Blog - Supporting my favorite artists and content creators is worth every penny.
I’m a patron of the arts. I’m more than a consumer – I don’t just “consume” art on a daily basis, I help make it happen. In addition to liking, sharing and subscribing, an integral part of my support is monetary, and I encourage others to do the same.
Why pay artists when much of it is available online for free? So many people explain away illegal downloading of music and movies because corporations “make enough money as it is”. What you need to understand is that artists now are moving away from signing onto record labels or paying companies to represent them. It’s getting easier and easier to promote yourself on the internet, and that’s where the future of art is heading. Some of the most talented artists I love and follow are 100% independent. No longer does the fact that an artist is unrepresented or unsigned mean they’re not good enough – creators are choosing independence and the freedom to do their art without someone else holding the purse strings.
These are the artists I choose to support because their work is creative and passionate, and within their own control. Since they’re self-promoted, they end up much more engaged with their fans. Most of the time you’re not paying for the art, you’re choosing to support the artist because they make their work available for free. Even if you don’t have wads of money to toss around, choosing to budget some here and there for the things you love feels really great. When you use sites like Patreon, Loudr, Kickstarter, or Stageit, your support goes directly to the artist and in return you become more involved in their art, and even get extra perks.
Patreon is an amazing platform that I like to call the holy grail for creators, and it’s my favorite site as a patron. In less than a year they’ve become one of the greatest new sites for creators to make money; TIME Magazine even named them one of the Top 10 Exciting Startups of the year. So what do they do? With Patreon you can pledge a certain dollar amount to creators for every piece of work they create. In that way, you become an ongoing patron and have access to their stream. With the flexible system you can start or stop your support as needed, or put monthly caps on your contributions.
In return, many of the creators offer a variety of perks – they’ll follow you on Twitter, offer sneak peeks and behind the scenes content, free song downloads, video chat hangouts, one-on-one skype sessions, personalized drawings or handwritten thank you notes, or even your very own recorded song! But the best perk is just being in their patron stream – creators post and read comments more regularly than on social media sites so you get to be a part of their work on a regular basis, give suggestions and ask questions.
Another pretty cool site is Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform that lets you give one time donations to artists for large projects – whether it’s a musician getting their next album off the ground or a writer publishing a novel. It feels good knowing you helped make their project come to life!
Independent creators are moving towards other sites to get their work to their fans too. Loudr is a great place to buy your music because the artist gets a much larger cut of the profits than from a source like iTunes. It’s a pay-what-you-want model, so whether you pay $1 for a song or $50, you know the artist is getting the proceeds directly. Many times there are perks the more you pay – additional song downloads thrown in, or entire albums for free.
Stageit is the up-and-coming way for artists to perform live via the internet. You can attend streaming shows by your favorite artists and interact with them and other fans through a chat window. Like Loudr, it’s a pay-what-you-want model so a lot of times you can join a show for just $1, and with the tipping system you can tip throughout the show for added perks (or just because you love them!) Artists take requests, answer questions, and offer rewards to the top contributors. The other day I got a signed autograph for being a top contributor during a show!
While deviantART is on the forefront for visual artists to display their work and offer commissions, sometimes you want to support artists in a more ongoing way, which is where sites like Patreon come in. Artists can do more of their fabulous work when they have a steady stream of income – then they can do other things like remove ads from their website or upgrade equipment to make their work even better. Creators even list those goals on their Patreon page so you know what your dollars are going towards.
But the main reason I really want to support these artists is the overarching trend I’ve noticed of their personalities and goals. These creators aren’t in it for the money, they don’t want to get rich, they just want to make a living doing what they love and sharing their passion with you. I’ve found that all of the creators are excited to connect and give perks – they don’t feel obligated to, they genuinely enjoy giving back to their fans. I’m involved and valued as a patron, and it makes the experience that much more meaningful.
They also have some of the biggest hearts – I can’t count the number of times my favorite artists have donated proceeds of their latest piece to charity, or made vlogs talking about the causes they’re passionate about. Those are the type of people I want my money going to.
It doesn’t matter what kind of content you’re interested in – music, photography, drawing, design, video, writing, comics, commentaries, tutorials – independent creators around the world are doing it all, with your support. That’s why I love Patreon so much, it brings all art forms together. While social media sites keep you updated on what your friends, family, and favorite people are doing, Patreon is a stream for all the art in your life. It’s much more interactive and rewarding than watching a video on YouTube or purchasing a song on iTunes. I check in each day to watch the newest music videos, see what artists have been drawing (from scribbles to final print productions), laugh at today’s comic strip, read new chapters of novels and web series, and check out photography of places and things I never even imagined. It’s always a surprise, and well worth the money I contribute.
Note: Cover art by Otakatt