Day 11: Interstate Tour 2018
The weather cooperated and didn't unleash the legendary fury that it has in the past, so it was a lovely day at the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer and Traditional Music Festival. With three workshops on my schedule at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm, I was constantly shifting between teaching and shooting video, visiting and listening. Since I began teaching at dulcimer festivals in 2006, there hasn't been a lot of opportunity for me to sit in workshops and see how other performers present their material, so I hover close by and listen when I can.
For the brief time that I was taking workshops, Don Pedi was one of my first instructors and it's always fun to watch him work with a group.
I've never taken a class with Sarah Morgan, but she's a great teacher and a fabulous performer. Sarah's one of a handful of mountain dulcimer folks who could easily end up on America's Got Talent or The Voice and I would actually watch either of those shows if she was scheduled to be on.
After my last workshop, I hung out and talked a bit with Dona Benkert, Max ZT and Andy Young before hopping in Imua and heading out for Michigan City, Indiana, where I checked into the Walmart Resort and did a little evening admin before bed.
A cursory check of Graphtreon revealed a pretty wild little bit of news. Ali Spagnola, creator of The Power Hour Drinking Game, has millions of followers on Twitter and YouTube. She's also on Patreon, where nobody has millions of patrons, yet, anyway. Turns out that we've got the same number of patrons. What I knew, that Graphtreon didn't, was that I had several folks at the festival sign up for my Patreon Channel (I'm giving folks an 8 GB flash drive containing ALL of my self-published books, CDs, tablature and teaching resources if they sign up during a festival) which would significantly elevate my patronage level. Graphtreon appears to rank creators by number of patrons. The top creator on the service, Chapo Trap House, has 21,962 patrons as of this writing!
If Graphtreon ranked creators by earnings, then I'd be nowhere close to Ali's ranking, but what interests me most about these numbers is the fact that we both have a similar number of core supporters on Patreon. I take notes about other creators to see what they're doing and how they're doing it and Ali has done well on some of the same social media platforms that I'm also working. However, her Facebook and Twitter stats are nosediving and her YouTube subscriptions, after a meteoric year-long spike between April of 2016 and April of 2017, have begun to plateau. My stats all show upward trends (though Twitter still needs some massaging - a bit of a roller-coaster graph on that one) and that leads me to reflect on content. I've seen a few of her videos and it's not really my slice of pie, but that's part of the challenge; to find your tribe or make it easy for them to find you. And then once you find each other, how to keep everyone happy? I'm always thinking about this kind of stuff. Being an artist is about creating because that's what you do. Being a teacher is about passing along knowledge. Being an entertainer is all about the audience.
I'm very grateful for my tribe. And my patrons rock. Blessed to bliss.