I think it’s fair to charge people the same on months they use less. If you buy into a subscription pool, you’re saying: maybe I’ll overpay some months, maybe I’ll come out ahead sometimes, I don’t want to think about it or feel nickled and dimed, so here’s my monthly subscription fee.
Maybe auto-pausing subscriptions for people who don’t use the service at all in a given month would help make sure people aren’t throwing their money away.
I still haven’t fully digested this post but I am intrigued and thankful for @LLK taking this on.
Possibly not the best place for my thoughts but the following spring to mind.
I’m especially interested in:
I’m also concerned by the way different listening behaviours are valued differently. This is also one of the reasons I posted Robin James’ writing elsewhere (Vibe Capitalism) as there’s some critical perspective I think is of value here.
I’m not sure if we’re devaluing ‘explorer’ listening by making it cheaper, or if we’re ultimately leaning in to putting such listening behaviour on a pedestal and us tweaking pricing to cater for it. Resonate certainly hasn’t created explorer behaviour but, considering it critically through James’ lens, it’s worth considering how it functions within the broader ethical considerations of a ‘vibe’ economy.
The report posed a simple thesis: Bandcamp is profitable and Spotify is not, because Bandcamp’s minimalist business model — allowing the exchange of money for music and merch on terms that artists and labels set themselves — provides the opportunity for people to spend as much as they want. The premise that people want to buy things makes the company something of an overlooked pioneer in applied behavioral economics. By contrast, Spotify adheres to an outmoded understanding of humans as economic agents that seek nothing but cost minimization. Its $10/month spending cap for an individual subscription not only prohibits the behavior that Bandcamp is built upon, but causes it to lose money nearly every quarter.
This led me to think more about how stream2own functions as a way to buy music. It’s a kind of sheep in wolf clothing, a trojan horse, buying music disguised as streaming. I know @LLK has done the math and thought about the economics here (which I still want to take the time to work through in more detail), and it adds up as it currently stands. From a more conceptual/rhetorical perspective though, is a monthly streaming service really in the best interest of the kind of music economy we want to help build?
To this last question I don’t have an inkling of an answer. There probably isn’t a single or simple answer anyway. I also fully feel the taxi meter effect and would instinctively feel compelled towards a subscription but, that might not be for the greater good.
This all led me, and I’m going way off track here, to think about why, under stream2own, does the price per stream rise the way it does.
Why not 1/9th (or 1/5th or 1/10th etc) of $1.25 per play? You’d still buy it in 9 plays, but you’d pay the same as an ‘explorer’ or a ‘collector’ (or whatever we’re calling it) per stream. Essentially, all s2o would be, under equal divisions of the track price, is a way of spreading out the purchase of music.
My thinking here makes other issues - checkout pricing, buying whole albums at once, and downloads - even more essential to me than I previously thought (and thankfully we’re all trying to get these done).
So, I don’t feel I’ve added much commentary to the subscription service itself but these are the thoughts that have bubbled up the most whilst chewing through the proposal.
I agree with this in the sense that I don’t know if there’s really anything wrong with keeping things simple. You pay for something, you get it. Done. Splitting it up in 9 parts etc. is just a minor detail. I think society these days is a bit too infatuated with always feeling like they’re getting a “magically good” deal (which is partially born from how VCs operate these days imo). While I understand the taxi-meter effect, it can be prevented by simply buying an album, or outright buying a collection of songs, and then just listening to those. That system has existed for a very long time. Alternatively, you simply just load up a set amount of credits every month and once they run out you don’t load up until the next month. You’ll still have any fully-owned songs to keep listening to. Should you expect to own 100 songs with just your first 10 bucks? No, ownership has never worked like that.
There’s a difference here. As an explorer, you will never/rarely end up owning the songs. If you were to not be able to afford to load up more credits one day, you suddenly have very little music if any to listen to. That is the price you pay. The person listening to the same 5 albums will have bought ownership which also means stability. Same as buying an apartment vs. renting one. So I don’t think “ethical” can be pulled into this argument.
I think the tl;dr is that one of Resonate’s strongest arguments is ownership, which differentiates it from Spotify and other streaming services. It will never be able to compete with the value those services provide for people who don’t care about ownership, but just want to listen to tons of music for cheap.
Yep, totally. The other thing that works with bandcamp is that it allows listeners to pay more if they want. S2O is great in that it has a cap that works against the notion that a song can earn bazillions over a lifetime (and the various extractive capitalist logics that come from that) but allowing listeners to tip, buy more stuff, pay more etc. (alongside artists opting out of any such transactions if they wish) seems to me to be one of our strongest propositions for the future.
No, I think ‘ethical’ is fair here. We’re talking about the value assigned to someone’s creative labour. There’s numerous ways of accounting for value but, just in terms of streaming revenue, and, in the case of S2O, a kind of hybrid streaming-buying revenue, we are valuing different listener behaviours… differently.
The pros and cons of S2O have been debated elsewhere so I’ll resist getting too far into again here but, for me, even saying that one type of listening has different value, in the sense of artist remuneration per stream, is of ethical concern. Why is one form of listening worth more/less? What are the forces that incentivise one form of listening over another? Is it fair to assign value to art based upon its affective qualities such as how much it resonates with an individual, how much you love it? And so on…
I pay monthly for my mobile phone service. I use a UK network called giffgaff and there’s a kind of hybrid pay-as-you-go/contract offer. Basically, I buy a ‘goodybag’ at a fixed monthly price, with a fixed amount of data/mins/texts/etc (though mins and txts are unlimited these days). I get a slightly better deal because I auto-renew the same goodybag each month.
I used to be very good at tailoring the goodybag I regularly used to have just enough data but not too much that I’m paying for something I don’t use. I had some experiences where I went over my allowance and paid through the nose for it though.
More recently, I have an art studio that I often work at but the internet provided is terrible and doesn’t work properly. Now I can get 5G, I often tether to mobile data (hotspot) when I need to. Sometimes this is for GB intensive stuff and sometimes it isn’t. To avoid paying through the nose for going over my data allowance I now subscribe to a more expensive goodybag with 100GB per month (this seems like a lot to me btw).
Sometimes I need this but, more often, A LOT of my data allowance goes unused.
One of the bug bears with the above system is a lack of granularity in control, or even monitoring my spend/usage. I also get a monthly email that tells me (with not very much useful information) about my monthly usage. It even tells me if it thinks I’m on the right package or not. It tells me ‘well done’ I’m on the right package even when I’ve only used ~20GB (out of 100GB)!!!
From a ‘business’ perspective this all makes sense, I’ll keep paying for spare capacity I’m not using.
What if, instead, I got an option to upgrade from one package to another if it looked like I’d go over my data usage (so I could regularly subscribe to a lower/cheaper package but occasionally just pay the extra when needed). What if unused data rolled-over. What if there were other tools to spread or control my subscription/usage?
