As the new year begins, I have been looking through some of my patronage. I am using the term broadly, it includes Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Bandcamp, direct subscriptions, and lump sum payments. It is an interesting dance that occurs in the Internet commerce age. There are multiple ways to purchase things currently, it can be done as a finished good being purchased or one can make payments in support of future work. It is the support of the future work that I have found to be interesting and varying between parties.
There are some artists that I am a true patron of, I simply make a payment in support of their work. Yes, they provide updates and content at times. However the support is just to support the work with no expectation of new content. The idea is that one is supporting the creation of new work and typically a patron will receive the work. However it is not a relationship where one says, I pay you US$15 and you will provide me 65 minutes of music.
There is also the world of Patreon where one pledges a specific amount for specific events. The idea being that one pledges to make a payment for each finished item. There is typically a ceiling on the monthly payment but also a sliding scale of what you pay for what you receive. There is no guarantee that one will receive anything but there is also no payment without the delivery of something.
There is also Kickstarter where one makes a pledge to fund the project if enough other people commit as well. If the project is funded, payment is made before receiving any goods. It is a leap of faith that goods and services will be delivered after the payment has been made. One simply has to hope that the goods are expected.
In all of these agreements there is one key element that can make this successful and enjoyable for both parties – communication.It becomes a dance of communication where one does not want to harass the artist, however one still wants to know what is being expected by both parties. That is key to allow people to feel confident in the process. I have had some recipients that communicate consistently, even if it just something as small as saying hello. There are other recipients that enter radio silence after the pledge. That is very frustrating and at times makes one wonder if the support is truly appreciated. It makes me, I will not speak for everyone, not want to support those that do not communicate.
So if you are asking for funding, remember to communicate. Having said my peace, I think I am going to remove some of my patronages.