April 27, 2000

OrangeAlley has an interesting business model for MP3 distribution which they call BootLegal. It goes like this:

  1. Buy an MP3 from OA
  2. Bootleg: Send your friends a link or copy of the MP3.
  3. Kickback: Your friends buy the MP3. You get paid. Artists get paid.

An interesting idea, but it ignores important aspects of the nature of the internet. (read Rethinking Micropayments for context.) Instead of creating a barrier to accessing the music, why not make it really easy to download, and really easy to pay. As it is, it's hard to do both, which ultimately results in less people seeing the art (less eyeballs, or earballs, if you will).

All this is not to say that OA is not totally on the right track when they say "a BootLegal license also gives you all of the 'fair use' rights that consumers are supposed to enjoy under the copyright laws." And the whole thing is right on. I just think it should be taken to the next step.

I found OrangeAlley indirectly through iRights, which has a whole lot of good material these last few weeks. (Nice work, Jeremy) If anyone knows of other interesting MP3 business models, let me know.

(Bradley Nowell of Sublime said it best: "nowadays the songs on the radio -- they all drive me craaazy." But then again, he sang it beautifully.)

I'll be watching this space:


I'm reading Natural Capitalism, by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins. In the first few pages, they make a very interesting point about industrial capitalism: namely, it is a limited form of capitalism in that it only accounts for certain kinds of capital, but doesn't assign any value to the kinds of capital that are fundamental to its existance the ecological and human varieties.

meetspace, n. A locale, physically or virtually defined, where meaningful exchange of ideas takes place. See also: conversation, discourse, debate.

posted by dru in blog