So… that’s a lot of detail about my life/mobile data haha but it’s context for the following…
Do you think that the taxi meter effect could be better combated by better tools to manage/control monthly spend? I’m all for user choice but having two different systems running concurrently and expecting me to choose between subscription or pay as you go (and therefore probably compare some calculators and predict my listening behaviour etc.) feels a bit overwhelming.
What if the various listener behaviour calculations were put to better use to give someone a live view of their expected remaining listening? I’d see this as good use of algorithms/ai, predictive modelling of listening based upon aggregated listener behaviour and personal listening history (providing such data can be collected and used ethically and anonymously).
What if other proposals to be able to see credits/spend in actual local currencies came to fruition?
Auto-top-ups, monthly spending caps, etc, etc.
Basically, do you think we can approach the issues you usefully highlight, with better UX, tools, systems, and processes, within the existing pay as you play framework?
I want to thank all of you for engagin with this proposal !
For those who don’t feel like reading all the answers I’ve added a TL;DR at the bottom feel free to go there.
I feel like all the propositions I’ve made above are kind of a lot to take in so it’s great that we can go through it more one by one and try to tackle every issue. I’ll try to answer to each question raised here and explain why I think the proposition I’ve made answers those questions already.
It’s correct but not exactly :
Basically the more you play music, indeed the more what you pay per play will decrease (like in all user centric system), but by the end of the month, the pool is divided so that the songs you’ve listened to get a bigger cut of your monthly payment each time you’ve played them (the price is multiplied by 2 each time) exactly like on S2O. Which means that you might own say, 3 songs after just one month if you’ve listened to them 15 times, and you’ve only listened to the rest 1 time, even if you’ve listened to a lot of songs. Those 3 songs will just get a big cut of your 10€ monthly payment (3,75€) and the rest will split the remaining amount together (6,25€).
That’s the basic idea. And then I add a lot of other UX improvement to make it a much better /robust idea.
I don’t think we should “charge them less” some months vs others, basically the whole point of the subscription is what @ryanprior mentiones in their reply.
Basically that. And especially, I think our subscription service would be extremely fair on the consumer, my focus would mainly be on making it extremely fair to the artists on the platform and make sure that they’re being paid decently as soon as someone finds interest into their work. This is why I think the combination of S2O incremental pricing and subscription is great.
This sounds decent enough, it sounds like trying to be the “ultimate ethical subscription service” and I’m all for it. It would need to be confirmed if that’s technically possible for us to pause a subscription without the explicit consent of the consumers though and that’s a legal issue I’m not knowledgeable enough to discuss. I guess we could precise very clearly something like “if you don’t use the service for a period of 6 months, we consider that you consent to the pause of your subscription service”.
This being said, I pay a fee to a lot of platforms I rarely if ever use just because I want to support them so I don’t know if this is in our best interest. Some people could feel like supporting us but not find what they want in our catalogue for some time especially if they only like to listen to more well-known acts because to them music is about sharing with their friends about famous artists, but they still want to support an ethical alternative.
But I’m ok with anything in that regard, any action on our end that protects consummers rights is a good thing.
Now @thehouseorgan has shared a number of crucial remarks I really want to adress because I feel they are exactly why I made this proposition in a first place. I’ll adress each point in chronological order.
First, this quote :
And then this
Here I feel like there’s a misunderstanding about what I’m proposing :
Yes it’s a subscription service in the sense that you pay a monthly fee, but it is still exactly like Stream 2 Own, in fact IT IS Stream 2 Own, so it is still, to use your quote
Actually even way more than Pay as you Play.
To circle back the quote from the article “but what if it’s good”, it’s using an argument that has been established multiple times, but the best study I’ve seen on it is this one, which I encourage everyone to read it’s fantastic :
But if we stop at this reasoning sincerely, we might as well shut down Resonate right now because all we’re saying is basically “Bandcamp is much better than Spotify… and Resonate.”
Because I’ve expressed myself about this already I won’t do it again but please read my take on why, indeed, Bandcamp’s business model is currently so much better than ours :
So I want to come back to how Resonate would be “a sheep in wolf clothing”. In fact this isn’t really true, Resonate is kind of very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Why? Basically Resonate tells users “hey discover music, it’s pretty cheap” (that’s the sheep part), and then once users are like “wow I really LOVE these 3 album I’ll listen to them all month !” then Resonate tells users “great ! It’ll be 35€ this month thanks. But you own it at the end !”
Why is Bandcamp better? Because they’re actually “cheating” by making the entire streaming experience on their platform free, and the way they’re making it free, is by making the user experience of listening to music on their platform just bad enough that they can escape paying by saying “we’re not actually a streaming service”.
So on Bandcamp the experience goes like this compared to us : a user looks for music on the platform and find those 3 albums, and they really love them and they’re like “wow I really LOVE these 3 album I’ll listen to them all month !”, and then they’re like “well this one’s my fav so I’ll buy it this month for 11€ and next month I’ll buy this other one for 12€ and maybe the month after that if I can I’ll also buy the third one for 12€ we’ll see”.
And THAT is why Bandcamp’s model is simple and powerful : PEOPLE DON’T PAY FOR STREAMS. Not a single €. They just pay for what they like. And everything they listened to that they didn’t like enough to consider paying for it got nothing.
That’s what’s strong about it.
Obviously we can’t do that because we aim to provide a strong streaming user experience that’s equating to the big streaming platforms, so we can’t (like litterally we legally can’t) say “well you listen to everything for free and only pay when you feel like it”. Which I’ll remind you is exactly what Bandcamp does so if we want to compare ourselves to them that’s where we should start the comparison.
Ok so the next point
This is litterally undoable, I’ve done the simple maths, at an average of 27 songs per day you get a monthly fee of 113.4€ euro basically. And if you haven’t listened to anything 9 times, at the end of the month not only have you spent 113.4€ but you don’t own anything.
Now why is the price per stream good I can easily explain because that’s the idea everyone came here for and it’s the one thing people can easily get behind no question I think. It’s the question of “what has a value where we can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that it needs to be paid for in some way”.
Corporate streaming decide that every listen has the same value, that basically when I listen to a track because everyone likes it and it ended up in my playlists, and when I fall in love with a track, it’s the same thing.
Resonate on the other end, says that there’s a huge difference between a song you fall in love with, and something that fell on your doorstep at random, and that listeners should have complete control of where their money goes, and that if given the choice, they’d rather give most of their money to the things they listened to a lot than to things that they listened to once and didn’t like.
I think that’s true for a simple reason : that’s already what people do everyday in their life. If you like a specific bakery and it’s at the same price as the one you don’t like, you’re going to go to the one you like and give them much more of your money, not just a little more, litterally a lot more.
The problem with “streams” is the price of a single stream is so little, that even if someone listened to a song 15 times on Spotify vs 1 time another, it’s still nothing and there’s nothing the listener can do about it.
