Supporting your creative work online takes talent, persistence, and the right toolset. Many artists only consider Patreon or YouTube to fund their work. We talked with musician and songwriter, Nate Maingard about how he uses a variety of tools to raise money for his music online.

When Nate Maingard first started using GiveWP, he was already a longtime Patreon user and well-supported by his group of Patrons, nicknamed “Natives.” As a poet, songwriter, singer, and guitarist from South Africa, Patreon has been a critical part of Nate’s artistic career. He’s spent time diversifying his platforms over the years so his music can be found through a variety of websites.

His more recent addition of GiveWP on his website was what caught our attention. We wanted to know, “Why use GiveWP if you’re already on Patreon?” 

We’re often asked how GiveWP compares to Patreon in use-cases like crowdfunding for musicians. It turns out the truth is that they go hand in hand. Watch the full interview with Nate to learn about his music as well as how he spreads and supports his creative work online.

Why Not Just Use YouTube?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. By default, many musicians online think first and foremost of YouTube. It’s not a bad place to gain passive income instead of directly asking your subscribers to support you. But it’s passive income. Plus, you have to qualify for the YouTube Partnership Program first. You only make money on YouTube through their ads and other monetization methods. If you’re not extremely consistent, this income also becomes unreliable. When asked about YouTube, Nate said,

“One of they keys to success is consistency and that is one of the things I struggle with the most. YouTube really shows it.”

Unless you’re hosting live streams and directing your viewers to a virtual tip jar like Nate does, then you won’t actively gain any income from YouTube. The only path to making money on YouTube in that case is consistent posting and applying for their Partnership Program, which has some steep initial requirements for a new creator.

You should absolutely use YouTube as a creative of any kind, but how you monetize it might look a bit different. Before you can qualify for the Partner Program, you might use YouTube to direct people to your own virtual tip jar or Patreon page.

Patreon and the Nateives

Nate started out on Patreon in 2014 along with some of its earliest content creators. In his first few days, he acquired ten Patrons and couldn’t believe how much people believed in his work. To become a Patron, you have to pledge money. It’s a lot more of a commitment than a YouTube follower.

“The value of a song is intrinsically, basically 0. No one wants to go out and buy a song without some kind of incentive… So my objective is to build a relationship with the people who care about my music, who have really gotten some value out of it…”

Those people who find value in Nate’s music are the ones he wants to connect to on a long-term basis and build a community around. Just as any artist, the people who relate to your work the most are going to be most inclined to support it and you.

“Patreon has saved my life. My Patrons are heroic.”

Nate has found lasting success building his community on Patreon (and more recently GiveWP). One of his Patrons even helped him manage the project to produce his new album coming out on September 2, 2019.

Crowdfunding for Musicians with a Virtual Tip Jar

With so much success on Patreon, why add a virtual tip jar to the website? Nate also plays live shows online. He was inspired to add a virtual tip jar for people who attend his shows and don’t necessarily want to sign up to give regularly. (Although, you can also allow supporters to subscribe in a similar way using the GiveWP Recurring Donations Addon).

“So many of the people tipping me (with GiveWP) on my live streams are already Patrons, which I never have asked for, and in some ways it shocked me because they’re already a Patron. They already do so much for me on an ongoing basis. And yet, they’re the ones who are watching my live streams and throwing me a few dollars here and there, and it all adds up… So I realize there is actually a place for both. Whereas before, I would have said there was only a place for Patreon in my world.”

Using both GiveWP and Patreon allows Nate’s Patrons to give small tips on top of their monthly contributions. He’s used WordPress since he first bought a website domain, so choosing how to set up his virtual tip jar was easy. We asked him if he would recommend GiveWP and WordPress for other musicians online and he said,

“The nice thing about GiveWP and WordPress is having the freedom and no middle-man. For live-streamers? Heck yes, use GiveWP!”

Nate used his freedom with WordPress to create a virtual tip jar that feels like the “comfortable homey place” that he likes to invite people into with his music and with who he is. A bit of custom CSS from our Customer Support Team helped him finish creating his Nateive-feeling tip jar.

The Nateives can sign up to give on a form that's customized with "Nate" related terms and a Virtual Tip Wall of Love.

Enjoy Some of Nate’s Music While You Build Your Own Website

Nate’s music is available on nearly every online music platform. He uses distribution services, like DistroKid, to easily send out new songs to his broad network. It’s a lot of work to manage your own creative career and continue to create art of any kind. But independence has its benefits. Nate said,

“Because I am an independent creator and I don’t have a huge conglomeration, a huge corporation, breathing down my neck telling me we have to make a big selling CD otherwise this is not a success. I think a success is telling the truth and having one person say, ‘That really helped…’”

If your creative work could reach just one person, isn’t it worth following Nate’s lead?

“My art is a Gift and to ask and trust for that giving in return, it’s not about the followers, but it’s important that we GIVE from a place of richness.”

Think about your own art or creative work. Where should people find it? Where should you post it? Remember to also make sure you own the rights to your work on whatever platform you use to distribute it. Some retain the rights to your work if you post. Learn why people like Nate Maingard use WordPress.

“I like the freedom that I can do whatever I want with it.”

We’d love to see what you create with WordPress and GiveWP. Sign up for our newsletter for your chance to submit your Give Story.

Taylor Waldon

Taylor is the Content Writer for GiveWP, a WordPress enthusiast, an avid world traveler, an adventurous hiker, and a dog-mom to a German Shepherd (Legedu) and Mini Blue Heeler (Pepper).

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