CASH Music logo c.2013
|Founded||November 25, 2008|
|Founder(s)||Kristin Hersh, Donita Sparks, Jesse von Doom|
|Key people||Jesse von Doom, Maggie Vail (co-executive directors)|
|Focus(es)||Sustainable Independent music|
|Method(s)||Open source, Education|
CASH Music (Coalition of Artists and Stakeholders) is a non-profit organization based out of Portland, Oregon founded by Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, Donita Sparks of L7, and Jesse von Doom. The organization is run by co-executive directors Jesse von Doom and Maggie Vail. CASH Music takes an open source approach to music production and distribution, and works directly with musicians and labels to help design the tools they build.
CASH Music evolved from a discussion about the sustainability of the music industry between musicians Kristin Hersh and Donita Sparks. Von Doom became involved shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, Portland-based record label Kill Rock Stars had reached out to von Doom, who operated a small web development studio, Dutchmoney, to build a new label website. Von Doom went "above and beyond" and created promotional tools that allowed then KRS VP Vail to "keep tabs on which music writers logged into the site and how many times they listened to the tunes". Vail, who was impressed with the tools and supported the CASH Music's mandate joined its board of directors in 2007. She became its co-executive director, alongside von Doom, in 2011.
Platform and Other Code
The CASH Music platform is a free collection of tools for artists and labels to sell, share, and promote music directly to their fans. It is entirely open source, with all code available for viewing or forking at GitHub.
The platform currently enables digital purchases, download code generation and redemption, email collection, secure downloads, tour dates, member areas, and social feeds.
While many of the platform's features operate independently, it was also designed to be compatible with third-party resources, such as MailChimp, Google Drive, and PayPal through APIs. The idea is to "integrate seamlessly with as many relevant Web services as possible".
Artists currently using the CASH Music platform include Brendan Benson, Calexico, Deerhoof, Explosions in the Sky, 50 Foot Wave, Health., Iron & Wine, Kina Grannis, Learning Music, Lushlife, No Age, Portugal. The Man, The Raincoats, Ray LaMontagne, The Swell Season, The Thermals, Xiu Xiu, Zoë Keating, Zola Jesus.
The library is distributed under a simplified BSE license, which imposes nominal restrictions on its redistribution. The library was designed to not interfere with jQuery or similar libraries, and relies on no external dependencies besides SoundManager 2 for audio playback.
Central to CASH Music's mandate is a focus on learning. They are currently developing an educational curriculum geared towards empowering artists by equipping them with both resources and technical skills. The non-profit hosted two summits in Portland, OR, in summer 2013, and is hosting its next summit in Los Angeles in November 2013.
I.R.S. Scrutiny and 501(c)3 Status
Von Doom sought 501(c)(3) status for CASH Music in February 2009, only to have his application denied by the IRS in June 2012. His rejection letter was signed by Lois Lerner, the embattled former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, who was placed on administrative leave after it was revealed that the IRS had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status based on keywords contained in their names and suspected political allegations. While initial speculation pointed to Super PACs being targeted based on conservative keywords, a New York Times article that ran on June 5, 2013, revealed that IRS scrutiny extended beyond the political. The term open source is a keyword that is now known to have flagged CASH Music for further investigation, as "the IRS feared that such groups were really moneymaking enterprises".
Despite being denied 501(c)(3) status, CASH Music continues to operate as a non-profit on the state level (Oregon) and will continue to seek federal non-profit status.
- Dave Allen, founder and bassist for Gang of Four and Shriekback, op ed columnist for The Guardian
- Anthony Batt, Buzznet and Spin Media founder, Vice-President at WeMo Labs
- Jonathan Coulton, musician
- Tishaun Dawson, artist, graphic designer, and founder of Battalion Armour
- Pascal Finette, Director, Office of the Chair at Mozilla Corporation
- Jake Friedman, co-founder of Lovepump United Records and partner at We Are Free Management
- Leslie Hawthorn, community manager at ElasticSearch, formerly the open source program manager at Google Inc.
- Kristin Hersh, guitarist, founder/songwriter of Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave
- Dick Huey, consultant at SoundExchange, committee member at A2IM,
- Zoë Keating, musician
- Molly Neuman, Senior Director of Label and Publishing Licensing at Rhapsody and musician with Bratmobile, The Frumpies, and The PeeChees
- Eric Steuer, creative director at Creative Commons and contributor at Wired Magazine
- Ben Swanson, co-founder of Secretly Canadian and partner at Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, and Fort William Artist Management
- Tobi Vail, musician with Bikini Kill, The Frumpies, The Old Haunts, and Spider and the Webs, zinester and feminist critic
- Andrew Weissman,
- Emily White, co-founder of Readymade Records and Whitesmith Entertainment
- George Howard, COO at Norton, LLC
- Nick Palmacci, General Manager at Fenway Recordings
- Clay Rockefeller, founder of The Steel Yard
- Endsley, Rikki (February 20, 2012). "How to Kickstart an Open Source Music Revolution with CASH Music". Linux.com.
- Ehrlich, Brenna (March 7, 2012). "Kickstarter-Funded CASH Music Turns Drummers Into Devs". MTV Hive.
- Titlow, John Paul (February 29, 2012). "WordPress For Musicians: CASH Music Wants to Open Source the Industry". ReadWrite.
- Weisman, Jonathan (June 5, 2013). "I.R.S. Scrutiny Went Beyond the Political". The New York Times.
- Bringing an Open-Source Ethos to Bands - NYT
- WFMU: Can Open Source Technology Save Music? — guest post by Jesse von Doom & Maggie Vail
- CASH Music Launches Free Hosted Platform With Web Tools For DIY Musicians
- The Oregonian: Portland's CASH Music looks to the web to help make the web easy for musicians
- George Howard Speaks With Jesse von Doom About Best Practices For Artists' Websites
- CASH Music Delivers Free, Open Source Tools For Musicians: an Interview with Maggie Vail