Virtual Tipjars: Options

Virtual Tipjars: Options

by SaskMusic staff

April 29, 2020 in Finding Money

As the world hunkers down and stays in for the pandemic, many artists are turning hard into streaming their live performances, and to online marketing. Without a door charge attached to these virtual shows, the artist is still left without a source of timely income. With that in mind we've collected some options for artists who wish to request virtual ticket donations or subscriptions from fans online.

This article is for information only and to provide you with a starting point for options. We don't specifically endorse one option over another.

Artist Example:
For informatoin on how to add a GoFundMe Widget to your blog or website:
GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money, for events ranging from celebrations and graduations, to those in experiencing challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses. From 2010 to 2017, over $5 billion was raised on the platform from 50 million donors.
GoFundMe works in three basic steps. To begin, you start your campaign by setting your fundraising goal and telling your story. Then you share your campaign with friends, family and fans via emails, texts, and social media. In the final step, you accept donations, thank sponsors, and withdraw your funds.
GoFundMe is based in Redwood City, California. Canadians are able to use the platform. Your donations will always come to you in your campaign’s currency (ie CDN $), which you indicate when you set up your campaign.
Fees: There is a standard transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation. This pricing applies to personal campaigns as well as charity campaigns started in Canadian dollars.
Advantages of a GoFundMe campaign are that it's free (aside from fees) and reliable. A big advantage is that you keep whatever the amount raised, even if you do not not reach your goal. You can withdraw the funds whenever you wish to.

5 Artist Examples:

Patreon is a membership-based crowdfunding platform that enables fans ("patrons") to pay and support artists for their work. Patreon is primarily used by YouTube content providers and podcasts. For musicians, it is a potential way to earn extra money on content that might otherwise be provided for free - think fan extras such as behind-the-scenes photos and videos.
Patreon also provides the potential for musicians to interact with fans, such as exclusive Q&A sessions, or perhaps by having fans decide how much to pay for your music (see the link above for examples).
Patreon allows you to set up monthly, subscription-style payment tiers, with different pledges for different levels of content. You can also charge patrons up front, instead of monthly payments, but this option is permanent once chosen.
Patreon takes at least 5% of the amount paid to creators for admin fees. Creators keep up to 90% of their revenues, with an additional 5% going to transaction fees. They have 3 types of plans: 5% Lite, 8% Pro, and 12% Premium. More info on pricing and plans can be found here:
The company is based in San Francisco CA, and the (admin fee) money that comes out of your Patreon account is in US dollars. Their standard rate is 2.9% + $0.30 per successful payment over $3. Their micropayment rate is 5% + $0.10 per successful payment of $3 or less.
Patreon is a good option for an artist with an established fan base, and where the artist is willing and able to provide ongoing, regular, engaging content. Realistically, it is a potential way to subsidize your income,  rather than be a primary source of income.

Donation Buttons 
Third-party payments processors such as Stripe and PayPal have buttons that you can create and place on your website. This eliminates the need for any platform fees, and allows you to direct your fans to your own official website. (They do however take payment processing fees.) If you are already updating your website regularly with content, this may be a simple and suitable option for you. Both Stripe and PayPal also allow people to set up recurring payments/donations.
This article explains how add a Stripe Donate Button in WordPress:
This article explains how add a PayPal Donate Button in WordPress:

SoundCloud has also introduced a new donation button that artists can add to their profile to help offset the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
To add the button to your SoundCloud artist page, click “Edit,” and then “Add support link.” Pick your platform of choice, and then hit “Save changes” to generate the button, which appears above your stats and on your track pages. SoundCloud supports a variety of services, including Kickstarter, Bandcamp, Paypal, and Patreon, and will not take a cut of any donations made through the platform.
Please note: The direct donation button may not be a permanent feature. It is very likely a temporary initiative because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spotify Artist Fundraising Pick
Spotify for Artists is launching a new feature: the Artist Fundraising Pick. Artists can now select and highlight a fundraising destination on their profile.
Artists can choose to add a link to Cash App, GoFundMe, or You can fundraise for yourself, or for a charity partner.

