Do people throw money at musicians?
September 27, 2012 8:48 PM   Subscribe

How does one become a "patron of the (punk) arts"?

There's a (now) up-and-coming musical act I've been following and loving for about a year now that I'd like to support. Beyond buying albums, tickets, & merch and telling friends. I'm not wealthy, but would honestly be tickled pink to be able to give them between $200-1,000 to do their thing.

They had a Indie Go Go thing back when I first heard of them but I was not in a financial situation to support with more than a few bucks at the time (and the IndieGoGo project failed anyway-no funding). They're starting to get indie press and accolades in the past couple months, which is awesome!

It is totally weird for me to randomly approach them and be like "You are great. Here is $500." But are there other ways to do this? Is it offensive to assume they need money? I don't have a personal connection to them and don't know much about them as people. Also not sure if they have a record deal? Or whatever? Don't know much other than I dig their music.

Is there a respectful and also useful way for me to financially support an artist like this who doesn't have much of anything for sale? Or is it creepy and tacky?
posted by manicure12 to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure about the logistics, but could you buy them something instead of just giving them money? Some kind of equipment or something?
posted by radioamy at 8:56 PM on September 27, 2012

I kind of feel like you should just ask them what you can do to help. The worst thing that can happen is they say "Uh, sorry, not interested."

If they think you're a big weirdo... well, okay. So be it. Sticks and stones, right? They'll either decide they still want to take the big weirdo's money, or they'll decide they'd rather not, and no harm done either way.

To put it another way: if you care more about how they'll react and whether they'll like you than you do about what they'd want to do with the money, then your primary goal isn't really to help their career, is it?
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:08 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Several years ago I was part of a small (silly) movement to pirate albums and send the cost of the album to the artist. We didn't always get feedback but the money was accepted. My suggestion is to look for Paypal addresses and then mailing addresses in that order.
posted by michaelh at 9:10 PM on September 27, 2012

Book a show. Or take on a project related to a 7-inch, or t-shirts or stickers or something. Give away any profit, eat any loss.
posted by box at 9:29 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Why not just get in touch and say, "I couldn't participate when you guys did the indiegogo thing a while back, but I'd love to help you guys out now. Is there anything I can help you guys out with now?"
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

What Sara C. said. You could couch it in terms of "so I was wondering if you were planning on trying Indiegogo again any time soon?" Maybe they are, and then you can contribute there. Maybe they're not, but you've got the conversation going.

Or, if they are a touring band, you could always slip them a prepaid gas card or a Subway gift card or something that would help make life on the road a little easier.

I agree that just handing them cash would be too weird.
posted by spilon at 10:00 PM on September 27, 2012

I agree that just handing them cash would be too weird.

Well, they're definitely going to think you want something from them, or become a weird stalker.
posted by bongo_x at 10:05 PM on September 27, 2012

I think it would be totally cool if you sent them a Guitar Center (or Sam Ash or wherever) gift certificate. Its easily done online and i have a hard time imagining a band saying "yeah, no thanks, we'll never need new bass strings or backup guitar or whatever..." If anyone had ever gifted my early bands with something like that we'd have been quite grateful. I make sure to support local bands via kickstarter as often as possible no matter what their goals.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:23 PM on September 27, 2012

Ask them if they'd play a house concert for however much you want to give them. If they say yes, have a house concert with all your friends.
posted by hades at 11:51 PM on September 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

I was talking to a fairly popular punk musician about a month ago; he mentioned a Kickstarter project for his band's tour that had just been funded.

He said, "We had a $200 option where we each of us would make them some art. A handful of people did that."

I asked, "Isn't that a little weird?"

"Well, I guess there are people with a decent amount of money who want to give money to us. If we give them that option, they do it."

Don't wait for the option, just get in touch with them! I'm sure there's a 7-inch they want to put out or a repair they've been avoiding for their tour van.
posted by wayland at 1:42 AM on September 28, 2012

Oh, the other thing you could do would be starting a small mail-order/online record label and fronting recording/distribution costs, but that may be more involved than you'd like.
posted by wayland at 1:44 AM on September 28, 2012

I like the idea of commissioning a show very much -- you'd be telling them "I want to see you play, and I want to pay you money," and, additionally, you could make the scheduling at their convenience. It'd be something like old school patronage.

And then, pay them with an engraved gold watch, as you would Mozart. Artists live in rarefied air and are not concerned with material gain.
posted by mr. digits at 5:22 AM on September 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Hire them for a gig is the best way. Private gigs are one of the most common rewards for $500 plus donations to indie bands Kickstarters.
posted by hworth at 6:19 AM on September 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

I agree, hire them to play a gig for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Buy them some studio time.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:47 AM on September 28, 2012

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