Offer track downloads

#plan - Plan for downloading tracks 2.0

I’m making this topic following a conversation we had with @Hakanto and @brndnkng during last tuesday’s meeting (this one) where the topic was a discussion around the terms of use of the platform.

One thing that appeared quickly was the recurring mention of the ability for people to download the songs they own. (The topic arose around a discussion about what should happen to songs that are taken down from the platform, either for legal reasons or more simply because a label took down its catalogue)

To our surprise, we got news that, as of now, owning a song under the current version of the Resonate player does NOT equate anymore to “access to a download link or any download capacity of some sort for that song”.

@Hakanto explained to us that this is rooted in technical issues and that it’s not a trivial thing to add to the current player, which is a fair and valid aspect to consider.

This being said, here are my thoughts on the matter, and if yesterday’s discussion was any indication, I think they might be widely shared :

Access to download links for your catalogue (and even to some extent easy ways for batch download even if that might be even more complicated) once you’ve paid for it on Resonate should not be a question or a possibility, it should be an absolute requirement and a top most priority for the player platform before reaching 1.0

In my view, not having this possibility undermines everything the current business model of Stream 2 Own stands for, because precisely : if you can’t download it you do not own anything. It means that once you’ve paid for a song, you’re still tied to Resonate to listen to it, tied to an internet connection, then tied to a specific account on a specific website etc. This is not owning, this is having a permanent right to listen to the song on that platform as long as the platform exists, as long as there’s no technical malfunction on their end that you can’t control, and as long as the artist didn’t take down its catalogue from it, which means if either of those things happen, you’re left with nothing, which is precisely what owning a song should prevent you from and what it’s all about.

To make it short :

1/ As of now, people can’t download the songs the own.

2/ Is it currently considered a priority by the dev team and board members for implementation on the platform ?

2a/ if it is considered a priority, are people working on it right now and could give us some info on how things are moving along so that we don’t bug them with questions all the time and let them do their work peacefully?

2b/ if it’s NOT considered a priority, could the people who took that decision get involved with the community to discuss why or make an easily accessible document that precises the techinical/legal/ethical hurdles to overcome that caused them to make that decision?

3/ We should have a discussion and make sure that everyone knows about this, and then we should have a vote determining what’s the desire of the community regarding this aspect of the platform as it stands, so that we’re sure the dev team and the community of listeners and creators are moving in the same directions, with the same sets of principles.

As a final aside, I should precise that, knowing that, I decided to put all my songs on “free to listen to” on Resonate, because I just can’t deal with the idea that someone paid 1€/track and then doesn’t have any hability to own the files and keep them on their own devices / listening system, independantly of the Resonate platform. I still want to support Resonate both as a business and as a global community of ethically concerned artists and listeners, download link or not, because I’ve mentionned it several times but in my view, the current version of S2O is not the best aspect of the platform at all so I’m not invested in this particular idea so much as I am in the community, the co-op’s structures and goals, and the global discussion around the platform.

This being said until listeners get complete control of their paid-for catalogue, I’d rather make my music free there (it’ll still be a substantial difference/support from me since none of my work is on any major streaming platform as of now) as a way to promote the platform so that listeners are respected and considered as well, rather than have them pay for something that I think will get them less control over the things they own than on a regular music store or through direct payment at live venues.

Thanks for reading this and I hope we can move this discussion forward.


I don’t know.

Initially, I was surprised/disappointed indeed when I tried to download a song and could not.

But then, this forced me to keep using resonate to listen to the music. Would I have kept coming back here daily, listening and buying songs (and contributing to the discussions) if this had not happened? Maybe, maybe not. I’d say probably not.

Ethically, sure, right now we’re being misleading. We cannot say listeners “own” songs, and yet we do. We should fix that.

Practically, we also need to make sure people like me will have good reasons to keep using resonate even after downloading the music. Maybe the new version of the player is good enough for that. It is for me. The previous one was not (or not for me): lacking playlists, I would have just downloaded the tracks, played them elsewhere in the order of my choice, and maybe come back here for more in 6 months, if at all. But I could not, so I stayed.

In a combination of ethical and practical, we could try to get users that have not been around, when the new version is officially released, to “come back to download your songs, stay for the new interface”.


