Introducing the Friends Club! (Short & Sweet Version)

Published On February 21, 2024 
by Chase Tremaine
Would you be interested in becoming a supporter of Chase’s writing, music, and other productions? Join the Friends Club, and in return, you’ll receive all of Chase’s albums, new members-only songs every month, opportunities to meet Chase and discuss music, art, and life with him and other likeminded music lovers, and much more!

Hello! This is the second of two posts about my new music venture, the Friends Club. This post summarizes the highlights from a lengthier article which thoroughly explores everything you could possibly want to know about the Friends Club, including why I created it, what it entails, what can be expected in the future, and why I chose to host it on a platform called Podia compared to other options. If you’d like to read the full version, click here. If you just want the high-level details about what the Club is and what you’ll get if you join, then you’re in the right place!

State of the Industry

The music and entertainment industries are in a dour state, and it’s potentially getting worse for small and independent artists. Spotify rolled out a new payment model which demonetizes low-streaming songs; Bandcamp is under new leadership which threatens its future as an artist-first business; and most social media platforms are terrible for discovery unless you pay for ads that will attract bots and annoy your followers. The Friends Club began as an idea for Patreon, but I decided not to work with Patreon after learning that they too were making changes to their business model that greatly prioritized profits over creators. So while the Friends Club most closely resembles Patreon, I am also building it to include my favorite aspects of Bandcamp, Discord, and other services, but with fewer drawbacks and fewer obstacles between me and listeners.

What is the Friends Club?

The Friends Club is an online place where my friends and fans can invest in me as a creator, and in exchange for this budget-conscious investment, I will make a wide assortment of preexisting music and newly recorded songs freely available on a platform through which I can readily pursue additional ways to serve, benefit, and grow in relationship with everyone who joins. The Friends Club is my attempt to take control over my relationships with listeners, without having to worry about Facebook posts that get buried, emails that get marked as spam, or figuring out who my faceless, nameless Spotify followers are. It’s not an attempt to widen my pool of listeners — it’s an attempt to deepen it. Inasmuch as the desire for relationship exists, I would love to get to know you better while giving you an avenue for getting to know me.

What You Get

Here is the current list of what is offered to everyone who joins the Friends Club:

  • At least one new, exclusive song each month
  • Immediate access to all previous releases and early access to future releases
  • Access to a members-only podcast where you get to be the guest of an episode
  • First dibs on physical products, with bare-minimum pricing and exclusive merchandise
  • Discounts on personalized songs, how-to tutorials, and other offers on
  • Much more, including perks that are earned over time and a forum to request new perk ideas directly

What It Costs

For the year of 2024, new memberships cost the lowest imaginable price of $1 per month. For a small discount, you can even save $2 each year by paying only $10 for the annual membership. This low-balled price comes at the end of a long line of brainstorming and number-crunching, as I sought to find the perfect balance between what would be worthwhile to me while providing a low barrier of entry across the whole spectrum of my listeners, whether you’re a super-fan with a tight budget or a casual fan who’s happy to provide some financial support. Those prices of $1/month or $10/year are the exact amounts you will see on your credit card bill; there are no additional taxes or fees.

Buying Songs Versus Investing in Art

As I’ve written about in the past, I don’t like viewing songs as only being worth $1 — and I don’t want you to think of the Friends Club as a way to buy new monthly songs for $1 each. Instead, I ask that you consider a membership as an investment in me: a vote of confidence in me as a person, as a writer, as a curator and cultivator and creator of music. Instead of thinking about the monthly perks as what I’m selling, view them as a token of gratitude that you would commit to a long-term investment in my musical pursuits. How your investment will be used is two-fold: i) my ongoing education in production skills (plus the costs of music hardware/software), to improve the quality and speed with which I self-produce music for the Friends Club; and ii) saving up a budget for future studio albums.

Podia Versus Patreon

When directly comparing Podia to Patreon, Podia comes out on top in regards to its beginner-friendly and customizable design tools (as opposed to the branded template across all of Patreon), its chat support for creators, its built-in emailing and blogging tools, and its ability to bundle and upsell products through a public-facing webstore. That webstore feature is huge for me, especially as I consider a future model where it might behoove me to step away from Bandcamp. And unlike Patreon, Podia is consistently rolling out new features at no additional cost.

