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Patreon for Jazz Musicians

Jordan rakei patreon

At Jazz Connector on 13th May 2021, members of Ireland’s jazz and improvised music scene gathered together for a professional development session on:

An Introduction to Patreon for Jazz Artists

We were joined by Patreon's Creator Partnerships Team, Tom McNeill and Gee Linford Grayson, who provided an introduction to Patreon for Jazz Artists. Gee Linford Grayson has a background in events programming and Tom McNeill has worked in the Music Industry for many years in a myriad of roles (Serious, London Jazz Festival, Artist Management) before the two joined forces at Patreon.

Patreon provides a platform where creators can connect directly and build community with their most engaged fans, test new work in a supportive environment and establish a reliable, recurring revenue stream. You can let your fans become active participants in the work they love by offering them a monthly membership, giving them access to exclusive content and giving them some insight into your creative process. In the 8 years since the platform first started up, over 200,000 creators have collectively earned over $2 billion directly from their patrons.

You can check out Patreon’s upcoming events for some more detailed webinars, their blog for creator stories and news, or Patreon U for advice and tips on different aspects of your career.

If you'd like to see the whole session, please let us know by email, and we can forward you a recording!

Some of the points discussed were:

Basic Things to Know About Patreon

  • Patreon works to help artists support their work through direct fan membership
  • It was created by an artist (Jack Conte) for artists.
  • At the moment, 200’000 creators are earning salaries from the contribution of 7 million patrons.
  • Patreon has paid out $2bn to creators, half of which was in 2020. It works in 5 languages and 5 countries, which they are continuing to increase.

Why Use Patreon

  • Patreon is geared towards superfans, who want to pay for content, for access to artists and community.
  • It creates sustainable revenue for artists, outside of the waves of tours and releases and direct connections between artists and fans.
  • Patreon creates a community of artists with their fans - you can share process, hang out with fans online, etc.
  • There is no middleman or algorithm that artists are dependent on
  • Patreon has no exclusivity clauses, work can be shared anywhere else

Patreon’s features

  • Patreon is used to feature many different types of creativity
  • There are live-streaming integrations with YouTube or Crowdcast
  • Merch options - you can upload designs and creation, shipping, customer service is done by Patreon.
  • Discord can be used to create a community platform for fans.
  • Payment types are adjustable - monthly or by creation. Monthly is usually more stable for artists.
  • Different tiers of payment for Patrons, and availability of any free content is entirely up to artists. Tier prices will always appear to fans in their chosen currency, and creators will be paid in their currency.
  • You can retain the data and contact details for your fans, you are not dependent on the platform!
  • Patreon integrates with Mailchimp and also offers lots of different options for communicating/direct messaging with fans.
  • Fees to Patreon will be different percentages of your income depending on the features you want to use. Most creators will use the platform at a 5-8% fee.
  • Patreon support offers demos every week in different languages, with opportunities to ask questions. The community forums are also a place to ask questions of the team and other creators.

What kind of artists do well on Patreon

  • Artists who enjoy engaging seriously with their fans, less focused on big numbers than on authentic interaction.
  • Artists who can talk about their work. If you love the things you are creating, it will be easier to talk about them - you can offer fans a favourite demo, create a listening party,
  • Artists who involve their fans. You can bring fans into deciding what content you are creating - a strong sense of community works well.
  • Artists who work to funnel audiences from public platforms. Audiences will discover your work on big platforms like YouTube/Facebook/Instagram, but you can aim to bring fans from there to Patreon. Let them know ‘If you like this platform, you’ll love my Patreon.’
  • Jazz on Patreon
    • Patreon is built for artists to experiment - jazz musicians are very good at experimenting!
    • The immediacy spontaneity of improvised music could be very good to share with Patrons for an authentic experience.
    • Jazz community has a real sense of its own history, which helps to build the community that Patreon is about. E.g. Ben Folds holds vinyl and whiskey sessions, listening to classic records and talking about them.

What not to do

  • Don’t overcommit at the start. Some creators aim for very big benefits for fans at the start and can’t sustain the time commitment. Use content you already have or focus on benefits that will be very doable month on month.
  • Don’t leave your page to promote itself - Artists need to promote their page amongst their fans. Putting things you are really interested on your Patreon page will make it easier to promote.
  • Don’t tell when you can show. ‘Please go to my Patreon’ is likely to be less effective than sharing a short clip and asking people ‘To hear the rest, go to Patreon’.
  • Don’t say things are exclusive forever. You may want to release things earlier. Patrons are usually happy to just have the first look, and are supportive of things that will help you, but it’s best to be clear.

Ideas for what to do.

Jacob Collier
  • E.g. 1. Jacob Collier. A Fanclub type of Patreon
    • His Patreon is aimed at fans rather than other musicians.
    • All tiers get access to additional content, archive material, demos and early updates.
    • Lower tiers get access to recordings, while upper tiers can have a more personal experience with Zoom hang-outs which involve playing songs and answering questions.
Jose James
  • E.g. 2 Jose James.
    • A Mentor type of Patreon.
    • His different tiers are designed to mentor a community, with monthly artist-to-artist discussions, masterclasses and discussions of creative process.
    • The higher tiers have higher prices, and are limited to small numbers so that he can work with patrons in an individual intimate way on their work.
Jordan Rakei
  • E.g. 3 Jordan Rakei. A Hybrid type of Patreon.
    • This uses elements of both the fanbase and mentorship types.
    • Lower tiers are more for fans, and include benefits of access to performances.
    • Higher tiers are labeled ‘Creator’, ‘Super-Creator’ and ‘Mentee’, and take dives into music production, with the top tiers again very limited in numbers.
    • With mentees he takes submissions of music and picks some out to break down how he would remix it.

Launching your Patreon

  • It can be good to start with a query of your fans, e.g ‘Thinking of launching a Patreon, what would you be interested in seeing?’
  • Social media/newsletters are important places to launch - the goal is to convert a percentage of your existing fans into Patrons.
    • You probably need to talk about it more than you think. (When you think you’ve said too much, talk about it 3 more times). Rule of thumb is that people need to hear about the page approx 7 times before visiting it.
  • Some creators have also had success with a more mysterious tease of a launch, not revealing the launch to fans until the last moment.
  • It’s important to continue promoting the page regularly beyond its launch!


If you'd like to see the whole session, please let us know by email, and we can forward you a recording!

Please note Jazz Connector’s guest speakers are expressing their own personal opinions, and not speaking on behalf of their organisations or employers.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel for recordings of Jazz Connector and lots of interesting performances.

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