MixMatchMusic Responds, Explains, Digs….

Avid VT reader Alan Khalfin (jk, he’s got GoogleAlert set to DefCon 5) writes in response to my side missive on MixMatchMusic‘s biz model:

“Our service helps musicians collaborate on, engage fans with, and profit from their music online. Our widget is free for artists to use to host remix promotions on their various websites.

There seems to be some confusion about when we charge people to download music, so let me see if I can’t clarify a bit. Our widget is free for any artist to use, and the artist has the choice of selling stems or offering them for free download; so, we leave it up to the artist to decide how they want to run their remix promotion. Any remixes posted on the widget can be shared for free online, and fans without music software can make remixes in our online music sequencer.”

Setting up a backend licensing royalty system for sampled music is something I’ve been looking into what with the pending hand-over of ccMixter. It’s a hard problem but somebody’s got to do it. Actually everybody’s got to do it, but somebody has to be first and if it’s Alan, great.

There’s a couple of things to keep in mind though – it will never work unless that royalty back end system is completely open, I mean the technology, certainly the protocol. We do not want to be competing for who has the best self contained royalty system. Music sites must be able expose and share what samples they have and who they belong to with what pricing model. Biz consumers must be able to post back a royalty payment, etc. In other words, a piece of music from Alan’s site must be able to include a sample from Jamendo or BeatPick or Magnatune and have the royalties funneled to those other sites. Otherwise the whole thing is just another lame ass silo and we’re back where we started.

But before we can get any traction on any of that:

“…non-contributing members have to pay to download audio they’ve made”

This shit needs to stop. This is bad.

5 thoughts on “MixMatchMusic Responds, Explains, Digs….

  1. Alan Khalfin

    We’re in agreement about the need for complete transparency and think we’ve built a system that offers both great transparency and great accountability, and that ensures artists get paid for their work. We’ve been very interested in the possibilities of opening our platform, and are discussing creating an open and free API for many of the services we offer.

    In the meantime, if Jamendo or Magnatune or anyone else wants to monetize their stems, our service facilitates this and provides complete transactional history that shows what music is used and what royalties are owed. Ultimately, we leave it up to the musician to decide if art is for art’s sake, or for profit.

  2. fourstones Post author

    er, nice staw men you’ve constructed:

    have I ever said sharing is an anathema to profit? no.

    have I ever said it’s not up to artist to decide? no.

    does magnatune license (“monetize”) samples? yes.

    does magnatune have “complete transactional history that shows what music is used and what royalties are owed”? of course.

    I’ve been sampling their artists for 5 years and the artists have been sharing in the profits from my sales from the first $1 that came in.

    The difference is, they won’t treat their fans who remix and share them, people who are happy to promote their music for free as criminals. But I guess you leave it up to musicians which one of their fans MixMatchMusic is going to sue for $1?

    btw, you’re cut is 15% of that dollar – but it was unclear to me from reading your website what your cut is when you land a licensing deal with a film. Is your cut 15% in that case as well?

  3. Alan Khalfin

    I think we’re in agreement that the artist should decide how to handle their promotional efforts, and whether they are for profit or not. If musicians want to promote their music for free on MixMatchMusic they can. If not, they can monetize them through our network. I don’t see how you can say that we treat artists who want to promote for free as criminals.

    When we get licensing deals for music made on our site, our cut is 15%.

  4. fourstones Post author

    “When we get licensing deals for music made on our site, our cut is 15%”

    First off, this is outrageously great and (probably) should be made very clear in the terms of the site.

    Meanwhile, if a fan comes to your site, creates a remix using your tool and wants to download and share their the music on other (noncommercial) sites then that is nothing but pure promotion for the artist and your site (assuming proper attribution is in place).

    It costs you or the artist nothing – and ends up being free promotion by people passionate about your content/product.

    In your world, a remix-fan who tries who tries to do this without paying $1 is in violation of the copyright/license and therefore a federal criminal.

    Besides being oblivious to the realities of the Internet (those that want to copy their own remix without paying $1 have already done it) it’s a terrible way to treat the people you should be coddling the most – fans willing to spread the word about your site’s music without charging *you* anything for that service.

    Are you willing to sue this fan for the $0.15 lost in this scheme? If not then why even offer it?? If yes then you would be the first to build a profitable business for musicians by killing off your artist’s fan base and restricting exposure in this way.

  5. Alan Khalfin

    The reason why we offer our pay per download scheme is to create a new revenue channel for emerging and unsigned artists who are hard pressed to sell music. By giving fans an easy music making tool and a library of community music, we let the fan/music consumer make remixes, original songs, ringtones, background music, etc. They can do all of this for free and save the songs they make to their profiles and watch them rise through our charts. We are working on a sharing platform, so soon, fans will be able to share these songs for free online. But, the reason we charge for download is to make emerging and unsigned some money, when they normally couldn’t.

    Your taking this conversation into the realms of litigation is far-stretched. Is really too much to ask of a music consumer to pay $1 for something they’ve made? Is $1 too much for this new, rich music experience? If it is, they can enjoy it for free on the site and on the web.

Comments are closed.