Jazz History Online has been in business for almost 9 years. It has remained viable through the support of advertising sales, free-lance jobs, and reader donations. As you are doubtlessly aware, I have had an ongoing struggle to make ends meet and to publish the site on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, “chasing money” has been my main reason for missed deadlines and delayed publications. Additionally, many of my valued friendships have been frayed from my request for financial help. I apologize to all who have been annoyed or offended by my requests. I want to make things better going forward, and I have developed a new model for fund-raising which I hope will be acceptable to many of you.
A few of you have suggested that I join Patreon, the online funding program for artists. I have hesitated in the past because it seemed that Patreon expects its artists to provide bonus materials for the sole use of the donors. With a large number of college students using my site for their research, I do not feel that it is appropriate to restrict access to historical material simply because the student cannot spare the cost of an ongoing donation (I was a starving college student, too!). While I may still find a way to send extra bonuses to donors, I wish to make general improvements to the site which will benefit all of the readers (even if they don’t contribute).First, I intend to publish the site every other month for a total of 6 issues per year. This will allow more opportunities for CD, book, DVD and Retro Reviews—a necessary improvement, as I sometimes must pass on reviewing a disc, simply for lack of space and opportunity. It will also make room for more historical essays, profiles and Sidetracks posts. Special features like concert reviews, Music for a Cool Yule, and the year-end Summation will publish as before, and will be considered extras to the main issues. Second, I would like to diversify the site’s voice by adding free-lance writers, all of which would be paid a nominal sum. This would add opportunities for additional reviews and/or historical pieces, depending on the skill of the writer.
Here’s my proposal for paying for these improvements: If 50 of you will donate $10 per month through Patreon, I would receive a dependable lump sum payment every month which would allow me to stop “chasing money” for a week to 10 days, and let me concentrate on researching and writing the next issue of JHO. I could hire free-lance writers if necessary, and better determine the contents of the issue. The added psychological benefit is that I would actually get paid for writing and editing this site, rather than just selling ads for it. I will still have to seek out advertisers and look for free-lance work, but the security of having a dependable income will help me get thorough the month without having to make panicked calls to friends asking for money.
Hopefully, many of you will find the $10 per month as an acceptable amount. If not, I understand. If it is easier for you to contribute $5 per month, that’s OK. Or nothing at all, if that is your wish. Some of you may prefer to make an annual donation all at once. That’s fine, too—all of our PayPal portals will remain active. Through a combination of e-mails, Facebook postings and notices on the website, I will make this Patreon offer available to everyone who reads Jazz History Online.You don’t need to send any money right now. If you want to participate, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a pledge ($5, $10, more, less, annual contribution, etc.). Once I have a number of positive responses, I’ll send out an e-mail with instructions on how to sign up as a Patreon donor. You will then fill out the form on their website, with a debit/credit card number. Patreon will charge your account on the first of each month. I will not have any access to your personal information.
I hope that I can reach my modest financial goals fairly soon. With your help, I will.
Jazz History Online