Why I Left Patreon, And Why I'm Back
Living Music by Justine | May Edition
If I were to post a relationship status between Patreon and myself, it’s complicated!
Patreon is a crowd funding platform where supporters donate either per month or per creation. It’s like Kickstarter, but fans support you long-term, rather than to fund a specific project.
When Patreon emerged, it was widely advised that indie creatives join. My gut feeling was it wasn’t right for me, but I ignored this.
At the time, I was juggling several websites and creative projects. My Patreon page was promoting yet another project. I think this is partly why it didn’t work out.
I got nasty comments online about my lack of patrons. Some promotions didn’t go down well with potential supporters (they said certain rewards would put them off!)
I also emailed my family and close friends to let them know I had joined Patreon (this is often the best place to start with any form of crowd funding or fundraising.) The next day, I got several phone calls from people saying they had read the email but didn’t understand what Patreon was.
I had explained it in the email, but I think it was too new at that point. I said, "Well, you know Kickstarter?"
I changed the subject because my heart wasn’t in it. I joined because everyone else had, not because I thought it could be a valuable income stream for my business.
A few months later, a couple of people expressed interest in supporting me, but I told them not to because I wasn’t planning to remain on Patreon. I shut my page down.
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Years later, I’ve launched a new page! Here’s why…
I recently attended a workshop taught by Chris Cooke in collaboration with RouteNote. Patreon was mentioned as a source of income for indie musicians. Chris said it’s an effective way for supporters to donate to works that are available for free (like my blog posts.)
A few people have asked repeatedly whether I’m on Patreon. I’m touched that they want to support my business, but with Patreon having not been a positive experience last time, I was reluctant.
Chris said to earn a living as an indie musician; you need to offer your supporters what they ask for, instead of what you think they want. If people are requesting Patreon, I should be listening.
Crowd funding can feel uncomfortable but it’s becoming more acceptable to ask for help. Look at Amanda Palmer! Income for creatives is sporadic. I can have several commissions one month and none the next. Sites like Patreon enable many creatives to get by.
My music business coach, Danelle Harvey, suggested that to grow my business, a subscription service would be advisable. Patreon is a great way for me to offer this. Let me explain.
There are several tiers. On my page, the three lowest tiers (named after songs from The Greatest Showman) are appropriate for those who want to support the blog. The two higher tiers are ideal for clients who want to commission me regularly as a lyricist, as well as support the blog.
I offer discounts on my lyric writing services with each tier. Higher tier patrons will save significantly on their lyrics by subscribing to Patreon.
This time around, Patreon feels like an asset to my business and my clients. I’m also not putting pressure on myself. It’s there for my readers and clients if they choose to sign up. I’m happy whether I have zero patrons or a hundred.
Please visit my Patreon page.
To learn more about crowd funding, check out my Q&A with Shawnee Kilgore. We talk about her successful Kickstarter campaigns.
Do You Need Lyrics to Set to Music?
If you like starting with lyrics, and want to collaborate with a lyricist, please browse my work on Songbay. If you find a lyric you like, you can license it online. I license each lyric only once. After you claim a lyric, I remove it from Songbay and it's exclusively yours to use.