@Hakanto - I agree that clause is overdue for clean-up/aligning with how we operate. I suspect the original vision for Resonate assumed all users would be co-op members, but we have since adapted it provide a listening service for all.
Circling back to qualifying contributions for Musicmaker Members, has our transition away from WordPress created a paradox?
To become a Musicmaker Member, you must publish at least 1 song to the service.
We expose the link to the new Music Submission Form on the profile page for Musicmaker Members. (Right?)
I see our core project as creation of a profitable democratic business which:
supports the livelihood of Workers and Musicmakers
recognizes those who sustain the business with democratic governance rights
uses its financial independence to enable its self-governance, rather than being swayed by grantors and big donors
reinvests or distributes profits back to its members
To me, all our aspirations are made possible by us being a profitable, democratic business which provides a need and does it well. When I picture Musicmaker Members in this context, I picture those whose musical contributions help sustain the co-op – and who in turn need the co-op for their own income and livelihood. That cyclical relationship and inner economy is part of the strength of a co-operative.
A hesitation to the “all artists get to be members” model is this:
If my music made no money for me or the co-op, but nevertheless granted me Musicmaker Membership, it could mean that someday I would potentially vote on issues which affect other artists’ livelihood but don’t affect my own.
Essentially, there would be two types of Musicmaker Members: those who need the Co-op and are seeking to support themselves using its services, and those who don’t need it. It seems to me that these are not the same stakeholder, although they share an activity.
This isn’t a perfect articulation of what’s on my mind, but these are some of the themes of why I feel some distinction is important.
I want to remind folks that I’m an artist and musician myself. I’ve been writing the same album for the last 13 years, pouring myself into that art. That album is one of the most important things in the world to me – extraordinarily precious.
Despite that effort and passion, I wouldn’t want to earn Musicmaker Membership simply from uploading it to the platform. To me uploading it would be like planting a seed. Until there is some sort of fruit – a harvest I can share – I wouldn’t feel right being a Musicmaker Member.
Profitable? Or sustainable? We must be careful to avoid conflating these two concepts.
If our core objective is profitability, our Manifestomust be updated (in particular, point #9: “Culture > Profit”) - otherwise we’re lying to everyone. I fully support incentivizing ways to keep Resonate sustainable, but limiting our lens for artists to monetary return seems absolutely counter to our manifesto as it stands today.
Artists who don’t need Resonate’s services won’t host their music here. My interpretation of the manifesto is that Resonate fills a cultural need, not a capitalistic one.
How many tiers of Worker Members should there be? They can participate in governance if you added a feature, but not if they just fixed bugs? Shall we put an asterisk on the word “Everyone” for manifesto item #6 to clarify who actually gets to “own the platform” by contributing directly to the bottom line?
With this caveat in mind, please forgive the forcefulness of my response. I appreciate that you have concerns about the underlying monetary needs to keep Resonate afloat and fully support exploring ways to address those concerns. However, I have concerns about any attempt to correlate value/membership with stream-based remuneration.
This sounds like an argument for separating “membership classification” from “contribution to the co-op”…or abolition of membership classifications altogether–you’re either a member or not.
In the context of a co-operative, I don’t see much of a distinction. The profits would be treated as a surplus and either reinvested by the co-op or distributed to members as a dividend. I think we’re so used to see “profit” as meaning extraction by shareholders or management, but in our case there isn’t a separation.
Since dividends are part of our model “on years of surplus”, profits seem prerequisite, although there may be a subtle terminological distinction I’m not aware of. Merely “sustainable” rather than “profitable” it seems would suggest that the co-op never do more than break even each year and would never distribute dividends to members (as there would be no dividend to distribute).
Re: Point 6 in the Manifesto “Everyone should own their platform, own their data, and their own network.”
If this point means “all users of the platform/data/network get to be members of the co-op”, then our dues model for listener members actually contradicts it. There is no requirement for listener members to use the platform. When it comes down to it, they can just buy a vote/ownership for 10 euros a year.
It’s all good! We’re digging into this topic because we’re passionate and care deeply about it. We all want Resonate to succeed!
I view it differently. We recognize that profits are a likely (but not guaranteed) outcome of success, so all who contribute to that success should share in the rewards. That’s why it’s a conditional “on years of surplus” instead of a mandate “all years must have surplus”.
It’s possible this was was also drafted under the original assumption that all users would be co-op members. And/or it was written with an economy of words to span the different scenarios where Resonate offers an alternative to VC-owned streaming platforms:
Music-makers should own the platform that hosts their music.
Listeners should own their personal data when using the platform to listen to music.
Music-makers and listeners should own their relationships to each other (network?) through their interactions via the platform.
And if I may circle back to this insight (which is deeply personal, so thank you for sharing it):
Per Resonate’s Manifesto, you have the right to determine the value of your art. And it sounds like you assess value by the response to your art. Others may derive value from the act of manifesting their art–and they should have the right to determine that for themselves. These are just two data points from a spectrum of expectations that cannot be programmatically realized, which is why I have an allergic reaction to any single-metric-based evaluation (especially monetary profit).
I have watched Schindler’s List exactly once. I have watched an internet meme video numerous times. Is the internet meme video “more valuable” or “better art” because I watched it more times than Schindler’s List? My answer is “NO”, but others may disagree (including the creator of the internet meme video).