Limitless Curation = Better Attribution

Have you ever heard one of your friends or colleagues brag about how much they like a music artist?

“I’m their biggest fan, and I’ve seen them live three times!”

~ Someone you know (probably)

I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done this. By nature, music enthusiasts hold part of their identity in the artists they love at that moment, and we can’t help but tell others about our excitement. This enthusiasm has power. We want to tap into this power and allow it to contribute to correct attribution and compensation for rights holders.

Team Blue’s Brief

We are Team Blue and we’ve just concluded week 2 at the OMI Summer Lab 2017. Here’s another look at the brief Team Blue was presented with 2 weeks ago:

Compensating musicians for visual works using their songs as data

Our brief goes on to pose a few interesting questions:

How would a multidimensional payment scheme work? What if payments were intentionally gamed for impact? What is the definition of value on a distributed ledger? What is the compensation of tomorrow? How can you track the usage of an artist’s work?

We are diving deep into the question of tracking usage of digital content. Our original interpretation was to reimagine the process by which artists are compensated for their digital works, and how we might reduce the friction that inherently exists in the transfer of digital rights and licenses.

Recently, we’ve refocused our work to investigating the root issues surrounding compensation, one of which lies in tracking the usage of digital content

Our Solution

Tracking usage of digital content and attributing fragmented derivative content is our focus. Fragmented derivative content can be found on virtually all sites that host UGC. On YouTube, for example, this could be a fan-made lyric video of their favorite song. This past week we have collected a few valuable points from our research and interviews:

  1. User generated content (UGC) is the main force driving increasingly fragmented content, whether it’s a derivative work or exact content belonging to the artist.
  2. The most compelling problem with attribution doesn’t necessarily deal with the lack of a name pointing to the rights holder of that content, which is an assumption we had originally. For example, most of the songs you see when you search YouTube for a specific song, will list the artist of that song for SEO purposes. This similarly happens on other UGC hosting platforms. However, there are still discrepancies with this basic form of attribution.
  3. The most compelling problem with attribution is linking back to the rights holders in way that facilitates further consumption of that artist’s content, and translates into purchases or monetization of that content.

UGC is an enormous community of creative people. How might we encourage UGC to point back to the original rights holders of that content? How might we use that to facilitates further exploration and consumption?


Prototype: Fansy

Create, Capture, Curate

Fansy is our umbrella solution to the problem of fragmented content, and unclear attribution. Under Fansy, we are investigating two core feature sets:

  1. Clipr — Our web plugin that provides necessary tools to users for the purpose of gathering content and linking it back to the artist’s stream which we are calling, “The Ocean”
  2. The Ocean — This is where all of the streamable content owned or relating to a particular artist is curated. We hope that users will find this to be a great platform for streaming all of the fractured content relating to their favorite artists. All of which is consistently curated by like-minded fans of that artist.

These individually prototyped projects will join together later-on to form Fansy.


Prototype: Clipr

Fansy encourages everyone to capture content scattered across the vast internet and attribute it to the correct artist of the original content. By giving music fans the tools to gather and curate this content, we can help artists and rights holders reclaim some of the attribution that is lost in translation, while derivate content creators can receive official recognition for their works.

Gathering Content: Users are encouraged to gather content around the internet that can be attributed to a particular artist or rights holder. They accomplish this through our web plugin which we are calling Clipr.

This is Clipr, the webplugin that sends these media clips to The Ocean platform

Clipr makes it easy to select media widgets, whether that be SoundCloud audio, YouTube videos, Instagram images, or even Twitter tweets.

After clipping, users are prompted to finish the curation process by stating who they believe to be the original artists or rights-holder of that content.

We’ve also included a stream of “Controversial” content. ie: content that has large discrepancies regarding consensus amongst the community

The content is then sorted in a single stream for the viewing pleasure of the community. This community is also responsible for curating the content that others gather.

Verification and Rewards: “Verification” or “Confirmation” happens when the community up-votes content that appears in the stream. All of these processes are backed by a points or credit system that rewards users who find content, or curate new content that becomes popular later on. Here is a quick breakdown of this process:

Clipping: Clipping content to the platform that performs well amongst the community will be rewarded points.

Voting and Curating: If you discover a clipping in the stream and up-vote it before it becomes popular, you can earn a curation reward.

These points are a flexible social currency, of which, we haven’t solidified an exact use or value after a user acquires them.


Prototype: The Ocean

The Ocean is where all of the clipped content comes together to create a seamless stream in a distraction-free environment. You can finally engage in all the content offered by your favorite artist in one place. You no longer have to jump from Twitter updates, to YouTube, to SoundCloud, to Instagram etc… It’s all here in The Ocean; created, captured and curated by you.

Fank Ocean’s content provided by users and curated by the community

As you can see from this web prototype, there are many different types of media relating to Frank Ocean’s material scattered across the internet. In this example, we see a fan-made YouTube video, content from Instagram, and media from SoundCloud. On the left, you can scroll through a carousel of other artists and view the community generated content in their stream. To the right you’ll find options for voting or flagging inappropriate content.


Conclusion and Next Steps

Both of these individual prototypes will join together to create Fansy. Our hope is for this platform to be the go-to community for music fans and super fans of digital art. Collaborating with artists could unlock new potential for monetization schemes that work for the artists, not against them. For example, the rewards system and points that users generate could be exchanged for exclusive content from the artist. Our next step is to interviewing people and potential users by showing them tangible implementations of these prototypes. Most importantly we will try to answer this question:

How might we translate this new crowd curation scheme into compensation schemes that work for the benefit of the artist and rights holders?

If you want to read more about the Open Music Initiative click here.

Thank you!

~ Team Blue