“startbahn” is an art platform involving all the art bearers of today and in the future. “startbahn”creates the basic environment not only for inspiring this new paradigm for the “Art of the Internet Age,” but also for vitalizing the art business. It will be a social networking service (SNS) specially designed for art with ingenious measures: concretely, an ARTIST can sale his/her art work through an AUCTION with his/her own choice of winning bidder; a REVIEWER is paid for writing a review of an art work; and a COLLECTOR can purchase and sale an art work at the AUCTION.

Design Concept

To create a “favorable cycle” by gathering artists' energy

In the art world, most of the young artists, well educated in universities and colleges, abandon their artistic activities under diverse, unavoidable circumstances after graduation. Among them, however, there are so many talented artists and stillborn high quality art works. A successful artist often says that there had been quite a few classmates more talented than him, but he, not they, could achieve success only because he was able to continue his artistic activity. It is of course difficult for all art-related persons to carry on their activity as a full-time artist. But, if they were able to continue their activity even by inches while engaged in other jobs, the total energy produced by them would become enormous. “Startbahn” puts special emphasis on the creation of a “favorable cycle,” where we support as many such artists and as long as possible and accumulate the energy produced for the art sake, which would produce further energy and be shared for the all involved.

To distribute an art work's value and increase the flow of the art work

In order to create the “favorable cycle,” it is crucial to build an environment where an art work is purchased and sold frequently. So “startbahn” reconsidered a pricing mechanism and strategized it on the basis to increase the flow of art works.

It is rare and unique to the art market that the secondhand market having an image of performing more vibrant business than that of new works. Regardless of how startling an art work's resale value may be, the artist is not paid for his/her creation. That is, the artist's first opportunity to sale his/her art work means the last opportunity to collect the total transaction value of his/her art work, forcing him/her to set its value considering this circumstance. Focusing on this fact, “startbahn” formulated a unique “profit-sharing system (tentative name)” which enables to “distribute the total transaction value.” *

The “profit-sharing system” provides an artist with a share from the profits made by the respective purchases and sales after the first sale of his/her art work. Under this system, the total transaction value of an art work will be “the value of the first transaction” + “the potential value shared at the point of resale” x “infinite chances.” By using this system, not only the value of an art work would be distributed, but also its flow would increase; because the collector will not have to feel guilty of selling an art work since the more the art work is traded, the more profit share to the artist increases.

* Although there is a similar right in French named "Droit de suite", it is only for a part of expensive artworks, and the amount of profit share is much less than that of startbahn.

* With a lot of requests, it would be possible to introduce the function for restricting resales for disignated time.

To build an environment where a competent work is properly evaluated and nurtured

When the amount of a profit share is high at the point of reselling, it is natural for anyone to hope to sell it where he/she does not need to pay a share. From this view point, under the “startbahn” system, the “rate of a share,” which decides the amount of the profit share, is fluctuated periodically and based on the popularity and attention degree of an artist. By setting a “possibility of periodical decrease of the rate of a share” within the system, “startbahn” tries to reduce the merit of selling outside the system risking violation of regulations.

Advantages for an ARTIST:
Also, “startbahn” provides two types of auctions for trading an art work. For instance, at the Primary Auction, where an artist sells his/her own original art work, he/she can choose a winning bidder in the light of not just the bid price but also the bidder's profile and auction history. Under this system, it is easier for the “better collector” to buy the art work at the bid price favorable for him/her. By providing such incentives, “startbahn” tries to encourage its participants to keep the rules and enrich their collections.

Advantages for a REVIEWER:
A reviewer, who contributed to the trade, will also be rewarded appropriately for his/her reviewing; by receiving a profit share from the transaction value. By providing such environment, where a good review is properly rewarded, reviewers' activities would be encouraged resulting that the art works exhibited in “startbahn” would have more opportunities to be observed, more seriously and carefully.

A new, unknown artist and collector also will be able to grab his/her opportunity: For instance, if a reviewer wins the appropriate admiration for his/her discovery of an excellent new artist more promptly than the others, many people will open their eyes to that new artist, who in the past had only few chances to be reviewed until he/she built a reputation; then, the artist's creative fire would be lit by such reviewer, which further gives a positive influence to a collector reviewing this process. This is what “starbahn” calls a “Favorable Cycle.”

