Water & Music

is creating insights on the fine print of innovation in the music business

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per month

Thank you SO MUCH for supporting my work—I literally would not be where I am now without you, and every single dollar counts!

By choosing this tier, you will receive:

  • A guarantee that the Water & Music newsletter and podcast remain ad-free.
  • Access to a members-only Discord channel.
  • My eternal gratitude <3
Includes Discord benefits
per month

Woot! By choosing this tier, you're entering the true bread and butter of this Patreon page — namely, lots of exclusive content and a deeper look into my writing process.

You will receive all the benefits in the previous tier, PLUS:

  • Exclusive essays on music and tech trends.
  • Exclusive databases of music-tech companies that I compile for my own research.
  • Early and behind-the-scenes looks at my articles.
  • Conference recaps.
Includes Discord benefits
per month

Hello, fellow scholars! By choosing this tier, you'll be providing contributing to an especially important project of mine, personally and professionally, that literally would not be possible without your help.

You will receive all the benefits in the previous tier, PLUS exclusive updates on my upcoming book about artists who treat their careers like startups.

This will include but not be limited to:

  • Syntheses of interesting research papers and other resources I incorporate into the book.
  • Previews of interviews with book subjects.
  • Overall reflections on the book-writing process.
Includes Discord benefits




some FAQs:


I'm Cherie Hu, a freelance writer and podcaster focusing on innovation in the music business. That includes everything from technological innovation (e.g. major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, emerging music startups, new tech like VR/AR, creative AI and smart speakers), to business innovation (e.g. how the nature of business deals are changing across the industry, how artists are sustaining their careers as entrepreneurs), to cultural innovation (e.g. new collaborations and ambitious creative projects that break down geographic and organizational borders).

Over the past five years, I've written hundreds of articles on these topics for publications including Billboard, Forbes, Music Business Worldwide, NPR, Resident Advisor, Pitchfork, Variety and the Columbia Journalism Review, and have also spoken at over 25 conferences to date.

I also run Water & Music — an independent media ecosystem that consists of:
  • A weekly email newsletter that currently reaches over 6,00 subscribers from all walks of life, including budding artists just starting their careers and presidents at major labels and tech companies.
  • A podcast that serves as an ad-free audio companion to the newsletter, and features one-on-one interviews with a curated selection of leaders, innovators and thinkers from across the music and tech industries. You can subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, RadioPublic, Google Play, Overcast and many other of your favorite listening platforms—links to which are available here.

I'm excited to continue expanding on this ecosystem with your help. Your funds will go directly to supporting Water & Music's properties and ensuring that they remain 100% ad-free for the years to come.


Of course, there are also a host of other benefits just for paying members, which I'll outline below.

Exclusive content is a significant aspect of this Patreon page. I publish several exclusive essays every month for $7+/month patrons, each diving into a different aspect of music and technology (examples here, here and here). These essays tend to be on the longer side, at 2,000 or more words each.

$7+/month patrons will also get access to exclusive databases of music-tech companies that I compile for my own research purposes. Examples of verticals that have already been covered include branded record labels, ticketing companies and music merchandise platforms.

In addition, I am planning on writing a book in 2020 about music and entrepreneurship, and $15+/month patrons will have exclusive access to book research updates and chapter previews. Think about it as a completely independent, crowdsourced book advance.

But I'm not starting this Patreon just to fundraise for the costs of writing original work or running a newsletter and podcast. First and foremost, I'm looking to better include readers in my writing and reporting process.

Every $7+/month patron will be able to access early sneak peeks at my upcoming articles and conference panels, provide perspective in my reporting and exchange feedback and ideas with me on the latest news. I've always sought to weave inclusive practices into how I put together my stories—be that calling out for sources on Twitter or starting an email exchange from my newsletter—and this will serve as an experiment in giving that process more structure.

To allow my readers to connect not just with me, but also with each other, I'll also give every patron ($3+/month) access to a members-only Discord channel. I love hearing about moments when people meet each other through an open question I post on Twitter, engage with each other online and then arrange to continue their conversations offline in person. Hopefully, this Patreon will be a similar connector for like-minded thinkers, innovators and just plain curious people in music, media and entertainment.

Finally, if you're feeling especially generous and/or serious about diving into the weeds of music and tech, I host a monthly, hour-long video hangout with $40/month patrons, or a one-on-one, custom consultation for $200/month patrons. In past video hangouts, we've discussed topics such as the latest funding announcements from music startups, alternative financing options for independent artists and the impact of biometrics on music consumption. They've been great learning experiences for everyone involved, especially for myself!

Thank you so much for your support, and please feel free to email me at [email protected] with any other questions you have. :)
263 of 400 patrons
When we reach 400 patrons, I'll be making a full-time salary as a writer completely from reader support, which is pretty crazy in and of itself!!
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Recent posts by Water & Music

By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 66 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 66 exclusive posts
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