Earlier this year I signed up for an account at Patreon. The way it works is this:

On Patreon, you can pledge to sponsor me by a certain amount for each new choral work I upload. It’s a bit like other crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, but instead of funding one big project, it offers a way to give me a bit of money for works on a smaller scale, but more consistently; say, one or two new pieces each month on average. The percentage of your money that I get is higher than it would be for traditional sheet music publishing or from recordings of my music, and unlike buying sheet music or a CD, you can choose how much you want to pledge per work. You can also set a monthly limit to your pledges, so that if I suddenly start uploading twelve per month, you won’t get a huge unexpected expense.

I love writing choral music — but not charging for it. I license all of my work under CC BY-SA, which means other people can use it creatively, even for commercial purposes, without having to ask my permission first. I am committed to this model because I know from my work as a church musician just how limiting “traditional” copyright can be, but not being able to sell my work through traditional publishing channels means I tend to prioritise other, paying work over writing new music, even though much of the time I’d rather be composing. Sometimes I release work under a more restrictive CC BY-SA-NC license which means commercial exploitation of the work isn’t allowed, but non-profit use is fine; if I do this, it’s always because the writer of the lyrics is more comfortable with that license.

If you choose to become a patron, piece by piece, it will shift the balance so that I have a financial incentive to create new work, as well as the emotional desire and the talent and skill. I’ll keep releasing my work under CC BY-SA or CC BY-SA-NC, so you won’t just be supporting me, but also other musicians, now and in the future.

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