If a music appreciator wants to experience the music and community of the POLR, they must first sign up. The process of signing up will be as simple and as streamlined as possible, similar to the process of signing up for a typical owned streaming service that has become a norm for many consumers.
All POLR members, artist and appreciator alike will be required to pay a subscription fee. There will be no free, ad based model, because advertising will not be part of the POLR’s architecture. Though it is a subscription model, a music fan may wish to invest their time and energy rather than pay the fee, and earn funds by contributing to the POLR in the various ways that would continue to evolve in the POLR community. For example, (as inspired by Ted Nelson, and later Jaron Lanier) we can envision a music appreciator bringing value in their talent at curation, or remixing an artist’s work, or bringing new fans to an artist’s POLR page.
In other words, though there won’t be a “free” aspect to the POLR’s architecture, appreciators who can’t afford to join can earn their place by contributing somehow to the community. A common statement amongst those in the music industry is: “you can’t compete with free”. Perhaps, but what’s better than “free”? Getting paid!!!!
This is a fundamental difference between the POLR and any other streaming service that exists today. It will also be a thriving marketplace, a true reset of the music industry revolving around direct A2A (Appreciator to Artist) connections. New entrepreneurial initiatives that haven’t even been conceived of yet will rise up to serve the A2A marketplace. Here are some – off the top of my head:
- house party tour managing service
- gig catering business
- low friction crowdfunding investment in artist initiatives
- air bnb inspired accommodations for bands on tour
- artist transportation services
In addition, current norms on the internet suggest that music consumers are willing to pay for the convenience and additional services provided by streaming services rather than utilize unauthorized file sharing services. We also know that many fans would be happy to pay if they know that the money is going directly to the creators that they love. According to this article, “aficionado fans, who make up only 14 percent of the total music consumer population, comprise a whopping 34 percent of the share of music spend.” Early adopters of the POLR will likely be these fans.