I think you pretty much sum up the problem here.

We can not advertise as a feature or a “good thing” that the player would be so bad that people would run away with their downloads and never use it again if we added that functionality. It’s a terrible way to value the platform, it basically amounts to “stay here, not because you want to ! But because you don’t really have a choice.”

If the previous player was so bad downloads were better, it was a problem with the player, not with the concept of downloads.

I maintain that it’s untenable for a platform with fairness at its heart like Resonate to not provide such a service.

Not adding this service because we’re distrustful of our users and don’t think they’ll keep using the player if the platform grants them ownership of the things they paid for is, in a way, even worse. It means we acknwoledge we don’t provide a great service and we’re trying to find ways to emprison listeners into the platform through coercive means (denying them a basic service and access to what they own is coercion, just because coercion is common under capitalism doesn’t make it acceptable) rather than listening to what they want out of it and try to improve it accordingly.

I’ll just quote you on this :

This is not a plus, it’s a minus. That through this coercion you then found something to like about Resonate is a great outcome, but it doesn’t mean the road to get there was a healthy and desirable one.

Other than that I totally agree with you we have tons of things to do to enhance the player. I’m trying to write something a bit more in depth to describe exactly what I’d want the Resonate player to be and what would keep me interested in it both as a listener and as a musician, but this wasn’t initially the topic for that.

So the questions mentionned above remain :

Where are we at with the download function on Resonate? (Maybe @auggod could shime in? We really don’t need a super long post or technical answer, just either a quick link to a document that precises the roadmap and an idea of how much of a priority this is right now for the player)


In complete agreement about the necessity of offering download.

It would take @auggod or @Nick_M to give a brief explanation of why this feature currently isn’t available and when users can expect it to be available.

Important to note that this is already planned as a key feature of the platform. What I mean is that we’re not pitching a new idea here, we’re trying to raise attention around a “planned” feature.

There was a point in the past that downloading was available on the current Player. I don’t remember the reason why it was disabled and would be interested to get a refresher.

In theme with the roadmap post you just brought up (that I’ll be separately commenting on), I think that all I would need to feel informed about a feature’s progress is a simple blurb with the following info.

(this example is filled in with made-up info since I don’t actually know the reasons or how this stuff works)


Downloading owned tracks from Player

Planned for:
Q3 2021

Why not earlier?
Tracks that were uploaded before Q1 2019 were encoded with blahblah encoder. These tracks need to be reprocessed using blahblah tool. That tool is planned for Q2 2021. Also, Resonate’s new Tracks API needs to be finished first because it manages the download requests. Tracks API is planned for Q2 2021.

How can members help?

  • Donate or buy music on the Player so we can hire more devs
  • If you have blah blah code skills, visit github
  • If you have ideas about what key features downloading should offer, visit blah blah forum area to share your perspective.

Thanks @Hakanto Well put! When we do get around to reprocessing all those tracks for downloads we will need to check them for quality and also check all our metadata records for any holes… especially anything than now has an ISRC code that needs to be looked up. We’ll need volunteers to help there, but in the meantime still have back end design work to do on the tracks data structure and API.

There will be a blah blah blah forum area on this soon I think :wink:


Meanwhile… can I ask in this thread about what folks think about how this feature might look?

At the moment the design has a simple download link offered for any tracks in the listener’s ‘collection’ shown on the player.

Do you think we might remind users of their rights and obligations at the point of download?: “the listener has the right to download the song and play it without further payment, forever, and with the same rights as if they purchased the song outright. You promise and agree that you are using the content for your own personal, non-commercial, entertainment use and that you will not redistribute or transfer the Resonate Service or Resonate Licensors’ content.” (This should be phrased more simply, with less ‘legalese’.)

The files won’t be encrypted with digital rights management tools (as they are for other services) and they won’t be put into some arcane or hidden storage location. We would just use a ‘default storage location’. We are trusting the listener not to engage in piracy. Is that OK?

What about any associated artwork?

In the development plan I thought we might package the re-enabling of the download feature with the release of an offline / mobile version of the player, thinking that the owned tracks would automatically download onto ‘native’ device storage with some sort of ‘my Resonate stream2own tracks’ storage feature. Is that desirable? Or unnecessary?

