Paying for time spent listening rather than a tiered system?

Hi everyone :slight_smile:

I’m new to resonate and from what I can tell, there’s a lot of work happening behind the scenes or being worked towards. Some of the things I’m thinking about may already be in the works or been discussed (and dismissed) in the past, but after looking through some of the posts here, I’m seeing things similar to what I’ve been thinking I’d want in an ethical streaming service but not exactly the same.

This may end up being a rant, so apologies in advance if I’m preaching to the choir. Also I know people say euro’s a lot rather than $, but I don’t know how to make that symbol on my keyboard. There’s also a discussion about currencies here, like if I was paying in Thai Baht, Indonesian Rupiah, or Vietnamise Dong for instance, I’d feel like this idea was far too expensive and I haven’t given it any more thought for now. Suggestions would be great though.

I was wondering why there’s a price scale that values music listened to more frequently over music listened to once. That doesn’t sound very ethical to me. To me, what sounds ethical would be based on how much time was spent listening to music, and then whatever song was being played gets the money from the stream, be it 10 seconds of a song skipped through or a 10 minute song listened to 3 times for 30 minutes of streaming. I figure that the people who would be drawn to Resonate would be people who are doing it because they want to support artists. I think they would expect to pay more than the current ‘going rate’ of a streaming service like Spotify because there’s an understanding that the artists are not getting paid fairly and our entire industry is underpaying musicians in the streaming era. There’s also no reason why a song discovered and enjoyed once is worth any less than one listened to 5 times. Mood and music you know?

Bit of back story, I don’t like the current way things work on the internet. I find a band from a streaming site then chase that musician around the internet so I can buy their album or support them on patreon. It’s the only way I know the person is going to get some money in their pocket for the music they have given me. Wouldn’t it make sense if I could just pay for the music I’m listening to at a higher rate knowing that the act of listening was being paid straight to the artist? I’d love to see a breakdown each week or month about my streaming habits and how much of my money has directly gone to which artists. It’s why people I’d want to use the site, they see the impact I have.

In my head, what would make sense is pay $1 and get 1 hour of (new) music, with the same principles of S2O (once you have listened/paid the artist what they want for the album, you can stream it for free). So an artist might have the album priced $5 or $20, and the listener can either buy it straight away and listen/download it or, if it’s free or very cheap, they might want to donate more to the artist because they think it’s worth more aka the pay what you feel model from bandcamp.

I know it costs a lot more than any other streaming site at present but I think a lot of the current issues we have with streaming is due to the consumer not paying enough for what they get. It’s created a culture of expecting an endless supply of music, which is great as a consumer but it undervalues the music. You only have to go back a decade or so and it wasn’t uncommon to pay $30 for an album, so $1 for an hour of listening isn’t unreasonable, it just seems like it is because of the low prices that Spotify charge.

To do the usual comparison that’s made here in Australia, if you’re paying $3 for a coffee, surely paying another $1 to listen to whatever music you want while you drink your coffee isn’t unreasonable. With time, if you’ve bought or paid off those albums, it’s going to cost you less too.

If you break that $1 down, it could be for every minute of streaming, the musician that is being listened to gets 1 cent. The 40 cents left over from the original $1 goes back into the site so it can keep running and pay for programmers and add features. I don’t know if this is financially a viable idea or not as far as streaming costs go, but it seems like a fairer payment system to artists. Ideally, the more of a listeners money that goes to the artist the better and the rate of pay per stream may end up being higher than 1 cent per minute, but I have no idea about the costs of streaming from a hosting standpoint. Or, it costs less than $1 an hour for the listener, I’m just working with round numbers.

I read says that on average people listen to Spotify for 25 hours a month. Sure there are people that would use a lot more, but with a S2O model, if they are playing the same songs or playlists over and over, then this would actually cost less over time. Or they may have to change their listening habits and expectations, which isn’t uncommon if you’re trying to live a more ethical and sustainable life after all.

I found a recent thread talking about the taxi meter effect, where people get worried about how much money they are spending as time goes on. It was quite interesting and maybe this plays right into that mindset and wouldn’t work. Likewise though, if you can buy music through Resonate and stream it for free from that point, I feel like that would alleviate some of that anxiety about running out of streaming credit. It means people can balance their streaming with their bought music.

A really great feature would be if you could validate that people had bought music from other areas, be it online or in the physical world, and then got that transferred over if the artist was on Resonate. I’m just thinking of the music I’ve bought on Bandcamp or from people at gigs and how good it would be if those artists came across to Resonate and I didn’t have to buy their music again. I know people who have bought the same album on vinyl, tape, CD, and then Apple music, so it would be great if we could eliminate that problem as much as possible. I feel like that’s where Spotify got stuck, paying so much for back catalogues just so they could be ‘the place to go for audio’ rather than nurturing the independent scene, which Resonate could do.

As for payment, I think it could be pre or post paid. So you might buy credit of say $10 and get 10 hours of music, or you might listen to as much as you want and then get a bill at the end of the month (which might be a bit of a shock to some) or do a capped limit so $30 a month gets you 30 hours, then any more listening beyond that is blocked until you elect to pay for more. I also think unused credit should roll over, much like how Audible works.

I’m not personally big on subscription models but I understand many people love them. I just think having a pre-paid option that can sit alongside it would be great, so people might buy $10 and spend that over 3 months before they need any more. Maybe credit lasts for a year.

I know these prices sound unreasonable when compared to Spotify or Netflix etc. But not when you think of it in terms of a phone bill or internet usage or any other thing that we buy. If Resonate is aimed at being ethical with your spending in regards to musicians, then I think people will pay what is a reasonable amount.

I had some other thoughts about being able to communicate with the artist you’re listening to on the website too (shout out to John Humphrey Coconut for their Funk Elements album, I am digging this!). Kind of like how you can comment under a video in Youtube and engage with the community, it would be great to have that with Resonate. It could also help people share and discover new music.

Alright so I’ve ranted and rambled enough. Be great to hear what people think, maybe my ideas are way off but I thought I’d put them out here.