Important Changes - [P] Patreon Supporter Permissions


@Eli - thank-you for your very generous support :slight_smile:


Maybe if you add something next to ’ Sonic Pi is available free for: ’ on the website before the download link. Something like ‘but we really need your support’. Because before I read a little this forum, I did not realize that your situation was serious.


@samaaron I didn’t realise your situation was this serious. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can support you on Patreon at the moment. Is there any other way we can help?

Also, I’ve got a suggestion. I know you are trying to push Patreon, and I totally understand why, but I think that it might be beneficial to the wider community that Support, Help and Resources and Development stay open to everyone:

  • Support, Help and Resources is very useful to anyone who needs some help with their code or is trying to find more resources to learn more about Sonic Pi, how to use it and how to use it’s coding language.
  • I think Development should be open so that it’s open to any developer who wants to help with Sonic Pi development, even if they can’t help monitarily.

But I do understand that the above may not be a great or even feasible suggestion at this moment in time.

I hope that Sonic Pi doesn’t go away, because it’s a great educational and creative tool. I hope it stays free so that the barrier for entry is as low as possible and so that as many people as possible get to use this great software!


At the moment the best ways to help are to either support via patreon or help spread the word about Sonic Pi :slight_smile:

I appreciate your concerns but I should point out that providing help on these forums is where most of my time goes. Given that I release Sonic Pi freely I can no longer also afford to give all of my time freely too. As the number of users grows so does the demand on my time.

If people would like support, there must be a way of providing it in a sustainable manner. One typical way of achieving this is by using the profits from a product to pay for someone to provide support. As I have no profits I have to look for other means.


Great idea! I’ve given it a try :slight_smile:


I did the thing! I certainly spread the word about Sonic Pi but if there’s anything more I can offer, please let me know.


Thank-you for your support :slight_smile:


Hey Sam…

Have you considered a Kickstarter ? You already have a working product on several platforms… you could
make goals match putting new facities in… or make the whole KS about coding 3.2…

Just a thought.



as far as education goals: something like, How is Sonic Pi built, could be interesting, since it’s a different stack than a lot of other software. a lot of learning things these days seem to be focused either on the browser or on machine learning. but maybe demonstrations of actual, hands-on concurrency issues, and how to deal with them, presented in an understandable and entertaining way is not really something you find in much other educational material

maybe that’s kind of advanced material… but another thing for education purposes, there might be some distance from coding music to what someone might need to do the first time they try, or are asked to write a program, like for work purposes. like they might need to open a file, read the contents, and do something with it. maybe if sonic pi can be the basis for doing some scripting kind of tasks with ruby, then that might help bridge that practical side of the “learn how to code” audience.

getting people past the ‘terminal and a blank text file’ roadblock is pretty hard, but a lot of non-programmers wind up using lua in Roblox or other games, or VBA, or javascript in Photoshop, just to modify something or get something done. but a lot of learning material seems to push towards software engineering-style programming rather than compact practical tasks. but ruby is pretty good for compact, practical tasks, so maybe that’s an education segment that’s underserved


That’s actually an awesome idea. What if we have a Kickstarter campaign run by @samaaron and the tiers of prizes include free copies of original user created songs. That way even for those of us who don’t have money to support you, we can instead support you by submitting a song/album. Not only that but it’s good publicity for everyone involved. The musicians become more well known and Sam gets what he needs.

I’d be down for composing new tracks to share for this! And I think the community has enough of a following that the word about this campaign should spread quickly and no doubt be a success.

The way I see it Patreon is only targeting the existing audience. This would target both the existing audience and a new audience. It would also give the existing audience a reward for their money put in, which may entice them to pay up.


Hi all, I love this project and I will be helping as much as I can. Not sure if @samaaron is currently doing this, but since we are brainstorming, maybe a paid online course on “advanced live coding” could be a way to get some resources. Maybe it is a horrible idea, it is just something that came to my mind.


Also a great idea. We could even get community members to create lessons showing their own style and approach.



Annual Fundraiser, like the Internet Archive - put a banner at the top of every site you maintain for the period of the fundraiser and create a static page that explains what you are up against (for the months you are not heavily fundraising) Donation levels can have all sorts of perks.

Check out this page: They clearly define what they do and why support is needed plus give every available option to donate.

Advertising on Forum preferably companies that are music/code related. Ex. Sample Pack Company, Ableton, etc.




I have the impression that the traffic on this forum has decreased a lot. I first thought this might be due to holyday time but I don’t think that anymore. It might be worthwhile to consider to open the entire forum again - even for non-supporters.

I think that once you use the forum, get help and be able to get in touch with other people using SP increases the chance that you do feel the temptation/urge/obligation/wish to acctually make a difference and support via Patreon (or any other noticeable way).

