Cash rules everything around me
January 5, 2008 12:29 AM   Subscribe

CASH is the Coalition of Artists & Stake Holders, a project conceived and initiated by musician Kristin Hersh. CASH is "read-write" — more than consumption; a collaborative online effort — helping make music ownership more of an interactive affair facilitated through Creative Commons licensing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A noble idea, but is it any more likely to succeed than dozens of similar initatives? The mission statement doesn't make for particularly strong reading. Take the metaphor about CASH being like a "battery":

may help to think of CASH Music as a battery, two poles sending energy back and forth. The artistic creator stands at one pole with the community at the other — creative energy flowing between these two points creates value.

Even my rudimentary understanding of Adam Smith knows that only one thing really creates value and that's scarcity.
posted by MrMerlot at 3:25 AM on January 5, 2008

" In the very near future we will be revealing a comprehensive site, open to all users."

I look forward to this revealing. Currently I have no clear idea (beyond battery analogies) as to exactly what is being proposed here.

"CASH is being developed as well more than a single artist's site."

That's good to know.

First off, I'd just like to say that I am a musician whose landlord has always gladly accepted CASH as payment for each month's rent. A check has generally been OK, too. Listener/artist synergies (beyond those that generate cash) and battery analogies? Not so much. Kristin, think you could get my landlord in on this thing?

Don't get me wrong, though: I'm not out to rain on the parade. It's just that, um... I can't find the parade in the first place. Ain't no parade here yet, far as I can see. The motley collection of links clickable from the main site are all well and good (the Steve Albini article is old but still worth reading for those who haven't yet come across it): they all point toward, or argue the case for, some new model of "the music business". But, Kristin Hersh, let's hear what CASH is all about, eh? It seems to be just a kind of question mark so far. Well, hey, I can dig it, I mean, I feel like this same question mark has been hovering over my head for the last 30 years or so. I await further updates, eagerly.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:33 AM on January 5, 2008

flapjax, the interface is a bit naff, but the "slippershell" link is probably the most revealing:
posted by Auz at 6:31 AM on January 5, 2008

It's also worth at least glancing at the "kristinhersh-rw" section, where a couple dozen people have uploaded remixes of the Hersh cuts. So there's some 2-way action going on here, at least (I haven't listened to the remixes yet so I can't vouch for them).

But I for one will give KH money for her music through this service, as I have through various record labels for the last 20 years, sure. (And as I have tried to do with Todd Rundgren via patronet.)
posted by aught at 7:49 AM on January 5, 2008

Good on her for making an effort at a new business model. Someday, something's gonna stick.
posted by everichon at 8:48 AM on January 5, 2008

Yeah, I'm interested, but I can't quite understand what it's about. Is this so artists can make a living? Or just a creative collaboration?
posted by Miko at 12:04 PM on January 5, 2008

My read is that that Kirstin Hersh hopes that by making her music available to be shared, remixed, sampled, experimented with, etc, she'll encourage consumers/listeners who value that sort of thing to pay her for her content to ensure it continues to be produced. It seems that she's trying to get other artists signed on to work under the same model.

There's a pile of discussion about the "donation-ware" model of music distribution right now -- see In Rainbows, the Saul Williams / Trent Reznor release ("The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust"), NiN's Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, and so forth. CASH seems to be in a pretty similar vein to these efforts, but she's trying a model that combines pay-what-you-want (a la "In Rainbows") with explicitly encouraging remixes (a la NiN), but without any major-label support. Should be interesting to see how successful it is.

And yes, "WTF interface!?" New and novel business models to monetize music and encourage remix culture are good. New and novel interfaces that make me say "WTF am I supposed to click to get where I want to go? What do these choices actually mean!?" are bad.

I'm hoping the business model is more successful than the website design.
posted by Alterscape at 1:25 PM on January 5, 2008

Miko: Yeah, I'm interested, but I can't quite understand what it's about. Is this so artists can make a living? Or just a creative collaboration?

There's a financial model: you can download material for free, but she encourages you to donate, if you like. You can also subscribe (get merchandise, CDs, guest list privileges) or sponsor Hersh (chip in cash, get a visit to the studio to watch her record, and/or a credit on the album).

In spite of the poor site design, there are some interesting ideas here.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:50 PM on January 5, 2008

It's cool but the best idea is : write a music "codec" attaches banner ads to mp3s. Musicians could then make money through online advertising agencies, same as web sites do.

Ideally you require the codec to play under iTunes and WMP while still being playable on cheap mp3 players. You'd let users deactivate the banners but discourages this by alternating them with relevant artwork linked to the musicians site.

I just haven't seen any other system that would offer this level of payoff for the musicians.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:42 AM on January 6, 2008

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