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Patreon at SXSW: Day Three at the House of Creativity

Closing out a killer run of collaboration at the #HouseOfCreativity

Today we hosted our third and final day at the #HouseOfCreativity in the heart of Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Our team has been embracing the frenetic and fresh energy of the festival (and running on coffee… and breakfast tacos…) to deliver an amazing experience each day that we’ve been here on Rainey Street.

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On Monday we discussed making what you want to make, Tuesday was all about using your platform for good, and today, we dove right into big discussions around engaging your community as a creator. Ready for the recap? Let’s do it.

But first, Make Your Money, Make Your Music with Patreon’s Camille Hearst

You know we can’t miss an opportunity to talk to creators about building, growing, and launching their businesses, and today was no exception. In-between panels and performances happening at the #HouseOfCreativity, Patreon’s Head of Product and Merch, Camille Hearst, took the SXSW stage to host a conversation with Hayley Rosenblum, a renowned digital music strategist and head of Amanda Palmer’s social and community team. The pair discussed the future of actually making a living in the ever-changing music industry; while there are the viable ways that independent artists can make a living, there are also many questions every artist asks. Have you ever wondered how’d you connect with fans if you decided to go without a label and fly solo? What about staying financially stable? How would you keep creating? Camille and Hayley offered excellent insight and advice, and we captured it in this thread.

“The best thing about Patreon is that you have a group of fans in a room who have your back, and it gives you a lot of opportunity to create your art.”

Camille again

Awesome activations at the #HouseOfCreativity

Patreon’s #HouseOfCreativity wasn’t just the Augustine destination for creator-centric showcases and sessions, but also the perfect place to check out our inspiring, creative activations. Folks loved stopping by our “Leave Your Mark” Guest Wall, where they shared a snapshot and their artist story, as well as perspectives on why art matters, and other topics. Our larger-than-life MadLib Wall was inspiring AND made for an interesting selfie backdrop (a win-win in our book). We’ve wanted to host a creative Confessional Booth for a longgggg time, and were so happy to bring it to life with prompts and an opportunity to record anything from a message to your future self, a poem, or your new hit single. And we loved watching reactions at our Creator Listening Stations; witnessing inspiration strike is a powerful moment! Today we were again joined by our partners at Acast, who hosted podcast fortune telling and provided an awesome goodie booth full of treats for all of our guests. Folks might have come for the backyard billing, but everyone loved the action inside, too.

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Wednesday’s daytime lineup

Our last day aimed to dive straight into the nitty-gritty of the creative entrepreneur struggle, and the first panel pulled no punches as four podcasters held a discussion about one of the most elusive topics: MONEY. Our programming partners, Acast, brought podcasting industry experts together on stage to share their insights, experiences, and advice to others hoping to start a profitable podcast. Tim Ruggeri, Ayesha Chowdhury from BBC podcasts, Ben Mandelker from Watch What Crappens, and Veronika Taylor covered a lot of ground from self-worth, during their panel, It’s OK To Make Money; if you’re interested in podcasting, you’ll want to scope out this thread.

"My experience as both as a writer and a podcaster is that if you have good content, people will come. Focus on doing what you need to do. Network with other podcaster, build your audience, and the success will come." — Ben Mandelker

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Next up, Aaron Mahnke, Dylan Marron, and Rabia Chaudry took over the stage for a talk moderated by Evan Narcisse, entitled Impacting Social Change through Modern Parables. These incredible experts spoke about the podcast medium and how it can be used to drive conversation and social change. Take a look at this thread and get inspired about what you can do to make waves.

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"If you're able to get people to think about something serious while being entertained, you're doing good. You can be entertained and still be moved." — Rabia Chaudry

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As the third panel took the stage, all the true crime fans in Austin clamored to get seats at the #HouseOfCreativity to join a panel on Community, Collaboration, and Crime. Podcast experts (and crime enthusiasts) Ashley Flowers, Patrick Hinds, and Meredith Stedman held a conversation moderated by Christy Gressman, discussing true crime podcasts and how they build community. Kicking off the convo with the big question: what is it about true crime that makes the fans so ravenous? Read this thread to find out.

"The creators who are successful are those who remember what it was like to be a fan BUT there's a fine balance between staying true to yourself and giving what your community wants. " — Ashley Flowers

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The fourth and final panel of the day, and capping off Patreon’s official SXSW engagement, was none other than our co-founder and CEO, Jack Conte, who welcomed Amanda Palmer and Ben Folds on stage to discuss their style of connection and how they engage with their communities. Amanda has found a home on Patreon, whereas Ben just launched his membership program this week! All three had amazing insights to share about what membership lets them do, and how engaging with their audiences in an authentic way empowers them to keep creating what they want to create. Get the scoop here.

“My validation does not come from within. I know that goes against every self help book but it comes from seeing the real impact from my work. As an artist contributing to society, I want to make things that move you.” — Amanda Palmer

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And then — POOF — daytime programming was done for Patreon. We are so grateful to everyone who came and participated in the panels and performances, and to the awesome audience who showed up every day. We had a ball, y’all! And we hope you did, too.

ANOTHER see-it-to-believe-it musical showcase BUT WAIT! We can’t go out on a panel — not when there’s a party about to start right in our backyard! Wednesday night saw yet another official musical showcase with six amazing artists. Check out this bananas lineup.

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Our last SXSW showcase was brought to us by our friends at Communion, and got kicked off with San Mei, aka Emily Hamilton, who transported us away from the festival chaos with her guitar-heavy and delay-ridden dream pop. Next up, Samia, a young singer-songwriter with impressive vocal restraint and range took the stage. We were enthralled! Following was Apre, an English alternative band — you might recognize their popular single “All Yours” which is smooth and makes for good late night swaying. We changed things up when Talos took over, the Irish musician fond of gossamer electronic beats. And provided yet another perfectly composed pivot for your ears by welcoming afro-latina queer songbird, Nicotine, to the stage for some soulful stylings. Wrapping up Wednesday’s showcase was DRAMA, the dark and passionate collaboration between Na'el Shehade and Via Rosa. It was every bit as intense as we wanted it to be. What a night!

For those keeping count at home — we had a total of 18 musical acts perform at the #HouseOfCreativity. We were surrounded by so much raw talent and energy; it’s been a dream come true!

And that’s a wrap at 86 Rainey Street

We can’t believe our time at SXSW has come to an end. It seems like only yesterday our team sat in a room and thought: hey, we should do South By next year. We owe a ton of thanks to our partners and team mates, plus the creators, patrons, guests, and the official festival folks who supported, guided and motivated us to make this happen. We have been so humbled by the warm reception on Rainey Street, and so honored to be here. Thanks for joining us at the #HouseOfCreativity — we hope to see you next year!