Money Making Scheme?

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by: David Jennings

In a review of Net, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll (the book) in this week’s Spectator, Christopher Howse writes

Jennings, a full-time creature of the net, does not deny the popular delusions and madness of crowds that give some music releases undeserved success, but he comes up on page 64 with a practicable scheme for aggregating trusted criticism that should make him money, if someone takes him up on it.

What’s the scheme? Well I could be a tease and say that you have to buy the book to find out. But that’s not really my style. If I let you in on the secret, perhaps you can tell me something useful? Here’s what I assume must be the paragraph in question:

What I’d like to do is compile my own chart. I’d like to be able to select a handful of my friends with whom I share different tastes plus a few other acquaintances, critics or DJs whom I count as tastemakers, and then see a chart aggregating what they have been listening to in the last week. Such a chart would give me useful, trusted pointers to the kind of music I might find interesting. It would also let me know when my friends and I have been listening to the same thing, which could spark further discussions. It is surely technically possible, and I hope someone will build it before long.

Now my question to you is: how do I make money off this?

It’s not patentable (at least, not in Europe) and it’s already published, so if anyone were to "take me up on it" they may feel little need to refer to me: they could just go and build it by organising the necessary feeds and then building the software to aggregate them in the right way. Maybe I should hire the people to do this and offer the service myself, but then I’d have a lot of marketing costs to persuade net users to take up the service — better, perhaps, to sell it to an established online digital music destination.

However, my days of start-ups are behind me, at least for now (with one of several past ventures still in play). Neither do I put my faith in one-off ideas — it’s pretty easy for any half-way creative mind to conjure concepts for new services out of the massive array of online components and data out there.

My skills are, firstly, integrating multiple ideas into a coherent and actionable framework — which is why it’s still worth buying my book, even though I’ve let you in on the ‘secret’, because it has plenty more schemes in it, and a context that explains why some hold promise and others don’t. And secondly in applying ideas and a framework to specific business challenges (but you have to hire me for that, because I couldn’t put it in the book).

Having said all that, if you can see a way for me to make money off this personalised chart aggregation idea, I’m all ears.

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