Why can't I just tip my favourite band? I read articles all the time about the financial troubles of musicians but I don't want to buy their albums or merch, why can't I just buy them a coffee? Doesn't the internet do this?
Johnny Rodgers and I worked on a service that answered these questions every Tuesday and one weekend a month for seven years. In that time there were marriages, kids, job stress (this was a side hustle), job success, houses bought, houses sold, houses built, and despite our efforts very little usage of our website GIVE.TO. It wasn't no activity, there were approximately $40,000 CAD gifted through the service and $13,000 CAD given to artists. We hosted live events, we ran crowdfunding campaigns, and we worked on the product a lot. But this didn't fulfill our grand vision.
A platform that enables anyone in the world to give any amount of money to any musical artist, directly.
Here's how it worked:
You have an emotional response to a piece of music. You're struck with the impact the artist has on your life and feel compelled to support the artists.
You pledge some amount of money to give to the artist on give.to. You share your act of gratitude on social network of choice.
The artist sees your pledge, verifies their account, and gets your gift.
The artist can then use give as a flexible fundraising tool.
We believe that a gift economy, rooted in the support of artists, will be the foundation of the future of sustainable creativity.
To be the gift economy of the internet.
Scarcity to abundance
Ownership to access
Transaction to choice
Abstract to connected
The (less spoken about) bigger idea:
Create a wealth distribution system that incentivizes authentic creativity / lore creation in the form of a "Gift". Use the accessibility of music and the general knowledge if it's economic challenges to start with. Once scaling music broaden access to be a general capital gift platform. Money in exchange for status.
Put your money where your likes are.
How it ended
On , the click of a “Publish” button held the weight of a shovel with the last spade of dirt thrown on a closed coffin. A dream we both held in such high regard had dissolved into the void time in the rest of what we call Life. A dream to change the world for the better; a solution to the big problems; a projection of a positive future, and blood, sweat, and tears, relinquished from our constant supervision.
We worked on product too much. We should have spent more time on our business. Less strategy, more numbers. We changed things before they needed to be all the time and wasted our effort.
We should have entertained full time work on the idea for some period.
We should have entertained outside investment (we had a strong bootstrap this ourselves mentality).
If we would have been more open to cryptocurrency, it might have lead us to web3, which might have kept the project alive.
How web3 could have been a better underlying technology:
System of record. Public Ledger. Built upon trust.
The reward for a gift is status. Status is built into Web3.
An identity based upon url ownership verification.
A system built upon mass participation.
Rising tides. All boats rise.
Permissionless system. Anyone can give to anyone.
An economy based upon variable subjective value rather than known market dynamics.
Add MOSO conf
Add medium links
add montecristo mag
Give is a platform for anyone to give any amount of money to any (musical) artist, directly.
We would say.
It’s a response to a massive shift in the creation and consumption of media. It’s an important piece in the future of music on the internet.
Also what we would say.
A platform that enables anyone in the world to give any amount of money to any musical artist, directly. It's a response to a massive shift in the creation and consumption of media, and we think it's a part of the future of the internet.
Well we believed that there were altruistic moments that needed to be captured. That grateful energy was strong and would guide action, but is short lived and distracted by modern culture. We believed a fun, efficient, and beautiful interface to express heartfelt appreciation through would be used (if it was always nearby). We believed it wasn't about what you get from a gift, it was about how we could capture those moments.
We've all had them — front row at a performance in awe. In tears or sweat from dancing. The appreciation experienced at live events causes people to buy sill t-shirts, just because they want to be a part of what's happening. People want to fit in and stand out.
We would write and say this all the time. That's what we would say GIVE.TO did. But why would you give any amount of money to any musical artist?
Well I guess we believe you actually wanted to. We believed that the best art is felt, and that these emotions would drive you to a desire for connection, and that in a capitalist world, money is the most broadly distributed universal connection (wether we like it or not). Irrational acts of gratitude.
The hardest problem we couldn't solve was the 'exchange' question. Assuming people are self interested, why would they give away their money. Of course, there were people that did (and we did all the time, we loved using it), but what did we all get back? What was the job that the service was doing.
But we got asked the question a lot:
So what do I get if I give $3 to Radiohead? Nothing? Oh, so why would I use this?
We didn’t have a good answer. This type of transaction actually made some people uncomfortable. Others, loved it.
What we realized, though, was that people are also motivated by status, and there are many pressures in our environment to think about our status. Many acts on the internet are motivated by status.