Last week we got our first tier 3 patron. We have talked about patronage and tip-giving through venmo, but when the system began to work, it certainly changed my perspective as a musician.
Traditionally, merchandise is how an original band paid the bills. (It's well know that unlike cover acts, original acts seldom get paid to perform. On the contrary, we often pay to play and have our music heard) So if you saw the band, you bought a t-shirt or a sticker. This has always been a simple exchange. You gave us money, you got a product, both sides gained from that transaction.
Patronage, on the other hand, is a whole different creature. Every month, someone is choosing to back the band financially. Even a couple bucks a month still means that someone is investing in us and our success. What I didn't anticipate is how humbling that process can be. Unlike selling a t-shirt to someone and concluding the transaction, I feel an obligation to be a good steward of the investments of our patrons. Every month, I have to be able to tell myself that the money given from a patron was used to further us and our product...after all, investors enjoy seeing returns on their investment.
In business, a patron would be the equivalent of what they call a hedonistic angel investor...An investor that invests for the pleasure of seeing the product/organization prosper and knowing they played a small part in it's success.
I mentioned on a daily post on Instagram that being notified that we had tier 3 patrons was an amazing thing....but it was also a kick in the ass. Now that we have patrons...angel investors....we are inspired and motivated to do well. Motivated to finish the recording process the MOMENT the holidays have passed. Motivated to keep working to improve our live show so that every show is better than the last one.
May we never get to the point that we take for granted every....single....person who supports us. Be it financial contributions, coming to shows, or even shouting us out to their friends on social media, I hope we NEVER take that for granted.
Grateful and humbled,