More importantly, however, Ampled’s co-op model allows for an escape from the resistance-to-appropriation cycle that Hebdige saw as unavoidable. As part of a co-op, artists and members become part of a community where democratic decision-making and radical transparency are standard operating procedure — everything from the organization’s financials to its website structure is online and open for members to debate. This focus on long-term sustainability and community represent a conscious turn away from the (capitalist) internet’s focus on immediacy and viral content, and start-up culture’s tendency towards quick exits.
This model also takes on the venture capital industry, which often forces early-stage companies to cede large stakes in their company in order to obtain the capital they need to survive. This allows financial investors to steer potentially sustainable companies towards less sustainable practices in order to guarantee that such firms receive the maximum ROI. Ampled instead partnered with CUNY Law School to draw up term sheets based for revenue-based financing, which returns a percentage of top-line revenue to investors in place of partial ownership over the company. Their terms also allow investors to recall their loans if Ampled does not deliver on its stated social mission. This means that investors are buying in to the community as well as the business, and that co-op members have an incentive to stay committed to Ampled’s collective ethos.