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Bopaboo, the musician’s income broker

Posted by Bob Jonkman on December 16th, 2008

Chrome piggy bank wears headphones

Because Pigs Like Music Too

There’s been a fair bit of press about bopaboo, the online service that buys and sells “used” MP3 files.

Every article I’ve read suggests that this is something that either should be, or shouldn’t be illegal, but that either way bopaboo is going to get their pants sued off by Big Media. The problem is that they all view the music files as a tangible good, as a property that doesn’t even belong to the person who possesses the item.

bopaboo is going about it all wrong too. Rather than focussing on the buying and selling of the files, they should be viewed as a service for getting money into the pockets of the musicians. Income brokers, if you will.

Some of us really do want to pay the artists whose music we listen to. But for the most part, individuals have no easy way of doing that directly. The traditional way is by buying a CD, for which the payment eventually works its way back through the distribution chain, the CD manufacturers and Big Media’s deep pockets, eventually paying the artist a few pennies. And that only works if the CD is available in stores, still in the catalogues, and not choked to death by DRM.

bopaboo can bypass all that.

For example, Bruce Houghton tells us that he sold a file, bought another, and then sold it again all in the space of a few seconds. This is great! Every transaction that’s made on bopaboo should result in more money in the pockets of the musicians.

Not only is it a direct way of paying musicians, it’s a lot greener than driving to the record store, buying a piece of plastic (that’s stored in a plastic container wrapped in plastic, and probably carried home in a plastic bag). It’s faster to get the music on your digital media player, since the files from bopaboo are already in digital format. Since bopaboo is planning on watermarking files to avoid duplicate uploads, hopefully they’ll complete all metadata too, so that any purchased files will be more complete and accurate than anything that can be downloaded from the P2P networks.

Four value-adds for the price of one digital file. Too bad the bopaboo Vice President of Marketing isn’t pushing that a little harder.

–Bob.

Update 6 November 2011: Bostinnovation reports an upstart new company, ReDigi claims to be the world’s first online marketplace for used digital music. Sorry, ReDigi, you’re only three years late to the game.


Because Pigs Like Music Too by left-hand is used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 Generic license.

 
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