Play Fair Community Streaming

I thought it might be worth creating a new topic: our Resonate Play Fair Community Streaming project - basically this is Resonate available offline on ‘community cloud’ tech, focused on the local community of artists and listeners, all linking these communities in to the Resonate ‘global’ service that we know and love (when network / bandwidth permits). Here is the pitch deck - we are still waiting to hear if we have secured EU funding to help with this.


I have a dream that we can fight what I call ’ digital imperialism and monoculture ’ imposed by the global northern / western capitalist music economy: We could spread co-operative streaming and artist community from the local grassroots.

If there’s a term that I hate it is ‘World Music’ - a lazy and patronising way of treating music as either ‘exotic and cute’ or worse, where it is of $$$$ value, creating an extractive channel to the Northern / Western markets and exploiting it ruthlessly. Twenty years ago David Byrne wrote a good piece on this, and sadly, little has changed:

I watched a BBC documentary on the future of Cuban music. It showed how hard it is for Cubans to discover less ‘commercial’ new material from outside Cuba: on ‘el paquete’ it seems to be all Beyonce! The Cuban government does a great job in teaching and supporting musical culture, but they don’t have streaming, because there’s no decent internet (and it’s censored). There’s a risk they will lose a younger generation.

It would be great to bring innovative new Cuban artists out by Fair play, Fair trade, on a level playing field - not depending on once in a lifetime ‘discovery’ by the West/North by, say, Buena Vista Social Club and Afro-Cubism. What if these musicians could reconnect and collaborate ‘business as usual’? What if they did not have to depend on a charity (like Peacetones) or some music industry entrepreneur to find them (and perhaps rip them off)?


This project is very necessary. I am sure it is going to help many people.

One of the consequences of globalization, from my point of view, is a progressive loss of identity. Regarding to music, when the same mainstream artists are constantly featured in every major streaming service, it is inevitable that new generations of musicians and listeners will be influenced by them and will want to create and consume, respectively, that kind of music.

It will be increasingly harder to find musicians and listeners who feel attracted by their local music if it is not featured in their main music providers.

I recently read an article about the the recent boom of fado in Portugal, thanks to the proliferation of a new wave of fado artists that regained interest in the genre after some events, like the death of Amália Rodrigues, considered the queen of fado, or the declaration of fado as intangible cultural heritage by the Unesco.


Fado is a great example. An amazing example of music embedded in local culture. We have great memories of a big street food market last year in Lisbon, dominated by the sheer power of a Fado performer with a crowd of snappy dressers, young and old.

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I am very sorry to say that although our proposal reached the threshold to go through as a submission for POINTER it has been rejected by the evaluating team.

It seems we are the victim of a ‘rogue’ evaluator on this one. Proposals are evaluated by a pair of independent experts, and a few of them can be opinionaled and less than diligent. In our case, ‘evaluator 1’ fell into this category. Evaluator 2 was much more perceptive and attentive.

Judge for yourselves from the comments below:

Dear Nick,

Thank you for participating in the 1st Open Call of NGI Pointer.

We are sorry to inform you that, after the Evaluation process described in the Guide for Applicants (section 5), your proposal has not been selected during the Consensus meeting, to take part in the Support Programme of NGI Pointer.

Your proposal has been evaluated by 2 recognized experts, who assessed the potential of your project. Even though your proposal met the threshold of 10 points, it was not selected by the Selection Committee, due to the high number of quality applications for this Open Call’s application.

Please find below the final score and comments provided by those evaluators, as feedback to improve your project proposition in case you consider applying for the next NGI Pointer open call or anything similar.

Final Score of your proposal : 10,5 out of 15 points.

Evaluators feedback

Criteria: Excellence

Evaluator 1:

I think this is a very interesting project. Even though there are some blockchain references to identity platforms which makes me deeply suspicious (as bc identity is mostly bs) the bulk of the project seems to be about p2p media and data distribution which is always useful and can be used in a wide range of fields.

Evaluator 2:

Support artists and musicians, prevent censorship, and try to counteract distortions caused by technological or infrastructural expenditures/limitations are excellent goals. The proposed mix of new organization/economic models and distributed technologies is interesting. What we read, listen to or like can be used for profiling, thus preventing abuses in privacy is another very crucial aspect. Differences with Bandcamp and similar services should be better highlighted.

Criteria: Impact|

Evaluator 1:

LifeID makes me more than a bit queasy - I have yet to meet anyone in blockchain who understands identity and this proposal is no exception. LifeID also seems to be unrelated to the data distribution (DAT), which seems to have independent origin. I would have been more impressed with innovative data-distribution combined with modern scalable identity (openid) rather than an attempt to combine with unproven SSI which I believe will kill the usability of the result.

