Music Business Models. Case Study #2: Nate Maingard

NNate Maingard is a South African folk troubadour. Son of one of the most respected guitar creators in the world, Nate celebrates love and lovers. He writes poems, supports sustainability, eats organically and builds communities of like-minded people.

His passion for community has led him to innovate as an entrepreneur. His art (and partially his living) are now fully supported by his superfans – the ‘Nateives’ (I’m one of them.) They want to see Nate succeed and reach his goals more than anyone.

Nate Maingard

Nate Maingard

Here’s more about Nate’s approach: he has created a page – which is where he allows his most supportive fans to pledge an amount of money per creation he publishes (song or poem). Contributions range from $1 to $500. Each contributor (of any level) has access to his community, Facebook group and exclusive updates/live performances. They also receive special rewards – the more you pledge per month, the more valuable the reward. And, of course, they are always first to know what’s happening in Nate’s life.

Nate’s Nateives are his everything. He mentions his tribe in his talks, in his blog posts, during his live performances. He’d rather have 10 new people sign up as new patrons (even for $1) than buy a CD. Why? Nate looks to building a long-term relationship with his closest fans, growing his tribe one person at a time. His goal is to reach 1000 patrons at $1 each.

Time to break down Nate’s model:

Music Value Propositions

Nobody can deny that Nate is a spiritual man with lots of questions in his head. This is what he communicates as his main Music Value Proposition.

Furthermore, he is a global troubadour with mobility, – one who loves spreading the message of peace and love through his folk acoustic music. His catchy tunes and lightweight equipment can turn every house into a concert venue.

Nate is a man of integrity. He is determined about his mission and vocal about his beliefs. That’s why people find shelter in his message and love to follow his life. Nate has become a trusted influencer. One that inspires people. This is his third MuVaP.

Most importantly, his consistent message, personality and catchy music have created a following. Instead of chasing individual fans, Nate connects his listeners together, creating a vibrant community that talk to each other and preach the message of love.

Customer/Audience Groups

Most people attracted to Nate’s art are those who comprehend his message of spiritual awareness and sustainability. If you are too busy for such things, you probably won’t resonate with Nate’s message. He welcomes people of any age or disposable income, although his main audience belongs to the Generation Y.

Nate also attracts lovers of intimate concerts. He has given numerous gigs in unlikely places (homes, boats, churches…), each one conveying a strong sense of community.

Along the way, Nate collaborates with and gains endorsements from brands aligned with his values: organic shops, sustainable fashion outlets and musical gear providers.

Revenue $treams

Nate’s main income comes straight from his superfans. This ensures a predictable budget for art creation and his living expenses. He also runs live concerts, which are usually donation-based. During these performances, he sells his CDs and custom, unique merch. Crowdfunding played a very important role in his first album – he successfully funded it through Musicraiser.

In the future, Nate plans to integrate more brand-related revenue and public speaking (which will attract more patrons and direct speaking fees).


Nate is a great communicator by nature. He has created a clever system to organise his busy social life. He sends semi-canned messages to his newsletter. He personally manages social media, updates for the Nateives and email. He also uses software to automatically schedule posts and follow/un-follow like-minded users, personally engaging with every response.

From a commercial standpoint, Nate focuses on building a recurring income through his patrons, aiming to reach his goal – an amount of income that will allow him to sustain his art and full-time living.

Channels of Communication

Nate’s website is the main hub for his activities. It’s where you can find his social media channels, Patreon page, blog posts and public updates.

His main marketing tool, however, is word of mouth. In order to enhance it, Nate runs Open Mic nights in London, participates in interesting projects, organises frequent home concerts, personally interacts with his followers and asks for their feedback whenever possible.

Finally, the brands he collaborates with also spread the word about Nate’s work.

Career Assets

Without a second thought: the Nateives. This community is the pillar on which Nate’s success is built, since they support and believe in him wholeheartedly.

Nate’s personality and influence are also inextricable components in his career, along with his mobility (a guitar & computer are all he needs to run a party) as is his understanding of the online world.

Essential Activities

Despite his creative spirit, Nate has a lot of admin work to do. He self-manages his editorial calendar, actions and finances. He also spends many hours engaging with his professional network, tribe and social media followers.

Ultimately, Nate practices his craft daily and writes lots of new songs. Often he’ll spontaneously publish these songs as demos, exclusively for the Nateives – who share their feedback and appreciation.


As mentioned above, Nate closely collaborates with and gains endorsement from brands aligned with his values. He also maintains his network of influencers (Sofar Sounds, Darker Music Talks, music tech startups etc.) by providing them with value and positive energy.

Nate’s most important partner is his business mentor, who assists his projects and evaluates his decisions.


Nate’s main costs are for things that build his music brand, such as a website, design and printed material. He’s also invested in online services that help him manage his social media accounts. Inevitable expenses also include gear maintenance and travelling.

We could also mention recording and mixing, however Nate crowdfunds his releases, which minimises the risk and cost of these.

Nate Maingard Patronage Business Model

Nate Maingard Patronage Business Model

Key components

What are Nate’s Music Business Model milestones?

First of all, he has built a passionate community: he approaches his most valuable fans differently; treating them with exclusivity, personalisation and care. The next milestone is his message, which connects people and reveals his intense personality. The final element is a strong network of partners. Nate doesn’t only gain his tribe’s trust, but also gives value to his professional relationships, receiving plenty of support in return.

Find more info about Nate’s business: and

The next day

What can you do next?

  1. If you want to get in depth about the concept of Music Business Models, read my previous essay: MBM (101 | Design).
  2. Please get in touch with me at if you think that you or an artist you know has an interesting business model.

Most importantly, since you read this all the way to the end, you’re probably interested in music business models.

A small team of passionate patrons supported this essay. Thanks guys.

# # #

Tommy Darker is the writing alter ego of an imaginative independent musician and thinker about the future of the music industry. His vision is to simplify scalable concepts and make them work for independent musicians.

He is a writer about the movement of the #Musicpreneur and founder of Darker Music Talks, a global series of discussions between experts and musicians. He and his work have been featured in Berklee, TEDx, Berlin Music Week, Midem, SAEInstitute, Westminster University, Hypebot and Topspin Media.

Find him on Facebook and Twitter.