So S2O just says, if you listen to something 15 times, it should not be “15 times mulitplied by almost nothing”, it should be close to the price of buying the song, because you’ve established a real relationship with the song and THAT has an actual value in more than cents. And at the end of that process, since you’ve paid the price of buying it YOU SHOULD ALSO OWN IT.
That’s why the incremental rising price and owning result to me is possibly the greatest feature of S2O. That’s also why this is the main feature that doesn’t disappear from my offer, which is still a disguised way to buy music.
OK so on to the next post, equally great remarks.
This is really important to emphasize that what you’re describing is, in my view, unfair to musicians.
“As an explorer, you well never / rarely end up owning the songs”, it’s true both in pay as you play and in subscription. But it’s not true because Pay as you play is better, it’s true because the “explorer type” just doesn’t care about owning things in either scenarios. Pay as you play considers that, since the explorer doesn’t care about owning things they should pay less, but I consider this is unfair to all the musicians who work their ass off to create a huge catalogue of songs that the explorer can listen to everyday. In “Pay as you play”, the explorer is going to give the entirety of those musicians 4€ a month which I consider borderline insulting of a price, in a subscription service, they’ll be paid almost 3 times more for providing his daily average music consumption and I think THAT’s fair.
This basically means that the explorer type rewards the fact that there’s millions of artists creating music daily for him to enjoy without thinking about it, and those workers should be paid decently, and there’s no reason to give them so much less just because you don’t care about owning their music.
Here I can only agree since the service I’m proposing is precisely helping more people finally own their music. Basically all the people who would use our service would in the end own the music they really like in the end, it would not just be the wealthy or super self conscious people who can think about how they’re going to top up or spend or recoupe or buy music all the time. It would also be the tired people who at the end of the day have a budget of 120€/year for “ethical music” and want to leave it at that.
Well at the end, on Spotify they’ve spent 120€/year to pay for Drake and Taylor Swift.
At the end on Resonate, they’ve spent 120€/year and own maybe 25 songs and 2 or 3 albums that they’ve given a fairly large sum of money to that they would NEVER had given. And if they’re a bit richer and more ethically inclined, they’ve made their subscription 20€/month, so they’ve spent 240€/year and now they own even more music because they’ve spent more on each stream.
This to me is the “sheep in wolf’s clothing” approach.
I’m not clear about this part because I’ve never proposed this so I don’t know what it’s referring to…
Here what you’re implying is that you can circumvent the taxi meter effect by having more money, which is true, but is only something worth noting if we only plan on making a service that catters to the wealthier urban middle class that can afford to buy albums outright, in which case I think we don’t need Resonate at all, the “Spotify + Bandcamp” combo works exactly like you describe : People discover for cheap on Spotify and then buy outright on Bandcamp (and actually since Bandcamp takes a smaller cut than us, artists will actually make more money that way, even more if people then keep on listening to them on Spotify because Spotify will keep paying for those streams despite their fans having paid for it on Bandcamp).
My personnal view is that we should try to find a way for folks who only want to spend 10 bucks a month on music and not think about it too much to spend most of that money on the artists they really like, so that : 1/ those artists get the biggest possible cut 2/ the people who like the music own the music in their collection so that it creates an actual bond (they’re conscious they’ve paid that artist a certain amount and it shows through the fact that they own the songs/albums)
Do note that there are multiple propositions in my original post for paying more :
Being able to pay more each month (“add what you want”), being able to keep paying artists once you own their songs (“keep supporting”), being able to top up listen count when a song is very long or you don’t want to listen to it again but you loved it and you want to give it a bigger cut of your money (“top up listen counts”)
This is all to give user control of how much they want to spend, and get rid of our rigid and outdated (just like Spotify) vision of “first play is worth this / second play is worth this / third play is worth this…” which I don’t think is that great.
Basically I think one thing we forget here, is that in our pursuit for musicians to be paid more fairly, we want to close how accessible, flexible and enjoyable our service is to people who are poor and marginalized. We’re separating both crowds like there only are poor musicians deserving to be paid more, but not poor listeners deserving to have the little they have to spend on music be spent more ethically without losing access to a premium experience or having to go to Spotify/Bandcamp. They basically are allowed to discover music on Resonate, but as soon as they like something and feel anxiety about seeing the credits drop suddenly, we’re telling them “well just buy then !” how is that “fair”?
Musicians should always remember that sometimes, a musician asking for fairer payment is asking for it from someone who is possible in a dire financial situation just like him, and that person might not have more than a certain allocated amount of money to spend on music every month.
To this problematic there are two contradictory visions that come in place, the first one is to say “we can’t do anything against it, Society’s built like that and it’s not our problem, music has a price and that’s it”. That is our current model.
The other vision is to say “There’s a bare minimum that people should have to pay and we can’t go much lower than that, but what we can assure on the other end is that this money is spent in a way that’s representative of user behaviors, for each according to their needs”.
If someone’s very rich and he spends 90% of his Resonate money on the stuff he loved, to me, it holds as much value as if someone’s very poor and spent 90% of his Resonate money on the stuff he loved.
I want both to have the same experience on the platform.
The difference is the rich guy will be able to leave the platform owning more songs and enjoying them outside of it, because we don’t have control over what happens outside the platform, but WITHIN the platform, we act as a sort of benevolent force where we try to the best of our abilities to confront inequalities.
Now one last thing that a lot of people seem to forget here, is that a lot of musicians feel Resonate right now is not a good platform because it doesn’t give them a possibility to be “free to listen to” like on Bandcamp. That’s right : a lot of musicians like people to be free to listen to their music without strings attached for as long as they want before buying. That’s because a lot of musicians are conscious they’re making a rather luxury good in the end, and what matters to them most is that they can share their art with the world at large and have as many people listen to it as they want.
Right now Resonate is litterally telling these people they don’t have the right to do that, they should either pay 10€ to own an album or not listen to it too much, and a lot of musicians don’t like that at all.
While my proposition doesn’t really solve that, I think it makes a bridge that needs to exist between Bandcamp “we don’t pay for streams ever” and Spotify “we pay scrap for streams on a pro rata basis”. It would basically be “we pay for stream, and especially for the things you stream the most, but once you own the songs it’s just like if you bought them on Bandcamp”. In this scenario we’re more ethical than both AND the service is affordable to a lot more people without discriminating based on user patterns.
About that, @richjensen had a similar idea to basically have a sort of mix between Subscription and Pay as you Play. (Basically a “top up every month by x amount” feature)
I can speak for this a little if you want because I gave it some thoughts.
