with content at specific
outlets. This process is easier if there is a limited set of
content. Here we see the top 100 CD's, books, video tapes etc.
With a limited set of content it is easy to distribute it to
a lot of outlets, and to do massive promotion.
There was an initiative to break the distribution mechanism.
MP3.com made a good start. But now MP3.com has been taken over
and spends less than 1% of its turnover for payments to the
artists for content. This way the model won't work, so we
removed most of the content.
One thing that has to be solved for arts is to create a system that
has all the benefits of the internet distribution facilities, but
still gets sufficient payments to the producers.
For the time being we have created a site for Serg with all of the
content. A site that is totally free. An internet distribution
mechanism that would combine freedom with artist payments would
be quite helpful.