July 25th, 2005
I seem to have touched a nerve – all you lurkers got busy with the comment button. Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions and purchases and oaths of fealty. Obviously guilt works. Just a few hours after my last post, I got some donations from a few people. It was not my intent to generate cash through sympathy (although I am certainly not going to return those donations). I was just venting. In public. On the internet. So distasteful. Sorry about that. But it’s funny how it works, some months really hum along, and then sometimes it just seems to dry up for no reason. I never really push myself out there, I mostly just wait hopefully for a HamsterDance-like wave of instant fame, so it’s no surprise that there’s a little ebb and flow.
As my last post makes clear, this music-on-the-internet thing still confuses me. I am certain that you can’t stop people from sharing mp3s. I’m pretty sure that DRM is a waste of time. There’s no question that the way we all buy and think about music has changed and is still changing. And I do have faith that musicians will continue to be able to make money by making music. But I don’t know how exactly. Thinking about this the past few days has made it clearer to me just what I think I’m doing when I give all this stuff away. In a way I’m testing the theory that it’s OK to have lots of freeloaders as long as some people donate or purchase enough to make up for them.
So the question is, how’s it going? Who knows! I’ve never run the numbers. I can tell you that I can’t currently make a living doing this alone. But it should be easy to figure out the possibilities – add up all the money that comes in, divide that by the number of downloads, and that will give me the effective $$ per download ratio. This is going to be a small number, but that’s fine if it stays consistent when the volume gets bigger – one million half-pennies is a pretty big number, maybe almost a hundred dollars.
I’m going to crank up the old Excel spreadsheet-o-matic and see what comes out. If it’s not too embarassing I will post the ratio here, and then we can all figure out how to increase my traffic by 10,000%. In the meantime, please enjoy this real-life smoking monkey brought to my attention by commenter Ryan.