Patreon is the winner in a few regards: it has a recognizable brand and platform where your subscription for one artist can live alongside dozens of other subscriptions, whereas you will be required to make an account solely for the Friends Club; Patreon supports multiple payment options, while Podia only (currently) supports Stripe and Paypal; and it provides the option for subscribers to pay more than what a tier/subscription normally costs. None of these issues are particularly notable for me, and I truly hope that the requirement to create an account with Podia will not be a deterrent to anyone considering joining the club.

Plans for the Future

My plans and goals are multi-faceted, but I can sort them into three general categories: i) whenever I start selling new products and services on the webstore, such as e-books, editorial services, tutorials, etc., they will be made available for free or at a discount for members; ii) I hope to continually expand upon what I’m creating for the Club, extending my writing and songwriting into new genres and mediums; and iii) you! Not only will your involvement in the Friends Club influence and inspire the new music I write, but I will also be looking for ideas from members about ways to improve the experience and new perks to offer.

About the 2024 “Beta” Year and the 2025 Re-Launch

I have not-so-quietly been referring to 2024 as the beta year for the Friends Club: a 12-month experiment to see how this all pans out. Even though I’ve been brainstorming and planning this venture for years, there’s still the legitimate possibility that it could fail, contingent on two criteria: i) its sustainability in my life; and ii) the number of members who join during the beta year. If both criteria are satisfied come December 2024, that means I will be committing to the growth and flourishing of the Friends Club for many years to come. However, if either of these criteria fall short, then I will be closing up shop and using early 2025 to fulfill whatever else has been guaranteed to those who joined.

If/when I “re-launch” the Friends Club in January 2025, my plan is to do so at a higher cost (most likely in the range of $2-$5 per month or $20-$50 per year), but the price will not increase for anyone who joins in 2024 and continues with an uninterrupted membership. Also, I do not plan on determining the new cost until late 2024 because I want the new price to be influenced by the feedback of existing members, who will be polled on what monthly value they believe would be fair, based on their experience through the “beta” year. Based on that feedback, it is possible that the price will not increase come 2025, but it is also likely that a higher price would include additional/expanded monthly perks.

Conclusion: My Hopes for the Friends Club

You might have noticed that the term “Friends Club” bears a striking similarity to the more common term, “fan club.” That’s intentional: I do not want the Friends Club to be a “fan club.” I want the barrier of entry to be casual and affordable enough that my “irl” friends and family members are happy to join; meanwhile, it’s a place where my listeners, if desired, can bridge the gap from fan to friend in an authentic manner.

If you trust me to steward your investment well, I would love to have you in the Club. We’ll chat, we’ll record podcasts together, we’ll talk about our favorite books and movies and new music releases, and you’ll receive loads of new music. Are you still on the fence? Do you have any concerns? Are you worried, for example, that the quality of my homemade music won’t measure up to an enjoyable standard? Please contact me with any of these questions or concerns and I will do my best to address them promptly and honestly.

Otherwise, if you’re convinced that the Friends Club is for you, or worth trying out for a few months, then head to now!

Have you considered joining the Friends Club?

The Friends Club is where I connect with my listeners, provide all of my music for free (including new members-only songs every month), and offer discounts for all of my other services, including writing and recording custom/personalized songs. Come join the fun!

Check Out My Recent Blog Posts:

“Settled in the Unsettled” – Story Behind the Song

“Settled in the Unsettled” – Story Behind the Song

“Settled in the Unsettled” is a special song, unlike anything else I’ve yet written. It has perhaps the highest bang-for-your-buck ratio within my discography, packing many memorable musical moments and interesting intellectual inquiries within less than three minutes. The composition leans into my classical and traditional influences, and it’s the first song I’ve released that sounds like it has already existed for many decades, as if it could’ve been released in the 1950’s.

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“Middle Of My Words” – Story Behind the Song

“Middle Of My Words” – Story Behind the Song

“Middle of My Words” was written on the same day as multiple songs that I’ve already released: “Counsel,” “Lonely Saints,” and “Interrogate the Fantasy.” That day (April 4, 2018) was a special occasion, marking the end of an era in my life. A few weeks later, my brother Taylor would get married. I had just moved out of our apartment and he was getting ready to move out, too, after three years of us rooming together.

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Introducing… the Friends Club!

Introducing… the Friends Club!

At the start of 2024, I unveiled a new venture, titled the Friends Club, that could completely alter the trajectory of my music career. It’s designed to provide the greatest benefits possible to those who enjoy my music, while providing those who join with more music than ever before alongside opportunities to connect with me and other listeners. The article you are about to read goes into great detail about the intentions behind the Friends Club, its creation, its value, its platform, and its relationship to the rest of the music industry.

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