Sunday, 28 March 2010


So I listen to two podcasts regularly and both are really truly wonderful. They are well written, full of mind-bogglingly fascinating content, and totally free of charge. But actually they are not free of charge - every episode comes with appeals to listeners to donate to the podcast. To be honest I really, really like this system. I'm the kind of person who (if I really enjoy a service) would be willing to pay for it. I donated a tenner to Wikipedia, and I'm going to put a few more websites on my donations list (need to get my new credit card first): Radiolab, This American Life, and also Transmission (a Mac torrent client).

This reminds me very much of my street-performer friends and their often practised 'hat-lines,' i.e. the bit where, just before the finale of their act, they tell you that this is what they do for a living, and if you've just enjoyed a good show for nothing, well, how's about digging deep in your pockets to help support the person who's just swallowed knives, juggled battle-axes, or walked on a bed of nails for you?

When this honour system of financial contributions work, it's a very wonderful thing. Perhaps these radio stations and freeware developers should watch more street-shows and learn from the masters of of hat-lines whose sweat soaked toppers have the magical ability to turn your money into their money.

I leave you with this video for the German band Einstürzende Neubauten... a VERY good appeal video. As the band leader sagely points out: 'Did you ever consider subscribing?... and maybe if you did consider maybe you'd want to consider again and maybe you'll really do it this time. You won't get the record otherwise.'