24-Dec-2016 (Sat) Wherein we are now taking donations!

I added a tip jar to our store! Now when you check out, down at the bottom, it says:

Your donation helps ensure that we can continue bringing you the kind of awesome, eclectic and weird events that you've come to expect from us! Your donation keeps us independent, and lets us continue to take chances on the kind of local live entertainment that makes San Francisco great. Won't you pitch in?

I hope it works. I coded it up very late last night.

You can also point people at https://www.dnalounge.com/donate/ for the same thing.

And hey, big spender, I'm not saying $2,000 is the maximum we will accept. You can go right ahead and change that after you add it to your cart!

This is just phase one; I did this first because it was relatively easy. We're still planning on setting up some kind of membership program, probably using Patreon, but before doing that we have to figure out what the reward levels should be.

The only live music venue I've come across that has a membership program is First Avenue. Do you know of others? Most opera houses have membership programs, but their pricing is so different than ours that they don't really compare very well. (Those tend to include things like, "and for $300k/year, you get to have dinner with the Executive Director!" Tell you what, I'l have dinner with you for way less than that.) I've seen a few dance clubs with membership programs, but those seem to mainly be about super-high-end table service, so that doesn't really apply either. Anyway, the First Avenue program is roughly:

  • $45 / year: early access to ticket sales; 10% off food and drink at their attached bar;
  • $80 / year: 2 tickets to a main room show; 2 tickets to a small room show;
  • $500 / year: free admission to all small room shows; 4 tickets to main room shows; 2 tickets to Halloween and NYE; skip the line.

And they sell only a limited number of them per year, but I don't know how many.

So, I dunno. Maybe something like that!

Anyway, we're still pouring over all of the suggestions and offers for help that are pouring in. I really can't believe the number of responses we got. Again, thank you all so much!

We've had a number of people who have experience with grants offer to help, so we've been trying to wrap our brains around how something like that would work. Spoiler alert: it is hellaciously complicated.

And check this out, we have half of a new sidewalk. It is luxuriously broad. By dumb luck, they happened to pour it on a day when we didn't have an event. ("Did they tell you they were doing this today?" "Of course they did! Eight months ago they told us it was going to happen someday!") I think we might have gotten the other half by now if it hadn't rained on Friday.

And, a few galleries of recent events:

Hubba Hubba: BROvember
Odd Salon
Hubba Hubba: Toys

35 Responses:

  1. nightbird says:

    Are you set up for a monthly subscription?

  2. Dave Polaschek says:

    FYI, the Turf Club is a separate venue in St. Paul, a fifteen-minute light-rail-ride away from First Avenue.

    • Jens Knutson says:

      And the Turf Club takes memberships or donations...?

      • Dave Polaschek says:

        No. Admission to shows at the Turf Club is included with one of the membership levels at First Avenue.

        • Al Iverson says:

          The Turf Club was purchased by First Avenue in 2013, and has been run by First Avenue since.

          I think JWZ is wise to look to First Avenue as a model. There's a parallel there, a beloved local institution of live music (and of all age shows). I don't know any of the players personally, but I believe Nathan Kranz is the current GM. Heck, JWZ ought to reach out to ex-Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to ask for a couple hours of phone time for advice. Rybak is fond of First Avenue and seems to have helped them figure stuff out at a couple of different points. He's also a pretty good guy, and it is pretty easy to find him on Facebook.

  3. John says:

    Smalls jazz club in nyc has a membership program. Smallslive dot com.

  4. studioAno says:

    That tragic tree swimming in the sea of sidewalk.

    • jwz says:

      I'm sure it's a small matter of some paperwork, and the rest of one's natural life, to get it relocated.

  5. dmolnar says:

    Fantastic! Just donated. Look forward to donating more.

    Another thing -- I want to buy tickets for events and give them to some friends & colleagues who live near SF to introduce them to the DNA. I don't know the names in advance. Can I just buy them at will call under my name and email the box office later once I know the names or is there something special I need to do?

    It may be worth taking a deeper look at the opera and other artistic institution membership programs, even if they seem crazy at first. Like opera, my expectation is that the crowd attending the DNA will have some people who are capable of being exceedingly generous if approached the right way over time. I just emailed about one person who has experience with such programs and is interested to talk with you. I am looking for more.

    "The DNA is as a cultural institution and might as well get good at it."

    • jwz says:

      Thank you very much!

      To buy tickets for friends, they just need to know: the full name on the credit card used for the purchase; and the six letter confirmation code. If you just forward them the confirmation email, it's all there.

  6. boring spelling guy says:

    s/pouring over/poring over/

  7. krisG says:

    Merry Xmas DNA Lounge! May you keep bringing weirdness and coolness to the city for many years to come.

  8. tfb says:

    I expect the limited number thing is to make them exclusive and so more desirable? It's like being on the guest list.

