Contemplating the Artist-Patron Relationship

Wherein I explore the “Hunger Games – Touring Musician Style” video log-fundraiser, and weigh its successes and shortcomings….

Winter and I are back from our tour through the South. We are mostly unpacked and integrating back into our home life, and I thought I would take a few moments to muse on our fundraising experiment, which went on for the duration of our tour.

Including a donation outside the Indiegogo framework, our fundraising efforts yielded a little over half of what we were shooting for. While this was still very helpful, it didn’t get us entirely out of the woods. Also – it was a lot of additional work in an already pretty grueling schedule. Was it worth it? Well – yes,  in that, as we feared, we would have lost money on this tour, and due to the fundraiser we did not. So in that regard I am glad that we did it.

However, I probably won’t do this particular thing again. It required entirely too much hustling just to get it where we did. I never want my promotional strategies to take on the qualities of a henpecking housewife . An effective strategy should take on a life of it’s own, because it’s a cool idea and folks want to share, and want to be part of it. I believe that if you create something that speaks to people, it will “sell itself” more than this did. Of course it is my job to tell folks it is happening and to give reminders here and there, but this one felt like it needed too much push, so that toward the end I began to fear I was bugging folks.  I prefer the voice of “rallying the troops to glory” over “old battle-ax”.

Also – in retrospect I wish I hadn’t posted all the videos on my blog. It isn’t really what my blog is for.  Here is to be my musings on the quest for beauty and wonder in this world, a place of inspiration. When I look at my blog now and see nothing but several videos of us doing this or than on the road, I lose interest. I can only imagine that my readers have as well.

I know some of you did follow along on the whole thing and will probably tell me I am being too hard on myself. Let me  say, I do acknowledge it had some successes. It did engage some folks and it did earn some money.  It was a worthy experiment, and I think in general the artist-patron relationship is something worth cultivating, and indeed a necessary piece of the pie for most artists. It is not my intent, in declaring this fundraiser a bit wanting, to diminish the value of any contributions made. Those of you who did contribute helped us shoulder the weak spots on the tour, the new territories – which were many – and thus you saved us from a financial burden at holiday time. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that! Winter and I felt truly supported.

My only real complaint is that it didn’t resonate with more folks. Since it did not, this particular model created too high a work-to-results ratio.  So we live and learn, we experiment and evaluate, until we find our sweet spot.

I would  be interested to know your thoughts about this particular endeavor –

Did the Hunger Games – Touring Musician Style videolog fundraiser speak to you? Why or why not?

What sort of supplemental activities or projects would you like to see from me as far as generating fundraising support for future musical endeavors? What kinds of things would you be excited to participate in?

Some ideas I have are:

1) The Ring of Enchantment – a membership area of my site wherein I endeavor to inspire you and your own dreams, which will include 1 essay a month on cultivating enchantment, magic, living creatively, etc., and 1 supplemental practice with custom music written by me to support the practice, delivered as an audio file meditation. This will also include a social network and/or forum area where we can converse online, and maybe some Google hangouts. It is my hope with this to create a community where we can all share and support each other’s greatest dreams for our lives and our world. We’ll have an internal marketplace, and I will also include deep discounts on everything I create, musical and otherwise.

2) A store filled with all things “Neofolk Romantique” – vintage, upcycled, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, made or found by me, and that brings the flavor of my music into your lives in a tangible way. Store would be online and also a floating market that I bring on tour

3) Travel guides of some of the highlights from the places we visit on tour. Emphasizing the romantic and magical.

4) More chant Cds.

5)Workshops – online or in person. What types?

Please let me know if any of these excite you, what you thought of the Hunger Games video log, and also what types of things you would find engaging as future fundraising efforts. Got an idea I haven’t listed? Feel free to share it in the comments. Ideally, I seek ideas that don’t require constant hustling, because they are things you want to participate in anyway.  So if you have any thoughts or ideas you want to share, I am eager to hear them.

Alright! Back to our regularly scheduled programming of finding the enchantment and magic tucked into every nook and cranny of this beautiful world. I have many things to blog about from tour, and am looking forward writing them up! Stay tuned…..

