December 22, 2007

Music promotion community Sellaband partners with Amazon

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 9:00 am

Amsterdam based distributed band promoter Sellaband are partnering with US online book and music sellers Amazon, Tech Crunch reported this week. Sellaband works by letting fans invest 10 USD in a band of their liking. The fans can decide which music they like by downloading it for free. Once 5,000 fans have paid their tenner, Sellaband uses that money to record and promote a professional studio album.

So far 12 bands have reached the 50,000 dollar amount required for a recording. As long as a band does not reach the threshold, the fan (called Believer in Sellaband jargon) can still withdraw the money or invest it in a different band.

According to The Next Web the announced cooperation will include Amazon spamming its own paying customers with Sellaband promotions—did I just read that right? Also, Amazon’s top 50 reviewers will receive free review copies of Sellaband’s albums.

Photo: Sellaband’s Pim Betist at this year’s Hyves party. Source:

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August 21, 2007

Subsidizing astrologers for job seekers raises eyebrows

Filed under: General,Religion by Branko Collin @ 9:53 am

tarot_card-the_chariot.jpgUnlikely problems will get you unlikely bed fellows: Dutch parliament is divided across traditional ideological lines and across the current government opposition division over astrology and talking to trees. The matter at hand? Whether the unemployed should be subsidized to pay for assistance from astrologers, tarot card dealers, and folks that talk to space aliens. The Christian governing parties CDA and CU, and the socialist opposition party SP think the idea is ludicrous, and feel that UWV, the organization that pays unemployment benefits, should be more careful about which re-integration projects it supports.

UWV denies any allegations of carelessness: of about 40,000 people that make use of the opportunity to have a tailor-made re-integration plan, only a few dozen follow a “spiritual” route to a job. The offices that assist the unemployed work according to a no cure, less pay principle. Daily De Volkskrant reports (Dutch) that there are about 2,000 such agencies. “It’s a new market; anybody can start an agency,” Ryanne Dijkstra tells the paper. Perhaps an idea for the unemployed?

But UWV warns that not every agency will be subsidized; “[An agency] must be registered with the Chamber of Commerce, must employ sufficient personnel to assist all customers, must have complaints and privacy regulations, and must make a personal development plan together with the job seeker,” PR person Anna Beekjes tells (Dutch). “[What’s more], if after two years the project is still unsuccessful, we will only pay the agency 50%.”

According to De Volkskrant, parliamentarian Eddy van Hijum (CDA, Christian centrists) thinks it is good that people are looking for meaning. “But we should not have to subsidize this. These woolly projects are not helping anyone find work.” And so 150 parliamentarians are busy investigating the dealings of “a few dozen” unemployed. Now that’s service! Or pico-management. I always get them mixed up.

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June 4, 2007

Outsourced care for the elderly per homepage

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:37 am

ustaatcentraal.gifFormer nurse Lineke van de Scheur (photo) uses the web to organize care for the elderly. Her company U Staat Centraal (Dutch link, “You’re Important”) provides web-based rosters for care givers. A recent change in Dutch law put the responsibility for finding care firmly in the infirm hands of those in need of care; the “care consumers” get a personal “budget” with which they themselves have to “shop around” for nurses and housekeepers and so on. Clients of Van de Scheur’s company get their own Sharecare homepage which has a roster to which freelance care professionals can subscribe, but also family members who would like to help out. U Staat Centraal helps set up and manage these care rosters, and helps people find the right professionals.

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