Resonate

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= " the world’s first cooperatively owned streaming music service".


Description

Marco Morelli:

"Resonate focuses on indie musicians and has come up with innovative "stream to own" model that's a lot more generous to the artists, while at the same time enabling the "free" streaming that we're used to from Spotify. The big difference, of course, is that with Resonate, the artists and consumers are the owners. " (https://www.infiniteconversations.com/t/resonate-is-crowd-owning-campaign/686)


Status

June 2016:

"The last few months since we presented Resonate at the Platform Coop conference in NYC has seen a flurry of activity.

We’ve recruited half a dozen new labels, hundreds of bands and artists, and more than 50 volunteers. One significant member of the team who recently joined is Shane Morris, who used to work for Sony Music Nashville, MySpace, and the music blog Earmilk. He brings a wealth of experience and contacts within the industry to the project and is helping accelerate our recruitment goals. Design on our player demo is ongoing and should be concluded this fall, at which point we’ll announce our official crowdfunding campaign.

Another significant development is the partnerships that have been forged with various individuals and organizations in the US and Europe, specifically around the “blockchain for music” topic. Resonate Founder Peter Harris just co-organized a blockchain lab at the Music Tech Fest in Berlin, which saw participants from across the industry collaborating and debating on the best way forward to create a decentralized database for metadata and rights management for the music industry." (http://internetofownership.net/2016/06/02/update-from-resonate-a-music-streaming-co-op/)


Discussion

Resonate as a Protest Platform

Liz Pelly:

"The idea driving Resonate, a music streaming cooperative established in 2015, is that everyone involved in the service, from the musicians to the labels to the listeners, own the business together. They vote on how to run the cooperative and share profits.

“We have to, for so many reasons, start taking economic arrangements back into our own hands,” says founder Peter Harris, an electronic producer and web engineer based in Berlin.

I first came across Resonate in 2015 at the Platform Cooperativism conference, an annual meeting of a greater movement by the same name.

Within the “platform cooperativism” movement, a wide range of companies and organizations work to create a more fair and worker-friendly internet via platforms that adapt the infrastructure of cooperatives to the digital realm, pushing back on the inequitable arrangements of the deceptive “sharing economy” and monolithic digital marketplaces.

A movement directory lists over 200 active organizations, ranging from ride-sharing companies and childcare co-ops to cleaning services and collective decision-making apps. One of the cooperatives listed is Resonate.

The most common understanding of cooperatives might be co-op grocery stores, where members work shifts, receive discounts, participate in decision-making, and sometimes receive dividends at the end of the year. It is an economic model increasingly associated with the concept of “solidarity economies,” models where communities work together to ensure more equity and fairness for all involved.

According to organizations like the New Economy Coalition, “Centuries of economic extraction have undermined aspirations for a democratic society.” Cooperative, ethical, and community-rooted enterprises are needed.

“Concentration of power in the hands of a privileged few is incompatible with the long-term health of our communities and our ecosystems,” the organization’s mission statement reads. (Natalia Linares, the communications manager at New Economy Coalition, is a Resonate board member.)

The participatory structure of Resonate is one member, one share, one vote. As a member of Resonate, this past week I received an email where I was asked to vote on the platform’s potential future design updates: “More song details, “Artist / Label browsing,” “File downloads,” and “Easier favorites” were among the choices I could select.

Since the late 1990s, Harris says he saw the rise of the tech sector and hyper-centralization claim a stronger and stronger hold on how music functions. He watched more power put into the hands of corporations unconcerned with making sustainable careers for artists while artists struggled to adapt, make money, and generally survive.

With Resonate, members aim to push back against centralization, against a music world dominated by Amazon, Google, and Facebook. “These business environments musicians find themselves in are really dictated by the needs of these very large corporations and/or Wall Street,” he adds. “The decentralization movement is really our only hope.”

Resonate is particularly interesting for the way it advocates for broad decentralization of data, power, and money in music.

The platform attempts this in a three-fold approach: the cooperative structure; the “stream-to-own” model, and the use of blockchain technology.

With the “stream-to-own” model, one pays for what they listen to rather than a flat fee. It pays artists more fairly than subscription-based services. Listeners eventually own the track (as an unlimited stream or download) after nine paid-for streams.

As for the blockchain approach, this involves the technology behind bitcoin, which allows for the decentralization of currency away from one central bank while also maintaining a secure, un-editable record of every transaction.

The technology allows for all sorts of data decentralization. For example, imagine if the data owned by a streaming service was not sitting on one central server in one room somewhere but instead existed everywhere.

As detailed on the Resonate website, blockchain helps facilitate the cooperative process but also presents new opportunities for artists managing and automating music metadata and licensing related work: “Being decentralized and distributed across the entire network, a blockchain-based system for music distribution could therefore solve many of the industry’s fundamental problems, everything from inconsistent credits to more effective payment distribution.”

Harris recognized the potential of a music streaming service based on its decentralization possibilities but wanted to incorporate its ideology with a similarly decentralized business model.

“I thought maybe there’s an opportunity to build something that can, at its very core, from a technical point, avoid this process of centralization,” Harris shares. “As I was just toying around with those ideas a lot, I realized very quickly, oh, there’s already a business model that’s been around for 150 years that matches up pretty quickly to that. And that’s the cooperative.” (https://shadowproof.com/2017/11/01/protest-platforms-resonate-streaming-co-op-agency-to-artists/)