9 thoughts on “Contemplating the Artist-Patron Relationship

  1. To me, the couple of videos I watched seemed to feel to me more like “people I don’t know in person doing their own could-be-seen-as-somewhat-clique insider thing with other people I don’t know” and it didn’t feel like I gained from it in the sense of “now I understand them so well that I want to be close personal friends with them or imitate them somehow or watch them perform all the time or to be close friends with the other people in the videos”–it was more slice o’life, not bad and not good in that sense, but more “slice o’ someone else’s life that doesn’t rivet me personally although I wish them well”. I also agree about the blog idea in that I feel more interested in the inspiration aspect as opposed to the watching-others-do-things aspect. Then again, I do not watch tv or ‘reality shows’ either, so I might not be the audience you are looking for!

  2. Thanks for writing, D –

    I appreciate the feedback. So it sounds like somehow we didn’t make you feel “invited in”.

    That brings up another point to consider – film making is a craft in it’s own right, that requires a solid investment of time to get good at. Perhaps it takes more time than we realistically had to develop a voice that really connects to folks.

    Should I do something like this in the future, I will definitely take your words to heart, and consider how I might better forge a connection with people I haven’t met yet. Thanks for the food for thought!

    I don’t watch reality shows either. :+)

  3. Hi Sharon, I watched your videos and I enjoyed them. In contrast to D, I have met you and Winter and I loved tagging along on the trip with you.

    As a musician in the ‘pagan genre’, I am inspired by you and to see some of the backstage, life on the road, gear, what you need to pack… was just great.

    As for the suplimental activities, 1, 4, and 5 are of the most interest to me.

    Mojo

  4. Hi!

    First of all, I want to congratulate you on seeking creative solutions to your funding issues, and for asking your patrons what they think. The video-log fundraiser was a unique idea; good on ya for giving it a shot. All other things being equal, it might have done better if it were launched earlier (maybe along with a public event), or if the timing hadn’t fallen during a national election in a crappy economy- not your fault, of course!

    I enjoyed the videos, but I also know you personally, and most of my enjoyment was on the “There’s my friends!” level, so I can appreciate that for others it might not have had the same impact. I actually was hoping for a little more local color in the videos (while also being aware that you weren’t travelling with a dedicated videographer), so your “travel guides” idea sounds pretty cool to me.

    The Ring of Enchantment membership area sounds like a great idea with room to grow. Don’t make the discounts *too* deep, though. 10 – 15% off for members is probably fine; any more than that and you start eroding the gains from membership dues.

    I think there’s a need for chant CDs or maybe just downloads (“need a Full Moon chant? click here!” “need a trance chant? click here!”). An online library like this could be a real service to the community, and could eventually be some helpful passive income.

    Always happy to talk more about this stuff. Thank you for all you do! :)

  5. This Indiegogo campaign translated in my mind into “pay us money to go away.”
    That’s not an appealing pitch. I only had time to watch about 3 of the videos. I’m feeling time-crunched right now.

    I recently bought all of your Neofolk Romantique albums to add to the Chant albums I had previously bought. The chant albums are still my favorites.

    I’m not sure I’ll have time for The Ring of Enchantment, although it sounds intriguing. (Deep discounts need to still support you.)

    I keep asking myself if I am one of your True Fans? I think I’m a tier down, perhaps. (as in the 1000 True Fan theory.)

  6. Gee, I thought it was all pretty great – I was busy with election / family stuff though, and then Thanksgiving seemed to come out of nowhere..so I hadn’t had time to look at the blog at all (as per my previous comment) – until after things were over..so for me it was a timing thing. I just watched some of the videos today and – I don’t know about anyone else – but I found them warm, welcoming, and funny. I especially liked the jokes and Winter’s “cockney” accent – I realized the video thing was a blow-by-blow – you weren’t making a professional documentary – and thought it was a fun behind-the-scenes thing for fans. The only thing I might have added from the “bucks” end (unfortunately this is a time of year when I’m notoriously short of money-sorry)! — is that with each video you might have done an update – maybe a snippet at the beginning or end — letting fans know where you were in your fundraising efforts — and how close to your goal you were getting (or not).
    Thank you for a peek behind your road adventures! And I think the Ring of Enchantment is wonderful idea. Love and blessings of the season – R

  7. I was not able to contribute this time do to some issues that I am still dealing with. Long story short I live in interesting times around my house. Then I realize I was saving to make sure I could pay for the ring of enchantment when you get it up and running.

    So I am kind of pointing towards 1-4 and 5 as a maybe.

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