Comments: Five Dollar Friday

Hey Jonathan, I just got the alert that someone had purchased my song (you), and then found your page, and learned about your project which TOTALLY made my day. Thanks for your $5, but even more so for this $5 idea which is infectious and inspiring. Cheers. You just made me want to a) make more stuff and b) give stuff away.
Best,
Nina

Posted by Nina Katchadourian at April 9, 2010 04:54 PM

Nina, thanks so much for stopping by. Please let everyone you know who might be interested about this idea, including Dean Baker's artistic freedom vouchers concept. Many people I know think the vouchers would be quite difficult to make happen, but I really don't—because it could have the most motivated and creative people in America lobbying for it relentlessly. (Baker also believes that it could be implemented by any medium-sized city on their own, thereby turning themselves into a thriving mecca with hundreds of artists.)

Finally...I very much look forward to more work of yours, but I'm hesitant to encourage you to write anything else as catchy as "Sky Mall Kitties," since that's already colonized 87% of my brain.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at April 9, 2010 05:08 PM

Jonathan, I will spread the word. And because the world is not all SkyMall kitties, I will also continue to spread the word about the Iraq video you posted, and to promote awareness of wikileaks. Thanks for directing your attention and efforts in such a diverse way on your site. I'm humbled to be included.

Posted by Nina Katchadourian at April 9, 2010 05:28 PM

I liked the song and video.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at April 9, 2010 06:38 PM

independent (read: poor) musician here. like the idea.
a problem i've had on my mind is one of scale. five dollars a week comes to 260 a year, or about half a year's worth of internet (not to mention the money spent on the computer in the first place). why are people willing to shell out hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for ipads and the like, while asking them to throw a few dozen bucks at the arts is like pulling teeth?
and i think the honest answer is that digital technology has led people to appreciate creative products instantly, and so consumers are abstracted from the huge amounts of work that go into them. thus, why should i give my money to working musicians when there's already more music available for free than i could ever listen to in my life?
so it's a double-edged sword, in my mind. what we need is what you're providing here: constructive ideas that actually might start to move the conversation forward.

Posted by mike at April 9, 2010 07:33 PM

Jonathan,
Can we painters be included, eventually?

Posted by Justin at April 9, 2010 08:18 PM

Great stuff -- an artist who thinks about other artists. Love it. Now I have to find where and how to purchase my favorite art of this week.
I can't wait to honor someone who least suspects it.

Posted by Donna at April 9, 2010 09:34 PM

Is The Real News really an artistic venue? I guess it falls under "worthwhile" stuff (very worthwhile, in my opinion), but I don't think it would fall under Artistic Freedom Vouchers.

Posted by Susan at April 10, 2010 01:41 AM

Susan, after reading Dean Baker's pamphlet and skimming his paper on AFVs, it seems clear that anything that can be copyrighted can be AFVed - so yes, the Real News counts.

While in general agreement with the purpose of the AFVs, the use of tax money and government registration of AFV recipients is a bit too "big government"ish for my taste. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler, according to a saying I've seen attributed to Einstein. The "simple as possible" solution is to give away your own money to those whom you wish to receive it, as Jonathan has pledged to do. Taxes, on the other hand, are taken from everybody at the point of a gun - if you resist paying them, your property will be taken away; if you resist your property being taken away, your liberty will be taken away; if you resist your liberty being taken away, deadly force may be used against you.

Who knows if it's good or bad?

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at April 10, 2010 09:37 AM

Great idea; sent my $5! Song is great and so is Nina.

Posted by Mike of Angle at April 10, 2010 01:06 PM

yeah mistah charley! no taxation with representation!!!

the internet revolution will not be televised, you have to google it.

Posted by utica at April 10, 2010 01:33 PM

Jon, this is an absolutely fantastic idea. I'm going to do it as long as I am able to/remember to.

