Connect With Us

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner




« A Whole New Spin: 3 Reasons Why 360-Degree Music Videos Are the Future  | Main | 5 Steps To Get Your Followers To Listen To Your Music »

What Patreon Means For Your Band

 Matt Bacon is the senior campaign manager at Independent Music Promotions he’s also an associate member of the Grammy Foundation

He also is a music journalist and has written for publications like Lifehack, Ultimate Guitar, WTF Mag and Vandala Magazine as well as his blog, Two Guys Metal Reviews.  He has interviewed legends including Ace Frehley (KISS) and Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest) whilst befriending other giants, like Phil Collen of Def Leppard.


Patreon is one of the newest and almost most certainly most potent crowdfunding services out there today. So obviously being a dude in the music industry I figured I should see what it was all about and what applications it might have for bands. The deeper I delved the more I realized that this could be a very effective tool for up and coming musicians to use. The issue to me is that a lot of the articles I found, while excellent, didn’t seem to understand the underground ethos and went straight to the notion of ‘making your living off of Patreon”. Of course – this would be rad for your band – but that hardly seems feasible for most folks, however there are some ways to make Patreon ease your burden.

For the uninitiated Patreon is a website that allows fans to pay their favorite artists a fixed amount per month, or a fixed amount per piece of content in order to help maintain a steady income stream for the artist. Yes it means another monthly bill – but you can put a cap on it to make sure you don’t end up spending too much in a month, and when you consider that the average monthly donation comes to $9.50, literally pennies a day, it becomes quickly apparent why tens of thousands of content consumers have been attracted to Patreon.

Take a band like Massachusetts thrashers Lich King for example. With their semi-regular podcast the band has been able to garnered $102 per episode. Now – the band hasn’t made this a top priority, so sometimes they go months without an episode – but it also means that whenever they need to make a quick hundred bucks to help fund their next tour, set of merch, or whatever – they have an option! The perks they offer are pretty straightforward too – nothing too expensive or fancy (Just the occasional random giveaway and personalized thank you) but more than enough to attract the dollars of a handful of superfans.

Now a lot of the music-oriented Patreon’s I saw focus primarily on creating music videos for their fans – and that’s fine, but you might not have the time or creative team to produce content like that regularly. That doesn’t mean that you can’t give your fans other cool perks that will get them to donate a few bucks a month to your cause! All that is really required is a little bit of logic behind costing out different ideas for perks.

To develop on that previous point – take for example your average low level touring band who can afford to do about one national tour a year. If they offer a 2$ a month perk on their Patreon page that includes guest list access to any show the patron requests and one free shirt a year then everybody wins. Why? Because the band is making 24$ a year off that fan – far more than they would have gotten as an overall cut from the ticket sale (Which would cost the fan 10$) and a t-shirt sale (Which would probably be priced at 15$) This means that the patron too got a discount, saving some money in the long run and getting the nice feeling that comes with being a regular patron of the arts.

Saving your fans money is not the only thing you can do to help fund your band. It’s easy to forget when you’re playing in some dudes basement that being in a band is an inherently cool thing to do, people want to get to know you and hang out with you. One service I’ve seen a lot of bands offering with great success is the personal Google hangout. The band Pentatonix managed to earn nearly $9,000 a month with their hangouts where they talk about the future of the band and occasionally leak a demo or two.

Many Patreon creators use a personalized thank you as a perk to get people supporting – another virtually free way to help give fans a personal connection to the band. To build on this – consider tossing in the names of your biggest patrons to the end credits of a music video or give them a shout out at your next concert. This helps to humanize the band a d remove the ‘culture of cool’ that afflicts the industry today. And you know that given that special attention they will be all over your band!

The point being – Patreon may very well be the music industries saving grace. It rewards the artist for cultivating personal relationships with their fans and helps fans save money whilst regularly contributing to artists and giving them a much larger cut of the profits than they might otherwise make. With Patreon everybody wins and I honestly don’t know what more we could ask for in the the present state of the music industry.

Do you think I’m being too pie in the sky? Do you think my optimism will ultimately be my downfall? I’d beg to differ – to emphasize a previous point – if you look at the numbers here most bands stand to do extremely well with Patreon. Consider that 99% of bands these days make well below a thousand dollars a year in profits from their CD sales. That means that if you’re making just a $100 a month with your Patreon page, that is to say, a mere $10 from 10 different people, then you’re already doing far better than you would if your record had charted.

The end result of this I think will ultimately be more freedom for the artists and a new climate of creativity in this bitter and jaded world. As record labels continue to adapt to the digital revolution I think that Patreon is the kind of thing that can help everybody out, even moreso than a platform like Bandcamp (Whose effect on stabilizing the industry should not be underestimated) Patreon helps to create a culture that has evolved beyond paywalls. Instead it gives superfans content they would be genuinely interested in and allows the artist to keep releasing their work for free to the general public. So if you want to know what the future of the industry is – Patreon may be the key.  

What Patreon Means For Your Band

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>