Patreon is a place artists can go to get funded access (via patrons) to tools and relationships to help you create your craft. It’s an intriguing space. Amanda Palmer has a lot to say about the business of music and why Patreon is so important.
i was going to post a really heartfelt and cheerful post today about how much money this patreon has generated for different charities this year (short story, about $15k of our patreon earnings this year went to these four charities: The Trevor Project, The Texas Diaper Bank, The Maria Fund in Puerto Rico, and, in Lezvos, Greece, Because We Carry).
i didn’t think i was going to spend three days doing patreon-PR triage and obsessively reading twitter, facebook and patreon comments. i was also going to write an article for the guardian about feminism. i was also going to write a short story. i was going to work on music. i was also going to answer my fucking backlog of email. i have childcare for a limited number of hours each day. i did none of these things. i read the fucking internet explode about patreon, and i….wrote this.
but you know what? i’m glad. that’s what i do and who i am.
and the reason i did is the same reason i’ve been doing things this way for the better part of the last ten years. because i want shit to feel real. this is why i chose crowdfunding in the first place. the amount of hours i have spent over the last ten years on the internet…my god…reading, writing, feeling through, and discussing EXACTLY this sort of difficult and annoying stuff is why i’m me and not another artist. sometimes i bang my head against a wall going: why the fuck am i spending my life on the internet, talking about the internet, instead of making art?
and sometimes i look around me and remember why.
She discusses school and how important Patreon was to her then.
i literally just left the campus of wesleyan university, where i was involved in a semester-long experiment with a bunch of students and my filmmaker friend michael pope in which we tried to make art together. it was a weird idea of mine: i’d write a song, the students would write a treatment and make their own video to the song. great, but there was no way the university would pay for something like that and the associated costs (the recording studio alone cost more than they could have probably paid me for the semester). so, my ability to do the project and STILL GET PAID was a direct result of patreon. patreon funded my writing time, my travel time, my time in the studio, the studio engineer, it paid the drummer, it paid the saxophone player, it paid the bassist. it paid for the props that the students used in the video. it paid for michael pope’s airbnb, since the university didn’t cover housing. this isn’t a slight to wesleyan, i probably could have cajoled more funding and resources out of them. but i didn’t have to. i had my patreon.
the fact is that i have been able to do SO MANY PROJECTS in the last two years that otherwise wouldn’t have paid me DICK, and i know that i have been afforded that opportunity in no small part because i Talk on the Internet, and communicate the reality of how this art business works. To You. and i’m about to do a long talk.
Her record label experience reinforced her need for this.
it’s a good time to remind you what the hell is actually going on, lest you forget what i am, who we are, and where all this came from. i don’t take for granted that everybody here (there’s 11,000 of you, that’s a lot of people) knows my entire history. a lot of you have read my book. but a lot of you probably haven’t. there are some important things you should know about me, and what this patreon means, and what it means when something goes wrong.
after signing in about 2004, i escaped my major label, roadrunner records, in 2010. i was miserably unhappy there and didn’t see a future in which i wasn’t being nailed to the crucifix of a bunch of a company’s unholy financial needs and schedules.
i didn’t like that roadrunner records told me that i would have to put out my solo album in fall instead of spring because fall was “nickelback time”. (i changed the release date.)
i didn’t like that roadrunner records told me that i was going to have to tour, opening up for certain bands, with certain bands or they would “remove all album support” for the dresden dolls second album. (we went on the tour).
i didn’t like that they told me i would have to buy our own CDs from them for $11 if we wanted to sell them at shows (i knew for a fact that those CDs cost them less than $1.50 to manufacture).
i didn’t like that roadrunner records told me that i looked too fat in one of my videos and “could i simply cut those unflattering shots”. at that point: i didn’t like that roadrunner records got to tell me fucking ANYTHING. fuck these guys.
It is really worth reading the whole thing. This is a free post over at Patreon.