This way, “startbahn” provides unique measures weighing a merit for each player at every stage so that their respective energies would create a positive growth cycle. These measures are designed particularly focusing on building an environment where an excellent art work and player are constantly discovered and nurtured (or developed), which “statbahn” believes to be the greatest power source for “startbahn” itself and its participants.“startbahn”will keep updating its measures with this as a key principal, even though it might be obliged to face some unpredictable problems in its practical operation.

To make the best of all kinds of energy from experimental art to local art movement

One of our aims is the efficiency of art work transaction. Quite a few people, however, regard a “trade-conscious (industrialized) artwork is less attractive.” Considering such sentiment, it is highly predictable that any system that excessively encourages transaction would not always have positive effects on the development of art. Provably understanding such characteristics of art, in the area where the artistic dynamism is kept, “trading a difficult-to-be-trading art work seems to be enjoyed to the fullest.” Actually, some well established art museums have been wining attention by regularly purchasing “ultra” expensive, difficult-to-be-traded art works. It may be thought, however, that many of such transactions make sense from the view point that such activities help maintain equation, motivation, and branding of those museums and the art business itself. Based on this analysis, “startbahn” offers a system capable of providing a fair profit share even for highly experimental and difficult-to-be-traded art works.

In addition, “startbahn” keeps up building a system where an art work excluded from the mainstream in the current art scene or a player physically away from the center of artistic activities can make the most of their own advantages.

All those mentioned above include many elements difficult to be realized without the technology of Internet. “startbahn” thinks it most significant to actualize them on the Internet, especially in seeking the “Art of the Internet Age”.

* It is possible for several complicated functions not to be introduced at first by taking account of usability and simplification of the service.

What would become possible with “startbahn?

An ordinary person would be able to make a massive art collection.

For instance, if a huge sculpture doomed to be abandoned or scrapped for lack of storage and a collector who possesses a huge place meet at “startbahn,” it would be possible for the collector to build a private outdoor sculpture museum, like the Hakone Open-Air Museum; where many large scale sculptures of young artists would be exhibited. The art works gathered there would have more opportunities to be observed than ever, and would create new possibilities to develop further activities. Also, as the collection become richer and the museum's activities are admired more, the collector would become more capable of winning a bid at the price favorable for him/her.

An ordinary café would become a famous art spot.

For instance, it would be possible for a café owner to change the artworks on display in his/her café every month. If an artist's artwork becomes popular at “startbahn,” thanks to be exhibited in that café, the owner of the café would have more opportunities to purchase his/her favorite art works at the price favorable for him/her. In addition, due to the added value that the artwork was displayed at the café, he/she would be able to sell the artwork higher, or in some cases, be able to get some profit.

‘Every little bit counts' and would become a property, supporting further development.

For instance, if an artist draw a piece every day and sell it for average around JPY3,000, he/she can earn more than JPY1,000,000 a year (JPY3,000 x 365 = JPY1,095,000). With time, his/her archive would increase and the profit share would increase accordingly. Then, if the value of his/her art work increases along with the increase of his/her name recognition, within a several years, he/she would probably become able to make the living in art.

To Provide a long-term support for your large-scale productions.

For instance, an artist may be able to make money required for the creation of a big piece by selling the rough sketches (esquisse) and studies produced in the process of creation. Though such communication, he/she may strengthen the relationship between his/her art work and its fans. When his/her art work becomes hot topic before its completion, it would also pull in more customers for his/her exhibition, and of course he/she can sell that big piece.

To fund-raise for an art project difficult to monetize

For instance, an artist would be able to increase vastly both his/her funds and customers for his/her art project (which is) difficult to monetize, by profitably using “startbahn,” for example, by selling the drawings relevant to the project through its system. Also, he/she would enjoy additional benefits in his/her future activities since the art work remains in the archive; which would bring him/her a profit share and give his/her other art works to be observed, followed by a link.

To be easier to identify the location of sold art work

For instance, it would become easier for an artist to know the current location of his/her art work. This would make it much easier than before for the artist to identify the location of his/her works when he/she plans to hold his/her retrospective exhibition or wants to take pictures of his/her previous works for publishing a collection book when he/she becomes famous.