Posted by ethan at April 10, 2010 03:12 PM

that is such an awesome idea, i'm actually going to get off my ass, and, first, comment, 2nd, start the movement rolling - i hardly ever comment on anything, i'm so passive, but this is the rare thing that has spurred me to action - artists actually getting paid, how about that? plus, i feel a little guilty in the back of my mind all the time for all the movies and music i watch for free

Posted by Hector the Crow at April 10, 2010 04:29 PM

If anyone's having a hard time thinking where to start, Arthur Silber is my suggestion.

Posted by ethan at April 10, 2010 05:22 PM

mistah charley, ph.d.:

I liked the song and video.

Yes, it's beautifully crafted, which is part of why I wanted to kick off this idea with it. Far more work goes into stuff like this than I think most people know.

While in general agreement with the purpose of the AFVs, the use of tax money and government registration of AFV recipients is a bit too "big government"ish for my taste.

I hereby assign you one (1) reading of Dean Baker's book The Conservative Nanny State.

Also, I strongly suspect that if the voucher idea were implemented, many people would start giving their own money over and above the $100 voucher.

Justin:

Can we painters be included, eventually?

Everybody is welcome, both in my $5 Friday socialist paradise and with Dean Baker's regime.

Donna:

I can't wait to honor someone who least suspects it.

That's how I feel. It's sort of like a weekly Secret Santa program.

Susan:

Is The Real News really an artistic venue? I guess it falls under "worthwhile" stuff (very worthwhile, in my opinion), but I don't think it would fall under Artistic Freedom Vouchers.

As mistah charley says, it would be fundable under the artistic freedom vouchers. The government should have no say in determining whether something is or is not "artistic."

Mike of Angle:

Great idea; sent my $5! Song is great and so is Nina.

In my opinion she is a very big weirdo and hence my favorite kind of person. I hope many people follow your (our) lead.

utica:

the internet revolution will not be televised, you have to google it.

To the barricades!

ethan:

Jon, this is an absolutely fantastic idea. I'm going to do it as long as I am able to/remember to.

Ethan, very glad you like it. I'm planning to set up a separate site that will make it easy for people to record their donations if they're so inclined and check out others.

If anyone's having a hard time thinking where to start, Arthur Silber is my suggestion.

Yes, he'll be getting money from me too before too long.

Hector the Crow:

plus, i feel a little guilty in the back of my mind all the time for all the movies and music i watch for free

Yes, me too. At the very least this will help me remember to pay (some of) the people who deserve it.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at April 10, 2010 06:41 PM

Does Democracy Now! count? I thought about which news source I would really, really hate to lose and got Democracy Now! Have been sending them $25 a month for years now.

Posted by Susan at April 10, 2010 10:01 PM

anybody heard of kachingle? just read about it today.

http://www.kachingle.com/

Posted by joshuanoyes at April 11, 2010 02:56 AM

Great idea! Thanks.

Posted by Batocchio at April 12, 2010 01:32 AM

How do you send the money?

Posted by Andrew Utter at April 12, 2010 01:49 AM

Kachingle -- "social cents for digital stuff" launched 6 weeks ago and is basically the platform for voluntary contributions that you describe.

It's free to sites/blogs -- just install the widget (we call it a Medallion) on all pages of your site. Only takes a few minutes.

Then your "Kachinglers" can automatically have a portion of their $5 monthly contribution go to your site, proportionately distributed based on their surfing behavior.

There are already 125 sites participating, with more signing up every day (along with Kachinglers) and we are gathering traction and momentum!

http://www.kachingle.com
http://blog.kachingle.com

Cynthia
Founder of Kachingle

Posted by Cynthia Typaldos at April 12, 2010 02:01 AM

My daughter and her friend love this, so it should sweep across the world like a tsunami!

Posted by N E at April 12, 2010 06:44 AM

While Five Dollar Fridays is an excellent idea, artist subscriptions, or sponsorships, are better. You, the sponsor, agree to pay the creative person some amount to support their work for the coming year. In return, you get more than the free content. You get a direct connection to the creative process.


