How can artists earn a living when people can copy their work for free?
That's the basic question everyone's asking. Here's the answer.
You make a website with a forum structure. In this structure, you have
producers of content putting up their work and you have consumers of
this content donating to the producers. "Ah..." you say, "this has
been done and it doesn't work very well." Right you are. To make this
system work, you need to organize the consumers by rank, those
contributing more getting a higher rank, and you need to privilege the
higher ranks. Why will this work where other donation-based systems
have failed? It's simply a quirk of human nature.
quirk in question is that humans value status, a lot. Humans will go to
great lengths to acquire and maintain status. A great deal of human
activity can be defined as a quest for status. However, something so
sought after must be difficult to achieve, and thus we have all manner
of social constructs that limit our ability to buy status. You can't go
to a party with your bank account balance pinned to your shirt. That
is simply far too crass. You can, instead, drive up in an expensive
car, wearing an expensive suit, checking to see how fashionably late you
are on your expensive watch, etc.. While you cannot simply announce
your net worth, you can indicate it by displaying things that only
someone of your net worth can afford. We are awash in luxury goods for
this very reason. "But," you say, "the car is amazing to drive and
worth every penny, the suit is oh so comfortable, and the watch is
simply gorgeous." Yes, items of status must be at least mildly
justifiable, or they simply become the pinned bank account balance.
But, that's not the real reason people buy them.
If you were to create a forum-based website where people were allowed to
contribute money, and then ranked those people based on their
contributions, no one would be stupid enough to join. It would be too
crass. The highest ranking person there, assuming there was anyone,
would simply be "King shit of Turd Hill." It wouldn't work. But, if
you instead have producers of content on the site then everything
changes. The status achieved by contributing to those producers would
be incidental. "I didn't want to be the top-ranked person on this
forum, it's just that John's music is so good and I want him to release
more." This is, of course, just another way of saying "I don't drive an
expensive car to show off how much money I have, I drive it because it
handles so well." It's a quirk of human nature. It's how the world
I have designed such a system but have not built it. I did try, a few
times, but it appears I'm not the entrepreneurial type. I came up with
this idea quite a few years ago and the original idea has been refined
significantly since then. My design has an immediate cash-flow for the
person that builds it. It has detailed mechanisms that allow the forums
to be completely self-moderating. It has a solid mechanism to deal
with illegal content, as sites like this will certainly be plagued
with. You, of course, don't need my design. The above concept is all
that you need to build a site. You could refine it over time, dealing
with the problems that come up. Or, you could hire me as a consultant
and jump a few years ahead of the competition. It's your choice.
Someone is going to build a site like this; the world is waiting.
Over the next while, I'll be moving older posts over from my Keliso
blog to here, consolidating everything. I'll be posting more and more
detail until someone actually takes notice and builds the system. Once
built, I'll probably register myself and start putting up content...
maybe then I'll earn a little money for my ideas, rather than giving
them away for free.
What is Keliso?