I know I didn’t want to dwell too much on KYOU and the Sirius deal, but I thought of another big reason for folks not to work for free. While responding to a comment on my other post on this subject recently, a thought occurred to me. If either or both of these experiments succeed, it will give sponsors an out to avoid sponsoring individual podcasters, and go instead to existing players to put their money. So, instead of having to deal with many anarchic members of the great unwashed, sponsor dollars can go to two places and the sponsor can still claim the buzz of “sponsoring podcasts.” Of course, because both of these places get their content for free no actual podcasters get paid, just Sirus and KYOU. So by submitting, you give sponsors an out to avoid paying podcasters and help bring about a new world order that is just like the old world order in where the money goes, except that now the air talent doesn’t get any of it anymore. Is this the revolution you thought you were signing up for – the revolution that allows radio stations to fire the DJs and talk show hosts, instead tapping you for nothing?
Again, I urge everyone to not submit under terms that involve you not getting paid. In fact, send them an email that says you’d like to submit but that you ethically can’t until there is some form of revenue sharing back with the content creators. This is something that can happen if everyone hangs together. Both places are invested in doing this, but if the spigot dries up they’ll have to do something or have egg all over their face. Make them pay you folks or else walk. I think you have less to gain that you believe, and you have a whole lot more to lose than you’d wish by playing their game under these miserable terms.
Here’s what I wrote in the comment that started me thinking:
It’s a basic rule of economics – people don’t value much the things you give them for free. From KYOU’s perspective, what reason do they have to value any individual podcaster? No one can ever negotiate anything like a wage because the queue is full of people waiting to work for nothing. If they succeed in this experiment, individual podcaster might find it harder to get sponsors because instead of ad buyers dealing with these unknown entities, they’ll just put that money into KYOU of which zero will get back to you. All this talk of new media and new power structures will revert to the money going to the hands of the same bad stewards that ran radio into the ground already. Stand up for yourselves, for christ’s sake, and refuse to allow these people to sell you for nothing. You are being fucked for the promise of something you will never get, and you are selling out the future of your medium in the process. Not good.