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Prof Bonkerfield Joins the Ampled Co-op

This summer I started getting very interested in co-ops and the solidarity economy. A big place where I started to learn was during the Zebras United Season of the Dazzle, which led to learning about start.coop. And while watching start.coop's 2020 grad class give their presentations, I learned about a very cool artist-ownership payment platform called Ampled.

Ampled is a pretty straightforward replication of Patreon (or onlyfans), but the interesting part to me is that the business is built and run with the intention to keep the fan's funding in the artist's pockets. This seems incredibly intuitive to me, and makes me feel like Ampled has a good shot at being one of those places that gets buy-in from consumers to cut-out the capitalist middle-man (I've also become even more anti-capitalist than I used to be thanks to them red rose Twitter lefties). Since Ampled is trying their best to be an ethical worker-and-artist-owned enterprise, I've found myself, for the first time in my life, feeling pretty good about taking part in ponying up my own cash to provide support to artists.

In addition to supporting a few artists, I also have started donating to support Ampled the platform itself. The interesting part about this, is that as a platform supporter, I get to be part of Ampled's community owners who are allowed to jointly elect a few members to sit on their Board. This is not unlike many member owned co-ops (eg REI), except that at the smaller scale of Ampled, there is still a decent chance that community members will be able to make some difference.

Adding my own music

Finally, probably the best part about learning about Ampled is that it has finally spurred me to start putting my music online and developing a presence for my musician alter-ego (who I've named Prof Bonkerfield). I've had a project written for a couple of years now that I've thought would be cool to record and put online, but I had never really felt like I had a good mechanism to record my own music. However, the subject matter of the first work I am recording is also deeply entwined with some of my feelings about anti-consumerism, which I think is really well-aligned with where I'm at in my adoption of the solidarity economy mindset.

Also, the concept of the album seems pretty novel to me. I've written a whole series of works that seem like they come from a time and place in the Midwest folk/Americana scene, and I've tied them all together around a fictional set of events in Oklahoma. The story and music will be interwoven by Prof Bonkerfield in sort of an acadmeic talk meets online course. I plan to record it over this winter and while I do, I'll be recording a bit of the process on my Ampled page. Should be an interesting experiment.

And of course, if I can figure out how, I could even work with Ampled's API to embed some of that content back on the viewfoil.


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