Negative Sides to Crowd Sourcing?

A few times, I have been asked if I think that Minimum Noise could be bad for musicians.
NO!SPEC is a campaign to alert people in the design world about “speculative work” and design contests – featured on sites like crowdSPRING and 99designs.
The claim is that by offering payment on a content-based manner, all the non-winners will have spent time and effort for nothing. And not only that; they risk inspiring others with their work without receiving any kind of compensation.
We haven’t yet seen an equivalent to NO!SPEC in the music world, but perhaps we will at some point.
This is a valid concern and one that we pay attention to. However, we feel that the benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences greatly.

Making money on creative work of any kind is difficult if you are not a big name. Sites like these level the playing field in the sense that if you have talent, you have the potential to make money. You are not being judged by your credentials or fame.
Furthermore, they can be platforms for learning. It’s a way to get honest and free feedback on your work. I find that my motivation and inspiration is increased greatly when there is a clear goal rather than if I am just trying to make something for myself with no guidelines. If you make a great bassline or a beat and don’t win, you will still have your work in your private library. Perhaps you can use it for another project or a song of your own.
Participating in something of a crowd sourcing nature should always be done with the clear knowledge that you may or may not win. The amount of effort that you put into the work should reflect this fact.

All that being said, we obviously want to do as much as we can to make both project owners and contributors happy. One suggestion is that we make project owners guarantee that they will choose a winner, perhaps given a minimum of 10 participations. This could possibly work but currently, the community is probably too limited in size for this to work. It could be something we will implement in the future though. Other suggestions are greatly welcomed.

There is an interesting post on the subject on Signal vs. Noise


2 Responses to “Negative Sides to Crowd Sourcing?”

  1. Susan Says:


    Just signed up. This project idea is not new in the world of freelance writing. But, there are pitfalls and many writers, myself included, will never use these sites. They tend to undervalue the writer. This could be an issue here. I saw one project advertised for $1.00!?

    On the other hand music collaboration does involve some risk and work that may or may not be good/get used/etc etc. Also if the projects are being advertised by musicians who lack capital to outsource. The fees are going to be low obviously. Maybe this will become less of an issue with more corporate affiliations? Time will tell.

    One thing that I feel is lacking in the projects is a more detailed explanation of what ‘service’ is required. “Looking for fresh vocal” just doesn’t quite cut it. Also more details about the commercial expectations of the project. Maybe a template form would ensure adequate explanation/details?

    • Kristian Dupont Says:

      Hi Susan,

      thank you for signing up – I hope that you will find the site useful and that you won’t have any negative experiences 🙂
      As you can tell, the projects that are up currently are a bit vaguely described so you are right, this is an area that needs some work. As for the $1 project, a number of people have requested the ability to create projects without any prize which we initially didn’t like. The $1 is simply a result of not allowing anything less be entered, but obviously they wanted to create them anyway. They haven’t yet turned out to be popular and as we want this primarily to be a place where musicians can make money (there are plenty of free collaboration sites of various kinds), we will probably keep it this way. We don’t expect to see many $1 projects in the long run 🙂

      Thank you for the feedback!


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