The Pomplamoose Starving Artist is Probably not Starving After All

PatreonSo if you are like me and you read the story about a struggling band on tour that was “trying to make it”, you may have felt bad that they lost a bunch of money on tour. In fact, according to their calculations they lost somewhere around 12 grand on a 28 day tour. We think they are using a little bit of fuzzy math to come up with that total and much has already been sad in the media about touring on a reasonable budget but that’s not what this article is about though.

Jack Conte of Pomplamoose paints a very sad picture as he talks about how difficult it is and what it’s like for a starving artist. We can surely relate to that, a whole bunch of our friends are in the same boat. We feel for you Jack, we really do. Or I should say we did.

What Jack fails to state in the article, you know, the one where life is so tough out there, is that he owns half of Patreon. Patreon raised millions dollars this year. Seven figures. Let that sink in for a second. He is coming out to the world to tell us how he is a starving artist and his side job is the co-owner of a company that raised million of dollars, 17 million by one estimate.

Now we aren’t knocking him for going out there and “making it”, hell out hats are off to him for kicking ass with Patreon and it sounds like a fantastic company with a seriously great service for musicians and artists. But he appears to be far from the starving artist he’d like you to believe he is.

From the Digital Music News article: “We’re entering a new era in history: the space between “starving artist” and ‘rich and famous’ is beginning to collapse.”

But he paints a completely different picture in an article just a few months ago on Pando where he says,  “We’re moving out of the dichotomy of ‘rich and famous’ and ‘starving artists.’ It still exists but there’s this whole new middle class — sustainable, successful, small business artists.”

According to THAT article, back in June Patreon announced  a $15 million Series A round from a murderer’s row of VC firms and angels, including Index Ventures, Charles River Ventures, SV Angel*, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and ex-PayPal President David Marcus.

Patreon’s revenue has grown tenfold over the past ten months, and it signs up 180 new creators every day. Since launching in May 2013, it’s sent over $2 million to the 25,000 creators using the service, and $1 million of that came in the last 2 months. Sure, that’s only $80 per creator, but like in any creative field there are winners and losers. “One of our most successful web comic writers has 150,000 daily readers, making $8,000 a month,” Conte says.

Let make sure we drive this point home. We are happy about the success that Jack has had with Patreon but this just doesn’t sound like a starving artist to us.  And now that we think about it, maybe that almost 12 grand that was  lost on the tour wasn’t really lost but it was calculated and this story was written before the tour.

Jack Conte speaking at the Seattle Interactive Conference

Patreon gathers US$2.1 million

Patreon raises $15M to make sure those artists get paid


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