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Meghan Laclé for Free Music Archive

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Free Music Archive — Grant Report #2


Project Update

Big updates for FMA! The new Free Music Archive (FMA) was launched!! Since 2019, with the help of Grant for the Web, our team has reached out to the FMA community for their insights and input; on needed features on all the four types of member pages, FMA search and navigation, web monetization toolings and community engagement.

Through numerous surveys, one-on-one video calls, community calls, round tables and direct emails, we have received their feedback, suggestions, requests, and overall advice for a more sustainable space where they are valued and heard. The entire FMA community has waited patiently, and their wait was finally over on the 27th September 2022!

With this big milestone comes another big update: Now all FMA Curators and Netlabels are able to set up their digital wallets, add payment pointer(s) and monetize with Coil! Before, FMA Artists tried out Coil, as we focused on onboarding musicians first. Now, Artists, Netlabels and Curators are also able to add payment pointers of fellow peers and charities to increase support!

We shared more of the new Free Music Archive to the Interledger community in this article:

Progress on objectives

FMA Deliverable 1

Relevant online monetization toolbox (as part of the new frontend on for music rightsholders to self-register and publish music from anywhere in the world.

With the revamp of FMA, we were able to put together a start on a monetization toolbox for FMA creators. Under one roof, FMA creators can enable web monetization with Coil by adding their payment pointer and co-monetize with other FMA members and charities. In that same space, they are able to add a donation link, PayPal donation link and link their Tribe of Noise PRO page for users and media makers with budget.


Moreover, to enable artists to co-monetize, we gave them the option to add multiple payment pointers. When storing a payment pointer you can give it a name and a weight, which determines how the payments are divided between payment pointers. To store multiple payment pointer per artist, we had to move away from a payment pointer column in the artists database table to a separate database table for payment pointers, which has an artist ID foreign key to relate the payment pointer to an artist.

If an artist has multiple payment pointers we use Javascript to probabilistically select the payment pointer that receives the micropayments. This doesn't just happen once (on page load), but instead a payment pointer is selected every 20 seconds that a user is on a monetized page. So, if a user opens a track page and listens to a 3:00 track then a payment pointer will be selected at least 9 times. The more times a payment pointer is selected the likelier it is that the revenue is shared correctly according to the weight set by the artist.

To continue to add more options to the monetization toolbox, we sent out surveys to FMA members, curators, artists, and netlabels asking them different questions for the new FMA. One of those questions was about monetization on FMA.

We asked the musicians; which type of monetization tooling would you like to link to your artist page?
50% of FMA artists choose Bandcamp or Patreon
48% choose Ko-Fi, Buy me a Coffee or Tipeee
19% of FMA artists selected Coil, Flattr, Vemno or Coin Drop.

It was important for us to get their input to see how we can broaden the monetization toolbox. We see that many FMA musicians use and follow the communities that their peers are in, they feel more familiar and comfortable in spaces where they can see other artists exists and better yet, thrive. We hope to be one of those spaces and introduce more creators and members to Coil.

One FMA artists wrote an additional comment:

“I would like to link my Coil/Flattr and Ko-Fi/Buy me a Coffee/Tipeee monetization tooling to help me as an artist to generate revenues. Actually, I did try Ko-Fi and/or Buy me a Coffee, but unsure how to use well.”

This has been a common input that we have received from FMA members, where they are eager to join but the process and system is not clear to them right away. They encounter obstacles and back away. We will continue to make it a priority to do our best to inform and guide our members through the correct steps, however, certain obstacles are out of our hands such as Identification, Payment methods, mobile phones etc.

Another FMA artist shares a comment:

“I don't know them all, so my choice above is random. I am open to any monetization tool as long as it is easy to use.”

Onboarding creators can be different each time and as mentioned above, the easier the process the faster they join. However, this comment continues to come forward as we know many FMA artists would like to increase opportunities by a hundred and earn some bucks. We are ecstatic to know they are open to all kinds of toolings. With our survey findings, we are drawing a plan to see if we can meet their preferences and broaden the monetization toolbox for FMA.

Now that we have added the option for all Curators, Netlabels and Artists to co-monetize, the objective is to continue onboarding new users to FMA and therefore increase Coil users and support.

FMA Deliverable 2

Participating FMA & Tribe of Noise musicians from Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, and Australia to focus on underrepresented communities as part of this journey.

