Over the past five years my band has built up a modest fan base that largely includes all the wonderful people we have met in the process, and is bankrolled mostly by our three day jobs.
We just released our second album on vinyl. To pay for the pressing, we started a Kickstarter campaign. With only 73 backers, we were able to raise about $4,000. As I crunched the numbers (I’m a sixth grade math teacher on the side), I realized that a good portion of our fans were willing to pay much larger sums of money than what their package was actually worth–and it sparked an idea.
If our families, friends and fans were willing to pay tens and hundreds of dollars on a promised cd or vinyl package for a Kickstarter, then why wouldn’t they be willing to pay a small amount each month for guaranteed weekly content? The more fans who subscribed, the more advanced content we could give them. Also with this model, rather than hap hazardly booking shows whenever we can get them, and trying to make something out of nothing, we can have set deadlines, with set goals to accomplish each week, and a set budget to accomplish them with. We would still play live shows, of course, but this time fans would know about them weeks in advance because they would have been receiving our awesome content each week. The content could include recorded music, stories, graphic novels (I dabble),and videos. We would have a more interactive relationship with subscribers each week so we would be able to easily find out what they wanted. At the end of a year, we could scoop up all the songs we released to our subscribers and put them on a vinyl to sell at stores and on tours. Finally, it would have the added bonus of making us feel like legitimate artists. Having to deliver something to our fans weekly would push our creativity, and force us to ask ourselves what we could do to keep fans coming back?
So there’s the idea…but now comes the questions. How do we ask our fans who already do so much to pay us $4.99 a month? How many other bands are doing something like this? Where do we start?