Working at the Faux-Op
The worker cooperative has come to remake the digital economy. Launched earlier this year, Catalytic Soundstream serves as a cooperatively owned alternative to Spotify, which joins the likes of Resonate and Ampled, the latter of which offers musicians a Patreon-esque model that incorporates shared ownership. (Full disclosure, I’m involved with Ampled as a volunteer.) Numerous co-ops have also emerged to refashion the gig economy on more equitable terms. The Drivers Cooperative—covered by the New York Times and applauded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—is a New York City-based ridesharing app owned and operated by its drivers; the rides are designed to be about 5 percent less expensive than Uber and Lyft and drivers keep a larger percentage of each fare. The same dynamic goes for Up & Go, a cleaning service owned by its workers, who earn higher wages compared to gig workers at competitors like TaskRabbit.