Roundup Posts

d / m / s / r Year Three in Review (and Patreon Announcement)

On June 7, 2016, I launched this blog as a long-term writing project and, more importantly, as a way to process the inexplicable sense of loss I felt in the wake of my favorite artist’s passing. I often say that I’ve made less progress in these past three years than I would have liked, and that’s true; but on the other hand, there’s also no way for me to have predicted that I would still be doing this in three years, or–even more surprisingly–that people would actually want to read it.

That being said, let’s see what I accomplished since last June. My productivity did go up, though not as much as I wanted it to: I managed 26 posts–more than last year’s 20 but still significantly less than my first year’s 45. I had said I really wanted to get through more than two albums by this June, but I must have jinxed myself; in fact, I got through exactly two:

Controversy, 1981
Ephemera, 1979-1981

And, of course, this moderately increased writing productivity came at the cost of my putting the brakes on the d / m / s / r podcast. In 2017-2018, I put out 15 episodes, which makes me tired just thinking about it. Since then, I’ve done two, both from the latter half of 2018:

New Power: A Conversation with Takuya Futaesaku
Prince (1979) Revisited

All of which is to say, I want to do better, but I fear that I’m bumping up against my capacity for a pure labor of love. So, after three years and 91 posts, I’d like to propose an alternative arrangement: as of today, I’m launching a Patreon, which–if supported, obviously–will help me to justify the time I spend on d / m / s / r amidst my many other competing responsibilities.

Asking for money is something I’ve been mulling over for a while, and I don’t take it lightly: I initially considered launching the Patreon around this time last year, but decided against it because I didn’t think the amount of work I had been producing justified the ask. I’m doing it now, in large part, because I want to help normalize the idea that people producing creative work–including music criticism–are compensated for their labor. The Patreon model has its flaws, but on the whole it seems like a fair way for readers to support writers whose work they enjoy–and, as paid freelance writing rapidly becomes as anachronistic a notion as pensions and other forms of traditional job security, I suspect it’s going to be something more of us will have to embrace.

At the same time, I also recognize that not everyone who reads the blog wants or is able to support me financially, so I want to assure you that I’m not about to put everything behind a paywall. After my 100th post, I will start making new posts Patreon-exclusive for a short time–say, a week–before sharing them with the public. Mostly, though, the Patreon will be a way for me to deliver more to the people who want it, while also allowing me to turn down other (paid) opportunities and focus on the stuff that, trust me, we would all rather I focus on.

There are other benefits, too: if there’s interest, bringing back the podcast on a more regular basis is one of my stretch goals. More enticingly, it’s long been a pipe dream for me to start revising my blog entries and putting them out in more permanent, tangible form (i.e., books). Once the Patreon hits a certain monthly level of support, I will be able to justify taking on such a time-intensive project. Obviously, if this idea becomes a reality, patrons will be thanked in the books and, if supporting at a certain level, will receive copies as they come out.

Just to make myself clear, I don’t plan to become wealthy or even financially solvent from the Patreon; I have never been under the illusion that writing about Prince will allow me to quit my day job or retire early. But let me put it this way: I have about 200 regular readers, and if every one chipped in a dollar a month, that $200 would make a big difference in my ability to make ends meet. So would half, or even a quarter of that amount–basically, if the Patreon can allow me to put even a couple more hours a week into this passion project, then it will be accomplishing what it’s supposed to. In return, you’ll be getting more regular blog posts, as well as more “ancillary” pieces for patrons: in the coming weeks, for example, I’ll have a review and some revised/updated posts around the new Originals compilation. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, hey, no harm done: you can keep reading without contributing a dime, and I’ll appreciate you every bit as much as I do now.

To everyone reading this–future patrons and others–thanks for making the first three years of d / m / s / r feel like a worthwhile endeavor. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Patreon, just click the link below or the one I’ll be adding to the left sidebar of the site. Otherwise, I’ll be back soon to put another notch on my “completed albums” tally for Vanity 6!

Support d / m / s / r on Patreon

By Zach

Recovering academic. Music writing at Slant, Spectrum Culture, and elsewhere. Arguably best known as the author of Dance / Music / Sex / Romance, a song-by-song chronological blog about the music of Prince.

8 replies on “d / m / s / r Year Three in Review (and Patreon Announcement)”


how u have enrichend my life the past 12 months… *lovely sigh*

I have to be honest, I have been really spoiled by u and ur work up until now, because I just found u around February last year – and so, I had to catch up quite a lot.
I enjoyed the ride sooooooo much. Actually, Caro and me, we’re reading ur posts together and discussing them right away 😉
It’s become quite a beautiful routine “Did u check the blog?” – and sometimes we’re lucky that u posted a new entry, lately… yes, I got to be honest, we were quite sad, because we realized, u don’t find the time really to “be with us” the way u were before anymore.
I remember reading all these intense, informative entries as in the post about Annie Christian, without u, I would have never realized all that is in this song.. the blue car, the children murderers… And for me, one that is going really deep into Prince’s lyrics, this, dance/music/sex/romance, was and is heaven!
I finally found someone that thinks deep into lyrics as well and I get new opinions on certain lyrics… of course I sometimes don’t agree with u – for example regarding Bambi (I’ll be commenting on this one soon) – but that is the beautiful thing, u get to know different opinions on lyrics and even more so, u do the research and bring me facts, that I was not aware of.
Since April 2016 left me shook… life just ain’t the same anymore.. I started reading up on every book all over again, every news article, every little snippet right from the beginning – so, when I found u… damn, this was bliss! Because u started from the beginning as well.. and just how I felt ur excitement and ur passion for this project.
I just loved every little post of urs.