My short answer would be “no”. The longer answer is “it’s complicated”. It would solve some of the issues of Pay as you Play, but it wouldn’t solve the main issues of Pay as you Play. For one it doesn’t get rid of the rigid arbitrary metrics “1 play is this, 2 play is this” etc. so we’re still locked on a weird value scale which makes no real sense (the “9 play” we like to remind everybody all the time which I don’t think is that good). So basically, our assumption and hope here, would be that people mostly will NOT spend over 10€ (or 5€ or 15€) each month, it assumes our current offer is not in the realm of those monthly prices. Personally, while I think it might be true for now because of our lack of catalogue and the profile of the early adopters using the platform, I think as soon as we’ll have a broader audience, we could see a lot of people basically reaching their maximum each month and ending up being frustrated every now and then because they can’t use the platform unless they top up their account manually until the next month. That’s the first issue : we have no idea how much S2O would really cost if we scale.
The second issue that’s not solved by this is the explorer type issue, and more broadly, the problem of the credits not spent. Basically the force of a subscription service is that you’re constantly paying the platform and trust that they’ll pay artists fairly with whatever money you’re giving them. It means for us that we’re sure we’re always giving money back to artists.
However if someone has a monthly top up credit and they accumulate credits they do not use, then we have an amount of money that’s untapped, and we’re basically giving the entire responsability of if that money goes to anyone to users. It means we have to think like “do we have a right to use credits that haven’t been spent after 6 months?” because someone spent 50€ on our platform credits but is not giving them away to artists because he’s not listening enough !
It’s especially weird since in the end, because we can’t give them the money back as has been explained on other topic (we can’t have people “withdraw” their credits, it would be like being a bank), we’re effectively proposing them to commit to something that’s exactly similar to a subscription service (they pay a monthly 10€ or whatever fee that they can revoke anytime) but it’s not actually a subscription service… If our aim is to simplify our offer, this is kind of a super weird thing to do and implies a whole lot of complicated aspects too.
Subscription is more predictable, even if someone doesn’t listen to a lot of music, the 10€ still go to artists, they just get paid a little more, and it means in addition that this person will get to own their music more quickly because they’ve only listened to a few artists, which you know, seems fair enough. It’s especially fair because if someone listens to a few artists and own their music more quickly… then it’ll mean more money for the new artists they discover ! So that’s much better than a “floating in the ether” credit count that users have to actively take care of and maybe you know, they have other things to do with their life than wonder what to do with Resonate credits. (I think in fact this should litterally be our job, the service we provide, to make sure it’s all fairly spent)
All this being said, I would be in favor of the implementation of a “monthly top up” as soon as we can implement it because it would already be much much better than our current model. So this is just me saying it’s not ideal/perfect, but it would definitely be an improvement that’s sure.
Again, this is a good idea but it would, like all the other ideas WORK BETTER in a subscription based model. Because basically the person who only have 10€/month to spend and the person who has more would all be presented with a similar view, and they could all decide how to spend more based on where they are with their music consumption, and how close they are to owning things. Most likely the poor person would then top up listen counts (to increase the share of their monthly payment the artists get) or listen more next month, and the richer person would just buy outright.
To this it’s a complete and absolute no. There’s nothing to fight the taxi meter effect of having listens double in value every time under a fixed price. The fixed price means : 9 listens = 1.25€. If you love an album and you’ve listened to it all week, your monthly 10€ are gone and that’s it.
Resonate is kind of “pretending” to spread the spendings over time, but it’s also kind of a lie, a lot of people discover an album they love, and they listen to it over and over at that moment. So the most likely moment where someone listens to an album is when someone discover it. So whereas Bandcamp gives free listens (possibly unlimited possibly limited the choice is given to the artist) and people can buy later on, we at Resonate say “To listen to it 9 times you HAVE to pay 10€”. You will never escape that with all the clever UX, tools and systems you can put into place.
I get that, but frankly, Pay as you play alone is already exactly that, adding subscription would be precisely to add an option for people who do not want to think about it.
The only reason to prefer pay as you play is exactly what you outlined above about trying to be super self-conscious of your use and spendings at every corner of the user experience to make sure you’re not overspending, by self-limiting yourself artificially or toping up your account each and every month to see if you’re “on the right plan”. That’s basically the use case.
OK mandatory TL;DR
I’m proposing a Subscription Stream 2 Own service :
It’s still about buying music. It’s still Stream 2 Own. People should own what they spent money listening to.
It’s still about paying the music that you really like a fair price, so the more you listen to something, the bigger cut of what you’re spending on the platform it gets.
It acknowledge that in our current economy, music listeners are not all equal under capitalism and not all of them, especially marginalized and lower class people, can afford to buy music at retail price all year, and that those people should still be offered a way to enjoy the platform without any limitation based on how rich they are and their capacity to top up. Right now, if someone doesn’t have 10€ to spare on an album, they have to stop listening to it on Resonate, but if they’re wealthier, they don’t have to. That is not what I personally call “fair”. If we really claim to catter to those populations, we should make offers that take into account their realities and make music accessible to them, and not constantly hide under the guise of the capitalist take that “music has value, if you can’t spend the money, it’s natural that you can’t listen to it as much as someone who can”. I don’t think this is what we stand for.
Instead of forcing these people to stop listening until they can afford to buy the music they like, it states that it’s a healthier and more respectful model to allow these people to basically pay for the music they like over a longer period of time and to the best of their capacity. They will eventually own their music, but it might take a bit longer. In the meantime, we’ll let them enjoy it regardless.
It also emphasizes that people who do not wish to own music should still support to a decent price the catalogue of artists who created through hard work the music that they enjoy daily, meaning that for people who only listen to things once or twice, the price of the first and second listen must represent a bigger cut of their monthly payments, because diversity is what they put value on. It means artists get paid more for participating in the richness and variety of our catalogue.
It specifies that while there should be a “minimum” (10€? 12€ 15€) price for access to the platform, there shouldn’t be a maximum price cap (like all other streaming services), and people should be able to “add” as much as they want and pay more. If they do so, they’ll have an immediate reward in the fact they will “own” their music library more quickly, because they’re not leasing, they’re directly paying artists.
These are the main points I want to emphasize. I don’t think Pay as you Play is any fashion capable of adressing these, no matter how much more robust we make it.
The other main point is that in the meantime before implementing this, we should definitely offer a “monthly top up” options to people because it would be an improvement from no kind of regular payment options at all.
All the remarks of comparing a S2O subscription service to Spotify are, in my opinion, misguided because you can never own anything on Spotify, and you’re never directly paying artists, and small artists value per stream is entirely dependent of the number of streams big artists make. These three critical points make the proposition I’ve made completely different, where we’re basically offering people to spend a minimum of 120€ a year on a Bandcamp like service, where they own part of music they’ve listened to by the end of the year, and can decide to buy the songs they’re close to owning if they want to. This way, we say that “streaming has value” (unlike bandcamp who say it doesn’t have any), but also that “consumers should be respected and own what they stream most” (unlike Spotify), and finally that “music that people enjoy quite a lot but not to the point of being bought should still be rewarded fairly” (unlike both Bandcamp where people get nothing, and Spotify where people get fraction of a penny).
