My favorite work tends to be collaborative, independent and interesting — those three combined are the gold standard. For that to last, it also needs to be sustainable: Either it pays for itself, or it’s part of a structure that allows me to pursue that work.
Now, as in right now, we’re at an interesting point in that regard in that I have both a new and ongoing membership program that goes towards making my independent work more sustainable and also a new collaboration with a good friend and esteemed collaborator Patrick Tanguay (who runs Sentiers).
We’ll be trying something that’s both new to us as a format and also well-established: A kind of season pass for a series of project collaborations that allows accessing (and also financially supporting) our work. Season pass holders support ongoing development/research/writing while also getting access to the full output as it happens. It’s the secret handshake of independent content production.
We pursue this as a reaction to us feeling a bit of subscription fatigue ourselves (and I believe we’re not alone) while also being aware of the need to economically support our research and work. It’s a little less transactional than just “buying” pieces of work, a little more of a longer-term commitment, while not forcing anyone into making an auto-renewing commitment. Once it’s done, it’s done. There’s a certain elegance to it. (If you’re into supporting the long term, both our membership programs are the way to go!)
Here’s how Patrick describes it (highlights mine):
Instead of structuring something solid out of thin air and based on reckons, Peter and I settled on the idea of working on quarterly projects in parallel, which would occasionally be collaborations between us. So basically a more open form than my four publications but with a more “official” rhythm than Craig’s. Peter jumped right in and announced his own special projects while I decided to consider the Grant as my first project, with a second to come at the beginning of 2021.
I’m writing about all of that for a few reasons. 1) Put it out there and things happen, even if only my own expectations now that it’s public. 2) There will be room for other collaborations so keep that in mind and don’t hesitate to book a chat. (…)
I believe this kind of thing is part of the next stage of paid membership, or at the very least part of a wave of experiments we’ll see over the next year or two. Some are already suffering of subscription fatigue and I believe part of that is the feeling that you might be jumping in to something for years as opposed to a one-off purchase. In other words, it feels more like Netflix than going to a movie. Season ticket vs one game. In my case, these “projects” will be included or deeply discounted for paid members but also available stand alone (…)
We’ll make more concrete announcement soon-ish. In the meantime I’m curious to learn more about your thoughts on this. Does this feel right to you? (It does to me.) Are there any topics or concrete formats you’d love Patrick and me to tackle together? We have ideas we are fleshing out figure but it’s good to keep an open mind for inspiration.