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.