Earning Money By Giving Away Your Stuff

Are you a Patreon or regular supporter of a musician or creator?  If you are, it might be worth analysing why you decided to support that person.  In doing so it might help you understand what it takes for people to financially support YOU in your music.

I’m a Patreon supporter of one of my favourite podcasts The Comedian’s Comedian.I really like the show and I must have listened to over 100 episodes before deciding to chip in with a monthly donation.  Thats’ a LOT of content before I put my hands in my pocket.


I’m a Patron of the Comedian’s Comedian podcast.

Did I want to reward the show’s creator as a thank you for giving me all this free stuff? Did I feel guilty about consuming over 100 hours of content for free and not paying for anything?  Perhaps it was a little bit of both. The host certainly argued the case that contributions to the show would help keep it going and make it a better production.

I’m looking at this today based on a YouTube comment from a musician who had a somewhat negative approach to streaming.  They were very much of the opinion that they weren’t going to have their music ‘for free’ on streaming. Instead, they suggested they would only give away one song free for download and the rest of their music would only be available as 30 second previews. A listener would have to buy to hear the rest.

Is this a sensible tactic in 2019 if free music content (YouTube or Spotify freemium) is the norm for many people?  Asking for money for your music is a hard sell when other people are giving it away for free. It’s like asking people to buy your hamburgers when McDonald’s next door are giving them away gratis.


Giving something away first and then asking for something at a later date can be a rewarding strategy.

If we’re to continue this metaphor, what happened with me is that I was given many free hamburgers over the course of a couple of years.  I enjoyed them so much and I felt an appreciation for the chef, and felt it only fair that I reward him each month for his kind gesture. Because I reward him, I still get the hamburgers for free but as a ‘donor’ I now get extra hamburgers that the free people don’t get. I’m part of a special club and I feel appreciated.


Free can be a successful strategy.

Would I have signed up as a patron after listening to just one podcast and 30 second clips of future podcasts?  Definitely not. In a world of free, it’s about giving people great content that they will love, forging a relationship with your audience and then finding ways to ‘upsell’ and leverage the goodwill from your ‘free’ stuff.  That’s how you do it.

Got any questions about this post or how you can better market yourself?

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