Also, on a mobile player we could integrate the Community Credentials ‘wallet’. That would have a list of owned tracks in a verifiable credential - something that proves you paid to stream 2 own the tracks to the download provider. The provider might be the artist’s / label’s own website. That would be an opportunity to connect and collect the download from there, under the control of the artist, and pick up any other offers / promotions? It might also be a gig venue / local music store for physical merch. Is that attractive to (some) listeners / artists?

For HQ, lossless downloads or ‘premium’ custom tracks I thought we should do more to protect the artist against copying. Community Credentials could provide a tool for trusted, strongly-authenticated download of the high quality audio / ‘special’. The listener would sign a ‘digital handshake’ agreement before download could start.



My main gripe with the current implementation is how it has the user go “into” every track to download it. I’d like to be able to multiselect, then download my selection. I imagine I’ll be wanting to do that by album, more rarely by artist, so any feature making selection and download of those “units” easier would be welcome as well.

I’m not sure what would be the point of this. Is it a legal requirement to remind the user about the terms? Or is it meant as a courtesy reminder? If it’s the latter, I’d rephrase it as simply and snappy as possible, just to keep the operation as light as possible.

Yes. I think there’s a bit of a tacit “social contract” thing going on where everyone involved knows there is a possibility someone will abuse the privilege of being able to access the music they’ve bought freely, without DRM or whatnot attached, and take it out of the platform. Actually - yeah, at the condition that this fact has to be absolutely clear for the artists submitting music, so that if someone doesn’t agree with this, they will not submit their music in the first place.

Sounds great to me, especially if I can set things up so that the Resonate player only plays the local files (totally offline playing mode, no streaming), and that in all cases the local files are played in priority over having them stream over the internet.

I’m not sure I grasp the concept of the Community Credentials yet. Is there a place I can read up on it to get up to speed?


YES, I love this idea and I’d take it a step further if possible. The main reason why I don’t listen to music on my local device is that I find it inconvenient to have my “collection” spread across multiple interfaces. But if I could use the Player to not only stream, but to also listen to my HQ downloaded tracks from the same interface as normal, that would be legit.

What I’m imagining is that for any track played via the Player, it would default to looking for your downloaded copy to play from. So I could use the Player to listen to a playlist with songs I both own and don’t own – it would stream the tracks I don’t own (from Resonate’s servers), and the tracks I do own would be played HQ off my local device.

To an extent, this is sorta how it works on Spotify when you download tracks to your local device, except they wouldn’t be HQ on Spotify.

I’d consider this beyond the core features of downloading, but it would be an awesome thing to have on the horizon.


I’m not sure I grasp the concept of the Community Credentials yet. Is there a place I can read up on it to get up to speed?

Here’s is the link to an explainer…


CC is a way to digitally prove you own tracks or have contributed something significant WITHOUT giving away lots of personal info to prove who you are. In this case, it’s your list of owned tracks, but it could be any other digital receipt or certificate. As good as cash, and better than a credit card, you could ‘redeem’ value or prove your commitment to an agreement… Like a right to an HQ download and an obligation not to copy it.


I would definitely support downloads of ‘owned’ tracks. A lot of people listen to music ‘on the go’ and it’s not that easy with internet access being patchy outside of your home. I think the carrot of encouraging people to repeat stream a track until they own it is the key to Resonate, and once they own it they should be allowed to download the track to a portable player - like a smart phone or laptop.


Offering the download in lossless HQ would certainly make us stand out from other services, but would this create a piracy / reprocessing anxiety among artists?

HQ download could be optional, or an option at additional cost, set by the artist. Some artists might choose to ‘digitally watermark’ the uploaded HQ files or images so that illicit copies / samples could be traced. (A deterrent, hopefully to be very rarely used… I guess if would-be pirates knew that some tracks or visual artwork was marked in this way, then that might be enough to discourage them from breaking the agreement.)


Quick spoiler alert : I know of a wide scale statistic of absolutely 0% of independant (that is, the old school definition of independant : not on a major label) musicians who care about piracy or have “reprocessing anxiety”.

