A cooperative web-based community for Music
picture of Tux as Rhysling: playing concertina, black cloth
 over eyes, singing
[more about our penguins]

PenguinSong.net is [will be -- we're just getting started!] a web-based cooperative for musicians and listeners, based on the following principles:

This is not a filesharing scheme like Gnutella or Freenet: every song is uploaded by the rights-holders, who get paid every time that song is downloaded. On the other hand we're not a recording company or a publishing company, either: we're a coop, and we're in it to make money for our members, not a bunch of shareholders (another way of looking at it is that the members are the shareholders, with one share each).

On the other hand there will (probably, eventually) be a network of music servers that works a lot like a peer-to-peer network, but feels a lot different -- see this writeup.

Here's how it works [will work] in detail:

The whole idea is to build a community around the music. In some sense it's all one gigantic jam session, just like the Web is one gigantic HTML document. The difference is that attribution is very carefully tracked, so that everyone who deserves credit gets it: nobody's going to get rich here, but there's no reason why you can't become famous -- or at least infamous.

Initially we'll be aiming at the folk and filk music communities (filk is the indigenous folk music of science-fiction fandom). Both are characterized by a large proportion of amateur and part-time musicians, a large amount of audience participation, and a tradition of song-swapping, melody re-use, variant lyrics, and parody. We'll expand out of those areas as more people join; ultimately it's whatever our members want.

There's another way to look at subscriptions that might be useful: the subscription price is probably not going to be much different from the price of a web-hosting service (i.e. the price you'd pay to someplace like GeoCities for a home page with no popup ads). So you could regard PenguinSong as a musician's cooperative subsidized by a web-hosting service that just happens to offer lots of free music (and the ability to link to it on your web pages) as a perk. Can't beat that, can you?

For reference purposes, here is the essay I originally wrote describing this proposal: theStarport.com/people/steve/Doc/Music/coop.html

And here's the Project Roadmap (which includes a tentative near-term schedule).

Here are the Technical Details (currently sketchy-to-nonexistant).

Here is a little on Why I'm doing this