To be possible to interlock with the advanced digital devices

For instance, when it becomes capable of building interlock function with a location feature of digital device, it would become easy to obtain information on an exhibition held near your present location, art works to be sold there, the creator of the exhibited art works, the artist's previous art works, as well as comments made by reviewers. Could it be AI (artificial intelligence), like siri, that provides you with such information in the future?

To be capable of identifying the creator of an art work and support him/her sustainably

For instance, it would become easy for you to watch an artist whom you met on the street grow through “startbahn”, as well as to support his/her activities. When the users of“startbahn”increase in number, it would become possible for you to take a picture of an art work displayed in a shop and match the image to the database in “startbahn,” so that you could follow the information of that art work.

To support forming a local community

For instance, when the number of the “startbahn” users living in a regional town or city increase, they could become leaders to form their local community making the most of its characteristics. A significant art movement could be broken up in that region once its local community grows up. Many exhibitions using vast landscape and rich natural resources may be held as well.

Those introduced above are just examples; however, once a “favorable cycle” is established, it would be possible to lead to a more favorable cycle as introduced here. I myself am very much looking forward to the future of “startbahn”: how it will be used and developed.

* We could exclude several fuctions related to the above examples for technical problems.

Outline of “startbahn” system

Unification of a social networking service (SNS) and Auction

The system of “startbahn” features a unification of an SNS and auction. It is something like combining facebook and eBay, or mixi and Yahoo auction, if explained without fear of misunderstanding.

It is not just a combination of those systems, however and of course: “startbahn” consists of three kinds of ACOUNTs and two kinds of AUCTIONs as well as many functions unique to this system.

Feature 1: Three kinds of Accounts

“startbahn” offers three kinds of Accounts. Besides many mutual functions among all Accounts, there are some functions unique to each account, so that the mutual interaction among three Accounts would create synergistic effects.

Three kinds of Accounts

Three kinds of Accounts

Feature 2: Two kinds of Auctions

“startbahn” offers two kinds of Auctions: One is for an Artist to sell his/her art work by him/herself; the other is for a Collector to resell the art work he/she purchased at the Auction. By offering two auction systems separately, “startbahn” aims to vitalize the art market through its mutual interaction.

Three kinds of Accounts

At the Primary Auction, a posting-style auction is conducted. “Posting-style” means to bid the bidding price just once, and normally, the bidding price is under cover. At “startbahn,” however, and different from an ordinary posting-style, the winning bidder is not always the one who bid the highest price; but a seller (= an Artist) can choose the winning bidder. This system makes it possible for the seller to choose the winning bidder, according to the bidder's profile, collection style, and transaction history.

* In this illustration, Mr./Ms. ○C bids with the highest price; but this Artist can choose a winning bidder from the four bidders. If Mr./Ms.○A is an excellent Collector, the Artist can choose Mr./Ms. ○A to sell his/her art work, with the hope that Mr./Ms. ○A would take a good care of his/her art work although the purchase price is a little low.

At the Secondary Auction, an ordinary auction will be conducted. The winning bidder will be the one who offered the highest price at the point of bidding deadline.

* AS the illustration shows, Mr./Ms.○D will be a winning bidder, who offers the highest value at the point of bidding deadline.

Feature 3: Profit-sharing system

“startbahn” offers a profit share from the transaction value to a seller of an art work when the art work is resold at the Secondary Auction. Through this “profit-sharing system (tentative name),” the value of the art work is distributed, eventually making the value become lower in an intelligent way. The rate of share for profit-sharing is fluctuated periodically according to the circumstances of the Artist's activity. A profit share will be offered at every transaction, with respective rate of share.

We obtained the patents related to this Profit-sharing system named "Artwork-trading system and artwork-trading program for trading artworks created by artist over network" in Japan on March, 2009, and in the US on December, 2011.

Profit-sharing system

Feature 4: Compensation for a Reviewer

“startbarn” offers a profit share from the sales (transaction) value when an art work wins a bid with the influence of its review. This system is similar to an affiliate system of a major online system aiming to offer an appropriate compensation for the review written by a Reviewer. It is also aimed to add a cultural value to the art works traded at“startbahn”by offering a fair compensation to a Reviewer.

Compensation for a Reviewer

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