One of the most common first messages I receive from people who are joining the Nateives on Patreon is this: They apologise for not being able to give more (The Nateives are a group of over 200 people from around the world who support my art with monthly micro -and not so micro- pledges).
This humbles, amazes and saddens me.
[Tweet “Why are the most generous people the ones apologising?”]
What these fabulously generous humans don’t realise is that, even when pledging $1, they are at the forefront of a revolution, and they are still incredibly rare.
They are the heroes who are choosing to value art, when so many want -and get- it for free.
Recently a woman removed herself from my mailing list when I asked for financial support; she said she was ‘just enjoy Nate’s music, but not wanting to give money.’ And that’s fine, no one is forcing her, but I bet you if she valued music she could afford $1 a month for an artist she loves.
In many ways, it’s not her fault (or the fault of the millions who want music for free, spend $100’s on massive superstars who are entirely commercially oriented, and freak out when asked to pay $5 to support a local artist’s independent creations), it’s the fault of our product-driven consumer education and the old music industry structures. These have created a huge gap between ‘fans’ (humans who love music) and ‘stars’ (humans who make music).
The perceived life of a professional musician is like one long hollywood movie to many people. They don’t realise that we are ordinary humans working hard at a career just like anyone else, crafting the life we dream of for ourselves, our families and our communities. We have to deal with expenses, songwriting, tour planning, team hiring, budgeting, funding, practicing, entrepreneurship, projections, album recording, taxes, social media management, team management, press releases…the list goes on.
If that sounds exactly like any small business:
YES, THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS ONE :P.
Imagine that you were a newly qualified dentist, but everyone expected to get fillings for free. You had to cover all the costs of equipment, staff, office, etc, out of your own pocket, for a good few years, until you could get a big parent company (record label for musicians) to sign up and support you so you could make money. Would you still do it!? Oh, and the big company would then own all the fillings you did ;).
Some will argue that ‘dentistry is a necessary service to humanity’ and I would respond, ‘so is music, and all arts!’
If you are a person who can honestly tell me that you have never had a moment where music/art has supported you through a difficult time in your life, or made you happy, or inspired you to dance, or improved just about any human experience imaginable…well, if you’re that kind of person then I’d love to hear your story, because I don’t believe you exist.
Have you thought about the value of $1?
$1 on it’s own is not worth much, we know this. But, what happens when 100, or 1000, or 10000 people add their $1’s up? This is the power of community-supported art! If each person gives a tiny bit (or more if they want and can afford it) to the artists they love, the whole system is self-perpetuating and sustainable.
People feel fine giving a percentage to charity every month. Well, what if they did the same for the arts!?
I currently support 26 artists and creators on Patreon, for a total of $51 per month. Many of them are getting $1 from me, some are getting a bit more. I trust that my $1 is a part of something bigger than me, because as others support them, so their success grows…and it still only costs me $51 to support 26 epic creators! HELL YEAH!
Please help me to spread the word about this, because as people come to realise how empowered they are to bring more of the art they love into the world, so we experience a richer tapestry of authentic, heart-sourced art in the world.
Also, GO SUPPORT AN ARTIST ON PATREON: http://patreon.com.
Thanks to you all for engaging with, sharing about, caring for, supporting and loving the artists in your lives!!!!
What do you think about all of this?
I’d love to hear your ideas, disagreements, agreements, stories of supporting the independent artists you love and also, if you’re an independent artist, please comment on how the support of your community has changed your life!
Your friendly community-supported troubadour
Nate Maingard (check out my Patreon too, I’m really proud of it)
PS: if you read this and do nothing, then it is my failure…because my intention is to inspire you to take action, to share, to pledge, to be accountable for supporting the art you want in your life.
IF YOU HAVEN’T YET, PLEASE VISIT PATREON AND SUPPORT AN ARTIST TODAY (or, if they’re not on Patreon, ask them to join, or ask them how you can best support them elsewhere)!
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