DEMO: Bringing Micropayments to User-Generated Content

As a business journalist, I have to confess that I love it when money starts changing hands. I can get excited about all sorts of new and upcoming technology, but until people can find ways to create real value and get paid, it’s kind of hard to take seriously, like the 25-year-old married to your 60-year-old boss. So that’s why two startups launching at DEMO caught my eye.

Photrade is a platform on which photographers can post pics and track their use across the web. As part of that tracking, they can set fees for their photos and/or control which sites can use them. If the photo has been taken from the Photrade site, licenses can be revoked and updated at will. There are a few problems with this model, such as convincing people to use it in the first place — both to put quality images on it and pay for said images — but it’s a step in the right direction.

The other is MixMatchMusic, which not only enables online musical collaboration between artists and but payment for such collaborations. The service allows users to record a track of music, input meta data associated with that music and then search for other music that has similar meta data. analyzes it and suggests other music on the site that might compliment it. Musicians can use this to collaborate remotely, or meet musicians whose work they like. They can also create entire songs on the site and list them for download or commercial use. If someone buys the music, musicians get 85 percent of the revenue. Again, the site will have to get both buyers and sellers to particpate.

We hear plenty about all the people willing to work solely for their 15 minutes of fame on the web, and so far most efforts to help people cash in on their 15 minutes have fallen flat, but it’s good to see startups trying hard to address this problem. Maybe users will start taking them up on the solutions.

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