Evaluator 2:

The proposed idea seems very specific and tailored on the need of the Resonator platform (the development of a module using the DAT protocol). In this sense, the proposed approach is confusing as it does not clarify the “TRL” of the targeted architecture and the benefits in terms of open source software and components of large, general interests. Even if the needed integration effort will be huge and important, aspects dealing with standardization are hard to assess (and not clearly provided).

Criteria: Implementation

Evaluator 1:

The plan is ambitious but seems well thought out and worked through.

Evaluator 2:

Team is well-composed but CVs and supporting pointers should be improved (e.g., not all information is in english). The work plan (including data in the pdf) does not clearly show the effort for implementing the proposed architecture. The mix of voluntary and paid personnel is interesting but also requires a proper “risk management” strategy, which has not been addressed. Owing to its ambitious nature, PFCS should elaborate on the impact of donations/funding needed to complete the platform.|

If you consider that a mistake has been made and that your interests have been prejudiced as a result, please follow the appeal procedure described in the Guide for Applicants (Section 8.2).

In any case, we want to thank you for your participation in the 1st Open Call, we sincerely wish you every future success for your project and hope you will stay in touch with us and stay tuned for further NGI Pointer open calls via the NGI Community.

Best Regards,

NGI Pointer Team

I did make an appeal (referring to the pitch deck) but without success:


If you review our 12 page presentation you will find only one substantive reference to self-sovereign identity (SSI) (paragraph 3, page 9). It’s an additional privacy-enhancing feature, not a core element.

  • Our proposal and presentation does not mention ‘blockchain’ at all. LifeID is not mentioned in our presentation. These topics were only raised in responses to credentialise past experience of internet architects in working in novel domains, from which we may be able to re-use some code or patterns, but not without prior evaluation, as per our methodology.

  • We are open to any pragmatic solution to decentralised identity and our proposals include research (see slide 11) and rational choice. We won’t be forcing anything that will ‘kill the usability of the result.’

  • Our default approach is to continue with “innovative data-distribution combined with modern scalable identity (openid)” which is apparently what evaluator 1 would be ‘more impressed by’, but for which there was no recognition or credit given. See slide 10, which references our OIDC core ID service and the use of SSI as an extension of that capability

I am satisfied with the more balanced and objective comments of evaluator 2 and I accept that we could have done better in our response in the areas mentioned:

  • “Differences with Bandcamp and similar services should be better highlighted.” Agreed. Unfortunately we had limited space, but to clarify, briefly:
    Bandcamp is a for-profit enterprise platform with private backing. It is essentially a western OMS (online music store) that claims to reward artists better through purchases, merchandise or donations than the revenue they typically get from the large streaming platforms. It streams a lot of music for free (often tens/hundreds of free streams) before prompting for purchase. It has recently introduced a subscription service for individual artists. It has limited community features. It is proprietary and closed source.
    Resonate is a global co-operative owned and governed by its members - the community of artists and the listeners. It is for ‘active’ listeners and creators of primarily new music. The Stream2Own model means that every stream is paid for until an ‘ownership’ level is reached for each track. Resonate is a strong community service that is complementary, rather than competing with OMS services. Subscription is collective, not to individual artists: “co-operate, don’t compete” Resonate may never reach the scale of mass market streaming competitors, but we believe it will find a significant niche, with the potential for hundreds of thousands, maybe a million members globally. Resonate is open source and open data.

  • “…clarify the “TRL” of the targeted architecture and the benefits in terms of open source software and components of large, general interests.” Understood:
    Resonate has an established (beta) platform at modest scale (all open source) and user base, it is centralised and dependent on cloud infrastructure
    CoBox bring experience of decentralised tech and community cloud, Peacetones have experience and focus on the needs of target communities and human / legal / social impacts
    PFCS is all about integrating these services and approaches “the needed integration effort will be huge and important” - agreed.

  • “…aspects dealing with standardization are hard to assess (and not clearly provided).” Agreed - lack of space.
    In the short term Resonate is adopting open W3C standards for decentralised identity and authentication, working with the Open Music Initiative (OMI) recommendations to “Increase Transparency, Reduce Friction, and Promote Fairness in the Music Industry”. We are adopting OMI API specifications where appropriate.

  • “.PFCS should elaborate on the impact of donations/funding needed to complete the platform.” Agreed.
    We have a detailed workplan but it is senstive to the amount of funding we can attract. We have a fundraising campaign in progress.
    If we fail to attract the balance of the funding (or attract the necessary volunteer effort) we would need to de-scope features or extend the duration, or both.

I hope this additional information and clarification will help you to further reconsider your decision.

