1000 fans

Mike Cane 2008 provided the following interesting link:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day’s wages per year in support of what you do. That “one-day-wage” is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let’s peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.

It’s certainly along the lines of fundable.org and other “micropatronage” ideas. I think that RPG designers wouldn’t have a problem with it and I guess that bands like Radiohead (with ‘Pay What You Want’ or NIN’s tiered pricing also smack of the same concepts. My time is precious to me and I’d really love to be doing what I love rather than what pays but the simple needs of mortgage, food on the table and the other necessities of life get in the way.

You would think, however that with 6 billion-odd people on the planet that there’d be a lot more wiggle room for independent creatives and potentially it could be a nail in the coffin for middle men like Publishers and…well…the entire music industry.

That’s got to be worth it, even just screwing over Music Execs? (Let’s face it, fewer things would give more satisfaction to more people for so little.)

[UPDATE: John Scalzi says it’s harder than it looks and that’s probably true. This isn’t ‘find 1000 people and scam a days pay out of them’ as much as it is, ‘work hard and reap rewards’]

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Matt Johnston

Technologist, Futurist, Humanist

6 thoughts on “1000 fans”

  1. I keep meaning to reply to this – but the John Scalzi link means my thoughts on the matter are already dealt with. One thing Scalzi doesn’t mention is that even if you have 1,000 true fans willing to shell out $100 each, you still have to create $100 worth of something for them to shell out for, every single year. (And if it’s a rehash of stuff then they’re unlikely to be interested, although how many versions of bladerunner are there now?)

    (I think I may have about four true fans, but that might be only cus I produce so little through the year that I’m cheap to be a fan of :)

    – pj

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