March 7, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
The world is full of middlemen. Generally, they get a bum rap; they’re not regarded as creators, producers or anything much more than paper-pushers and red-tape jockeys, but in truth, in many ways they’re helpful. They’re connectors. They allow productive people to reap benefits of their production without having to distract themselves so much with the whole matter of selling. For centuries, we’ve employed sales-folk, lawyers, managers and bureaucrats to make the big world a little smaller. Unfortunately, they brought a lot of red tape and clutter, but they did their part. The world, however, is evolving, and with the tools we now have available, middlemen would be wise to start polishing their résumés, because more and more power is drifting slowly but surely back into the hands of the world’s creators. Today’s project is sure to make some middlemen nervous by spurring on that power shift in the music industry.
CASH Music will be a platform for connecting musicians to listeners – enabling artists to profit from music sales directly, without the usual distribution channel fees. If that sounds like a familiar idea, that’s because it is. Direct-to-listener music sales have been the goal of lots of platforms in the past, but all have been designed around the promise of a profitable platform. Fewer middlemen, but really just more of the same game. CASH Music is a little different. It might not be a 100% new way to deliver music, but it’s a better one.
So what we did was build a whole lot of things that musicians can use, do it in the open where it’s all totally free, and do it as a Nonprofit so Sony can’t come along and buy it all up.
The Internet should help artists, not get in their way. But we need an open and nonprofit solution or ultimately all of the best services will just get bought up by someone with ambiguous intentions.
As a nonprofit, CASH isn’t looking to get in between artists and their fans. They’re creating a heap of tools to help musicians (who might actually be more interested in making music than learning copyright law, programming or promotion) do it themselves. It’s a new level of independence and one that I think will benefit both ends of the producer-consumer spectrum while making those who traditionally stand between bands and their fans break a sweat. I see it as a means of making the world a little more conducive to creativity, and so I invite you to join me in supporting CASH Music on Kickstarter before this Friday (March 9).