But, yeah, u guessed it already right, there is a but… this changed in this years posts.
I just felt u were not with all ur heart and mind in it anymore. Ur posts were not that passionate and deep anymore.
I was quite upset (?) when I saw u on other podcasts or writing for some other magazines… because… I wanted u h e r e. That u are with all ur senses with me/us. I felt that something was off and I have been quite… scared for some time now, that u would stop posting.

When I started reading ur recent post… I. was. scared. ! I felt like I have been back in kids school, starting to read my first break-up-letter. I thought, u’d break up… just leave and that was it. That scared the s*** outta me :p

See, it was crazy to me to understand, that u are on the same ride as me… I did really start over in May 2016, from the beginning, reading it all, listening to all the demos of each year, live boots, everything I can find… and I am honest, it is crazy when u understand what is awaiting u, the amount – and u want to be able to take it all in as well .. and then realizing how far I have come until now. What ain’t much further than u are on here 😉 To realize what P left for us, that he really just lived his music… it’s overwhelming, and I love every step of the way. And of course I sit here sometimes and think… if I continue like this, I got to be lucky, to make it all in my lifespan here in this thing called life haha
Just as u did in some of ur posts – I just found myself right there with u and … I don’t want to loose u now in this crazy wild purple ride.

Let me say this, I want u to be able to be back again, in ur thoughts, feelings and passion, with all the amazing research u do – in this project of urs. If this patreon thing guarantees u more time and space to be passionate about all this – and gives u the chance to not have to write for others and get distracted– damn, then I will do my best to support u with more $ in the coming months.

I got to say tho, don’t stress urself putting so much on ur plate. I think u underestimate how much we love ur blog posts here. For me there is no necessity of a Podcast. I understand what u got urself into, trust me I do – and I understand the amount of work, headspace and time u got to put into this – so, give urself that time and headspace. Don’t stress urself out with podcasts or books – well, I can see that the book is a dream of urs tho and it makes a lot of sense, I’d buy it for sure.

With that being said, I will be supporting u ( and I will try to bring some more in the following months) and hope this helps, to “get u back” and put u a bit on ease with all of this. I felt u enjoying this in the beginning so much… and I really want that Zachary back 🙂
Sending lots of purple love and energy ur way, Jessica

Wow, thanks very much for this comment, this affirms some stuff that’s been on my mind and makes me feel like I’m on the right track. I have definitely been SPREAD THIN–and while I’ve done some good work in the past while in that condition, it’s really not ideal. And then of course when I’m not thrilled with the caliber of work I’m putting out, that’s a motivation killer. I started doing the extracurricular stuff at first in hopes to bring wider audiences here, and I suspect I will keep doing that to some degree (especially when it’s something fairly low-effort for me, like jumping on somebody else’s podcasts), but I’ve also found that the actual gains from those “extra” activities aren’t always worth the effort I put in. A lot of the most dedicated readers I’ve had the good fortune to find have just stumbled on the blog one way or another, which isn’t exactly a good “business model,” but it works well enough for me.

I know some people like listening to podcasts and some don’t care for it as much, and honestly as we approach that as a possible stretch goal I’ll be curious to hear how many are genuinely interested in it. I do think the best thing for me to do is to focus on the bread and butter of d / m / s / r and make my writing as good as it can be. I really think about this blog as being an ongoing reference for people who find it, so I want it to be up to par and hold up in that way. Anyway, thanks for you support (and not just monetary!). I really appreciate it.

I can relate verrry good to this one “A lot of the most dedicated readers I’ve had the good fortune to find have just stumbled on the blog one way or another” – for me it was that way, that I have been searching for information about each demo/song online and at that particular time it was *drumroll* HEAD :p
I love thinking back to this haha – so reading ur post on Head really got me hooked on u and I just went wiiiild on all ur posts.

Especially the Annie Christian post provided so much information that I didn’t know of before – I so love the research u did on this one… so. so. appreciated ! ! ! That made the song for me extra special, since I really did dig this one a long time, but, reading ur post about it… man, so many new layers to it.
It’s really so enjoyable how deep u always go in ur posts about songs, I really want u to know that all the work u do, is so so so appreciated and I am DAMN excited for the future – cos *pop the champagne + party like it’s 1999* we reached our goal! 🙂

Actually I do enjoy listening to Podcasts and I sure will listen to urs as well – but as of right now, I am just on to reading all kinds of books about P step by step, the Princevault and ur blog.
Podcasts do have to wait :p

All ur new posts got me all excited, as I said – I am where u are as of right now, with all my books ect. Soooo, it’s just perfect timing 🙂

Again, thank u for all that u do!

I’M IN! I love this blog Zach, as you’re aware! You’re a fantastic writer and you’ve broken down some important things that I hadn’t previously known and I love reading about the history of songs / what was going on at the time etc.

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