Monday, November 03, 2014

Patronage in music history and present.

Sometime around 2005 I was a member of the Nine Inch Nails fan club. One of the benefits of paying  for the fan club (in addition to shirts, posters and advance concert tickets) was the forums that Trent Reznor would sometimes pop in to chat.

He would occasional offer his opinion on this or that or ask a question or two of the community. One of those questions has stuck in my mind for a long time.

He asked the forum members about how music might continue to be a profession given that the internet had begun to collapse the music industry and how could artists continue to make art in the future. My contribution to the conversation was that we could return to more of a patronage model as had existed before records (and sheet music printing before it) allowed for a "music business". My thought was that the members of the NIN fan club would be happy to pay the same yearly fees to support the creation of the art itself rather then the supporting materials that it generated. It worked for classical music and musicians, why not for us in an era where music is listened to and loved more then ever.

Sadly he didn't try it, but he has tried a lot of different ways and has thankfully kept making music. (He even release a free record as a thank you for his fans continuing support.)

So if NIN didn't go the patronage route why the hell am I bringing this up?

Because while NIN didn't, others have begun to embrace patronage as a way forward to support not only music, but all the creative arts.

Learn more about Patreon in their FAQ or watch these short videos.

So basically what I'm saying is, THE INTERNET IS AWESOME!