FMA is home to independent musicians all over the world and the numbers increases every day. We have communicated Coil and the web monetization toolings to our members via newsletters where we can see the number of opens and some on the map. For example when we shared the new Web Monetization Page on FMA:
campaign map

It's great to see that our members are spread across the globe and we are eager to assist them in the best way we can. However, we did experience different obstacles to engage with them and therefore onboard to Coil. Even though we are keeping tabs on new artists that joins FMA, per country, some do not upload tracks right away or monetize their page with Coil for example.

It is unclear which part of the process they stop at, however we will go hand in hand with each one to help them set up their pages. We will use surveys as well to ask them specific questions on how we can help them make the steps easier. Our objective here as we continue is to improve our data categories to connect and cater, in more detail, to musicians in specific countries, so we can present and promote them front and centre.

FMA will continue to prioritize inclusivity and add spotlights to minorities in the FMA community for more support. With the new FMA revamp, our team will release more content to introduce FMA to new users and creators. Our focus and duty is to make sure that all users and creators feel at home on FMA.


These are some of our FMA templates we are sharing with the world to introduce them to the new FMA and Web Monetization toolings. Feel free to share and post them on your social media channels.

FMA Deliverable 3

Onboard music enthusiasts to curate, co-produce, promote and
monetize music together with the FMA artists.

As mentioned in the updates, Curators and Netlabels are able to add their payment pointer and monetized their FMA pages with Coil. We have not reached a large group of monetized curators yet, but with this new option available for them with the new UI/UX, we will have more visual options to position the web monetization program more actively. So while the audience surpassed the 1,000,000 listeners, we can do a better job converting listeners to curious early adopters.

We know FMA curator pages a great profile for co-monetizing, co-producing and co-promoting. In a recent survey,
64% of FMA curators want to focus on adding spotlight to FMA musicians
50% would like to focus on helping media makers find tracks
43% wants to focus on curation for their projects
14% would like to blog on FMA.

We didn't want to wait with such nice templates, thus we are taking measures to show the FMA community the perks and power of an FMA Curator page. We have been sharing mixes and blogposts with the community to FMA listeners and FMA socials.
fma team

With the FMA Monetization page, our plan is to create a digital hub where all members can learn of Coil and join the ecosystem. This page will continue to be updated.
fma wm

FMA Deliverable 4

Exclusive content seducing people to sign up for WM

Our team has not met this objective in full yet. However, we have tested this out with the FMA Monetized Treasure Hunt during MozFest 2022, to see how different strategies and content can onboard new users.

With the new monetization toolbox, FMA Curators are able to hide specific content for only Coil members to see. We hope this power brings in more curators and curious users to Coil. Our objective here is to improve this functionality as best as we can for the rest of the FMA member pages.
wm hide

FMA Deliverable 5

Shareable research and documentation of this journey

For this journey we shared our progress and process by continuing the Inside FMA article series where we published research, survey findings and updates on our project with Grant for the Web:
Inside FMA - Chapter 6
Inside FMA - Chapter 7
Inside FMA - Chapter 8
Inside FMA - Chapter 9
Inside FMA - Chapter 10

Next to publishing Inside FMA chapters, we also began a new FMA podcast show/series called Music Insider by Free Music Archive, to combine research, musician's stories, new web monetization tools and of course great music. Music Insiders by Free Music Archive have now surpassed 110,000 listens. For us this podcast series is an important tool to communicate new Web Monetized opportunities to artists, media creators and FMA visitors.

Moreover, new FMA content like Music Insiders will help us reach more audiences and will be additional to the traffic already generated by our FMA home page and popular genre pages, a combined 1.5M pageviews per day.
music insiders
In the latest episode of Music Insiders by Free Music Archive (FMA) podcast, our Head of Music; Marko interviews Hessel van Oorschot; CEO of Free Music Archive (FMA) and Tribe of Noise, about the new FMA revamp and monetization models for musicians.

Key activities

Insights about these two activities in chapter 6:

  • New Curated Journeys.
    To try out exclusive content on FMA, we designed a FMA Monetized Treasure Hunt for Mozfest 2022.

  • New FMA Events.
    We scheduled an informal kick-off session for FMA artists on Google Meet where we invited the FMA artists and explained a bit more about the FMA Next Project. We also created a community call for FMA artists to join and ask questions.

Insights about these two activities in chapter 7:

  • Gather insights for co-monetization opportunities.
    For the FMA artists that shared their tracks with Commercial licenses, we wanted to know if they were eager for more specific tooling’s in order to see if presenting and proposing potential co-monetization and revenue sharing on FMA as a good direction to continue going on.

