Meet Bing Futch, a musician who is producing music and videos all about the Blues and an intriguing instrument called the dulcimer.
Location: Orlando, Florida
Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/bingfutch
Describe, in your own words, what it is that you create:
Music and video! I play Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele and keyboards, but mountain dulcimer is my main instrument. The “Dulcimerica” video podcast is a project of mine that’s going into its ninth year with over a million views so far.
How did you get your start as a Patreon creator?
A buddy of mine, and fellow mountain dulcimerist/creator, Stephen Seifert, turned me onto Patreon back in 2014 and I leaped in with both feet, right into the deep end.
You have over 160 patrons on Patreon! What character traits helped you end up where you are today?
That just blows me away! I think positivity is one trait; whether I’m creating new music, shooting a project or teaching folks how to play an instrument, my focus is very upbeat, very “you can do anything you set your mind to.” I’m also kind of a workaholic, so my output is sort of insane and my patrons enjoy the constant updates.
What are three tactics you’ve used to grow your audience over time?
Social media. I try to integrate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. into everything that I do.
Engagement. As with my stage performances, I reach out and engage people as best I can and bring them into the conversation.
Give it away! My $5 level patrons get all of my CDs, books, videos and more just by signing up. Some of my patrons think I’m a little too generous in that regard, but I think that value is part of the hook. Plus, it inspires me to create new works since they’ve already got all the old ones.
What has been the most effective monetization method for you the last year?
You know, I just started doing this, but it’s working really well. At concerts and festivals, I have flash drives with about 7 GB of music and instructional material that I give to folks who sign up at my table. I’ve got a lot of product and people are often torn by what “one, or two” they’re going to get. So, I’ve got a sign on my merch table that says, “Too many choices? Sign up on Patreon and get it all (and more) for as little as $5 per month!” I may need to get a couple of iPads because they’ve been standing in line to pledge!
How have your fans helped you throughout your creative career?
My fans are amazing, generous and very, very loyal. In 2011, when my touring vehicle broke down, they came together and raised money for a used touring motorhome. I’m still blown away by that! They also helped to raise funds for new camera equipment and software to produce “Dulcimerica.” Since 2014, my patrons have helped produce numerous albums, assisted in maintaining/upgrading studio equipment and they’ve even helped with emergency breakdowns while on tour. Most of all, though, they send e-mails of support, post encouraging thoughts on social media and stop me at events to say, “hey, keep doing what you do, we appreciate it.” That really hits the heart good.
When did you decide to launch on Patreon, and in what ways has it affected your creative goals?
It was the Fall of 2014 and life as I’ve known it completely and utterly changed for the better. By having those extra funds come in every month, I’ve been able to really expand creatively. Instead of duct-taping old equipment back together because I couldn’t afford the newest model, I’ve had the opportunity to upgrade software, hardware and other gear; important tools for what I do. Instead of trying to make do on a slim budget, I’ve had a bit more freedom when it comes to expenses. I can actually sit in the studio and do weird things like practice and learn new skills. Right? It’s a luxury, this time thing. Patreon has basically given me a few more hours on the clock each day. That’s totally incredible!
In your experience, what does Patreon mean for artists and creators?
It’s a connection and a confirmation of the highest order. It puts us more in touch with those that support us and, by nature of that support, Patreon has the beautiful effect of making us feel even more purposeful in what we do.
What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects or big goals you are working towards?
Well, I just wrapped production on volume two of an improvisational jam tracks series, which has opened the door for me to begin recording the follow-up to my 2013 album “Dive!” I produce lots of different kinds of records, but “Dive!” was probably my most personal and I’m ready to go back to the well and do it again. There’ll be another blues record this year and I’m also preparing to write my first rock opera entitled “Fallen Angel.” Other than that, I’m looking to step up a level and do some bigger music festivals across the country. And get better at flying my camera UAV so that I can incorporate the footage into “Dulcimerica” travelogs.
If you could challenge creators to do one thing that worked for you, or was transformative in your experience, what would it be?
I’ve gleaned a lot of awesome information and inspiration from my fellow creators on Patreon. My advice is to turn the camera on yourself a lot more and invite folks into your world on a daily basis. A comment I get often is, “it’s so cool to see the world through your eyes.” I think that’s part of the connection that makes the community work. I see my patrons as an extended family and getting to know them has been one of the best parts about this whole experience!
If you could collaborate with one creator, dead or alive, who would it be?
T-Bone Burnett, hands-down. One of our greatest living music producers. Hey, T-Bone, I’m ready for ya, man!
That’s all, folks! Want to say hey? Reach out to Bing here: