1 Reward Tier: How Musician Mike Doughty is Strategizing Membership on Patreon

The Committed Craftsperson

Mike Doughty is an American singer-songwriter and author. He founded the band Soul Coughing in 1992, and has since released 18 studio albums, live albums, and EPs. In an interview with Patreon, Mike shed light on his natural draw to music at an early age:

Since I was thirteen, I wanted to be the guy who does this for a living. I never thought I could do anything else with my life and be happy.

“When I was nineteen, I saw Firehose at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and I had a very clear thought that it might be possible to do this as an honest living, that you didn’t have to become some kind of star to be a lifetime committed craftsperson.”

Since then, Mike has learned a thing or two about the challenges of earning an honest living from music. He was signed by labels, dropped by labels, and picked up by new labels. And throughout the tumultuous struggles of selling his music, Mike never stopped producing new work.

Mike Doughty
Photo by Finn Turnbull

Launching a Patreon Page

Now, Mike Doughty is releasing his music on Patreon. He launched his page in 2016 and has an active group of 550+ patrons. Utilizing a membership platform allows Mike to get paid easily and distribute more music to his top fans.

Mike’s strategy on Patreon is an incredible win-win because his fans don’t have to wait an entire year for an album — instead, they get a new song every week. All the while, Mike receives a sustainable income in return for his music and is paid out every month.

In our interview, Mike shared that Patreon has been the most effective monetization method for him this year. The reliable income he earns is allowing him to stay in the game. His advice for other musicians is to follow suit:

“I would challenge them to stay in the game for their entire lives. Beyond that, I would challenge them to find other sources of funding (such as Patreon) so that they can do stuff they otherwise would not be able to do, due to financial constraints.”

I toured with a full band this year, which I absolutely could not afford to do if I didn’t have financial support from my members on Patreon.


1 Reward Tier: How Mike Strategized his Patreon Page

Let’s dig a bit deeper into Mike Doughty’s business strategy on Patreon. In the description of his page, he explains, “The idea is that this if halfway between a Netflix subscription and being a sustaining member for an NPR station. For $5 a month, you get two songs a week — one completely new, one live recording — exclusively, and you also help me do things like eat food and pay a mortgage.”

Photo by Marshall F Walker

For $5 a month, Mike’s patrons receive:– A brand new recorded song every week– One live recording every week (from any point in his career)

By offering one single reward tier on his Patreon page, Mike simplifies the work for himself and continuously delivers content he knows his fans will love. This is membership at it’s core, with his new content provided for a never-changing subscription fee every month. Mike Doughty offers the perfect case study for how even the most simple rewards structure can be extremely successful on Patreon.

“Once I switched to Patreon, this weekly-song thing really took off. It has definitely made me a sharper songwriter. I write and record a new song every week, which is a tremendous challenge, and immensely rewarding.”

Mike feels that his business model on Patreon has helped him grow as a creator. That’s what Patreon is all about — a true value exchange. Rewards for patrons, and ultimately, a rewarding career for committed creators like Mike.

Want to say hey? Reach out to Mike here: