Not Another Patreon Podcast

Rarely have I ever considered donating to a Patreon for a content creator —granted, every time that I’ve been tempted to I had no stable source of income with which to do so. Truthfully, it was likely better that way, as several of the creators that I’d considered good candidates to receive my money turned out to be horrible people accused of heinous crimes, although that could have hardly been foreseen by 12 year old me. Regardless, if a content creator or a group of content creators made me seriously consider giving them a monthly donation, they were likely at the time worth it. Besides, it’s hard for independent digital creators to make money, and my noble 3-5 dollar pledge could be the last few dollars to keep the bills running, or so I told myself.

The first (and only) creators that I’ve ever backed on Patreon are Brian Murphy, Emily Axford, Jake Hurwitz, and Caldwell Tanner, otherwise known as The Direct Messenger, Moonshine Cyban, Hardwon Surefoot and Beverly Toegold V in the Dungeons and Dragons actual play Not Another D&D Podcast.

Not only do they provide plenty of content on their free weekly show, but my 5 dollars also nets me about 5 hours of extra content each month of their Short Rest podcast, along with additional bonus live streams and musical pieces. And of course, I am happy to donate. Not only do I gain exclusive monthly content, but I also help these poor, struggling artists put dinner on the table. According to John Hartley’s Creative Industries, specifically his essay The Creative and Culture, The creators of Not Another D&D Podcast (NaDDPod) would fall under the category of Creative Citizens, individual artists who used their platform to build up a loyal community of people just like them. Even with the minor ad revenue the podcast may accrue for their parent company, Headgum, it can’t possibly be enough to sustain 4 people and their families, and so naturally this Patreon is necessary for the group to continue pursuing NaDDPod.

From left to right, Brian Murphy, Emily Axford, Caldwell Tanner, and Jake Hurwitz

This would be the case if Jake Hurwitz, one of the players in the podcast, wasn’t also a co-founder of Headgum itself, the implications of which could fundamentally change the type of creative industry the podcast represents and, more importantly, my own personal decision to pledge. Considering that a direct founder is a part of the individual podcast, by Hartley’s definition NaDDPod’s Patreon donations could qualify it to be a Creative Service, providing revenue from a service outside the company’s domain. With over 10,000 Patrons, the NaDDPod Patreon generates an average of $184,000 dollars a month, split between the platform and it’s creators. Even with a percentage cut, production costs and money split four ways, that is an incredible amount of money to be bringing home every month. Should Hurwitz decide to reinvest the money into Headgum, that becomes a decent chunk of monthly revenue in addition to the ad revenue the podcast already generates from non-Patreon users. The demand from Patreon donators for this single podcast would both directly and indirectly be boosting Headgum’s overall revenue as well, by not only keeping NaDDPod up and running but by adding an extra lump sum of money each month in the tens of thousands that no other podcast on the site would be doing.

This is all contingent on Hurwitz’s decision to add his share of the money to Headgum’s production costs, however. Hurwitz, even though he is a business owner, also needs to eat and support his family. The clash between increasing business value and immediately providing for himself and loved ones would be a conflict of interest that could make NaDDPod the epicenter of a small Creative City within the company. Acoording to Hartley, a creative city is defined by these services and cultures clashing, which even at a small scale like this they would undoubtedly in conflict. Bringing in a monthly check from NaDDPod’s Patreon into the company could open avenues for new Podcasts to join the company, for production value to increase and for worker pay across the board to increase, at the expense of the individual creator’s lifestlye. But Supporting the Creative Citizen would deny company growth, potentially denying many other Creative Citizens from the success that other podcasts like NaDDPod may be experiencing.

In the end, my 5 dollars, I feel, is worth the extra content each week, whether it’s going to the artists on NaDDPod or the relative strangers of Headgum a a whole. I personally view this particular situation as its own Creative City, populated by four talented people I’m familiar with and many more who I’m sure could also do with my generous monthly donation.

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