CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Grace Pettis, Tristen, and Tim Easton Offer Perks Through Patreon
Grace Pettis (photo by Nicola Gell)
Around the turn of the year, the flow of album releases slows down. Artists and labels wisely don’t want to have to compete with holiday news and holiday budgets, nor do they want to compete for press with the end-of-year “best” lists. Crowdfunding campaigns also slow down during this period. So it seemed a good time to take another look at roots music Patreon. Musicians’ use of Patreon has exploded as they explore new funding sources amid the pandemic, and considering how many New Year’s Eve shows were canceled due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, it’s likely to only grow further. This week, I’m featuring three Patreon pages, as well as a short word on another artist raising funds.
Grace Pettis (click here for Patreon page)
Grace Pettis is known by roots music fans as a Texas-based solo artist as well as one-third of Nobody’s Girl with fellow Texans BettySoo and Rebecca Loebe. What she is not as well known for is her obsessive Star Trek fandom. But Pettis’ Patreon page is dedicated as much to Star Trek as to her music. One perk at all pledge levels of Pettis’ page is early access to her monthly podcast, Troubadours on Trek, which invites fellow roots artists on to talk about their music but also to discuss a single episode of the original series of Star Trek. As crazy as the concept sounds, it works. So far, guests have included Rachel Kilgour, Calloway Ritch, and her Nobody’s Girl bandmates. Focusing on a single episode per show allows Pettis and her guest room to discuss not only the episode as entertainment but also some of the progressive and problematic aspects of the show. Pettis’ pledge levels run from $3 to $500 per month, with increasing rewards that include chord charts, tickets to her monthly webcast, and digital copies of her albums.
Tristen (click here for Patreon page)
Tristen is a Nashville-based roots rock songwriter who has toured with Americana artists like Aaron Lee Tasjan, Jenny Lewis (whose band she played in for a time), and Justin Townes Earle. Her newest album, Aquatic Flowers, appeared on numerous Best of 2021 lists. Her Patreon page offers three pledge levels: $1, $5, and $30 per month. In her Patreon bio, she gets to the heart of why artists have turned to Patreon, writing “ … instead of buying that ticket, dinner & drinks, we will all stay at home, cook & connect through screens. Join me here to receive spontaneous serious notes.” Access at various levels includes Tristen’s weekly advice column, an unreleased song download per month, early access to merchandise and tickets, and signed posters, setlists, and other items from her personal stock.
Tim Easton (click here for Patreon Page)
Fans of the roots scene in Nashville have known Tim Easton for years, but he is getting more national attention than ever for his 2021 release You Don’t Really Know Me. Over the years, he’s performed or collaborated with some of Music City’s best, including Lucinda Williams, Todd Snider, and John Prine. Easton also gets to the heart of Patreon, writing “This … is here to gather those friends and fans who believe in what I do and want to see me do more of it, unfettered, unfiltered, and with joy.” Easton’s Patreon has four pledge levels, from $2 to $15. At all levels, you get a new song download per month, recorded in Easton’s home studio. Increased funding levels unlock a full album of demos each year, an autographed poetry book, and VIP meet-and-greet access at shows.
Finally, a short note for what isn’t technically a crowdfunding campaign but hits the same audience. The fallout from the implosion of Bloodshot Records is still being felt, and artist Jason Hawk Harris found himself high and dry in the middle of producing an album. Short $4,000 and on a tight timeline, Harris turned to fans with a tweet asking them to donate what they can via Venmo.