I do realize that people expect to get support for SP via this forum but there are quite a few people who are willing to answer one or the other question according to there time resources and knowledge (including me). So the support would not have to entirely rest on @samaaron’s shoulders.

What do you think?


Looking at the data, I don’t see any drop-off, although there’s not much growth either.

The main reasons for introducing the Patreon requirement were to:

  1. Find a way to tangibly reward supporters,
  2. Fund the maintenance and costs of running this forum (which grow as the forum grows),
  3. Ultimately find a way of allowing me to continue to work on Sonic Pi.

Perhaps 1 isn’t working as you suggest. However, 2 and 3 are still real problems. Having the Patreon requirement fixes 2 and dropping it will require me to find other means for me to pay to continue delivering this free service whilst also still figuring out how to fund further Sonic Pi development. I was hoping that if I could fix 3, then I could take on 2 myself. This may still be possible, but I’m not there yet.

It’s important to point out that most ‘free’ sites use ads or other tracking systems to generate revenue. I am doing neither on these forums.

I would love to make everything I do and provide free. However, somehow I have to feed my children.

I’m open to ideas.


Hi @samaaron,

I really do see what you mean. In the end it is your task to weigh the facts and calculate the numbers to do what’s best in your interest.

I just wanted to let you know, that there are people in this forum (which you probably know) that very much appreciate your work and are willing to support also in the way to provide support concerning how to use Sonic Pi.

I am also imagining the following situation: Someone is really interested in Sonic Pi but needs some personal help to get started (besides the nice tutorial and the many other online resources). He or she joins the (free) forum, asks questions and gets valuable answers and new ideas. That’s the point where he or she might realise that people (first of all you) put time and effort into it; he or she might then be more open to acctually support via Patreon. I could also imagine myself to be one of many who - after a while and from time to time - encourages new members of the Sonic Pi community to actively donate to keep this project alive.



In general I do completely agree with you - I’m just struggling to figure out how to make it all work. Ultimately, as soon as I run out of resources, it’s going to be very hard to find people to voluntarily do all the work I’ve been doing so far. I’m really hoping it won’t get to that.

I’ve now relaxed many of the restrictions. Hopefully this strikes a better balance between a free service and incentives to help contribute to its continued existence :slight_smile:


Great. I’ll keep my fingers crossed :wink:


To be honest, I think you should try to appeal more to peoples’ morality. How much is 1 $ a month for an awesome, extremely versatile, completely free, tracking-free, ad-free piece of software which support connections to many different platforms and hardware? With loads of support, easy-access help, tutorials, … all for free. I don’t think people realise (especially if they live in a relatively ‘high-earning’ country) how cheap a very small monthly donation is in return for sonic pi.

I am very opposed to the commercial approaches: NO advertising, NO freemium-model with locked features. I’m not very active on this forum, but I don’t think making parts of the forum off-limits for non-patreons will help much. There are plenty of ways to find more information, ask questions, watch videos, etc about sonic pi, not on this forum. It might even cause some valuable users to drift away from this (financially) supportive environment, whithout losing channels of communicating about SP, since SP itself remains free.

What I wouldn’t oppose at all, is a lot more visibility of the hardship for trying to be and stay free and open source. A request to donate could be emphasised on the splash screen (where it now says thanks to patrons, it might also invite people more strongly to become a patron themselves). There could be a banner or a “support this software to remain free!”-button inside SP requesting donations from users who are not patrons, patrons can hide it. It might only appear after x number of hours ran.

[Run] [Stop] [Rec] [Save] [Load] [Donate]

There may be a way to keep it banner-free for schools and NGOs. This would not at all influence any features: every user gets the 100 % SP package, but some get a friendly request to please help out on a project which is run in truly free spirit, others get a thank you for already doing so.

I agree with others: many people don’t have a paypal-account (and will never open one). Creating more payment-options and possibility to donate one-time-only might be a good move to increase funding. Transparancy about monthly financial goals and donated amounts (anonymously) might alse help.

Anyhow, thanks very much for keeping it free and accessible for anyone so far. I’ve learned a lot about music thanks to sonic pi :slight_smile:


Hi Sam, Hello World.
Isn’t it time for a paid version of SPi and to call it done with those financial struggles ?
A free entry point version used for educational purpose could perfectly co-exist with a more full featured and paid one.
Just remove the midi implementation for a start; 10 years old kid may not need it, more advanced users certainly do.
I’ve already asked in a previous thread for more advanced algorithms with documentation for instance. what can markov chains bring to your compostions and how does it work ? how do you implement L-systems ? what is sonification ? Those concepts could come to life in a paid version of the software, which would certainly still enlightens.
Or more complex synths and fx. Or whatever your needs are, really.
A journey learning music will cost you anyway, be it for books, a DAW, a bunch of synths, fx, sample libraries and whatnot.
Why not for a beautiful pre-packaged and full featured live coding environment ?