We hear a lot about how dramatically the music industry is changing. And indeed, there are plenty of positive trends amidst the disruption. Music creation is easier than ever. So is music discovery. Streaming services offer a new model for the consumption of music on any device, in any location. Whether from within a startup or at Music Hack Day, developers are building new things everyday that will help shape the future of music.
It’s an exciting time, but not always a reassuring one for the people that create the music themselves. In a lot of ways, the new music ecosystem can be even more confusing for artists, even if unprecedented opportunities technically exist for them.
It’s with this reality in mind that Jesse von Doom and Maggie Vail are seeking to build the CASH Music Platform, an open source toolkit for bands and musicians to use to promote their work and advance their career while beginning to cut out the army of middlemen that has historically been a part of the process.
“We really believe that one of the major missing pieces in the music industry is an open framework — the bit that gives artists more control, is easy, and still lets them use any service they want,” von Doom said.
Building an Open Source, Turnkey Online Platform For Musicians
Right now, CASH Music offers a number of self-installed promotional tools for artists, such as an email address collection form, contest entry form, a widget that displays upcoming tour dates and a module for pulling in and mashing up social feeds. A few more features are in the works, including basic e-commerce, fan club module and third party integrations for multimedia content. These features are all open source, install-it-yourself tools for bands to use on their websites.
If the above sounds analogous to WordPress.org, what von Doom and the rest of the team are hoping to ultimately ship is more of a WordPress.com-style product. That is, they’re building a fully hosted, turnkey solution for artists to use to manage their online presence. To get there, they’re using Kickstarter to raise money for the development that’s needed. Their initial goal was met within the first 72 hours of the page being live, but the more resources they can throw at this project, the better, von Doom told us.
CASH Music was founded in 2007 by Kristin Hersh and Donita Sparks, both of whom are veterans of the alternative rock scene that emerged in the 1980s. Today, their board is made up of notable digital media entrepreneurs and indie music vets.
The original site offered a Radiohead-style pay-what-you-want pricing model for digital downloads from select artists. The more fans paid, the more got in return, including posters, access to shows and ProTools files for remixing their favorite songs.
The CASH Music Platform, once it’s complete, will offer quite a few features, but it is by no means intended to do everything artists need. Instead, it will be developed to be compatible with a wide range of third party services and APIs. Whether artists use MailChimp for email newsletters, BandCamp or SoundCloud for hosting music or PayPal for e-commerce, the idea is to launch a product that integrates seamlessly with as many relevant Web services as possible.