Spotify but for the Titanic: A Proposal for the Future of News and Publishing
Zeynep Tufekci

Pretty idealistic but I mean in that in a very complimentary way!

Maybe Libraries and school could offer IP-address-based access to preserve some free access for the public good? Either fully subsidized or through an institutional subscription.

It all sounds reminiscent of the model that Google Contributer is developing but I think your argument about success requiring one platform that everyone gets on board with would eliminate Google or any other corporate interest owning the platform, it would need to be some sort of independent nonprofit or ngo type of organisation running it. Could it be a federated system so something like Google Contributer could link into it as a client but other clients could also be used?

And the big question of course, how would something like you describe actually come to life? If you could really nail the revenue distribution model, the technology, and the governance you still have the same chicken and egg problem that comes up every time someone tries to start a new social media platform – it won’t work unless everyone gets on board and it’s hard to get people on board until it’s working.

So how do you get a critical mass of both news outlets and readers on board initially? One incentive could be from an initial large infusion of match funding. I’m not so sure this a problem that anyone with big bucks really wants to throw money at but if you could start out with a dollar match for every penny earned for a read it might prime the pump and get a core set of contributors and readers on board.

Crowdfund the seed money? A grant from the likes of the Knight Foundation or a billionaire philanthropist? Messing with advertising seems a bit threatening for Google or Facebook but maybe Apple or Microsoft would pitch in.