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Love(content) = money

This is a brilliant video by a most talented individual, talking about art, content and money.

Jack Conte and his impressive beard

Jack Conte and his impressive beard

I have been a fan of Jack Conte, and Nataly Dawn (individually and as Pomplamoose), for many years. However, my respect for him grew enormously when he also created a most amazing site called Patreon. In this video from XOXO Festival 2013 Jack tells us about his background as an artist, and how Patreon came about. He explains how YouTube monetisation worked for him, what killed it, and how he came to realise that there was another way.

“(creating great content) is just half my job….The other half is this … I have to take something I’ve made and put it in an equation, and out comes money. I can’t forget about that. … If we just want to make good stuff once, then you don’t have to worry about this. But if you want to keep doing it you have to make good stuff and convert it into money.” – Jack Conte (jump to 13:30)

In the past, YouTube services (their platform reach), plus quality content, COULD generate money for the artist. This is now rarely the case. It is an advertising model that relies on getting not just lots of viewers, but a large percentage of viewers on that platform. As the audience for the media channel grows, similar total viewing figures become less and less relevant (“views, as a currency, have been devalued“), and so individuals are displaced by big brands.

My favourite quote, at around 17:00, is when he is talking of why maybe 400,000 YouTube views converts to only about $25 revenue:

“It isn’t a “hit”, it is “a person”, … and the reason that it ends up not working is that advertisers don’t care how much you like the content you are about to watch, … (but) that really matters to a creator.”

Artists, and many niche content creators, ARE individuals and care about the individuals in their audience, so how can they benefit? Jack summarised his solution as:

Patreon(music) = money

… in other words, the Patreon platform is the “function” you apply to deliver quality music content, to result in revenue for the artist. It is true (I am a patron of Jack’s, Nataly’s and others including the brilliant “Postmodern Jukebox“). But I would also like to generalise it further and add one element that Jack maybe takes a bit for granted in his explanation, and say that the formula is:

Platform(content) + Love = money

Creating quality content is wonderful, but you must also work at gaining the love and respect of an audience and do this on an appropriate platform, in order to monetise your content.

What might this mean for wine? Well, we are creating content, but are we choosing the right platforms to deliver that content widely, and are we working hard enough to target a unique, specific audience for that content that truly care about our content? If we don’t, then how can we expect to generate “money” at the end of the day?

Building an audience, getting their respect and “love” is our personal task, but one thing that we can work on together is the issue of platforms. Patreon and YouTube are about bringing content creators together so they can be found. We must do more of this in the wine business so that we can make great content more easily found, and supported. This has begun, with platforms such as PalatePress, but these also need to develop means to encourage true fans to be able to transfer value, whether that is pay-per-view, subscriptions, donations, or the chance to buy merchandise.

It is also true for wineries. These too need new platforms for creating audiences for their wines. A growing option is direct sales but this relies on building a loyal audience as well as creating great wines. In the next few weeks we shall look at some wineries doing this, and how they are going about it.

In the interim, please enjoy some of Pomplamoose’s great work:

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