Value for Value?
Put simply, value for value (or V4V) is a new concept of digital monetisation, where a transaction requires no intermediaries between the producer and consumer of online content. Unlike streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc value is sent from the listener to the artist directly without a third party taking a cut. When you sign up to Spotify for an ad-free account, you pay £10.99 per month for all the content on the Spotify platform. This is a rolling subscription from your credit card where the money gets pooled in the ‘bank of Spotify’ and is then distributed to artists on a per-stream basis.
The value for value model is completely different as content is openly available from the start, free to access and ad-free. The difference is, you as the listener are encouraged to send some value back. So as you’re listening to your favourite artist you can make a small one off payment knowing the money is going straight to the artist. This is the way online payments should be, as recurring subscriptions aren’t necessarily based on usage.
If you’re spending £10.99 on a Spotify subscription and you’re mostly listening to some smaller indie artists, the bulk of that £10.99 will be going to Taylor Swift / Ed Sheeran / whoever has the most streams etc even if you’ve never listened to those artists. This is a bizarre model but has emerged purely because of technical limitations. In the legacy streaming 1.0 model, money flows have to be centralised and then redistributed on a periodic basis. This is highly inefficient adding friction, cost and ultimately, means less money making it to the artist you love.
Imagine a simple, real world example. The centralised streaming model would be the same as going to a giant stadium with millions of private performances and your big streaming artists on the main stage. You have to pay your entry fee of £10.99 to maybe just even watch a smaller act you love on a tiny stage. Everyone is funnelled through the stadium doors, money is collected by the stadium owners and then is divided up to the artists several months later, after the owners have taken their cut and all the stewards/ staff etc have been paid.
The streaming 2.0 (V4V) model on a platform like Wavlake, looks more like going to your local small bar where you know your favourite indie band is playing. They’re putting on a free show but have a tip jar on the stage and you’re welcomed to throw some pennies in the jar. Sure, there will be some people that stand at the back and watch the show for free, but there will also be some hardcore fans that will put a few pennies or dollars in the jar, maybe more… The point is, this system is voluntary and open. But more importantly, it is immediate and you know your payment is going straight to the artist without anyone else standing in the middle taking a cut.
Bitcoin’s lightning network has now provided the ability for this real world example to become a reality in the digital realm. You can boost, or stream sats to your favourite artist whenever you like and can feel great knowing it has gone directly to them to further their work.
For more in-depth info on value for value, please read my full blog here or visit value4value.info.
Listen to my latest single ‘The Jetsons’ on Wavlake which is a tribute to this new amazing technology and all the people working on it
Follow me on nostr and if you’re interested, you can read my blog on Wavlake zine; ‘Bitcoin Is The New Rock & Roll’