A Business Model For The Music Industry

Suppose an artist records an album and makes it available for free, under Creative Commons. People will share it, remix it, whatever they like. The artist won’t make any money.

But, if people like it a lot, they’ll want more. So to get the next album, they can pay. The artist’s website will have a payment button and a picture of a piggy bank. When the piggy bank is full, a new album will be released.

If the artist can’t hold up their end of the deal and come up with 10 more songs, they can consider it payment received for the first album. Eventually people will stop giving them money, and that’s all the cash they will ever get for that particular work.

Ideally, this model will allow an artist to produce albums and make enough of a profit to live a standard middle class lifestyle, and copyright concerns will no longer be a part of the picture.

It will also encourage them to make more albums while they are young and angry, and to retire when they become old and lazy.

I know SOPA was last week, but I’m still thinking about it. I just watched this. People at Ycombinator are talking about killing Hollywood, and I’m thinking about that too. I’d rather offer solutions than complaints, so here’s mine.

The Most Interesting Thing About Me

We were doing some stupid networking exercise in school the other day, and I guess I decided to be kinda mean, and kinda have fun with it. I put a guy on the spot, barely talked to him once before that day, and said, “What’s the most interesting thing about you?”

He said what people normally say when I ask them that – “I dunno, I’m not that interesting I guess…” That answer is normal and expected, but I’m still disappointed when I hear it. So I gave the only logical response, and called him a fucking liar. We’ll probably be good friends, next time I run into him.

I realize it’s a pretty mean thing to do, putting someone on the spot like that. So here’s my answer, and, by the way, the RIGHT way to answer the question, if you ever get it.

It’s tough to answer that when I’m on the spot like this. Different people are interested by different things, so it’s hard to say. But here’s one thing that you may find interesting.

When I was 18, I decided to buy a motorcycle. I didn’t have a license, hadn’t so much as sat on a motorbike before then, but it seemed like a good idea.

A friend drove it home for me, and another friend showed me how to turn it on. The first time I rode it, I made it about 20 meters in a straight line, then tried to turn.

I was not successful. I rammed it into a brick wall.

This is the way I do things, though – bite off more than I can chew, attempt things I’m not capable of, break stuff, hurt myself, keep trying and eventually succeed. And THAT may be the most interesting thing about me.

So, I had this idea that even though I’m not an engineer or an expert on anything at all, maybe I could do a blog about space travel, and inspire something. It’s a ridiculous idea, it will probably come to nothing, and it may make me look like a foolish blowhard to any future employers who stumble across this blog.

But right now, it’s all I can do, and hopefully anyone who reads this will be able to understand my passion, and why it is so important to get off this planet. If I hurt myself and break stuff in the process, it’s an accepted cost.


Earth Sucks

I think life on earth is just about played out. There all these people working in boring jobs so that they can afford to buy shit, and all these companies trying to produce more shit so they can sell it to the boring people. I’m not interested in buying shit or selling it, so where’s  my place in this world? I don’t think there is one.

My dream is colonies on the moon and mars, with new governments that are struggling to survive, so much that they don’t have time to interfere in people’s lives. There are a billion opportunities out there for people who weren’t born lucky in the first world.

Every company, every start up wants to figure out what the next big industry will be. Like the computer industry, or the car industry before that, they want to be the next Apple in a field that doesn’t even exist. It’s obvious that it’s space, but the only company pushing it right now seems to be Virgin. That’s just not enough. The problem is, the risk is so silly big and so unknown that everyone is trying to avoid the obvious solution.

Think about this: you can’t download space. No really, you can’t. Software is the big thing right now, but the world only needs so many payroll and inventory systems. iPhone apps, for gods’ sake – I can’t believe anyone is still making money at that. Entertainment – no one wants to pay for it anymore. These things all keep chugging along, but I don’t know how…

But getting into space is hard. You need a spaceship. Costs money. You need crew. Money. You need supplies, money. There’s money to be made at every step of process, even if designs are stolen, even if patents are violated. My job right now is finding out what companies are into space, besides Virgin, which ones are the farthest along, which ones will take me with them.