Best Regards,

Nick Meyne


I think we will have to accept that NGI POINTER are running a box-ticking exercise and have a lot of applications to get through and narrow down. Maybe we did not fit well enough with their criteria? All these applications are a long shot, after all. We are very fortunate to have succeeded with two other applications for ‘Discourse Community Credentials’.

Meanwhile I would like to keep trying to find funding for PFCS as s partnership venture, perhaps as a more general description of long term direction and strategy for Resonate… but that really depends on what you, our community and membership think. Grateful for views / comments!

Meantime, as I have already referenced the thoughts of David Byrne in this thread, I’d just like to add that admire his consistency over 20 years:

Didn’t know about this. Great way of responding.

Thank you for sharing @Nick_M!

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Just found another mention by DB of the wonderful treasure of community storytelling and music in the Chennai Music Festival and look, there at the end of David’s article is the Carvaan, a fancy version of that that hard drive (el paquete) they carry around door to door in Cuba! Wouldn’t it be great if those communities could connect up and stream and share? (Fairly, with protected rights).

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Just saw this interesting post from a POINTER winner… despite the cheesy acronym, the sort of thing the ‘DREAM team’ are proposing seems community-centric and locally resilient… reminiscent of what we were proposing with PFCS and our partners CoBox.



…maybe when we get a little time we should reach out to them?

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We are going to try again! POINTER second call is coming up, and they encourage those who did not get through in the first round to have another go. We were close, so with a few tweaks we could try again.

Our original PFCS submission ‘Play Fair Community Streaming’ proposal

is still very relevant. Have a read of this article about the cultural bias and inherent in big streaming distribution:

I would love to see an increase in the diversity, inclusiveness and reach of music streaming as a community and local activity in every country and town or cultural centre that we could reach with PFCS. We could help places that don’t enjoy good access to tech, or expensive or censored internet, or which are simply ignored or distorted through the bias of traditional distribution. These are the places with exciting stories and music yet untold and unheard. We want these communities to be able to hear their own voices and share on their own terms, with community self-help, not on the extractive terms of the global mega-streamers and labels.

I think it’s worth another try!


Well, we did try again, with a re-submission, and sadly did not make it. They are tightening up on the plans and budgets it seems - we did not score as well as we did last time:

Dear Applicant,

We are sorry to inform you that, after going through the Evaluation process described in the Guide for Applicants (Section 4), your proposal has not been selected to take part in the Support Programme of NGI Pointer.

Your proposal has been evaluated by 2 recognized experts, who assessed the potential of your project. Your proposal failed to pass the overall threshold of 10 points.

Find below the final score and comments provided by those evaluators as feedback.

Final Score of your proposal: 7,0 out of 15 points.

Criteria Evaluators feedback
Excellence Evaluator 1: It’s an interesting concept from the technical concept. It also gives more credit to the artist. But it sounds there are still multiple parts which are owned and controlled by a single company. I think it’s not 100% in scope of the NGI pointer.Evaluator 2: `Project itself is interesting and can probably deliver on its brief. Project is not very original though, nor does it look it will significantly advance the state of art.
Impact Evaluator 1: It could have a great impact on the artist and music world. Even PFCS is open source and free software, it looks it still has at least one centralized component.Evaluator 2: Larger project is aligned with NGI mission. Positive impact is to be expected.
Implementation Evaluator 1: The work plan has time estimate and has a good calendar diagram. But it’s not clear how big the work items are. Please add personal month to the work items and assign the team members to it. Without any assignment I only see a single software developer for this project. A single software developer would not be enough. A more specific budget plan would help understand the work items and for every team member a specific dedication would be great. Evaluator 2: Team has a proven track record in this specific field. The tasks are not very well defined hence it is difficult to determine the relevance of the budget. The project seems expensive for the value delivered.

As described in the in the Guide for Applicants (Section 7.2), the external evaluation is run by experts in the Internet Architecture field, and we do not interfere with their assessment, therefore we will not evaluate complaints related to the results of the evaluationIn any case, we want to thank you for your participation in the 2nd Open Call, we sincerely wish you every future success for your project and hope you will stay in touch with us via the NGI Community.

Best Regards,

NGI Pointer Team

Never mind. We’re busy enough already! Plenty more to be getting on with. We might do well to look at future collaboration with other EU NGI projects doing interesting related work… like Castopod:

I take it more as an example of how random and biased the 15 points rating can be.

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Thanks @LLK !! I’m sure we could have done a bit better, but life is too short to worry about the ‘randoms’ who are signed up to evaluate the herd of applicants for these things. Frankly I’m a bit relieved, as right now we have the ‘final final’ session of Community Credentials for eSSIF-Lab coming up, and it’s all a bit exhausting :sweat_smile:

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