Collective Pricing Model


Our Pricing Philosophy Is Collective

A fundamental conviction we hold at Third Coast is that everyone should not only have the opportunity to access our programming, but should feel actively invited into it. And while historically our actions haven’t always aligned with our values, we have taken significant steps to break down barriers to entry within our own programming. One of these actions has been to take on the particularly pernicious financial barriers to access in the audio field, starting with our own programming.


What Does This Look Like In Practice?

We introduced Collective Pricing into each of our programs starting in 2020. For every program, we ask the members of our community to determine their own entry fees by a number of factors, including: individual resources they have at their disposal, institutional support available, their geographically-based economic limitations, the value of the program to them, and more. Throughout 2022, we’re looking forward to inviting each member of our community into Third Coast programming at the level they can afford.

Over the years, our approach has evolved through feedback from our community and will continue to evolve. Learn more about some of our past approaches below.

2019: First Steps

In 2019, inspired by our peers in the arts, we introduced our first true financial accessibility initiative at Third Coast: the Travel Stipends Initiative, which awarded over 40 attendees of our Third Coast Conference up to $500 to offset transportation, lodging, and food costs related to attending our annual, in-person conference in Chicago. This was a breakthrough moment in so many ways for our small non-profit, but it was just the beginning of a larger movement within Third Coast to reimagine how we think broadly about access to our community, and to the industry at large.

2020: Going Virtual

We took our programming virtual in 2020, and began to sculpt our programming around meeting the urgent needs of our artistic communities during the pandemic. Inspired by the principles and practices of mutual aid and sliding scale fees, we introduced our first articulation of the Collective Pricing Model during Third Place, that year’s virtual convening. We saw this initial rendering as a call-to-action to our attendees — and to the wider industry — to honor the resources they had access to at that moment, and to think deeply about how much they were able to offer in the context of other folks in the industry. This initiative asked each person to consider themselves part of a larger community and asked participants to be part of a movement to show up equitably, together. Concretely, this pay-what-you-can model ($25-$495) gave producers access to everything our virtual Third Place world had to offer.

2021–Onward: Always Evolving

For the past few years, we have continued to build custom collective pricing models into each one of our programs that are community conscious, responsive, and seek to honor the resources that each of our attendees has right now. We ask that folks determine their own pricing by a number of factors, including: individual resources they have at their disposal, institutional support available, their geographically-based economic limitations, and more. In other words, we want the starting place to be: What support do you have, and what support are you able to provide others in the Third Coast community?