    I don't know about the US, but in the UK several independent cinemas do memberships: it might be worth looking at what they do for a model. They're not really similar but they're a lot more similar than opera houses which are just a way of well-off-to-very-rich people showing off how cultured they are without having to actually be cultured (I know, not entirely). The benefits seem to be perhaps a couple of free tickets per year, some discount on non-free tickets, perhaps some members event. Surprisingly it works (for me) even if there is basically no chance I would ever go in a given year because I've moved, but it probably would not work if there was no possible benefit at all.

  9. James Milne says:

    Fabric in London have a membership programme called FabricFirst.

    They have a special queue at the door to let FabricFirst members in first.

    Your fabric membership also gets you compilation CDs sent to you every month by DJs/acts that play at fabric. Fabric is a pretty awesome club, although as an old codger with small kid I don't get the chance to go out much these days.

    fabric recently had their license revoked by Islington council after the deaths of two young guys (drug overdoses), but have won it back after agreeing to new license terms.

    You should check them out, all about that brand and merch yo, and DNA lounge certainly has a strong brand. Bit like football clubs which have fans all over the world buying merch but have never been to the country, let alone the stadium.

    • yukbon says:

      Your fabric membership also gets you compilation CDs sent to you every month by DJs/acts that play at fabric

      fuck that would be awesome and i'd sign up for that despite not being on the right coast to be a dna patron but I imagine that it would be a gigantic pain in the ass to deal with the rights and shit and i wouldn't blame jwz one bit for laughing a cynical laugh at the idea that he would sink time into that quagmire.

  10. Waider says:

    Quick one: can you make the merchandise link omnipresent? Had to bounce around a bunch of pages ("maybe under tickets? Nope.... contact?") before finding it. Merch + donation is likely to garner you more volume than just donation (hunch, no data)

    • jwz says:

      Well, there's a merch up-sell at the bottom of the shopping cart, and it's also on the menu of the top level page. Where else do you think it should be?

      There's only so much room on these pages, and if the horizontal menu on the sub-pages gets too big, people stop reading and get lost.

      • Waider says:

        I see what you're saying. Merch isn't your primary source of income so better to use the space in the "tab bar" for a tickets button. Not the first time I've made this error!

  11. Other jamie says:

    Glad you're giving this a go. I contracted Old Guy Syndrome at some point and stopped enjoying live music somehow, but the city needs DNA. And you are neighbors.

    Anyway, I'm on the other coast and my credit card company is being a poopy head, but I'm ponying up once they Allow me to spend my own money again.

  12. Martin says:

    Keep us posted on the membership thing and don't take too long to get something persistent started, even if you improve on it later.

    You'll have a lot of attention right now having put out your cry for help. People will be ready to act, and it's the holidays so they'll be feeling generous. Neither of those effects will last long. And once people have done something they'll tick it off and move on.

    If the thing they can do now, while you have their attention, is just a one-off donation then that's what you'll get.

  13. Tom says:

    Two suggestions:
    - update the "wherein we close" post (that is still circulating on social media) to point to the donation page
    - link to "wherein we close" on the donation page.

  14. atp says:

    Locally Freight & Salvage has memberships, looks like they get 30% of their operating budget from donations:

    Ashkenaz too:

    But it does look like they've gone the 501(c)(3) route. The Freight at least seems to offer some of the same types of perks you're considering.

  15. robert_ says:

    I think those who donate should be rewarded with a personalised insult from jwz.

    • spoonyfork says:

      Half the reason I follow jwz is the snark. If I could get personalized or otherwise snark without trolling, I'd donate.

      • Alan Smithee says:

        “Ooh, you know what he's doing now? He’s going for the righteous indignation dollar. That’s a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We’ve done research – huge market. He’s doing a good thing.”

  16. Anyway, the First Avenue program is roughly:

    • $45 / year: early access to ticket sales; 10% off food and drink at their attached bar;
    • $80 / year: 2 tickets to a main room show; 2 tickets to a small room show;
    • $500 / year: free admission to all small room shows; 4 tickets to main room shows; 2 tickets to Halloween and NYE; skip the line.

    And they sell only a limited number of them per year, but I don't know how many.

    So, I dunno. Maybe something like that!

    Rewards like that are neat for people who want to help you out and are proximal, but speaking as one who is the former and not the latter, I'd personally go for something more on the order of $5 or $10/month (because I budget on a monthly or at worst quarterly basis; definitely not annually), with no expectation of a "reward" (or for some "name on a list for a drink discount whenever you happen to be in SF" noise). See also my prior response wrt reliably recurring income.

  17. Cookie Wolf says:

    If I 300K lying around to donate to some opera house, I'd have to demand the entire company perform Big Balls by AC/DC. That, or the Executive Director would have to sing it to me at dinner...

    • Cookie, if you can come up with half that figure, I can personally guarantee a rousing rendition featuring most of the staff (all the fun ones anyway), and some very serious interpretive dance.

  18. Kitty says:


    Also pointed a couple of people who were looking for venues for tech company parties in your direction.

  19. Michael V. says:

    Empty Bottle in Chicago has a very nice membership program. http://emptybottle.com/store/fob-pass/

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