Rick Segal wants to give a musician $40. He tried talking to the RIAA, ASCAP, Amazon, his agent and his management company.
Sounds like he could have used Fairtunes (why did I let the domain name lapse??), a voluntary contribution system for music. You gave Fairtunes $5 or $40 and we’d track down the artist or their management company and cut them an old fashioned cheque and mail it to them. We ended up distributing tens of thousands of dollars but the site never really took off.
We flipped it to two crazy guys in a barn in upstate New York. We should have made off with hundreds of thousands but our lawyer made more on the deal than we did. I don’t know about John but I used my $3000 dividend cheque to buy my Neon. Sadly the boys in New York, while having co-founded About.com, ended up bankrupting themselves trying to make Fairtunes successful. Their first mistake was renaming the company to Musiclink, the second was re-writing the site and of course the third was screwing us.
Seven years later the idea is still a good one. My big regret was that instead of flipping it post-bubble we didn’t form a non-profit or non-for-profit to run the the site. I think the idea still has merit but there likely is not a good business case around it (we told investors that we were going to make interest off the float, how naive!)