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John Pointer

Nicely done! This is exactly what I've been doing with http://Patronism.com for the past two years. Call it a pay-what-you-wish subscription service, but it's really a bilateral empowerment platform, partnering those who create with those who value in a way that benefits them both; connecting meaningful things with the means to sustain them. The average patronage on the site is over $12/mo, and I just had my first band break $4000/mo net (they get 85% of every dollar). Right now the tag line is "Musicians make music. Patrons make music happen. Make music happen."

However, after realizing that people weren't just subscribing for the content but for the connection, and that the core value of music is that it means something, I'm about to open the site up the way I described above - connecting meaningful things with the means to sustain them. Feel free to contact me, John (at) Patronism (dot) com

Bryan Kim

John, this is awesome. Most of my ideas are hypotehtical, so it's cool to hear you actually iterated towards a relationship-access model from user feedback. Can't wait to dig into your site...


Wow - amazing to see this conceptualization already in works.

Dylan Guillou

Although I'm sure you are right about the audience/artist relation and that it will be more important to find a few faithful fans than to try to appeal to a broader audience, I don't personnaly believe that a platform is the way to go. I mean, sure it is a fine way to start, because you have to start somewhere. But once you settle as an artist or a band and begin to know how you are comfortable interacting with your audience (through podcasts, Youtube videos, dedicated songs, live shows, blog posts, whatever), then no platform will be flexible enough to allow you to do it exactly your way.

I think that the future lies in the roots of the Internet : each band will have to create its own socially-open website. Not the listen-to-three-songs-and-look-at-my-four-tour-pictures kind of sites, but a real way to connect with fans, talk to them and directly raise money. At least that's the way we tried to do it with my brother Elie for one year now : http://www.elieguillou.fr/ (this is a french website). It's basically a fundraising site but for one artist only. We are watching it evolve and this is fascinating - to experiment and see what's working and what's not.

Then again, I could be wrong ; if a fundraising platform is open enough it could create its own habits and drive the audience and bands altogether in a new way of listening and handling money. Facebook did change our day-to-day life, so I'm just waiting to be proven wrong !


Inspirational stuff!

Andrew Wiebe

Thanks for your thoughts, Bryan!

Your introduction brought me back to Andrew Dubber's The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online e-book in which he talked about the various models that have played out throughout history. His assertion is that we are in the midst of one of the most significant shifts that has ever taken place. As you say, artist-to-fan interaction is going to be crucial in this new environment.

You mentioned one of my favorite composers J.S. Bach, but sadly he was very poor in his time. He is certainly one of the most recognized composers now, but at the time people called him outdated and passé, and he did not make much money. It is possible for artists to struggle under any model.


This article is very inspiring and a great reminder that music and music appreciation is more than notes played on instruments, recorded and mass duplicated for consumption. Music is about ideas, feelings and expression and even identity. It can support existing ideas, or spark new ones. It's about communication and it's about us as humans on this rock we call earth. Music is a lot of things in a lot of ways and the future of the industry (I loathe calling it an industry) should be just as many things as well.

For every artist that I have had an appreciation for, I wish they had a simple PayPal donate button on a website so I could give money directly. But the old model made this next to impossible. With the rockstar facade keeping fans well away from the person behind the music while the corporate handlers funnel fan support through their plastic disc sales. Buying the disc/tape/record was the only way to show your support and maybe attend concerts or order a t-shirt but the only parties seeing real profits in that model are the record execs. Most artists see very very little of the $10 to $20 per recorded media sale.

The artists that succeed with services like kickstarter, making hundreds of thousands within a few days are essentially getting what a major label will advance loan an artist for recording. It has to be paid back out of each unit sold, coming out of the artist's royalties which are typically the lowest percentage of all parties involved. A lot of artists are buried under the debt of their first release.

Now, fans can decide if they like an artist enough to make an impact and how much of an impact, which is just awesome. It helps artists avoid accepting exploitation by a label loan shark. What used to be labeled begging or a devaluing of the artists work is now proving to be quite the opposite. If I can give just $20 to an artist that I like for a new album, that album becomes even more valuable to me, because I helped make it. Even if its just a little and never mind the added value the artists usually offer. And it goes to the artist, not some greasy exec.

Is this the new business model to reshape the music industry? I don't know, but it certainly has it's place among the other outlets such as streaming radio, youtube videos, live performances, merchandise, physical media, digital downloads, limited edition box sets, posters, site subscriptions, corporate sponsorships, product endorsements... *breath*... Im sure there are many more greater or lesser ideas to come and thats very exciting too.

Marc Farre

Patronism is cool! Definitely this is the wave of the future for indies like us. Because a relationship is worth far more than a transaction.

I've been doing something this, too, on my own, through my website. My model is more something that is embedded on the artist's website, not a third-party application. That way there is no distance between the artist and the fan at all.

Fans pay $2/mo to support (and this is the critical part) the *creation* of a new song -- not an existing song. It is literally a "crowd-commissioning" concept. There may be little incremental commercial value in a song that's done and sitting there ready to be downloaded frictionlessly (and at little cost). But I believe there is plenty of value in effectively enabling the creative process itself.

I've been thinking of ways to enable other artists to use this tool directly on their websites as well, without having a passthrough service such as this one. I've set up a PayPal account and used MailChimp APIs to manage a separate list. For now, this is just starting up.




beautiful written. couldn't agree more.. can't wait to see this happening online

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