Thank you all for engaging with me ! I’m aware this is a complex topic.
How would some of you feel about creating a event in the calendar to discuss together about this in a call? I feel like there are so many components to this discussion that it’s kind of heavy to discuss by writing, and I think it would be much faster to just discuss these topics in a more direct and collective way.
Yep, fair point on the math, I was coming at it more from an abstract position. It’d work if it was like 1/100th or even maybe 1/50th but owning after 50 plays is a very different proposition.
There’s still a point where I’m uncomfortable with this. Briefly, I’m interested in the way music consumption has, in some areas, been channeled into economies of affect - lofi beats for studying, peloton, spotify mood playlists etc. - music is valued by what it does to you in a way that obscures some of the other forms of creative labour within musical works. Yes, there’s always been consumer choice - one bakery over another, to buy a CD or not, and likes and preferences are of course part of that but, the world has moved on and value based upon ‘love’ sits alongside and is entangled with such economies of affect in a way that keeps me mindful of it. I wanted to raise it so that it forms part of the context of the discussion but I’ll leave it there, lest it distract too much from the real discussion, a subscription model.
Apologies, I’d skipped through these too much in my reading and didn’t pay them proper attention.
Yeah, I kinda see this. I suppose this is where this kind of discussion gets tricky as basically, you’ve wisely identified a possible future issue, that, for various reasons, pay as you play won’t scale particularly well. Of course, pay as you play, and the various improvements to that along the way, aren’t yet fully implemented/developed. Just because we might solve some of the UX/usability stuff, the problem you’re addressing might still come but it’s hard to invest in that problem whilst everything feels so unfinished at present.
I wonder if this kind of proposal needs a kind of pilot scheme, and maybe sooner rather than later (like not next week but 6 months or so down the line rather than at the last moment we possibly need it because it turns out pay as you play isn’t scaling well). I know dev resources are better prioritised elsewhere and what I’m suggesting is non-trivial, but I feel like a small pilot group actually on a ‘subscription’ would be of value.
It’d be good to distill some of the broader thinking about this into smaller chunks that can more easily be thought through and turned into possible future action.
I think I understand the whole picture of this proposal now. I kinda like the dynamicness of it. As far as I, as a listener, am concerned, it’s a pure win. I mean it’s basically a Spotify except that I end up owning my favorite tracks that I listen to frequently (and feel better about myself ethically). But I’d argue that it’s a loss for the artists (just like Spotify) for all listeners that are very active compared to the current Resonate model. They’d still make more money (short-term) than what they do on Spotify though, so I suppose ultimately Resonate might achieve its goal still.
As for the logistics of this model, it would certainly take a ton more math and calculations (for the system) to figure everything out. Not a big deal once it’s all coded up though, but getting the ball rolling on a project like this is definitely a bigger task.
Finally, I think this proposal could use one or two more concrete examples (with some numbers etc.). Took me a while to grasp what it was trying to say but I don’t think it’s really that complicated of a concept at the end of the day . The calculator sheet is cool but it’s also really hard to understand fully what goes on in there unless you already have a firm understanding of things (and even then it’s not the easiest sheet to understand, no offense).
It’s a loss “in principle” I agree, but only in principle, in the sense that it’s only a loss if we assume the people consuming music through the subscription model would consume exactly the same amount of music and pay for everything on the “pay as you play” model which seems almost impossible.
And also I think with the subscription model, you could imagine a “profile page” where people would see the songs they’re closest to owning, and this would act as an incentive, imagine you realize you only need 1.20€ to own an album you really love, I’m sure a lot of people would top up to buy it because they’d feel it’s now a bargain at that price, this could counteract the rigid monthly price. Anyway yeah this is to say since I think this would get more people onboard, and the loss would only be marginal, it would also allow artist to access their audience much more easily (by removing the “should I listen to this more at the risk of spending all my credits?” hurdle and have people listen to things they like more naturally), and the more people you can reach, the more people can appreciate your work, and since we have a rock solid system for fair payouts once someone likes something, that’s great.
This is true ! But it comes with a BIG perk : cashflow is consistent and predictable. So what we lose in augmented complexity in terms of payback to artists (which I think makes sense because it’s a complex problem and I feel it’s our job and our claim as a company to try to solve it, we litterally call ourselves “play fair”), we gain in stability in the kind of money we’re giving them back.
Right now it needs to be said that despite the logic of credits paid directly to artists being simple, Pay as you Play is not that simple in terms of logistic, it means that there can be extreme differences in terms of cashflow from one month to another which, while it’s not a huge problem for artists, can be a problem for the operating costs to run the platform (which is why we need people to pay listener/musician shares yearly, it’s kind of a way for us to provide some decent amount of stability in terms of operating costs).
Yeah I’ve tried to make it as thourough as possible because I felt, when you’re proposing such a huge thing, it’s better to really show you’ve searched for all the informations you could find, and really tried a lot of scenarios etc.
I definitely need to make a bullepoint proposition that seems a little prettier and easier to grasp. That’s why I’m very thankful for you, @thehouseorgan and @ryanprior for engagin with me and asking all the tough questions, they need to be asked !!
Yeah that’s my idea as well, frankly I was just a little tired because this was a lot of work but I’ll definitely pitch some of the ideas into distinct proposals. Especially the ideas that can already be implemented in Pay as you Play (typically : “top up listen count” for longer songs or songs I don’t want to listen to more than once, it would act as a sort of “financially supportive” favorit system in a sense)
Yeah that’s my view as well ! That’s why I was proposing a call to start it out.
Edit: one last thing I forgot to reply to and it matters
I agree this is a general trend/issue with capitalism. However the issue doesn’t really lie in the fact that people spend money on what they love, it lies in the fact that the spending process, the direct “consummer to artist payout” relationship is obfuscated under layers upon layers, so that the listener doesn’t have control anymore about how they supports what they love. This gives us stuff like the pro-rata model, which only works at scale, you just need enough people to love an artist, and then you have that massive pool of money that stems from it that’s actually completely decorelated from how each individual would singularly decide, by themselves, to support this act. The “love” here, is utilized and harnessed to disposess the listeners from any power of action to support their artists, and it’s done so by having listeners only pay for a service/platform, and not bother about the rest (they just “assume it’s ok since they’re paying”).
Since Resonate has at its core the proposition to make people owner, their music collection acts as an immediate reminder to them of what they pay for and who they’re paying for it. That’s why I also mentionned above that they should have access at all times to a bird’s eye view of “the songs they’re closest to owning”, so that they know who they’ve supported most, where their money goes, if they feel they’ve paid people enough etc.
