Great article Mike. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your great tunes.
I make a living as a songwriter here in Portland Oregon. I’m originally from Paris France (http://www.ericjohnkaiser.com). I’ve done 2 successful Kickstarter campaigns for my last 2 albums (I have released 4 at this point). I’ve also started using Patreon recently (https://www.patreon.com/ericjohnkaiser) which seems to be a different challenge than Kickstarter. Still haven’t figured it completely out yet. It might not work, and I’m not sure my fan base gets the concept yet, but it’s sure worth a try. I’ll be releasing content anyways, so it’s bonus for me if people help.
To be honest it was a bit of a challenge to start my first Kickstarter. I’m so used to doing everything on my own that it wasn’t easy for me to ask for money. My point of view has however evolved. I’m not backed by a record company and I see it as more of an exchange. I also have no other choice than to give it a try. I don’t have much to loose at this point. But I also learned that if it’s based on a trustworthy relationship with my fans, some people like to help and be part of the process. Being transparent and honest is key.
To try and answer your questions, as best as I can, with the humble experience I’ve had using those fan funding tools:
- Don’t artists always look needy, looking for recognition anyways ? ;-) Maybe things are just clearer now. If you work hard on creating a quality “musical” product, I don’t think it’s “begging” to ask for help. I think people feel involved in the process more than anything else.
- My Patreon is not successful enough for me to consider I have “bosses” yet! And the people that support me, do it because they like what I have to offer and like to support all the work I put into it.
- Good question. I don’t think it’s any different from selling your music. You can’t force anyone to buy your tunes anyways. When you put your songs out there for people to buy them, are they your bosses also ? In a way yes, I guess… so not much changes with Patreon. I see “Making art” and “selling art” as 2 different jobs.
- Deadlines are useful to keep moving forward.
- I’m not sure I agree. I think that Patreon and Kickstarter have an educational aspect that show people that art has value and a cost to produce. Making an album is not just about opening Garage band and doing everything on your laptop. Same thing with a tip jar. I’ve done some shows where I’m only paid on tips and over time I’ve learned to tell the audience that I was only paid on tips that night. That’s usually when people help the most (granted that they like the music in the first place). But again I’m in a situation where I mainly making a living playing gigs so I don’t really have any other option.
- I don’t make enough money on Patreon for it to be my day job at this point.
I hope this helps in any ways. :-)