‘Music Pounds’?

Looking at this article today. Apparently Brixton has just introduced its own ‘Brixton Pound’ as a local currency – designed to keep money in the area. It’s not a new idea, it’s been done elsewhere, and it’s basically a kind of Scrip.

It got me thinking – could there be some form of non-localised ‘musicians currency’? Not directly linked to the pound – more like a sort of bartering system for music related favours. You lend me an amp, I give you one ‘music pound’. I do the sound at your gig, you give me ten ‘music pounds’. I need to record some drums but can’t afford the studio time so Oli Dreamtrak accepts 50 ‘music pounds’ which he can then pay to Laura Wolf to come and do backing vocals on the hot new Trademark tracks, which she then uses to get Ben from Hornby Pylons to fix her keyboard… etc

It could extend wider… You’re at a gig and the guitarist in the headline band isn’t keen to lend his amp – after all it’s his pride and joy. But you offer him a couple of ‘music pounds’ and suddenly he realises you’re a good soul who does his share of msuic related good deeds so he relents. You find yourself in a distant city with no sound guy to do the gig, the barman knows someone but will he want to make the trip for no money? Maybe he’ll do it for some ‘music pounds’ that he can use later.

Obviously it’d take a huge amount of goodwill to work more widely, and between groups of friends you might feel ‘what’s the point? I’m quite happy to mix the Silence at Sea recordings without getting ‘music pounds’. But it would build up a nice feeling of community – would give you something to talk about at gigs when chatting to your fellow performers:

“Give you a music pound to borrow your keyboard stand…”

“What’s a music pound?”

“Oh, you’ve not heard of them…”

It’d also be a mild rebuke to the sorts of tools who don’t like lending their precious gear. ”What? You want to use my drum kit!? Gadzooks, no! You might hit it with sticks or something!”

Whether they would take the form of printed currency or would be more like handwritten receipts that you tore up and re-wrote when passing on the pounds would be up for lively debate. (naturally as the founder of ‘music pounds’ my face should appear on the bills). I’m not saying the idea is fully developped but I could be on to something.

The name needs some work though…. ‘music pounds’ is clunky and a bit dull. How about… ‘notes’?

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3 Responses to “‘Music Pounds’?”

  1. Darren Riley Says:

    I like it! Mind you, most people think musicians work for a currency other than money anyway – fun units.

    “They play music because they enjoy it, why would they need paying?”

    Yeah, thanks for that. I just played American Pie at your wedding for ‘fun units’ – cheers.

  2. Scatman Dan Says:

    I like it as an idea. It’s not so much a currency as a weighted (number of notes you’re holding) “web of trust” (who they’re from, or, at least, that they’re from fellow musicians), on account of the fact that – presumably – they’ve valid even if minted by somebody who’s “broke”.

    I can think of a dozen different awesome technical implementations of such a scheme, but it feels like while it might need suggested rules, it’s best run as a sort-of anarchic beauraucracy – stacks of slips of paper being passed around.

    It feels to me as if what’s most valuable isn’t so much how many notes somebody’s been given (although this might be relevant in some communities) but the variety in the people who have dispensed them: there’s a big difference between somebody helps out their friends and somebody who’s just happy to help.

    Bearing these things in mind, a weakness of the system is, I think, that there’s no easy way to show-off “hey, look, I’ve got lots of notes!” It’s not like they’re boy scout badges… are they?


  3. jeff Says:

    yeah, they’d probably work quite well as button badges. Everyone likes getting button badges, and it’d spread the word quickly when you start to see them appearing on people on stage.

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