Medium Payment Impact Plus More Changes at BMT
My life is usually very predictable, but the past few weeks have brought a lot of changes for me (and many others) here in Mediumland.
Just a month ago we were under the old Medium Payment Plan and I was happily plugging away at Bonnie’s Mixed Tape by myself.
I celebrated my second anniversary here 3 weeks ago. I suppose that was a subconscious catalyst for re-evaluating what, if anything, I planned to do in my third year of writing about music.
My following had grown just enough that my mixtapes earned anywhere from $3 to $15. That’s not huge money, but I crank out 6–10 per month. The average mixtape was generating about $5–8, so I could see a nice trajectory.
In fact, I had just decided to put even more effort into my music writing since it’s what I am most passionate about. I would never bring in really big money, but enough that my efforts would have a genuine financial reward.
Then two things happened back-to-back: I introduced a new series (featuring 70s rock). Just hours after I made that decision I heard from my friend, the talented Mark Starlin, that he had created his own version of a BMT mixtape and wanted to see if I had any interest in housing it on my publication.
Poof! My tiny solo project suddenly had its first contributor! And I had expanded my music offerings.
Those two changes were implemented the weekend before the Medium Payment Plan change went into action.
Instinctively, I figured my BMT mixtapes would take a financial hit once the change went into effect. But I hoped for the best — that the earnings might stay stable or only decrease a little.
My plan was to keep writing my BMT mixtapes exactly as I had before. I intentionally kept the length the same. I also released a variety, but in keeping with what I have done over the past two years.
I wanted to make the comparison as close to “apples to apples” as possible.
One of the three mixtapes even got curated, so I feel like I have good information to base my conclusion on at this admittedly very early stage of the change:
My silly but very beloved mixtapes are officially a casualty of the new structure.
How bad is the news for me?
Succinctly: BAD. Like, really bad.
None of my mixtapes have even made $2. Two haven’t even cleared $1. One of them incorporated David Bowie, which should have been a money-maker. I’ve got enough experience doing this that I have a good sense of the ones that will veer toward being better received.
Sure, I get the occasional surprise. But in the past, the surprises always went one way: better earnings than I expected. In the past 6 months, I’ve not had a story that I felt would do well tank with, say, $1.50. Not once.
So my BMT earnings are down anywhere from 60–90%. Ouch!
I spend hours making these mixtapes. I LOVE making them, but I’ll acknowledge that being rewarded with $10 (heck, $6) for my time in addition to the handful of followers who enjoyed them felt, well, validating.
To make pennies on a silly, frivolous effort feels…indulgent and stupid. Not so validating.
I mean, my mixtapes were always indulgent and stupid, if I’m being really honest.
I just laughed.
Anyway, why share any of this?
Because I know that there are folks who are trying to get their heads around the impact of the new payment structure.
I’ve never spent a lot of time pondering where I fit in Mediumland. The truth is I don’t really fit in anywhere, but I’ve carved out my own little niche.
I can see now that in a lot of ways I’m like the poets, humorists, comics, and flash fiction folks. What I do is very hard to capture in terms of “read time.”
For those creators who have seen a dramatic downward shift in their earnings, I can report that I am seeing those changes, too.
Interestingly my views and fans for my mixtapes are more or less unchanged, so it’s how the earnings are calculated.
I will add that my dating/relationship stories are doing better under the new system, so I am blessed that my overall earnings (for now) are stable or even a bit higher.
I’m lucky that I have my other writing to offset my music writing losses. I know not everyone else has that offset.
It’s made me re-evaluate whether I shouldn’t go back to putting more effort into those stories than my music.
I would imagine others have been questioning how to approach writing under the new program. I can’t answer that for you, but it is a real conundrum. Everyone impacted will have some soul-searching to do.
You might be coming out just fine and dandy. You might fall into the camp who truly doesn’t care. You might have a lot of anxiety. Or you might be like me — still processing what changes to my writing I might make.
At the end of the day, though, Medium is under no obligation to give a tiddly wink about me. Though this change has been untimely for me (and unfortunate for many others), the responsibility of my writing falls on my shoulders.
This story is no rant. Make no mistake.
OK, this is what I know so far. Let me share this with other folks who are feeling a little lost, too. How do I feel about what I know? Can I maneuver around it in a way that is satisfactory to me?
For now, I’m staying the course with music. Which leads me to some exciting updates!
I am THRILLED to announce that one of my favorite writers on Medium, the frustratingly overlooked Jon Scott, will be contributing to BMT.
Please take a peek at his inaugural BMT mixtape:
Welcome, my friend! I’m so excited to have you on board!
Additionally, I’m considering revisiting my early BMT catalog. I wrote for over a year before I put ANY of my BMT stories behind the paywall. Frankly, hardly anyone saw them. At this point, they are languishing completely lost in Medium quicksand.
So, I’m planning on an additional series, probably something like the “re-issue series.” I’ll sift through my old catalog from my first year. As part of that process, I’ll check all the links to see that they are working properly and/or if there is a more special version of each song worth including.
In typical Bonnie fashion, I’m doubling down on what is surely a (financially) losing enterprise, but I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the pride I have in the evolution of Bonnie’s Mixed Tape.
More than ever, YOUR support is appreciated and needed.
Thank you, followers, fans, readers, fellow writers, and my friends! My Cherry Coke budget thanks you for spending time here at BMTland and being a part of my frequently ridiculous life — whether it’s sharing music or my dating debacles!
Take it away, Sammy Davis, Jr.!
Until her 40’s, Bonnie’s worst nightmare included writing and sharing personal stories publicly. At her friends’ suggestion, she bemusedly started Bonnie’s Mixed Tape on Medium in 2017. She remains shocked that anyone reads her stories and that P.S. I Love You, the Writing Cooperative, Song Done Wrong, and the Ascent have published her work.
Bonnie loves all types of music, but really, really, really loves the 80s!
Thank you for reading this story
I know you are busy and have lots of ways you could be spending your time. You using your time to read my work means the world to me — my sincerest thanks!