Category: FAQS

  • Why does the world really need another music streaming service?

    There a few reasons why the world needs the POLR:

    1   Every commercial streaming service has been forced to charge 9.99 / month due to demands from content owners. Studies have shown that this price point is too high and will likely never gain the user base required to build a viable model, which appears to be the case so far considering that none of the streaming services are profitable. Because the POLR's model does not require pre-determined agreements with industry players, it is free to charge an actual workable monthly price. Most data shows a price point from 3.99 - 4.99 as the ideal sweet spot. The POLR will likely be in this zone.


    2   It is becoming increasingly clear that indie artists and labels are getting short changed by the commercial services. Artists who own their own content, or share ownership with indie labels, should be free to use a streaming service that gives them direct access to relationships and payments with their fans. The POLR will provide this much needed service in the industry.


    3   All commercial services use a pro-rata method of funds distribution. This unfairly favours the top artists at the expense of the lesser known artists. A subscriber share methodology, which actually pays the artists that are being streamed per user, provides a fairer compensation method and will create an opportunity for a middle class of artists to rise up.


    4   No other model actually has a marketplace within the model itself. The architecture of the POLR is designed to allow new entrepreneurial A2A relationships to form between artist and appreciator.


    5   All other models are owned enterprises. The POLR will be set up as a non-profit. Being a non-profit organization opens up all sorts of possibilities for the music industry that would not exist otherwise. Examples:

    (a) Globally trusted metadatabase. The music industry has been hampered by the lack of a single trusted global metadatabase of musical works. History has shown that no owned entity will ever accomplish this goal. In order to be fully trusted by all parties, a new unowned metadatabase must develope from scratch, not as an initiative, but simply as a system to make use of. The POLR provides the incentive for owners of recordings and compositions to take the time out to enter in as much metadata as possible about their works. This could result in a quickly growing free and open  database that can be used by any entity requiring this data. By using a combination of trust metrics and blockchain based smart contracts, it will also  prove to become the most reliable, trusted metadatabase possible with today's technology.

    (b) Scalability - a non-profit has a better chance of being trusted globally.

    (c) Largest possible payouts to artists / labels / publishers. Because the POLR must live up to it's name, the focus is to provide the most direct path between artist and appreciator.


    6   It is the only proposed legal decentralized streaming music service. This has several advantages. It's not hard to imagine a future when music fans move entirely to streaming. This means that the actual audio files are no longer in the possession of individuals. All music on the planet will eventually be located in a handful of buildings! What a precarious way to build a future society! It is crucial that we have a decentralized option for music (and all data for that matter). The internet was built to route around centralization. Let's continue with that wisdom!



  • Why is it non-profit and open source?

    The POLR is the music industry for the internet. Like the world wide web, no one makes a profit from the system itself, but many people will make money from using the system.

    In order for a new music industry to grow globally on the internet, it must be like the internet in the sense that no one can profit directly from the system itself.

    Like the internet, it must span across borders and be resistant to territorial licensing and restrictive territorial copyright issues.

    Like the internet, it must be trusted by all entities, bodies, consortiums and territories of the music industry around the entire planet. The current model, built on a few silos of mega corporate cutthroat competitors, will never accomplish this global trust.

    This is the mistake of the current crop of owned music streaming services and social network services. They will never scale globally the way an unowned system would.

    Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, explains it in this video starting at 14:40.

    Imagine what the world wide web would look like if a few mega corporations built their own proprietary versions of the web. This is the direction the music industry will continue to take unless we start over at some point. We will never port the 20th century music industry model over to the internet. The only solution is to start fresh and build a new architecture based on the end to end, open protocol of the net itself.

  • Why do this?

    According to Ian Cross, professor of Music and Science at Cambridge, music is possibly the most important thing we have ever done as homo sapien sapiens. He believes that it was the development of music that led us to the rapid evolutionary rise which made us evolve to our current human brain.

    Currently, every commercial streaming model has decided to sign agreements with major labels in order to get comprehensive coverage of past and present music. By doing this, they  have by default, created an architecture that benefits the artificial scarcity model whereupon the wealth flows to the top.

    Meanwhile, we are seeing a rise in internationally successful independent artists who own their own art, and labels who support this independence by sharing in ownership, or in label services deals.

    It makes sense to build a music streaming model that supports this rapidly rising development.

    It is time for us to use the technology that is available to us to change the old paradigm.

    We can solve this if we work together.

  • What about side musicians, producers, engineers, graphic artists, video directors?

    The POLR's architecture is built to build the path of least resistance between appreciator and artist. When we talk about "artist", we are referring to all the entities involved in the creation of a work. The process of creating a recorded piece of music can involve many creators who all have a vital contribution to the work's success. The side musicians, the producers, the recording and mix engineers, the graphic artists, the list goes on. Traditionally, these entities have received varying degrees of remuneration for their contributions from a mere credit on the recording to large percentages of the profits.

    There are at least a couple of ways that the entities that have a degree of separation from the actual artist, yet were integral to the creation of the recording / song, can be compensated in the POLR. One way is to have fields in the registration form that the artist fills out when uploading their song to the system, listing the other entities and their percentage that was agreed upon. The autonomous payment component of the POLR would then apply the percentages and  automatically distribute the micropayment accordingly. Another way would be for the POLR to decide through the consortium and through a blockchain member vote to determine agreed upon fixed rates for each entity.

