Grants/FooCorp -- a music label focused on sharing of creative works, providing new opportunities for free culture musicians.
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
We have been loosely working under the 'FooCorp' banner for approximately two years. During that time, we have successfully launched and bootstrapped a music service, Libre.fm, focused exclusively on musicians licensing their music under the free cultural licenses from Creative Commons, as well as other groups like the Free Software Foundation. Libre.fm is the first stage in our plan to foster the growth of new free music, by setting up and running a for-profit corporation in Massachusetts, FooCorp LLC, and operating a recording label, with all creative output of the label released under free licenses, with physical for-sale items including and providing all reasonable source materials.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
In this initial stage, we will establish the corporation and produce and manufacture one record. This record would be made available for purchase both in traditional music stores, online download stores such as eMusic and iTunes, and exclusive merchandise will be sold directly by FooCorp, such as limited vinyl productions. Libre.fm will also serve as a platform for marketing and distribution of the recording.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
We are targeting music fans, free culture activists, copyright reformists and remix artists, in addition to musicians. With the release of our recorded work under a free license, the community at large will benefit from the ability to build upon the original work. It will also allow others to identify the business model used by FooCorp and hopefully foster new businesses in the area.br />
We already run and operate Libre.fm, a music tagging and discovery site, as a platform for creating new fans and increasing awareness around free music. We provide raw statistics of our data to the general public and neatly package these stats into a monthly podcast, which plays the most listened to free music on the site, as well updates on the software project itself. We have a popular application on the Google Android marketplace for the discovery and download of new free music, and the principals of FooCorp are established free culture artists in their own right, with two albums produced by the band furny and an exhibition of free art in Croatia.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
We will be able to track the popularity of the recording through Libre.fm's own statistics software, as well as through sales of the recorded work.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
We will participate with the free culture community, seeking their help in promoting and marketing the recording, as well as a close working relationship with the developers of the GNU FM software project, which powers Libre.fm.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
We will be creating not only an example of a new 'artifact' of recorded music, but also the additionata of the process, including full reasonable sources for the project, will be made available. Finally, we will seek to improve the Libre.fm website to facilitate the selling of music, as well as adding a monetary donation system.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
In addition to the recording, engineering and production skills that associates of FooCorp already have, we have the skills and expertise of manufacturing records, selling them online and the technical skills needed to further develop the Libre.fm software.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
In the current economic climate, record sales are down. However, by providing continuing attention to the fetishism of the artifact: that is to say, the desire of the fan to possess not just a piece of music but a piece of the artist, by the purchase of the official item. Concentration on design, packaging, and the artist's role in this set of product imagery will inevitably create better sales.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
Money raised through the sale of the record, as well as money raised from future products will enable us to proceed and create future records, as well as books and other products.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
Our software has already proven itself to scale well, and we believe the free culture community will embrace this new business model wholeheartedly, creating sufficient buzz around the product to make it a successful venture.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
Creative Commons, as a significant player in the free culture community, can offer it's marketing and word-of-mouth support, via its websites and email mailing lists.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
We currently have a userbase of approximately 30,000 users. In a little over a year, these 30,000 users have given us their listening data, listening habits and their support for our on-going development. We will build on that good will by delivering them, and the wider free culture community with a sustainable platform to facilitate the creation of new free music and a platform for the sale of such projects.