Basically the proposition is to reassess the nature of the relationship between artists and the people who love their work, so that this “love” is not an abstraction used to justify inequalities at scale (by not putting a price cap on what a consumer/artist relationship can generate in terms of money, by making the transactions intermediated by the platform which can then decide how to spend users money for payouts etc.) but is instead just expressed by an act of direct support controlled by the listeners depending on how much they can afford to allocate to music monhtly/yearly. If they can’t own it because it’s kind of expensive, they’ll still have to rely on us as a proxy to give them access to that music for a decent price, and if they’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, we provide a good user experience and interface to do just that.
The one thing, and perhaps only thing, I dislike about this model is how “ordinary” it feels compared to what’s already out there. It’s ethically better, yes. You end up owning music, yes. But the premise is still “pay me a fixed sum every month”.
When I first discovered Resonate, I thought one of the coolest parts was that “wow I won’t be a financial slave to this service” aka. I don’t have a running charge every single month. I only pay for what I use. Perhaps that will still be 10 a month, or more. But I guess mentally it feels good to know that if I suddenly stop using it for a month, or only happen (out of coincidence) to listen to music I already own during a month, I know I won’t pay anything, or very little (whether Resonate should charge a low monthly fee to cover server/bandwidth costs is a different discussion).
Surely I can cancel a subscription, but that requires making an active decision and trying to predict the future. There’s a reason most people just let their Netflix subscriptions run indefinitely no matter how much they use them, and so forth.
What I realize now is that this model you’re proposing doesn’t really have anything to do with monthly subscriptions. It is simply just a way to say “I have x credits, distribute them fairly across the tracks I listened to this past month”. The fact that those credits reload automatically every month could just be a separate mechanic.
It could work like this:
The user loads credits
Since they currently carry a balance, they are now allowed to use Resonate freely and in an unlimited fashion (streaming-wise).
In their profile, they set how much credits should be spent every month. Could be the equivalent to 10 euros. Could also be more, like 15, 20, 50, etc…
At the end of each month, Resonate would pull the agreed-upon credits from their balance and figure out which tracks should get how much (and in turn, how much the user now own of these tracks).
Once the user has 0 credits left, they would lose their unlimited Resonate access and would need to top up again.
Now, a good chunk of people might just say “I’m just gonna subscribe for auto top-up of 10 euros a month”. But some might just do irregular top-ups. And perhaps more importantly, if you don’t use the service for a month, whatever got topped up (whether it’s automatic or manual) doesn’t get spent. Similarly, if you only listen to a single track you don’t own, or only listen to tracks you own, you won’t be spending your entire balance.
This to me feels like a fairer model than the “fixed sum everything gets spent no matter what” model. But I also do think Resonate should charge a euro or two a month to cover operating costs. Unless those are so cheap that it’s not necessary.
The problem with auto top up is we’re basically becoming a sort of weird bank account and there are two possible “bad” reoccuring scenarios :
First is my listening pattern costs more than 10€/month most of the time. Then it means I either have to spend more, it could 15€ or 20€ or 25€ who knows (so Resonate assume if I don’t have more money to be able to spend this amount I don’t deserve to use the platform) or stop engaging with the platform (which means during this time the listener won’t be able to discover new artists that he likes, which means overall less people supporting artists). In this scenario, none of the issues of “Pay as you Play” are solved, they just have a different shape.
The other scenario is that I’m not listening up to 10€ a month, so each month, I’m adding 10€, and 10€, and 10€, that’s the “bank account” effect, where we basically become a sort of store of value with “music coins”. So if someone is absent of the platform for a while and doesn’t spend their credits for whatever reason, they’re basically giving us money, and it goes to no one. And I emphasize that in this scenario I do not think we have the right to “use their credits after x amount of time”, because it would be like stealing money from their bank account, because it’s credits after all, so they might come back some day and spend it all on music they like.
The other issue in that scenario is let’s assume most of the time you don’t overspend, and so you have “spare credits”, and then you use up all those spare credits because during one month, there’s a lot of music that you like, great ! Now the next month, there’s also a lot of music that you like… but it means spending another 30€ to own it so your “10€” top up doesn’t work so you have yet again to spend more or decide to stop listening to music.
These are, sincerely, totally “concievable” and “acceptable” scenario if we don’t consider we have to be fair to listeners and we only need to be fair to musicians, and wealthier people should enjoy a better experience of the platform. It is how must luxury / ethically satisfying businesses function and it’s not very ground breaking, but it sort of works. It IS more simple to view things like that (ie. with a “fixed price” that people have to pay very quickly to enjoy a product).
But I want to come back to something I think we’re missing here, and it’s a very crucial point that @fgblomqvist mentionned at the start of his post.
Here, I think two things need to be said.
First, I really think we should offer and maintain “pay as you play” side by side with subscription service for this very reason. Some people might just prefer that approach, period.
Second and this is crucial, I think we’ve come to demonize the logic of subscription services (and also incidentally ease of access to art) because we got so used to corporate use of it to trick us into unhealthy business models, that it seems like anything that basically ressemble a subscription is actually a bad thing. But it doesn’t have to be !
Look at Ampled
Ampled is a subscription service, for people who want to support specific artists on a permanent basis to allow them to have a steady flow of income. It’s not bad because you know who you are giving you’re money to, and you know that the cut of your money that doesn’t go to artists go to the coop, and that they are actually co-owner of that coop/platform. So you know that either way, you’re supporting who you appreciate, and giving back to the platform as a whole which is not a separate entity from the artist you like singularly.
Now WHY are subscription usually bad? First because all of them are owned by greedy corporate capitalist firms who are completely separate entities from their userbase and creators. So their interest doesn’t align with that of the people creating all the value. They’re bad because, both in user centric payment system (UCPS) and Pro-rata models, they assume that people should effectively spend money per play forever, that “the listen” has a value, and nothing else, and that users should never have control of what they like. Furthermore, they assume that every listen has the same value, either as a percentage of the whole (pro-rata) or a percentage of the users-listening pattern (UCPS). The only effective way for listeners to gain back control is to buy the music on top of the subscription, so to effectively pay twice, either on another platform like Bandcamp, or on a platform that allows for buying music, like Qobuz. This model where music gets to make money FOREVER out of one single user, means that labels and big corporate industry has a direct incentive in milking unconditionnal love out of a few powerful tracks and push back catalogue to music listeners (because it costs them nothing in production and it’s already famous so there’s no need to build an artist’s career to make it proeminent), and when corporate firms have their eyes set on something, they make it happen through structural changes to how the platform pushes for “their content”. And this is true both in UCPS and Pro-Rata. Actually studies show that famous act make even more of the money on UCPS in general because they can mobilize economies of scale.
