Jarvis champions relationship-based pay structures

Musician Amanda Palmer (Joi/Wikimedia Commons)

Musician Amanda Palmer (Joi/Wikimedia Commons)

Jeff Jarvis writes that the value of media should be based increasingly on relationships, rather than solely on the content produced.

He cites Google ad exec Susan Wojcicki and musician/artist Amanda Palmer. Palmer had a famously successful Kickstarter campaign for an album she chose to do without major label support. She championed the notion of relationship-building as business model recently in a TED talk:

“By asking people [to pay for your work], you connect with them, and by connecting with them, they want to help you. ‘When we really see each other, we want to help each other. People have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, How do we make people pay for music? What if we started asking, How de we let people pay for music?'”

Wojcicki applied similar logic to advertising in a post on Google+, writing “In years to come, most ad views will effectively become voluntary.”

If media (as content and as advertising) are voluntary, Jarvis suggests, then the “argument about paywalls — and copyright and the value of content — is the wrong argument. Instead, he writes, “The discussion we should be having is how better to build valuable relationships of trust with people as people, not masses, and then how to exploit that value to support the work they want us to do.”

About Michael Juliani

Michael Juliani is a senior studying Print and Digital Journalism at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He's a senior news editor and executive producer for Neon Tommy and an associate editor and contributor for the Online Journalism Review. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post, among other places.


  1. There is no doubt that croudsourcing and other means of bypassing the gatekeepers are very important innovations for people in media from music to journalism, especially for people just starting off and trying to build an audience and prove themselves. But we still have a long way to go before we figure out the business models that will replace the old, 20th century models. When Jarvis offered musician Amanda as an example of where he things media should be going, I immediately thought of another musician: Jack White. White is the founder of his own record label, Third Man Records, but he chose to release his latest album Blunderbuss through Columbia Records and he explains why in an interview with NPR:

    “Some of my friends say, ‘Why didn’t you just put it out on Third Man? You have your own record label, just do it.’ And I think the thing is about Third Man is that, yeah, we can put this thing out on iTunes and we can put things out on vinyl. We got those things fine. We can produce tons of them like that, but if you want to put out a million CDs and sell them and get them played on the radio, and even videos, or whatever, if that still exists, that kind of muscle can only come from a label like Columbia. And I really didn’t want to do this album a disservice. I ain’t got nothing to prove about being indie or anything like that.”

    There’s a lot to think about here. Through his own entrepreneurial drive White has created his own label, but still he found value in going with an old, established company. A real journalist would recognize that there is a story in this.