Buy Me A Coffee
Artist Example:
How to set up a button and widget:
Artist Example of button and widget: 
Buy Me A Coffee is a site that allows creators to set up option for one-time donations or recurring memberships, as well as a shop to sell digital downloads.
The site currency is “coffees”. You assign how much money ($/€) one coffee is worth. Then the visitors can choose how many “coffees” they want to donate, which will add up to a total $/€ amount. (Ex: 1 coffee = $3, 2 coffees = $6)
Buy Me A Coffee allows you to start a membership in which you can share exclusive posts and rewards with your members, and connect with your supporters via email and comments.
There is no monthly fee, and all features are available to everyone. They charge a 5% transaction fee, and creators keep 95% of the amount (a creator who earned $50 will be paid $47.50). Payment processing fees charged by PayPal and Stripe will also apply.
Buy Me A Coffee is based in San Francisco CA and Kerala, India. You are able to set your default currency in your creator account to $CAD.
Buy Me A Coffee differs from Patreon in that you don't need to be actively working on a project to start a page, and it doesn't include different membership levels for various levels of perks. It can also be used as a way to supplement your Patreon page revenue. According to their website, 90% of Buy Me A Coffee payments for creators are one-time tips.

Artist Example: 
Ko-fi is similar to Buy Me A Coffee in that it is a way to ask your fans to support your work for the price of a coffee. You direct your fans and followers to support you, receive messages of encouragement and celebrate when you reach your goal.
To use Ko-fi, you begin by setting up your personal page and showcasing your work. You then share your page and funding goals with your fans on all of your social media. Then you receive money and messages of support directly, with 0% transaction fees from Ko-fi. There are two levels you can sign up for, Free and Gold ($6/month fee). Creators that have a Gold subscription are the only users that can receive donations via credit card payments.
Ko-fi is based in Cambridge, England. All card payments on Ko-fi are be processed by Stripe, and Canada is one of Stripe’s approved countries to accept payments. Their payment partners PayPal and Stripe do take a fee for processing payments. The fee varies depending upon the location of both parties and if a currency conversion is required.
Ko-fi would be ideal for musicians who do not wish to publish a large quantity of content on a regular basis, and are looking for a simple way to accept donations, similar to a tip jar. It is a cost-effective way earn an income from fans on a platform that does not take a percentage of your donations. The only transaction fee you'll pay is what the payment processors charge.

Artist Example:
Artist Example:
Memberful is a plugin that you install on your website, which allows your fans to sign up for subscriptions to receive exclusive content. You can set up the application to accept subscriptions for different lengths of time (monthly, yearly, etc.) and for different subscription plans that give access to varying levels of content.
Memberful’s Starter plan does not charge a monthly fee, but Memberful will take 10% of what you earn before payment processing fees. Memberful’s Pro plan costs $25 per month and includes a lower, 4.9% platform fee. Memberful requires a Stripe account. 
Memberful is a Patreon company, and Patreon is based in San Francisco CA, so the fees listed here are in US dollars. The difference between Memberful and Patreon is that while Patreon is an all-in-one solution for managing your membership business, Memberful is a membership solution that you add to your own website that integrates with tools like WordPress.
Memberful is ideal for artists who have a devoted fan base willing to pay for extra access to your content. It's a way to save your most exclusive video, music, and behind-the-scenes content for your most devoted fans. Artists such as Aly & AJ and Mac Demarco use Memberful to connect with their fans through fan club on their official websites.

Liberapay is as a recurrent donations platform, similar to Patreon, however Liberapay is open-source and collects no platform fees from what you raise. It is meant strictly for recurring donations, therefore transactions cannot be linked to rewards or product offers. It is designed for long-term, stable funding and only supports recurring donations. Liberapay is a non-profit organization.
To use Liberapay, you create an account as a contributor and ask your fans to donate. To receive a donation, you have to create an account on Liberapay, include info about your project, your reasons for asking for the donation and what will be done with the money you receive.
 In order for your fans to donate, they would add money to their own accounts and set up a period for payments that can be weekly, monthly or yearly. An email is sent to them when there is not much money left in their donation account..
Liberapay is based in France. The Canadian dollar is supported, but they ask that you reach out to them if you’re interested in receiving donations in this currency. They do not take a cut of payments because the service is funded by the donations to their own account. Recipients get the full value of the donations, but there are fees when processing payments in or out of Liberapay through through Stripe and PayPal.

If you see an error in the above, or know of another great option to share, please email us.

We'll be discussing a few pay-per-view options in an upcoming article.