An Afterlife for The Dead?
Wednesday, May 27, 1998 by Dave Winer.
Hey I want the web to entertain me, and that it does, very well, sometimes. In bursts! Last week was intense. This week is not intense.
The lack of intensity this week is more visible because of the immense intensity of last week. Have I turned into an intensity junky? Ooooh. Not sure if I like it.
I heard that there are 23 million web users in the United States. I bet it's growing fast. All of those people wanting an intense web experience.
I know what I'm looking for. Music. I need something to fill in the gaps in the battle between the network giants, Microsoft and the government.
It's been three years since I started writing to music, but the state of the art of music distribution on the web has hardly changed in the three years. It's certainly easier to buy audio CDs on the web, but where is the distribution system that takes advantage of the music programming capabilities of my personal computer? And I have a server. I am a DJ. I really want to do that. Really!
The music industry doesn't know what it wants to do. Could it get started while they figure it out? Yes, it already has.
Jerry Garcia is gone and The Grateful Dead isn't performing anymore. But they left behind a wonderful legacy, all those bootleg tapes, as far as I know legally produced, that were begging to be put up in RealAudio, LiquidAudio, NetShow or QuickTime, or whatever.
Today I'm collecting links to web-based Grateful Dead radio stations. Here are two:
I'm listening to DeadRadio right now.
It's very Dead-like!
It can be commercial too. Writers, programmers and musicians working together. We could have fun! Let music sneak into writing on the web. And I think we could make money.
Charge five cents per play for each song, $5 for an unlimited personal use download. $50 per broadcast. The player checks in with a license server to be sure the user has the right to play the song.
With broadband networks and DSL, high power net connections become a market. We can have more powerful security systems to protect the value of intellectual property.
Trusted endorsements and emotional appeals. I think we could have sold a lot of listens to Hey Pocky Way last week. And people would have been happier for it! That's the kind of flow I want to develop. An economy of sharing. That's how the money flows. How much would you pay for a smile? $5 is nothing.
Start with stuff that's not in distribution now. I'd happily pay $5 for Buddy Miles's Changes. Great dance music. I'd even pay $5 for the Grateful Dead studio version of Hey Pocky Way, if it exists.
We know one band that will go for this for sure, The Dead. The open source of the music world. So we get to play with their stuff. It'll open the way for other tunes to flow thru the net. Yah yah.
Another idea. I want to rent videos using the web. How would it work? In my web browser, go to www.videorentals.com. Look up the movie I want. Add it to my shopping basket. Check out. Three days later the video arrives in my mailbox. I have a week to watch it. Then send it back in the pre-paid mailer. No trip to the video store.
I can plan my movie watching for the next year. I can go thru a whole series of works by a specific director or actor, in any order I want. I can watch movies with the same rhythm that I browse the web. It'll happen for sure.
I think it's about niche distribution for now. Gaining distribution for creativity that isn't being broadly carried in the old distribution system.
Where the cost of production is already paid for, where the audience isn't concentrated geographically.
Users require seduction, but the owners of intellectual property need to be seduced too. A toe dip with the old stuff will lead the way to new stuff that takes the new medium into account.
One step at a time.
Can you see a new attitude here? I can.
I have no idea where we're going.
All the balls are in the air again.