Alternative Control is on Patreon — But Why?

That’s right, the blog — or rather, “Jessie May on the Web” — launched a Patreon last week!  This subscription crowdfunding platform is becoming more and more popular with content creators and fans.  After just one day of having the page up, I could see why: in less than 24 hours, Patreon subscriptions raised more money than I have seen in almost a year and a half of running Google Ads.

Um, wow!

But before I launch into our Patreon sales pitch, here are some positive contributions Alternative Control makes to The Scene:

  • Album reviews
  • Band interviews
  • Song and video premieres
  • Promotion of independent businesses in our #UnoccupyTheMall series
  • A platform for underground bands through our Nerd Talk and Show Me Your Patches series
  • An active social media presence for sharing all that content, as well as amplifying other voices from the worldwide underground metal community

I’ve just started a new blog, too, called Metalhead Money.  That’s an offshoot of the “Money Hacks for Metalheads and Old Millennials” column series that was on Alternative Control.  I figure this is a way to keep the personal finance content separate from the music content, and hopefully provide some useful personal finance information for readers.

But I digress.  If you visit the Alternative Control site regularly, you have probably noticed the ads.  Easy way for the site to pay for itself, right?  Well, the Adsense payout threshold is $100.  Since April of 2019, the site has raised about $50 in ad revenue.  Gonna be waiting a loooooong time for that check…

But within a day of starting the Patreon, three subscribers had signed up!  So I logged into Adsense and removed several of the ad locations, which will make for a better reader experience on the site — not like we’re making money from the ads anyways lol . 

The blog has done GoFundMes in the past, as well as having comp albums available on bandcamp for “name your price.”  Those fundraising methods have worked to some degree, but they’re mostly one-time deals.  Patreon, on the other hand, offers sustained support.

What I like about the platform, and why I think it appeals to potential supporters, is that you get something of value in return for your monthly contribution.  Here’s what our Patreon rewards look like:

  • $3/month — access to a private monthly newsletter
  • $9/month — newsletter access plus monthly bandcamp download codes
  • $20/month — newsletter, download codes, heavy metal stickers in the mail, and your anonymous money questions answered on Metalhead Money each month

Pretty cool, right?  For twenty bucks a month, you get music and stickers, plus you get to dictate the topic of a blog post.  You are the editor!  You can also donate an amount that’s not listed as a tier — for instance, you can donate $1 or $5 if you wanted — and you can end your subscription at any time. 

I’m looking at the final two tiers as a way for supporters to purchase writing services.  I do a lot of writing for bands — so in addition to getting the fun perks of the lower tiers, these top tiers are basically a subscription to your own personal copywriter and social media consultant:

  • $35/month: two emails composed, formatted, and sent out to your mailing list through Mailchimp
  • $50/month: one hour of flexible consulting.  Apply it to whatever you need that month, whether it’s social media help, email marketing, a new band bio, or whatever else you can think of!

“Okay Jessie, that’s cool, but why does a blog need money?  I thought everything on the internet was free.”

If only…  It costs about $150/year for the blog’s hosting and domain name, a small cost that I happily cover for my hobby of writing about The Scene.  But honestly, that’s about all the money I’m willing to throw at it.

There are a few services, however, that would make the blog a lot cooler.  First on my list is an SSL certificate for the site — that costs another $150.  We tried to get one earlier this year, but there was a technical issue on GoDaddy’s end.  I believe that issue has since been resolved, and I want to give it another try to make our website more secure.

Next, I would resume Alternative Control’s Dropbox Plus subscription for $120 per year.  This would get the blog in good shape to make another comp album, since Dropbox is where all the music files are collected.

Now our total (potential) costs would be $420/year, or $35 per month.  Let’s say everyone on the internet loves our Patreon so much that we start raising more than $35 per month!  We’re already at $33, so that’s very possible…  Here are some areas where we could apply extra cash:

  • Physical copies of a new compilation album
  • Creation of Alternative Control merch??
  • Purchasing band merch for reader giveaways; shipping packages to winners
  • A real domain for Metalhead Money

I’m just spitballing here…. But if our Patreon page really takes off — like, let’s say $100/month — I could even *gasp* compensate the rest of the writers for a certain number of articles each month.  We’ve all been working for free for a decade, so I’d be happy to spread the love.

Does this sound like something you want to be part of?  Then head over to https://www.patreon.com/jessiemayontheweb and join our group of subscribers today! 

For more from Alternative Control, find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramSoundcloud, and bandcamp.  Plus, follow our 2020 coverage playlist on Spotify!

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