Love her or loathe her, Indiana Gregg has managed to become a minor net celebrity after her egomaniacal rant towards the Pirate Bay catapulted her into the public spotlight in a way her work was unable to.
Later she reflected on her rant, sometimes contradicting her earlier claims such as her millionaire status. So, considering the dismal status of torrents of her work, she needed another way to cash in.
Enter Kerchoonz.com. From what we can gather, it aims to be an online jukebox, mixed in with a music download service, maybe something like Jamendo. Ms Gregg’s husband, music producer Ian Morrow, explained the service to the BBC, saying “If you’re a musician you’ll upload your music to the site. Anyone plays it, you get paid. Anyone downloads it, you get paid. That’s it, simple. Everything’s free for the user.”
The main question then, is where the money will come from. Currently, they have a Â£250,000 investment from the Scottish Co-investment Fund. While this can fund the website initially, with a free end-user model it’s going to be incredible hard to gain any revenue. Advertising will be the only alternative, so until the site becomes popular, it will hemorrhage money. It doesn’t help that the site promises “no adverts attached!!!” which simply means that the site will be smothered in pop-ups and sponsored links. The payouts will probably be minuscule as well, so anyone expecting this to be a major source of revenue will be left unhappy.
Of course, over-exaggeration is nothing new for Gregg and Morrow. They claim they got the idea for the site after the release of Gregg’s album, “Woman at Work”. In an interview with the BBC, they claimed it had over 250,000 downloads. Our own research shows the upper limit to be more like 10,000 and the current activity of the torrents supports that. The name (Kerchoonz) appears to be derived from the word Gregg used whenever she talked about the Pirate Bay making money , kerching.
Another point to ponder is that while they claim there will be no DRM, watermarking will be used. One of the press releases for the site states “Kerchoonz tracks downloads and streams through a combination of the ISRC and play counts by utilizing unique coding and encryption within the application.” With this approach there could be privacy and profiling concerns, as with all watermarking.
Will the project succeed? At this stage it seems extremely unlikely, as there are already better services out there and any proposed rewards are likely to be extremely small. The recommendation and similarity aspects of both Pandora and last.fm have been the key to their success, letting people discover new artists. As to whether Kerchoonz will have it, who knows?