I envision a world in which music is shared more freely and easily

This evening I was listening to some music and I thought, damn, I wish I could easily and legally share this with you.

I’ve shared music in the past, but it’s a laborious process and it’s not-quite-above-board to boot. It requires either ripping the song from one of my CD’s or finding the track on a, ahem, file service somewhere… encoding it in streaming RealAudio, uploading the file, and so on. What a pain!

So tonight, I came up with a better idea that I entitle “PennyPlay.”

Here’s how it’d work.

The RIAA (or, preferably, some less-evil organization given permission by the RIAA) would finally create a celestial jukebox with every song every recorded. Budding musicians could even upload their own tunes if they wanted!

Then, when Webmasters like myself wanted to share a particular song, we could log in to “Penny Play” and create a special link, indicating “Collect,” “Direct,” or “Segment.”

With “Collect,” visitors could listen to the song in its entirety (with variable quality depending on their bandwidth) for free, while I’d be charged — you guessed it — one cent.

With “Direct,” visitors would have their PennyPlay accounts debited one cent if they listened to more than 30 seconds of the song.

And lastly, with “Segment,” the server would dish out one thirty-second clip (with Webmaster selected starting point) that would be available to both the Webmaster and visitor free of charge.

The money collected from the first two clip-types would go towards both the upkeep of this jukebox and those associated with the clips themselves (rights holders, artists, etc.).

A penny might not sound like much, but it’d no doubt add up to substantial sums given widespread adoption.

Sure, this is merely a very rough outline of a proposal, but can you imagine how marvelous it’d be? A million “listening stations” developing awareness of new and amazing music and artists. The ability for Webmasters and bloggers to critique a piece for free or low cost or even transfer the cost to those enjoying the song!

As a musician AND Webmaster AND blogger, you can imagine how excited I am at this potential accessibility of music 🙂

What do you think of the idea?

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What do you think?

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