Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tipping financed art

Pay for books, music, movies by tipping.
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

The current economic paradigm of paying for each instance of a good is breaking down. Digital media can be reproduced free, and distribution is turning out to also be free and impossible to control. We need a new model to pay for the creation of software. Currently distributors get the majority of the proceeds. Since distribution is almost free, the author should get the majority.

We should set up a simple system for tipping for music, books, or movies. Tipping 15% at a restaurant is now standard in the US. That is at least $1-5 per person, often several times per week. That is probably more than most authors or musicians get for a book or album. If tipping were easy enough it could became customary to tip $1-5 for a good public domain song, book, or shareware program.

That could be enough money to fund a lot of public domain art, especially if the money saved by not buying commercial art is enough to make people generous. Since people would normally tip only for the best (with small pieces like music), artists would have to compete. 100,000,000 people giving $5 two times/week is $1 billion per week. That is enough to ensure that a song, book, or movie in the top 10 could earn $10-100 Million/week. Musicians or authors would compete for a piece of that. That might be a little low for big budget movies, but low budget movies are getting better and very cheap.

Popular artists who don't need to prove their worth, or big budget movies could anounce that they would either release the product 6 months in the future or on receipt of $100 million in tips. I would pay $10 to speed up the release of the next Stat Wars.

An artist could set a price and just not release until that price was reached. If the price was unreasonable most people would not pay anything (because they would never expect release), so the artist would have to set reasonable prices.

This is a kind of obvious idea, but I don't see it here.

tolly3, Mar 05 2002

Tipster http://tipster.weblogs.com/
System for voluntary payment to artists. [pottedstu, Mar 05 2002]

The Street Performer Protocol http://www.firstmon...es/issue4_6/kelsey/
Description of how this works. [bookworm, Mar 05 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Stephen King's "Plant" Uprooted http://www.wired.co...,1284,40356,00.html
Wired reports on failure of King's downloadable novel; with links to other stories. [pottedstu, Mar 05 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

FairTunes http://www.fairtunes.com
Web site that forwards tips to artists [Jeremi, Mar 05 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Tipster http://tipster.weblogs.com/
System for voluntary payment to artists. [pottedstu, Oct 17 2004]


       And the difference between buying something with a tip and paying a price for the object would be...?
mcscotland, Mar 05 2002

       Call me negative, but relying on the goodwill of the general public to tip sounds a little dubious. Some people tip compulsively, others never tip despite five star service. Maybe if we entirely change north american culture (I decline to commet on others) it might work.
rbl, Mar 05 2002

       Firstly... "Start Wars". Great typo. Please don't fix it.   

       Secondly, it's unreasonable to ask people to pay for a product in advance that they might not like. I watch a lot of movies, but I would not pony up money six months in advance for _any_ film. Other than Star Wars geeks, I can't think of many folks who would do this.   

       Yes, I know people pay in advance for some kinds of entertainment already, eg. concert tickets. But in those cases, one can be reasonably sure one is going to enjoy the performance. The next Spielberg film might suck as bad as the last one did.   

       So films banking on advance funds, on a predetermined amount being raised before release, would never get released. I think this is an impossible business model for the film industry.   

       Lastly, digital media cannot be reproduced 'free'. Less expensively than other means, perhaps, but not free. Even for the at-home mp3 hog, there was the expensive of the computer system, the internet access... perhaps a portable mp3 player... not free. For the (probably illegal) distributor: software development costs, bandwidth issues... all cost money.
waugsqueke, Mar 05 2002

       Buskers would regard this idea as quite baked, of course.
supercat, Mar 05 2002

       The difference between this and the current model is the economy of scale that the internet, this is voluntary, and it is understood that many people won't pay for it. Sidewalk artists don't reach an audience of millions. Metallica gets mad that people copy their music, but there is really no way to stop that. Better to have a system where Metallica gets paid an adequate amount.   

       I think a lot of people would tip Spielberg $10. People now pay $50 in advance for a concert that could suck. The artist could guarantee that the art would be released, just not as soon.   

       How can you be ripped off by lawyers if you give it to the public domain? The only way to get ripped off is if someone else claims to be the author.   

       Stephen King tried this. I'm not sure how he did. Some cultural change might need to happen to raise proceeds.
tolly3, Mar 05 2002

       I would pay £10 to delay the release of the new Star Wars. I would pay £100 to delay relase indefinitely.
calum, Mar 05 2002

       George Lucas could have the pros and antis bid against each other. Personally, I think he's got enough money already.   

       This is incredibly baked. There are lots of websites which invite you to make a purely voluntary donation, in addition to the buskers mentioned before. Services such as Tipster exist to channel payments to artists on a voluntary basis. Many museums and art galleries have a donation box at the front door. Even warez sites invite you to visit their sponsors, who reward them on a money-per-hit basis in return for you viewing adverts. Many indie moviemakers are supported by a system of donations, gifts, theft, unpaid help, and "investors" who realise they may never get money back; feel free to support your local artist. You can also give money to the numerous charities who exist to support artists by offering them grants, bursaries or other practical assistance.
pottedstu, Mar 05 2002

       I thought this idea was going to be about putting so-called art, commissioned by some rich financier for vanity's sake, into a big tip. On reading it though, it makes no sense to me.
sappho, Mar 05 2002

       "Firstly... "Start Wars". Great typo. Please don't fix it."
Then it gets changed to 'Stat Wars'.

       I think this is a fine idea to a certain extent. There are artists I like enough to advance a buck or two per song in order to be able to download the song. Especially if most of the 'tip' went to the artist instead of the distribution channel.   

       It's a gamble, but if I thought the artist would produce something I didn't like, I wouldn't participate.
phoenix, Mar 05 2002

       I think Stephen King killed his project before completing it because too many people were downloading the chapters without paying for them (on the honor system).
beauxeault, Mar 05 2002

       I think King's system was doomed to failure/abuse. He had a fixed price, and required a large percentage of users to pay it. That goes against the idea of allowing people to pay what they feel it is worth, or what they can afford. (See link for more).
pottedstu, Mar 05 2002

       Alright...this is a creative idea, but right away one runs into what is known as the 'free-rider' problem. as people cannot be prevented from enjoying the music, there is little incentive for them to tip. certainly a few individuals would, but many many more would rely on the philosophy that 'everyone else is tipping.' this is the same reason why the government must provide national security. ultimately, very little revenue would be realized with this breakdown in private property rights.
fish917thirty, Feb 13 2003


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