  • Connecting Communities with FMA.
    Our team has encouraged Tribe of Noise artists to join FMA and share their original tracks with FMA users. A great example of this is the initiative of Buma/Stemra and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, where 5 Tribe of Noise PRO artists were encouraged and financially supported to create new music for Tribe of Noise Pro clients and Free Music Archive users. These artists are also monetized on FMA.

Insights about these two activities in chapter 8:

  • Learning from the WM Community.
    We loved seeing the Coil scrollable paywall on Mural, micropayments sharing feature on Hyperaudio and verification system on Fliptoons. FMA members have now additional payment pointer sections for the artists to add collaborators, but also charities of their picking in order to spread the support further with Coil.

  • New FMA Web Monetization page.
    As we continue to onboard more FMA musicians to Coil and putting together a strategic plan to communicate Coil to FMA listeners, with the past FMA research and the Coil Help Center, we published the FMA Coil Page for new users and creators to follow with instructions and relevant links.

Insights about these two activities in chapter 9:

Communications and marketing

  1. FMA Curator page:

  2. Music Insiders Podcast:

  3. Twitter Updates:

  4. Facebook posts:

  5. Linkedin posts:

  6. Summits & Conferences:
    MozFest 2022
    Creative Commons Global Summit
    Future Music Forum 2022 in Barcelona

  7. Eventbrite

  8. Sendinblue Newsletters

  9. Survey Anyplace

What’s next?

  • Adding "web monetized" filters to the genres and chart pages so that users can find musicians that are web monetized easier.

  • Updating and broadening the FMA web monetization page in a more digital hub feel with list of monetized artists, curators and netlabels.

  • Onboarding more curators and netlabels to Coil.

  • Growing the FMA monetization toolbox with Fynbos, Rafiki and other monetization toolings that help creators.

  • Creating exclusive fun content for users and listeners to find and explore.

  • Adding more genres and subgenres from across the globe.

  • We recently started experimenting with ads on a limited number of FMA pages however this is all early testing. FMA has always been ad-free and we are taking strict measures to ensure that no ads will stop users from exploring FMA.

What community support would benefit your project?

We will be keeping an eye on grantees with exclusive pages for Coil users, to learn and brainstorm how we can best adapt this feature to FMA.

We are open to connecting with all grantees, currently we began a new collaboration with gFam live to see if we can introduce the FMA community and gFam live community to each other.

Additional comments

We would love to invite our fellow grantees to check out Free Music Archive catalogue for their projects and also welcome them to the FMA community in all areas. If any grantee needs a space to share info and data to a large community, please feel free to let us know. We will create a curator page for you right away!

On behalf of the entire Free Music Archive team, we would like to thank Grant for the Web, Interlegder Foundation and Coil for their support through the FMA journey. Special thanks to Chris, Erika and Ayesha, the Fynbos & Rafiki team for their continues hard work on the amazing new ecosystem we are part of.

Relevant links/resources

Join FMA today!

home fma

— Interested in your own FMA member account?

Sign up/Register for an FMA account here.

— Do you have original music you want to share with media makers?

Sign up/Register for an FMA account here.
Email with the subject: FMA Artist page

— Would you like to become an FMA Curator and blogger?

Sign up/Register for an FMA account here.
Email with the subject: FMA curator page, and include the title for your curator page.

— Looking for a new space and community for your artists and bands?

Sign up/Register for an FMA account here.
Email with the subject: FMA Netlabel page, and include the title for your Netlabel page.

FMA Journey with GftW!

Inside FMA - Chapter 1
Inside FMA - Chapter 2
Inside FMA - Chapter 3
Inside FMA - Chapter 4
Inside FMA - Chapter 5
Inside FMA - Chapter 6
Inside FMA - Chapter 7
Inside FMA - Chapter 8
Inside FMA - Chapter 9
Inside FMA - Chapter 10

Other FMA Publications:
FMA's Treasure Hunt - MozFest 2022 Web Monetization Action Plan
FMA Explores How To Introduce Coil To Users
Web Monetization: Impacting the DIY Music Industry
• Read more here: Free Music Archive on Interledger Community

For any questions, suggestions, feedback, recommendations but most importantly, collaborations and partnerships, please don't hesitate to reach out to

Top comments (1)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

I love the new site!!!