Crowdfunding Platform Asks Fans To Be Musical Patrons

Posted October 12

If you have a friend in an indie band, it’s likely that s/he has asked you to toss some cash into a Kickstarter campaign at some point in his/her career. Crowdfunding is all the rage — especially in the arts — and unsigned bands have an impetus to employ the practice: Making an album, going on tour, producing merch, etc costs money, and if you don’t have a label footing the bill, the whole endeavor is about as impossible as Lana Del Rey’s lips are pillowy. Still, many artists don’t really know how to use platforms like Kickstarter properly, rendering them more Oliver Twist than Amanda Palmer. Enter crowdfunding platform Patronism, which is more about support than handouts.

Earlier this week, we wrote about a pair of music subscription services that are more about curation than quantity — DISTO and Drip.fm. Drip.fm allows you to subscribe to record labels to get a ton of content each week, while DISTRO (when it is officially launched) will let you subscribe to artists. Patronism is kind of like the latter.

According to Evolver.fm, Patronism was a semi-finalist in the Harvard/Berklee Re:Think Music Business Model Competition and was founded by musician John Pointer and web designer Dave Kuster. Conceptually, it’s pretty simple: Fans can subscribe to their favorite artists (they can choose how much to kick into the band’s bank account) in order to receive a ton of exclusive content from them every month. Evolver.fm reports that the average fan shells out $12 per month, and the highest paying fan donates an incredible $200 every thirty days. One band apparently collected $3,000 last month, and is on track to earn even more in October.

Granted, there aren’t that many bands on the site — around 39 — but fans can set up pages for their favorite bands in hopes that they join, and bands can submit applications to use the service (which will be sifted through and chosen by the founders). Bands receive the bulk of the donated cash — 85% — with the rest going to site maintenance and development.

Fans: What do you think? Would you be a patron of the musical arts?