I'm Justin Thiele, the creator of Concert Archives. As many of you know, Concert Archives is a personal labor of love for me. I originally started building the site in November of 2013 as a way to catalog all of the concerts I attended and as an attempt to coax my friends into uploading their photos from the shows :)
Now, over 4 years later, some things have changed but a lot remain the same:
- The biggest thing that has changed is how big the site has gotten! When I launched it, the only users were me and a couple of friends. Now there are thousands of users building their own concert histories, sharing their amazing stories, and posting photos from hundreds of thousands of concerts. And Google keeps sending a bunch of new visitors everyday.
- Another thing that's changed has been pretty gradual. My vision for the site has broadened in some ways. I now look at it almost like Discogs.com but for concerts. Users create their own concert histories (like record collections on Discogs) and all of us together create a comprehensive tour history and library of concert photos/videos for artists (like album discographies on Discogs). It’s really an amazing thing to watch.
What’s The Same?
- I still have the same passion for the concert experience and believe that concerts should live on long after the house lights come back up.
- I'm still an army-of-one working on Concert Archives. I do all of the website development, design, and maintenance. I answer all the support requests. I also pay for all of the ongoing server costs.
The Ups and DownsWhile it's been super exciting to see the visitor numbers grow, the server costs have grown as well. For a long time, I resisted putting ads on the website in order to keep a pristine user-experience. A couple of years ago, I added the ability for users to donate to help cover the server costs, but that wasn't very successful. I'm super appreciative of the folks who donated (about 20 of you) and thank you again! Unfortunately that wasn't enough to really make a dent in the monthly server costs.
After a couple years of paying hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket every month, I found myself getting really demotivated and resentful about the site. Around that same time, a couple of companies reached out about buying Concert Archives. I was really burned out so the idea of getting the site off of my plate and moving on seemed really attractive. The acquisition talks lasted for a few months and, as often happens, eventually fizzled out. That was pretty much rock bottom for my outlook on the site.
I realized that I needed to figure out how to get re-energized about Concert Archives or just put it to bed. Coincidentally, around that same time, I decided to finally put some banner ads on a few of the most popular pages as an experiment. The ads didn't do amazing, but they started making a few dollars per day. All of the sudden, I could see a path to making Concert Archives self sustaining if I could figure out how to increase the ad revenue a little bit and if I could reduce the server costs a little bit. And that was really motivating. I spent a couple of weeks working on site performance improvements that ended up making the site much faster and even about 35% cheaper to run! And then I found a new ad network that basically doubled the ad revenue!
The site is just barely making money, but for the first time in over 4 years, it's no longer costing me hundreds of dollars every month. Having that burden lifted has been huge! I realized that the mental burden it was causing was even bigger than the financial burden. I’ve been a lot more motivated and a lot more excited about the site and have just released a redesign and the biggest updates since I launched it back in 2014!
Which is a perfect segue to talk about Patreon…
Why Patreon?The purpose for creating a Patreon campaign for Concert Archives is twofold:
- I've realized that in order to make Concert Archives a sustainable site for the long term and for me to be able to keep dedicating myself to it, it needs to make money every month and not be a financial/mental burden. And Patreon can facilitate that.
- As the user base has grown, I've wanted a way to better connect with the users (that's you guys!). Many of you have sent me emails telling me how much you love Concert Archives! These make my day every time :) I've been wanting a way to keep an open dialog and get to know you all better. And Patreon can facilitate that.
Sorry for being long-winded, but I'm super excited about this community and the potential we have together with Patreon.
I'd love it if you would become a patron, but no hard feelings if not.
Thanks for everything so far!
Rewards Info!I kind of saved the best for last, so congrats if you made it all the way down here! Here is more info about the patron rewards:
- Patron Badges & Site Credits: Patrons of all levels will get a badge on their Concert Archives profile and be listed on the Users and Credits pages, so everybody knows that you are part of the cool kids club :) [all Patron levels]
- Early Access to New Features: I've got some big things in the works for Concert Archives and I'll be rolling them out to patrons-only at first. [all Patron levels]
- Behind the Scenes Updates: As I'm thinking about and making changes I'll be letting the patrons know and soliciting your feedback. You'll be in the loop and get a chance to influence the site. [all Patron levels]
- Ad-Free Website: Banner ads are pretty annoying. Silver Patrons and above won't be annoyed anymore though :) [Silver Patrons and above]
- Priority Support: Maybe you need some duplicates merged or something isn't working quite right. Silver Patrons and above move to the top of the Support Request queue. [Silver Patrons and above]
- Patron-Only Stickers: Silver Patrons and above can make their friends jelly with exclusive patron-only stickers. [Silver Patrons and above]
- Extra Emphasis on your Ideas & Feedback: Have you ever wanted to hire your own lobbyist? That's what Gold Patrons get. I give your ideas and feedback extra time and consideration. [Gold Patrons and above]
- Patron-Only T-shirt: While stickers are great, they are kind of hard to show off. Gold Patrons can solve this by adding a Concert Archives t-shirt into their weekly wardrobe rotation. [Design coming soon. Gold Patrons and above]
- Your Profile on the Homepage: Gold Patrons and above get to have their profile featured on the homepage for a month (with extra space to give a shout out to your favorite concert/band). [Gold Patrons and above]
- Get your Website Feature Made: Have you always wanted a particular capability on Concert Archives? You and I will work together to build the feature you choose! Pick out a feature (one that can be completed in less than a week) and we'll discuss how it can be implemented, I'll give you a step by step look behind the scenes of building it, and beta access to test it before we make it live. [Diamond Patrons]
- Let's go to a concert together! You pick a concert in Portland, Oregon that we'll go to together. We'll coordinate our schedules, each pay for our own tickets (assuming a reasonable ticket price), and meet up before the show. [Diamond Patrons]