Today we’re opening up the hosted version of our platform to public testing. It’s exciting. And terrifying. There are things we’re still working on, changes to be made, and almost no documentation. But the simple truth is that it works really well for some things, so we figured it was better to share early.
Your feedback might bring new ideas to the surface or reflect some of the changes we’re planning to make. Either way, we’d rather have people using it than not, and it’s time for us to build a real community around this effort. What better way than to open it up to people?
In the coming weeks we’ll be writing more, making changes, and adding demos. We’re planning on turning the beta version into the first full version over time — you just get early access. And if you’re wondering: it’s free now, it’ll be free then, and it’ll remain free forever.
Any financial transactions happen in your accounts (Paypal, etc) and we don’t touch a penny. And this version of the platform is the same as the downloadable version — 100% open source so it’s also free in that sense, too. We want to make something lasting.
So sign up for a test account. Join the community. Play around. Help us build something great.
The whole idea for the platform is that you bring your accounts, connect them, and use what you already have to make what you need. So connect your Paypal account and your S3 account and sell a download. Connect your MailChimp and your Google Drive: email for download. We provide the workflow, a page you can publish, and an easy (and customizable) HTML5 embed code so you can make it live anywhere.
Right now the platform does a good job with digital sales, download codes, email collection and email for download promo, downloads via login, and some fun with social networking. We’ll be documenting all that stuff and providing demos in the coming weeks.
As with anything in a testing phase there are caveats:
- We’ll be doing a lot of work on the interface and user experience. The current organization is fixed, but there’s a lot of redundancy in the interface, some confusing terminology, and a lot of pointy bits we’d like to smooth out, especially on mobile.
- Help docs and walkthrough. You’ll see a help link on every page and an FAQ. Neither of these things is comprehensive, and improving that experience is critical. We’re also working on a quick introduction to the platform for new users. You all are just being thrown in the deep end, but we really want to help you swim.
- It’s still a little “you need a friend who knows HTML” heavy. We include default templates, but to really publish a page or customize HTML5 embeds you’ll need a little code. That’s not the long-term vision, just the right-now reality.
- Venues. Okay. This is going to sound a little silly. But at the moment we’re all working with a single pool of venues in the calendar. Add a venue and everyone sees it. Edit a venue and it changes for everyone, like Wikipedia. Long-term we’ll change this so everyone gets access to a central source of data and you’ll be able to add venues that are just yours. But for now, it takes a village.
- The final caveat is that I’m probably forgetting about a half-dozen caveats. If you run into something you think is trouble just let us know and we’ll look into it. We want your feedback. Drop a line at help.cashmusic.org or check out our github account.
There’s a whole lot more coming soon. Hopefully this test gives you the shape of things to come. If you want to help us, just use it. Tell us what you think. Tell a friend. We feel an open tool like this is vital for artists, and we need you to help us finish it.
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