    Perhaps it is something that could be determined through the POLR community, and is an opportunity to redefine and solve another problem that has occurred in the old model.

  • How are monthly subscription payments divied up to the artists?

    This is an extremely important, controversial and complicated topic. As music moves to streaming, we are witnessing a time when the distribution methods are being worked out. It is a grand experiment being conducted in real time with the ultimate results becoming the deciding factor in how society decides to reward and compensate musical creators for the next era.

    In other words, the method of determining how streaming monies are to be distributed from Appreciator to Artist has profound implications for music’s role in society.

    It is imperative that we get this right.

    The most common used method currently involves the pooled distribution method “pro-rata”. Any and all streaming services that require permission from the major labels and mega artists are all "pro-rata" based as this methodology ensures that monies flow to the top.

    In this article Sharkey Laguana proposes “subscriber share” as a better way to reward creators properly.

    Another article. And another.

    Another approach that hasn't been discussed much to my knowledge, would be an adjusted royalty rate based on popularity. A rate that would be tailored to help a rise of a middle class of musicians. If we accept the concept that an increase in a middle class of musical artists would benefit the entire industry at large, then it would be rational to assist this process by creating a royalty rate that is adjusted based on popularity. Having comprehensive and accurate data on streams would help continuously adjust and fine tune the rate as things develope. This article brings up some interesting points on the subject.

    In addition, a periodic blockchain vote that all users can participate in could be applied to get consensus about the best approach from all who use the system.


  • I am signed to a label, and / or publisher, and / or manager and enjoy my relationship with them, can I still be part of the POLR?

    If your label or publisher owns a stake in the recordings / compositions, then autonomous micropayments will be divied up proportionally based on the data filled out when registering the recording / composition onto the POLR.

    What will result is complete transparency so all stakeholders in a recording / composition will receive the same real time data.

  • Does the POLR have a freemium element to it?

    Not in the conventional sense, seeing that there is no advertising in this model. But what's better than "free"?

    Getting paid:

    The proposed method at this point would involve a 3 month trial period. During this time, the user has the opportunity to earn value in the system by being an engaged Appreciator / Fan. The incentive is there to earn funds in excess of the monthly subscription by providing a service that another user on the POLR is willing to pay for. In other words, there's no free aspect, but there is an income earning aspect that doesn't exist on the owned streaming models.

  • How is this a new model?

    For the artist:

    There are two ways streaming services have built legitimate systems on the internet:

    1    By entering into licensing agreements with content holders prior to offering the service. (i-tunes, Spotify, Pandora etc)

    2    By allowing anyone to upload anyone else's content and relying on the DMCA's safe harbour / takedown provisions in attempts to legitimize the operation (Youtube, Grooveshark, Soundcloud)

    Both of these services involve a heavily filtered, roundabout way for funds earned from the system to get to the creators.

    The POLR suggests a third:

    Allow creators to upload their own content to the system, and receive direct payments from users.

    Only the creators themselves would be able to upload the content that they own. The authentication process will be achieved through a combination of trust metrics and blockchain id verification.

    Users who wish to experience the music will pay a subscription or membership fee and 100 percent of these monies will flow directly to the creators via cryptocurrency micropayments.

    By allowing artists to upload their own content, whilst providing a direct micro payment flow directly back to artists whenever a user enjoys their music, we have an opportunity to reset the music industry to the 21st century. Now a growing revolution of artists who own their own content will have their own streaming service that provides direct connections to their fans.

    For the Appreciator:

    Current systems treat the Appreciator as a user to mine data from, and a passive participate in the exchange of funds for listening to music.

    The POLR will be designed to encourage relationships between Artist and Appreciator, some of which will be entrepreneurial in nature.

    A common adage in the music biz since Napster has been "You can't compete with free". But what's better than getting something for free? Getting PAID!


  • Who makes up the rules on the POLR?

    The POLR community makes up the rules.

    The architecture of the POLR will define how things operate and people behave on the POLR. There will be a non-profit organization funded by donation that will preside over certain issues / operations, adhering to the principle that the POLR's function is to provide the path of least resistance between Appreciator and Artist.  It would work similar to the W3C, the governing body for the web.  In addition, key decisions could be put to a vote, using blockchain based voting technology, assuring that each member has a say on certain issues as the system continuously evolves.

  • What about my privacy?

    Privacy has an important role in the POLR. It will be based on the concept of POLA: Principle of Least Authority. Only the data that is absolutely necessary at the receiving end will be utilized. The user will always be in control of their privacy on the POLR. Sometimes you will want some information made as public as possible, for example, the song you just posted or the playlist you just finished. Other times you would rather have a select few read a post. Watch this video for more.

  • How can this ever scale?

    It is hard to predict how things will transpire. Currently independent artists represent about 35 percent of the industry, according to Billboard. Independent artists win Grammys and represent some of the largest selling international musicians. This is a strong trend that has shown continued growth over the years and will likely continue in this trajectory.

    The POLR is intended to provide an alternative source for independent artists and their fans to work together. Fans will choose to stream from the POLR because they know that they're directly supporting the artist when listening to streams. Artists and fans will also have the opportunity to be part of a marketplace.

    The goal is simply to provide an alternative streaming service for independent artists and their fans.  We believe that there is enough global demand for such a service to exist.