I believe that it isn't the availability of free content which makes it hard to support a career- it's the root concept of "buying" art by the unit. Selling art by the unit drives the price so low that no one but the biggest sellers can survive. It distances the creator of art from the listener, or reader, or viewer. It encourages bad art, actually- art that is remote and superficial.


The reason sponsorships are better than Five Dollar Fridays is that with a sponsorship the supporter is actively supporting the process of creation, rather than reacting to some pleasing thing that they will promptly forget about tomorrow. Unless you think that that's all there is to art, in which case I'll shut up now.


Oh, wait! See my www.steampoweredstudio.com (Steam Powered Studio) for an example of sponsorships at work.

Posted by Pooleside at April 12, 2010 07:27 AM

Kachingle gets 20% (well, Kachingle and Pay-Pal combined). That's a nice vig!

Not that there's anything wrong with that, as long as your Kachinglers know about it. A 5% charge would be a lot more acceptable, IMHO.

Posted by Pooleside at April 12, 2010 10:51 AM

What a fine idea! Got here through Mike's Blog Roundup this Monday morning. My tiny revolution is to give away content all the time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2onY3nuBvA --MaryK

Posted by MaryK Croft at April 12, 2010 10:52 AM

Does mailing Hopi Blue Corn seeds to people count ?

Colorado Bob's Hupi Blue Corn Experiment

Posted by Colorado Bob at April 12, 2010 12:29 PM

—Jonathan

An Anniversary , and the 1st Year's Experiment's Results

Posted by Colorado Bob at April 12, 2010 12:35 PM

—Jonathan
I have been thinking about your concept , myself.
Except I came up with " The 5 Dollar Focus ".
Yours is a better tag line.

I'll see if I can spread the word around. This idea will work.


We've raised nearly $75,000 in the last 3 months for this :
Blog readers send 950 ShelterBoxes to help disaster survivors

Posted by Colorado Bob at April 12, 2010 12:50 PM

Sent Nina her $5 bucks. I know she'll get 5 dollars worth of smiles, to see it roll in. It's not so much the money, as it is the fact you get an " Atta Boy " or an " Atta Girl " as the case may be.

Posted by Colorado Bob at April 12, 2010 01:00 PM

Just wanted to say Thank You! for this great idea. I admit I've never been to this site before, but I read your post after Digby linked to it, and I just made my first donation. (All right, on Monday, but I'm playing catch-up.)

This is a meme that deserves to spread like wildfire. Here's hoping it does.

Posted by Saffi at April 12, 2010 03:20 PM

Nice idea, except that it still requires being good at making money to get this (or any) type of donation. Sadly, due to my lack of getting donations, I can't afford even giving a $5 donation. I do all my work, which is nature education for my community, on a sliding scale or donation basis and it's definitely hard to get people to donate without asking them directly, which I'm no good at. My income is $400 in a good month, though I do get enough 'atta boy's and food stamps, and between the two, it keeps me happy.

jonathan:

But it would support 400,000 artists per year at $50,000. All of a sudden artists would have a way to make a living

If it indeed catches on, commercial enterprises would find a way to attract the donations through marketing campaigns and some artists would get disproportionate heaps of the money, just like now.

pooleside:

The reason sponsorships are better than Five Dollar Fridays

Sponsorships require even more skill attracting donations. I wish we could come up with something that is progressive in recipient choice, i.e., gives to very creative people (above a very low threshold of popularity) in inverse proportion to their popularity.

mistah charley, ph.d.:

Taxes, on the other hand, are taken from everybody

As it happens, not everyone is forced to pay taxes. I've refused to pay or file for 32 years now. The IRS hasn't ever taken anything from me, even when they had a special program to enforce against the poorest (and yes, they contacted me). I guess I convinced them I was entirely unwilling to cooperate. After all, the program was based on the idea that poor people roll over faster than rich folks who hire lawyers.

Posted by Joel P at April 12, 2010 11:01 PM