But what if we put a cap on how much a song/artist/album can generate? That’s what we do at Resonate, we basically say “once a user has spent 1.25€ on a song, they should own it and not keep spending money on it”. And we also say that this number “1.25€” should be reached quickly enough so that small artists don’t have to convince their listeners to listen to their songs 300 times to have 1€. What this means is there’s litterally no incentive anymore for big corporate services to push for people to listen obsessively to songs. Whereas on Spotify if someone listens to something 300 times it will have an impact on the price of the songs listened to a lot less by someone else, on our service, EVEN IF WE WERE TO HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION, they would have paid for that song already, and the rest of their monthly subscription would go to whatever other music they also love. Here we can compare “traidtionnal UCPS” with our own S2O UCPS. In a traditionnal UCPS, if you’ve listened to a song 300 times, and the rest of your listens is 100 random songs, out of 10€, that one song will make 7,5€ the rest of the 100 songs will split together 2,5€, they’re clearly losing. In our S2O UCPS, it doesn’t matter that they’ve listened to it 300 times, after the song’s made 1,25€, the rest is free of charge for the listener, which means the 100 other songs can split together the remaining 8,75€.
Now right now, with our current Pay as you Play (even with the “top up every month 10€” feature) what we’re saying is that if that person loves 3 albums in a month and listen to them obsessively, they should be paying 30€. And that’s definitive. They don’t have that amount, they dont’ get to listen. They should listen to something else that’s cheaper (like any songs they don’t know / don’t like). That’s what we’re saying.
I really want us to understand the reality of Pay as you Play : Pay as you play is a service that DECIDES FOR YOU AT WHICH SPEED YOU SHOULD PAY. That’s what we provide. We tell people “we don’t care how much money you have, we have decided for you that if you’ve listened to this album 9 times, you should pay 10€”.
This is crucial because it means Resonate is not a service that says “music should cost xxxx” because I completely agree owning my music should cost 1.25€. Resonate is a service that decides how fast people should pay me 1.25€. And here our question should be “is that fair? Is that ethical? Do I as a musician think it’s morally much better to tell people to give me 1.25€ after they’ve listened to my work 9 times?”. I know personally, I don’t think that’s fair, I think 1.25€ is dirt cheap for some people, and it’s a high threshold for a lot of other people. I don’t want them to feel forced to spend this amount in 9 listens. And I don’t want my music to only be listened to by people who have the means to spend 1.25€ every 9 listens.
So once we remove the “9 listens” arbitrary count, there’s litterally no reason left to only have “Pay as you play” and not a subscription. The “9 times = 1.25€” is litterally the ONLY service provided by pay as you play. All the rest can be done better through subscription.
But it gets worse, because people don’t listen to albums a lot nowadays, they listen to playlists. So say that you listen to a playlist you love and it’s 30 tracks long, and that’s your playlist for the week. Well Resonate tell those people : “Since you’ve listened to this playlist 9 times this week YOU SHOULD PAY 30€”.
Users don’t get to decide when they pay, they don’t get to say “hey I don’t have that kind of money, I may never have it, but I would like to give some amount of money of I can”, to which Resonate Pay as you play replie “not our problem”.
So really it’s fundamental to understand the nature of Pay as you play : pay as you play is a service that says that 9 listens is worth 1.25€, we don’t give any justification for that other than “when you listen to something 9 times you like it a lot”, sure, but does everyone have 1.25€ to spend whenever they like something a lot?
I really want to emphasize this because it is who we are, it is the basis of our ethos, so if everybody here feels like 9 plays of the same song is unequivocally worth 1.25€ in all conditions and that what I’m proposing is bad because it makes it possible to reach 1.25€ in 20 plays instead… well yeah that’s what I’m proposing absolutely. And I’ll be ok if the community thinks it’s bad.
I’m a musician, so I get what we’re saying “music has value, people should pay for it etc.” but I also hear a lot of musicians saying “ultimately the reason I make music is not to sell it but for people to hear it, if I can get some decent amount of money in the process, that’s good, but my priority is to give access to it to people”.
A subscription service would more effectively allow us to do both : A better job at subscription than any UCPS / Pro-Rata corporate model, allow for more people to join in and trully support regularly artists no matter how much they listen, we’d still be a coop so the surplus would still go back to listener members and musician members, and we would make the service affordable for a much broader part of the population which would still enjoy the benefit of owning songs over time.
I think you missed my point. I do, like I said, understand the difference of the model you are proposing and pay-to-play, and why your model is better. However, what I did was split your model into the two fundamental pieces that it actually consists of.
You’re saying “let me pay 10 euro for a month of unlimited listening and then distribute that money accordingly among the tracks I listened to, minus the ones I already own”. That’s a good idea. But it’s separate from a subscription model. Why can’t I just do this independently from a subscription? As per my example, why can’t I load up 10 euro, enjoy 500 plays unevenly distributed over 50 songs for a month and then have that 10 euro get logically distributed (according to your first post) among those songs?
Now, you’re correct in that what I proposed is somewhat similar to simply having a subscription + rolling over any unused money every month. So I guess the tl;dr is just that I wouldn’t want my money to go to something where I’m not getting something in return for. If I subscribe and only listen to my owned songs for a whole month, I don’t want my sub money to arbitrarily go to the platform, or to some other arbitrary artists. I would want it to roll over. Surely Resonate could offer an opt-in to “donate remaining money every month to the coop” or “donate remaining money every month to artists in need”, but it certainly shouldn’t be forced.
Ah yes I completely agree that it would be cool to have both side by side btw.
I even said previously I think the “automatically top up” option should be implemented ASAP, because I think it would be a tremendous improvement.
Edit : Sorry also about that aspect
The reason you can’t is 10€ isn’t 500 plays or 50songs, it’s just 8 songs listened to 9 times (so it’s 72 plays). Or it’s 16 songs listened to 8 times (128 plays) etc. So at some point your 10€ will be spent and you’ll either have to top up or stop listening and wait for next month.
But we still need a monthly top up mechanism though, it would be much more simple for people to grasp, far from perfect but at least it’s kind of ok.
Not with your proposed model. You’re saying that someone that subscribes can get an infinite number of plays for a whole month for just 10€.
What I propose is similar to letting someone just buy 1 month of subscription, without making it recurring. E.g. I pay 10€, I get 1 month of unlimited listening. After that month is up, it’s just like usual, I can only listen to my own tracks, or load up credits, or buy another month (or subscribe).
So essentially, to simplify:
Let people choose between a recurring subscription or just buying a set amount of months outright (which could be 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, etc., no reason to not let them choose the amount freely).
If the user didn’t listen enough in 1 of their months for all the money to be “spent”, roll it over in one way or another.
For example, if I only listened to a single (new) track for a whole month, I only spent 1.25€ of my 10€. The remaining 8.75€ would get credited to my Resonate account in the form of credits (whatever is the equivalent amount). Then I could use those credits to just pay-to-play once my bought months are up, or I could perhaps even buy more months with those credits (once I have enough). That feels fair to me.
