« Does Sampling Promote Sales (the Girl Talk example) |
| That Self-Publishing Experiment »
October 29, 2013
What About the Listener-Supported Model?
One of the questions I get asked when I talk about new business models
is "What about listener support?" It's been the public radio and TV (NPR, PBS) mantra for decades and it seems pretty straightforward: hold a pledge drive, raise cash, use that cash to make more art, science, radio, documentary, entertainment, etc.goodness that we want.
The trick here is that these public institutions aren't really fully listener supported. NPR for example is quite transparent about its sources of funding; here's a handy graphic for you. Individuals make up the largest single source of support but even so that's under 40% of their budget, which means that if they had to rely solely on listeners they'd be in terrible shape.
This leaves open the question of what could you do on a listener-support basis, to which we can now add one more data point: you could produce a high-quality weekly podcast, and maybe more. The art/architecture/design podcast called "99% Invisible" has put together a successful Kickstarter (though you can still back them through Nov 22, see below) in order to move to a weekly production schedule for their upcoming 4th season.
Kickstarters are cool, and I'm really jazzed that one of my favorite earphone-fillers is going to be coming out more often, but we started with the notion of business model. So it was interesting to me to see that - as of this writing - the current stretch goal for the Kickstarter is "provide health-care premiums for the staff." Because if you're going to run a business you have to think about your people as well as your product and if you believe in listener funding a business then you might think this was a very smart move.
But it's also a risky one - people want to pay for creative product. I want the radio show, or CD, or concert or game or whatever it is that I'm backing with my dollars to be delivered to me. Healthcare, and other so-called overhead expenses of running a business, aren't directly translated into product delivered to me. But if we're serious about promoting new business models, then we need to start getting serious about what it really takes to run a business via these models.
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: Culture
POST A COMMENT
- RELATED ENTRIES
- Stageit Helps Artists Play for Fans, for a Price
- Kickstarter to Pay the Musicians
- Shortening the Long Tail
- Washington Post Surprised by Obvious Actions
- Is Pop Music Holding You Hostage?
- Beasties, Toys, and Fair Use
- Contract Royalties Plummet, Concert Income Grows
- MSF to TPP: Stop Attacking Access to Lifesaving Medicines