@Sam_Martyn a few different things with long answers so I’ll try to address them one at a time
I wouldn’t frame it as ‘partnering’ with DJs. Thinking of the platform as a product; in order for it to succeed we need user adoption, and I believe DJs would be the most valuable and engaged user by far. For DJs to join, the product needs to be in a state where it is the most attractive option out of all the other possible options for DJs buying music online. Then they will join in droves. Fortunately, feature-wise, DJs should actually be easier to cater to than the average spotify/apple music listener who is used to all the fancy algorithmic nice-to-haves. DJs tolerate some truly terrible UX when it comes to buying music online, because at the end of the day they go where the music is.
Buying music online as a DJ
I can only speak from my own experience - and you can bet that every DJ has their own particular way of acquiring new tunes - but a first-hand account should be useful anyway.
My primary (and favourite) source for new music is Bandcamp. If I can’t find something I want, I’ll begrudgingly find the online store that has it and buy it there. Over the years I’ve progressively ‘followed’ more and more artists/labels on Bandcamp. My inbox eventually became inundated with email notifications of their new releases, so I created a dedicated inbox for these to automatically be redirected to. I now have a pretty convenient place to look every time I want to discover new music. Before my fortnightly radio show I open 20 browser tabs at a time, and spend hours skipping through sometimes around 200 releases, adding the things I like to my cart as I go. At the end, I’ll proceed to the cart and complete the purchase (this can be fraught, with card processing issues sometimes really getting in the way). Then I’ll go through the list of purchases and download the files. I like the idea that if I did this on Resonate, then every single artist I listened to would receive some money, even if it’s only a few cents for the ones I didn’t purchase.
In many digital music stores, it is already common to charge more for higher quality downloads. Bandcamp doesn’t do this, which is a very attractive feature, but I assume this is somehow baked into the percentage fee they take. I pretty much only download 320kbps mp3s anyway, as they are more than sufficient radio quality for a fraction of the storage requirements. It’s nice knowing that if I was going to play on a really nice system, I could go back and download the lossless files though. This is an annoyance with other music stores, where I wouldn’t be able to do this. Certain stores I would have to ‘buy’ the track again but in a higher quality format.
I’m not fully across Resonate’s cost structure, so I can only speculate for now. If the aim is to become as decentralised as possible, then we will need to come up with novel ways to incentivise at least the following 2 activities in a private, secure and robust manner:
- Storage / Availability
I know there’s a crypto-undertone in the Resonate platform and community, but I’m unsure on the extent of it, and would be interested in what models have already been explored. I’ve been into crypto for long enough to be cynical about it, but this appears to be a very good use case, and the technology is finally reaching a level of scalability to make it viable thanks to Layer 2 solutions.
Assuming credits were tokens on a blockchain, then transaction fees should be a fraction of what it costs for Bandcamp (forget about fiat onramps for now - mass adoption is fast approaching). I don’t think it needs to be cheaper than Bandcamp though - the current average costs for buying digital music are fair. Instead, this additional margin could be used to incentivise decentralised storage/availability through some kind of revenue-sharing mechanism. Perhaps anyone who wants to seed a track can mint a seeder-NFT and receive a share of the revenue for not only every stream but also every download. The less seeders, the more profitable, as you get a larger share of the allotted seeder revenue. This provides another avenue for artists and labels to generate revenue from the music they create too. Meanwhile, maybe a buyer gets a supporter-NFT that also has a revenue-share mechanism, incentivising early supporters who would receive a larger share of the allotted supporter revenue, before it gets diluted across many supporters. Many would probably just spend the credits they receive on buying more music anyway. This NFT would also act as a receipt for the music, proving ownership, so that you would only need to pay a small amount for higher quality files or additional downloads in the future. All of this would need to be fleshed out further.
Encoding would need to be paid-for up-front, and I imagine you could do something exactly like the very successful RNDR network, but for audio encoding.
By framing Resonate as a Public Good, as an open stream-to-own protocol, I think the development could have a very high chance of being funded through Gitcoin.
For an early-stage product I think staying focussed is really important. Bandcamp already takes care of all the extras such as merchandise etc. Until Resonate is already highly successful in the music streaming/purchasing market, we can’t afford to get distracted by nice-to-haves, because it introduces additional complexity and spreads already-minimal resources even thinner. We’ll know it’s highly successful when the community’s main concern is how to handle user growth instead of adding features.
Resonate already has a better streaming experience than Bandcamp, because in the same browser tab I can listen to something while browsing other releases. If I could have a play queue to add releases to as I browse, it would be miles ahead of Bandcamp, and I don’t think that’s a particularly complex feature to build. Then I would just need to be able to download the tracks. The only other thing we would need is to continue on-boarding labels and incentivise them to make sure their catalogues are kept up-to-date. I’m very concerned that great labels who were originally on-boarded are no longer engaged and uploading their latest releases anymore. Labels and artists are the most important stakeholders of this platform, and if it isn’t already providing them enough value to stay engaged beyond the excitement of the innovative model, then there’s no way it’ll be able to succeed.
Whew, long post… thanks for reading if you made it this far