Ah yeah that’s interesting, I never considered the possibility of what would happen if you made the switch from “Subscription” to “Pay as you Play” I just naturally separated them. Yeah so basically what you’re proposing is that months could be “bought” as a sort of “unit” (instead of locking people into mandatory 12 months rotations) so something like “I want to buy 3 months of access to Resonate” and that if you underspent the money can go to your Pay as you Play credit balance when you’re done (and logically if you “overspent” then nothing happens and it just means it’ll take a bit longer to own your tracks). It seems ok to me, I really wonder how this would end up looking in legal terms (both the idea of “buying monhts” and “transferring exceding amount”).
Tell me if it seems good to you if I summarize your proposition that way :
Monthly subs should not be conditionned to a 12 months / yearly obligation (people can decide the number of months they want to subscribe)
There should be some amount of the subscription that, if not spent on artists because the user didn’t listen to a lot of music, is “kept” in a reserve to be transfered into Pay as you Play credits once the subscription is over.
Does that seem good to you?
I need to think about it some more because it’s a bit complex to apprehend, but I agree anyway that if we are to propose two models, they should at least have some form of interraction if people want to move from one to another and this needs to be thought through.
Hmm so how would you briefly (max a couple or three sentences) compare this model to the standard streaming models of e.g. Spotify and Tidal?
If we forget about the ownership part (which is not beneficial to the artist money-wise, only to the listener), I guess the only difference is that this ensures the artists get their “fair” shares of whatever money the user paid the platform for the relevant month?
If I pay Spotify $10 for a month, they will break even at I think about 2000 or so streams. Anything less than that, they make money. Anything more than that, they (the company) loose money. So I guess this proposed Resonate model would only be beneficial to the artist (compared to Spotify) if the user does fewer than 2000 listens in a month. Idk how much music the average person listens to, but 4 hours a day is little for the ones that are listening in the background
EDIT: Worth noting is that the “fair share” is obviously a good argument too, but if a user listens to lots of different artists etc. I suspect that argument will become weaker in a sense, at least compared to the “more money per stream” argument.
Spotify’s business model is a bit more complex than that because :
1/ they have a free tier that’s very costly and significantly impacts ROI/user
2/ they have other sources of income, a significant one being selling their user’s data.
3/ they have varying deals with varying distributors / majors and actors so it’s never really clear why and how “Artists” benefit.
Where did you get the 2000 streams number btw? I’d be curious to have that info, this seems like a very high threshold, and since we know they’re not turning a profit this would mean people consume more than 2000 songs on an average. And since the figures we have tell us that the average for “paid service music consumption” is closer to 1000 songs a month, this would imply that it also accounts for all free users in which case we can’t compare my proposition where everything is paid for and Spotify’s where how much people are willing to pay for advertising is the driving factor of profitability.
Now to answer your question :
S2O right now (under subscription or as it is currently implemented) is only benefitial to ALL artists ALL the time, if we can guarantee 1 penny per stream once we scale. If we can do that without collapsing economically then we’re a much better deal than ANY platform right now. I’m still unclear how we do that by the way but the numbers show if we can do it with Pay as you Play, we can probably do it too with Subscription.
Now how would I compare this model, if we take the “2000 songs” comparison :
What’s better for listeners :
On Spotify on an average you need to listen to a song 300 times to give it 1€.
On Resonate subscription on an average you need somewhere between 8 and 20 listens to give it 1€ and then you own it.
For 10€ on Spotify you have access to the entire catalogue but you don’t get to decide how your 10€ are spent on the artists you like.
For 10€ on Resonate you have access to the entire catalogue, the confidence that your money is spent on the music you listened to the most, and you get to own your favorite songs if you decide to stop paying and leave the platform.
If you want to give more to artists, feel free to add what you want each month, if you pay 20€ instead of 10€ you’ll own your music more quickly.
What’s better for the artists :
If someone falls in love with your song, it’ll only take a few listens for you to make more off of it than with hundreds of listens from that same person on Spotify.
Once someone has spent 1€ on a song by an artist they really love, they own the song and stop paying for it. This means more money next month to pay for the new songs that they discover and fall in love with, and more money to guarantee a baseline minimum of 1 penny per stream for all discoveries.
Since Resonate listeners have unlimited access to the entire catalogue, Resonate is just as good as Spotify for artists to get discovered and give access to their music.
I gave numbers and linked to studies about that in the original post.
Basically one thing you need to account for, is that Spotify PUTS NO CAP on how much music can make. So for them 2000 streams will always cost 2000 streams, and since 80% of those streams are from major companies who cut the best deals for the best payouts, that means 1600 of those 2000 streams will probably be the costlier version of royalty payments.
On Resonate however, 2000 streams can be 1400 discoveries (fairly cheap), 200 incremental pricing (fair user to musician payment) and 400 already owned songs (say, someone listened to a playlist of 50 songs they owned 8 times) which we don’t have to pay for.
So 2000 streams doesn’t necessarily mean that artists don’t see a profit, it depends on what the listener is listening to.
And studies show btw, and this is a CRITICAL argument, that listeners love to listen to stuff they already know, which in our case would mean that after a few years, a lot of people would listen to things that are already paid for, which would TREMENDOUSLY help us to fund for the new and upcoming artists. Right now, streaming is funding back catalogue, because algorithms push for it (And the Band Played On - by Damon Krukowski or this study MRC Data’s 2021 U.S. Year-End Report – MRC Data Reports) but my proposition for a subscription actually make us the ultimate challenger for new music :
We have a subscription where basically the more you listen to something, the more the chances are you already paid for it. And the more you own things, the more of what you pay each month goes to support discovery. This is extremely positive in my view.
Sorry should have put a disclaimer that it was just a rough estimate of $0.005 per stream payout (got from Google) and then dividing $10 by that. Of course, like you say, they might have other revenue streams and expenses so it’s not just simply “breakeven at 2k streams”. Maybe they also pay less than $0.005, etc… But it should serve as a ballpark estimate of when their other revenue streams will need to cover their losses. Though, like you also mentioned, with all their free and family-plan users, the average pay/user is probably a lot lower than $10, maybe even $5 or less per month.
Now, they have tons of super expensive engineers/managers employed so while their subscription model might breakeven at x streams, the company as a whole would probably need that to be 0.5x streams, or maybe even less, to be able to cover for all the engineers/managers.
So with all that in mind, it’s not weird that they’re not profitable. However, I don’t see Resonate ever being profitable either, no matter the model, if they were to have anywhere near the kind of spending that Spotify does.
The only way this would be possible afaik would be through having a higher subscription fee, closer to 15-20 a month.
Hmm yeah but not too odd perhaps, considering that one member fee of 10 covers 10.000 of those pennies (just as one example of why it may be possible).
This is definitely juicy stuff, 100% better (well, minus the lack of music-discovery features, but maybe eventually).
Sorry you’re right, I remember now. Thanks for referencing those again.
I like this argument. I dislike how really big artists probably, sometimes, make more than 1 euro per song from me simply because they get really good royalties and I also play some of their songs (like old classics) a lot.