royalty f(r)ee is an automated music sequencer built in the open source programming environment, pure data. It randomly loads and sequences sample sets provided by a diverse group of musicians. Each time an artist's sample is selected it programmatically determines the length of the sample and multiplies it by a dollar-per-minute algorithm based upon SOCAN fees. In this way, royalty f(r)ee creates original sound while simultaneously acting as a precision royalty counter.
Additionally, the 'ownership' of the piece is consistently in a state of flux. the memelab starts with 100% ownership, but with each sample played by another artist, their 'slice of the pie', so to speak, will increase, vis-a-vis everyone else's. In this way, we hope to question prevailing conventions around notions of ownership, control, creativity, and creative economies.
royalty f(r)ee was presented as part of open signs, a satellite exhibition of Transmediale 11 (Feb 2011), in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy and sound artists ross birdwise, nathan jonson and trevor larson.