Re: [rumori] the oldest issue in the world: money (long)

From: Pan (
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 16:32:06 PST

Here's my 2 cents from an admin perspective....

Offering free services becomes more difficult over time. When SRN first
got its phat pipe (three years ago), we gave space to any Snuggles list
member who asked. It was so easy to do at a time when most people didn't
have a need for a site. Any content that was posted consisted mostly of
text, with a few mp3 files. Under these circumstances, SRN could afford
to host individual sites and group projects. (The connection is
supported by Experience Productions, our commercial services wing).
Things started to change after the first 9 or so months. Web content
patterns started to change. Individual users were now posting full
albums worth of mp3 and they were also getting greater notoriety i.e.
downloaders. This, combined with the delayed fascination with Droplift,
brought the server nearly to its knees. The bandwidth was completely
soaked up. Downloads slowed to a literal crawl. The machine itself was
stressed. After dealing with this for a few months, it was decided that
there needed to be a change. SRN stopped offering new personal sites and
began asking site holders to contribute every month. The idea was that
they were not only contributing toward their personal project sites,
they were also helping support the group project space.

This is our current formula. It's analogous to Steev's situation in some
ways. He's hosting other folks (Tape-Beatles, etc.) as well as group
projects and other list related material. That's a lot of stuff.

thoughts on the options....

On Monday, December 2, 2002, at 01:57 PM, Lloyd Dunn wrote:
> 1) Limit bandwidth. Keep everything free, but possibly inconvenient
> or even temporarily unavailable. (Which is how it is right now.)

This option is troublesome for users and admin. Users get frustrated and

> 2) Don't limit bandwidth, but charge per download. Sell entire album
> or video downloads for a modest fee ($5?), but they would always be
> available at the best speed possible.

Somewhere there is a balance between the desire for the content and the
desire not to spend time/money. Some projects on SRN would be palatable
even for a fee. Others might not get many takers, for whatever reason,
if charged a fee. This model works best if the profit from a few
projects helps fund other freely available ones.

> 3) Don't limit bandwidth, but don't make all the work freely
> available. Have a few tracks up from each record or video program,
> and then steer visitors towards buying the physical release (CD or
> Video) instead.

This is a tried and true model. It's what the "mainstream" media does.

Since I'm big on high-tech, this option leaves much to be desired. If it
weren't for the bandwidth issues, the net could be the total
distribution model for the future. High quality graphics, video and
sound could be transfered via the network, thereby saving
time/resources. Regrettably, the world has to catch up with such
ideology. Though the technology is out there (INTERNET II, IPV6), it
won't be implemented for a while. Rest assured, the communications
companies (all three of them) will continue to inflate the prices to

The option above is reasonable under current circumstances. Though there
may be bandwidth utopia in the future, it aint here now.

> 4) Subscription model of some kind. User gives small donation ($10?)
> in exchange for a password that would allow them unlimited access to
> a certain set of files.

This works if your fan base is motivated and have trust in the artist.
It helps to have a subscription incentive (something extra nice). A
hitch on the user end is that they may not want to subscribe just to
get one particular item. You're less likely to get new users with this
model than the others. On the artists end, it can become difficult to
constantly release stuff every month to keep the subscribers happy.

All considered, a combination of #2 and #3 seems like a workable
scenario. In all honesty, Steev should get some help with what he does.
Behind the scenes of a network is a lot of busy work helping people with
email accounts, login problems, scripts, etc. If people think what Steev
does is valuable, they might consider supporting him for it. (Same goes
for Tape-Beatles themselves).


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