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How German Musician Rival is Connecting with Fans Outside the Algorithm

Embedded content: https://youtu.be/guM3YEI3c58

“I basically had no choice but becoming an artist,” laughed Valentin Rieff (who performs and creates under the moniker Rival) when we asked him about what ignited his music career. The 22-year-old pianist and electronic music producer from Düsseldorf, Germany also recalled his first musical memories. One involving sitting on his dad’s knee as he played the piano, and another of his mom who is a hornist in the orchestra.

Rival has put that musical upbringing to good use, achieving commercial success with his recent release “Control” and hitting the milestone of 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. By creating his own unique sonic blend of bass music, trap, vocal pop, and piano he’s created a genre all his own. He's been producing music in some form or another most of his life, building an ever-expanding community of fans around the world who adore his unique tracks. Now he’s taking that fan connection to the next level with Patreon, and sharing his one of kind sound with the world.

“Over time, I found my own unique style,” he shared when we visited him at his at-home studio. “I'd say the mixture of orchestra elements, piano, and trap, this is like my main thing. But, I think it's super important to do different things as well, to keep yourself inspired and open to new ideas and processes.”

Rival plans to use the platform to fund his self-proclaimed 'peanut butter addiction', build a larger studio, connect with collaborators, and head out on his first official tour. And since he told us “I'm going to continue releasing a song every single month” fans can also look forward to a consistent stream of new music.

“Patreon for me is a platform where I can build a community, aside from any algorithm.”

With all the channels Rival currently uses to connect with fans, Patreon still stood out as a means to authentic connection. He shared, “Patreon for me is a platform where I can build a community, aside from any algorithm. I can tell people ‘hey I'm using this page to connect with people who are interested in my music, who want to get help from me like production lessons or just in supporting my craftsmanship.”

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He also wants his membership page to not only be a place where patrons and budding producers can learn, but also where he can learn as well. “I think Patreon can change the creative process, depending on how you involve your audience. When I'm doing production tutorials I'm always learning something new, even though that's not really the intention. I always end up being like, ‘Oh, I didn't even know I can do this when I'm turning this knob!’ So, in a way, I think it can change or push my boundaries if I keep doing these tutorials,” he shared.

Education is ongoing for the musician, in fact, he’s currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree. “I don't think that once I finish University, I'll only make music. I want to be around other people learning new things. I want to learn and learn and learn,” he says.

Patreon will also allow him to give fans a backstage pass to his creative process, something even the most avid listeners miss out on. “Most people don't realize how much work goes into making a new song. Being on Patreon gives you the opportunity to show what goes into it and how many hours are spent doing like a live stream. For instance, sometimes it can take 10 hours to make a drop lead, to make it sound right and interesting and unique,” he says.

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Another reason Rival is excited about Patreon is getting outside of the studio and in front of fans. He shared, “I am really interested in bringing my music on stage and playing live, because I think it's really different sitting in a studio and you're the crowd, and you're the only one cheering for your music!”

Maintaining his creative independence is another feature that attracted him to Patreon. With the platform, he’ll not only remain in control of his sound but also the image he has worked hard to create. That level of brand control is something artists signed to labels rarely enjoy. Rival understands that building his brand is part of being an entrepreneur, something he feels is necessary. “To become successful, it's absolutely necessary to be an entrepreneur, right next to being a craftsman,” he says.

Rival is excited about continuing to forge his own path, connecting with his fans, while still holding on to what got him started in the first place.

“I like being in control of my own craftsmanship. I think it's important to be the brain behind your brand. When you give away the production, the making music part, you kind of lose your integrity and your personality. It's just dangerous because that's why I started making music. The brand is me.”

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