The biggest issue I’ve seen with it is actually happening in the realm of reissues where unscrupulous labels can be extremely devious with forgotten work by dead artists and release them without having actual rights etc. (it would be a long and complex discussion) but that’s a niche issue that has absolutely no relation to HQ lossless files being available without DRM for download.

I’m also against it being an option at additional cost, HQ download are the basics you get when you paid for the work.

About the watermark thing, first I really doubt this would end up working in the way it’s intended (it’s proven inefficient over the years for so many reasons), and second I don’t think it would align with the platform’s goals, and it would also require a lot of work that would have to be done by actual people so that the “tracing” is efficient, no algorythmic / watermark widescale automated solution is going to make this a functionnal idea on a wide scale, if platforms like Youtube, Twitter, etc. can’t do it correctly (no matter if the reasons why they do it, and why we do it are different), I’m not sure that we could. But most importantly, I really doubt that we should.


There is a push back for watermarking. I know photographers who post images on Instagram and Facebook and just hope they aren’t copied and reused. Sometimes they are and they seem to accept it as inevitable.
I don’t think there is widespread abuse by people distributing digital tracks they purchased from Bandcamp or Beatport. Some people really want to support artists directly and I think those type of people are drawn to Bandcamp and hopefully Resonate. People who are more interested in just enjoying their music whatever, are gonna stick with Spotify for the most part. It’s always the analogy of Safeway/ Walmart vs Farmer’s Market or direct online purchase fro a producer. Most people are just happy with the most mainstream, convenient - Walmart/Spotify.


100% with LLK and Chris here. I’m all for offering that, no strings attached.

The compromise I could see is to allow artists to define if HQ files are downloadable or not in the end, if that provides peace of mind to some of them, but then it should be absolutely clear to the listener/buyer what they’re getting at the end of their s2o process for these tracks - aka not the HQ files. I fundamentally believe we should give unrestricted access to the highest quality files though.

Actually, why not poll the community on that?

Also, I don’t think there would be a strong correlation between drm-free access to lossless/lossy files and rate of piracy. If someone wants to leak a release or send the files to a friend, they will, regardless of if it’s 96kHz/24bit FLAC or AAC/OGG/MP3. Worst case, they’ll leak the lossy format and advertise it as high-res lossless.


i agree with that


Everyone I know (which includes several DIY artists) cares about piracy by the way.
For just about all of us music makers, there is no proper income from recorded work any more. Which is one reason why I want to see platforms like Resonate succeed.
However, if you dwelt on the prevalence of pirating you would never release a record, so I think most of us are releasing recorded music and hoping enough music fans pay something towards our effort to keep us funded to make more music.

I guess to make it a bit clearer, who do you think is more “piracy” would be a better way to frame the question (I apologize if I didn’t frame it well enough) : people who bother uploading albums on P2P illegal websites where only a handful of passionates (because really I only know people who are very passionate about music who use those websites now for various technical reasons more than “piracy”) will download them, or Spotify who makes more or less everything free AND convenient for any average user to never bother about doing anything technical to reach out for an artist’s work ever again?

The thing is, with DIY artists, they’re not even being pirated anymore because it’s just not worth it for the seeders : passionate people prefer direct systems like Bandcamp where they have access to the work anyway, and if they like it enough that they want the files, they’re often willing to pay for it.

As a quick test to back that up, I went to Pirate Bay and checked for artists that are pretty famous in the indie scene but not very famous for the average music listener, and checked if their work was available on illegal websites : turns out none of them were, none of them, and we’re talking about artists who tour the world, are on labels like Friends of Friends, Alpha Pup, Thrill Jockey, Morr Music…

Interestingly, when I went up the ladder a little with more exposed indie musicians who are in the game since a bit longer, the only indie musicians I could find on piracy platforms had no recent work of theirs on there, only old stuff that dates back to 2014 at best. Which I find telling of the shift that happened for this scene : the passionates don’t have to reach for piracy platforms anymore to have direct non-monetized access to the work they seek to discover, they can just go anywhere they like and there will most likely be a way to listen for free. Which means that piracy/illegal platforms now mainly focus on providing HQ files for big acts artists that are famous around the world, which can still be useful to some people in some specific context and is made tenable by the fact a lot of people will then download those and keep seeding which is why the seeders still bother. In a way the “piracy” sphere is now completely dependant on the big business sphere, in that it needs the industry to perform its wide scale marketting campains to have an artist interest enough people that the P2P network still have a substantial amount of seeds for the files to be accessible for a while.

Meanwhile, legal piracy is doing just fine at Spotify / Apple Music & co.

That’s why I think providing HQ non-DRM non-watermarked files for people who paid for it is just natural and completely safe : passionate people will respect Resonate for it, and it will only increase the level of trust between the platform and its users which I think is more valuable than behaviors driven by fear of extremely marginal illegal behaviors.


Did you look at Stream Ripping? That’s where all the piracy is being done. Research shows it has increased alarmingly since the beginning f the pandemic. Probably because people are at home bored, and perhaps because under employed, or furloughed people don’t feel they can spend money on music.

I know a lot of independent electronic musicians and all of them wish people would support them financially rather than copying their releases without permission. All of us realise it’s inevitable though, we’re resigned to it, which is why it’s less of a hot topic of discussion any more.
The ending of gigs by and large and the closing of nightclubs for going on 14 months now has hit the electronic music company extremely hard - something which could have been moderated by some income from record releases.

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I don’t argue with that, my point is, do you think stream ripping is more a concern for musicians right now than the remuneration system at Spotify?

I’ve read the entire article you just shared, and it only furthers my point : the reasons some people went to torrenting website are probably numerous, but overall do you think it’s to download indie/DIY artists that are on Bandcamp, or actually to download the few big artists they listen to on Spotify because they didn’t have much money to spare through hardship?

I think here it’s fundamental to point out some facts :

If there’s a global economic crash, or even some month of global uncertainty, everybody will suffer and that includes us, and piracy will thrive and that includes not just us but every area of life, food, tertiary sectors, raw materials etc.

So in that sense, I don’t think the exceptionnal circumstances of the first lockdowns of 2020 are especially interesting in terms of broader trends, a lot of things went awol at that point in time, some industries thrived, some other were hurt.

But in another sense, if people go from spending 20€/month to Spotify back to piracy to spending nothing, it’s just the sign of a broader trend that is : people’s social conditions are becoming increasingly difficult. If they have so little money to spend that 20€/month is a concern of theirs and they have to let go of a service that gives them infinite music just because they can’t afford 20€ each month, frankly, they can be my guest and download my stuff through illegal means or listen to it for free on Bandcamp.

But then again ! I don’t think that’s the trend at all :

The article you shared was May 2020, right at the moment of the lockdowns all over the world, the first wave of the pandemic etc. a very particular situation that influenced the market in a weird way, and as you can read in the Rolling Stone article you shared, mostly streaming was expecting its numbers to go back up once people went back to work, listening to Spotify in their cars, in transportations etc. and… it did ! Here’s a more recent analysis :

Yes you read that right, Spotify BOOMED in the second and third waves of the pandemic, and it made record growth of premium users further consolidating its hegemonic place.

Which is why Apple recently replicated with its new “podcaster” model to try to make it more enticing for them on Apple Music than on Spotify.

So once again we’re left with that : Who are the “Stream Ripping” people affecting? You and I and other indie artists really? Or the big industry who owns 70% of music being sold and who represents an even greater percentage of the music being shared through piracy platforms and illegal streaming services. I think the question kind of answers itself.

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In the early 2000’s when this all kicked off, musicians started to argue with each other about what they personally wanted from the internet and digital distribution.
While we were busy arguing amongst ourselves, Spotify, Apple and Google walked in and took the business of earning a sustainable income away from us.
Musicians make two separate products. For most of the 20th Century our income was derived from those two products - recordings and live performance. Piracy in combination with mainstream streaming has stripped income away from 90% of the music workforce. The top 10% most popular artists are still doing well.
For about 14 months now, 90% of the music workforce has been unable to earn anything from live performance either.
One hopes and prays someday soon someone will restore some income back to musicians who release records. Maybe it will be Resonate.
You wanna argue?
All I can say is united we stand, divided we fall.