Banshee In Natty To Ship Multiple Stores And Contribute To GNOME Foundation

Recently the Canonical Online Services team, led by Cristian Parrino, has been in discussions with the Banshee project to coordinate a suitable revenue share for the built-in Amazon store. Unfortunately, there were a few crossed wires, but a call today helped to clarify the position.

For clarity, Cristian wanted to pass on the plan for Ubuntu 11.04 to the Ubuntu community, so here is a copy of the email he shared with the Banshee core developers after the call today:

Thanks again for the call, your participation and understanding is very much appreciated. As discussed, I wanted to follow up with the plan I outlined on the call – and reiterate my apologies and responsibility for a situation that has resulted in the worst outcome for everyone, including putting the Banshee team in an awkward position. As such:
  • In Ubuntu 11.04, Banshee will have both the AmazonMP3 and Ubuntu One music stores turned on by default.
  • We will contribute 25% of the revenue from the AmazonMP3 store to the GNOME Foundation.
  • We will also also start contributing 25% of revenue from the Ubuntu One Music Store on both Banshee and Rhythmbox, to the GNOME Foundation.
Recognizing that it is important to not only bring choice to Ubuntu users, but to also generate revenue to continue our investment in Ubuntu, and to ensure we can contribute effectively to the GNOME Foundation – we believe this plan fairly addresses the interests of all parties.
  • Piotr

    How about a simple dialog displayed when Banshee boots for the first time, where the user could decide how to split the revenue. Humble Indie Bundle did just that and they were really happy about the outcome.

  • Foo Barista

    What kind of Audit Trail will you guys keep to ensure that at least 25% goes to the Gnome Foundation?

    Considering the fact that you guys did (a) no work on Banshee, (b) No work on the Amazon plugin, (c) No work on packaging Banshee and your contribution is limited to “edit the referral code” this is already pretty sketchy.

    Or should we collectively just be happy that you will throw the foundation a bone?

    I can see the slippery slope here, “Well, we send our guys to Guadec, that has to count towards our 25% contribution”.

  • Martin Owens

    This is fantastic news. Well done Canonical and Gnome for sorting it out.

  • Jef Spaleta

    Martin, This isn’t “sorted” out. This is Canonical feeling the sting of public pressure and coming back to the table with a moderated unilateral offer. It’s still a unilateral decision on Canonical’s part. This was not a negotiation.

    This has more to do with stopping public criticism from people like me than actually sitting down and having a dialogue and coming to equitable terms. Progress of a sort, but not the progess the larger ecosystem needs in order to set some ground rules for equitable ethical behaviour for revenue sharing.


  • Sandy

    This would be awesome! Letting advanced users enter arbitrary referral codes to support other causes would also be nice.

    Really great idea, Piotr.

  • Marius Gedminas

    I remain confused. Doesn’t upstream Banshee send 100% of the Amazon store revenue to the GNOME Foundation? Isn’t this basically the same offer as before, with 75% of that being taken away from GNOME? Except with 25% of UbuntuOne music store revenue offered as compensation.

  • Oli

    I think this is outrageous.

    I know it’s perfectly within Canonical’s remit to edit the code to whatever they like (they don’t have to donate anything to the GNOME project either)… But come on. You’re just taking money from another project without putting in the work.

    You might cite this as a two-way benefit. Under this plan GNOME get’s 20% of the U1MS/7Digital commission, but let’s be frank: given the choice between the most well known online retailer and an Ubuntu-rebadged 7Digital store, people will always pick Amazon.

    If Canonical wants more people to use U1MS, they need to make it better. Not by scavenging or crippling a product they had no hand in.

    I’ve seen a comment from you Jono essentially saying that Canonical are doing GNOME a favour bringing all the Ubuntu user to Banshee. Let’s not forget why you’re doing this in the first place: Banshee is the best application for the job. Ubuntu benefits from having the best media player as its default.

    The only morally acceptable route is having both stores enabled by default and leaving the commissions as they are. Canonical gets all the U1MS commission and GNOME gets all the Amazon commission.

    If GNOME wants to kickback any of their commission to Ubuntu or Canonical, that should be their choice.

  • ethana2

    Once donations are in the software center on a stable release, I intend to donate to the projects I feel are most user-oriented.

    I wouldn’t be complaining about money just yet.

  • Jer

    Gotta say, feels a li’l bit sleazy… just one of the reasons it feels like I’ll be leaving Ubuntu for the first time in 4 years next release.

  • Jim

    I said essentially the same thing as Sandy before, but now that’s gone… okay. I thought I was being respectful in supporting a novel solution to a perceived problem. Sorry if it came off any other way.

    Anyway. One more try. Piotr’s idea seems like a nice creative solution; one that I had not considered before seeing it. I third it. Good job, Piotr.

    But I may not understand all the details of what is taking place. No disrespect meant.

    Also, Jono, thanks for keeping people informed about what’s going on.