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Apr 19, 2008
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Could 10-15% of people be donors?

Stoffel Debuysere of Diagonal Thoughts has some thoughts about (our plans for) VODO amongst in-depth reflection on the Economies Of The Commons conference:

Basically VODO’s aim is to provide a revenue stream for creators of media content, shared through P2P networks. Via a series of technologies would-be donors can be smoothly connected to these creators wherever their works are shared. King forsees a 10-15% of the users giving donations, of which third parties (Pirate Bay, VLC) would recieve a cut – the service costs have to be paid of course (f.e Stage6 recently went bankrupt… VODO is a promising initiative, looking forward to see how it works out.

Right now the 10-15% figure is simply something we’re hoping for. Here are some figures we know about:  according to the Wall Street Journal (probably referencing Wikipedia), 75% of people donated to Part 1 of Stephen King’s online novel The Plant; later on in the series of installments “only” 46% did so. (This fell short of his expectations and he never finished the project.)

According to a ComScore report, of those who downloaded Radiohead’s digital album, In Rainbows, about 38 percent of people paid something even though the website made it very difficult to do so. (About 17 percent paid up to $4, 12 percent paid between $8 and $12, 6 percentbetween $4.01 and $8 and 4 percent between $12 and $20.) Estimates on SlashDot were that the band made $6 million from the album. ‘In terms of digital income,’ said Thom Yorke, ‘we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever – in terms of anything on the Net. And that’s nuts. It’s partly due to the fact that EMI wasn’t giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff.’

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor released Ghosts I-IV online partly distributing it through The Pirate Bay. Unlike Radiohead he was open about the sales. 800,000 transactions (including free and paid downloads as well as orders for physical product), generated $1.6 million in sales revenue in the first week of the album’s availability. But we don’t yet know how much of these sales were down to donations.

Let me know if you find other examples of creators giving their works away along with figures of how many people donated to them and it’ll help us get an idea of expectations.

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