What is a MaxFun membership and why do you have them?

In 2005, Maximum Fun was founded on the idea that artists should own their own-work. Now, MaxFun employees own their own work, too. On June 30, 2023, MaxFun became a worker-owned cooperative! And like our shows, we rely on our community to choose to support the content that brightens their days.

An audience-funded membership model allows shows to be independently creative and keep making the content you enjoy without having to compromise artistic integrity or overload episodes with tons of ads. The reason we can turn down a lot of advertising that doesn’t fit with
our network, making for a more pleasant listening experience, is because we don’t rely solely on advertising revenue. We rely on you. We ask you to support the shows you enjoy if you can, so that you and others like you can continue to enjoy them.

When you join as a monthly member, you pick which shows you want to support. Each month, your contribution gets divided among the shows you listen to, with a small percentage going to MaxFunHQ to help pay for things that also help shows– such as centralized technology, business support, producers and HQ staff. It also means you are directly helping your favorite podcasts continue to exist! And your support helps keep this content free for all the folks who aren’t able to pay for it at this time.

While MaxFun shows are free for all to listen to, being a member gets you access to over 500 hours of exclusive bonus content. Each year, new bonus episodes from every show are added during MaxFunDrive, and some shows do additional content throughout the year, too. It’s our way of saying thanks for your support!

To help demonstrate how MaxFun membership supports your favorite creators, we’ve created this handy infographic that explains our business model.



Heading: Maximum Fun is worker-owned co-op. Subheading: MaxFun was founded on the idea that artists should own their work. Now, MaxFun employees own their work, too. Subheading: As a MaxFun member, you directly support:. Text: Your favorite shows and the people who make them, a business model that prioritizes people over profits, that we hope more people will adopt, the team that works behind the scenes at MaxFun HQ. Text: We're really excited about where MaxFun is headed and we hope you are, too.

Heading: How your membership helps. Subheading: Your hard-earned money. Text: Let's say you give $5 a month and choose to support 5 shows. Each show gets $1 from you every month. Icons show a person in headphones with an arrow pointing to 5 green dollar bills. Subtext: How that money is split. Text: The majority of your membership dollar goes to the show and its hosts. MaxFun uses a portion of it to sustain our network. Icons show a person speaking into a mic on the left, a person with a rocket on their shirt on the right, and in between them is one green dollar bill being broken into a pile of seventy cents and thirty cents.

Heading: How that money is spent. Subheading: Shows. Text: Shows can do what they want with their 70¢ of that $1. Here are some expenses they may have: Recording equipment, Tours/live shows, New creative works, Paying a producer/editor, Research expenses, Housing, Just living their life (this is the main source of income for some hosts). Subheading: MaxFun. Maximum Fun uses most of its 30 cents on set costs. Here are some expenses we may have : Business Staff, Production staff, Equipment, Rent & furniture, Technology, Charitable giving, Transcripts, Thank-you gifts, Special events, Fellowship program, Developing new projects

Heading: What's changed now that MaxFun is a co-op? Text: Our business model, our relationship with shows, and the values those things are built on have not changed. Being a co-op only strengthens our commitment to them. The biggest change is that worker-owners have two ways to determine our path: By electing or serving on the Board of Directors, By voting on important questions. And if the co-op does really well, we can share directly in that success. Subheading: Governance structure. Icons 24 icons of people wearing rocket shirts, 3 are grey, 2 are red, the rest are blue. Text underneath: For examples: 24 employees, of whom, 21 are worker-owners, 2 are exec management. An arrow points from that group to 5 orange people, above is the text: worker-owners choose 5 Board members from their ranks. An arrow points from that group to two red people icons and text reads: Board supervises executive management. Under the two red people icons is text: exec management oversees the company (worker-owners and employees).

Heading: Why monthly memberships Text: A steady monthly income allows shows to maintain a regular release schedule and plan for the future It also helps MaxFun plan and invest, which is especially important right now, while the podcast industry is in turmoil. It also makes it easier for the creators of your favorite podcast to remain independent so they can do what they'd like with their show. And processing memberships on a monthly basis lets us ask for money less often. I think that's something we all prefer! Text in a bubble: On average, memberships make up 70% of our network's income. We truly couldn't do what we do without our members. Thank you!

So, if you like one or more shows on MaxFun and you value independent artists being able to do their thing (or if you just love the worker-ownership of it all), consider becoming a MaxFun monthly member. Or if you just like listening to fun bonus content. That works, too.

What are the different types of memberships?

All MaxFun memberships recur monthly, but we have a wide variety of membership levels, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

The most popular membership level is $5 per month. For about the cost of a cup of coffee (in Los Angeles, at least), you gain access to 200+ hours of bonus content from shows all across the network. If you commit to contributing $10 or more per month, we’ll send you a physical gift in the mail so you can display your membership status with pride. If you’d like to give an amount in between our standard membership levels, you can do that, too!

We also offer gift memberships both for folks you know and folks you don’t know. If you know someone who’s into MaxFun but they don’t have a membership yet, you can gift them 12 months of membership! Not only do they get access to bonus content with this gift membership; they get to choose which shows receive support and know that they’re helping out their favorite shows.

We’ve also set up a way for generous MaxFunsters who are in a good place financially to purchase a membership for an anonymous MaxFunster who can’t afford a membership this year. If you’d like to purchase one year’s worth of a $5 monthly membership for an anonymous MaxFunster, go to maximumfun.org/join/#gift. If you would love to support your favorite MaxFun shows, but it’s just not in the budget this year, you can add your name to the waiting list of recipients.

What is MaxFunDrive?

MaxFunDrive is our annual, two-week event when we all come together to celebrate the shows, artists, and MaxFun community as a whole. It’s also the time of year when we directly ask folks to support the shows they love with a MaxFun membership or by spreading the word about their favorite MaxFun podcasts. Shows put out some of their best episodes during the Drive, hosts are extra active on social media, and we always have some fun, free events planned. And for these two weeks, we offer special, limited-time thank-you gifts for new or upgrading monthly members! Oh, and we also wind up saying a whole lot of heartfelt thank-yous!.

Should I wait until then to become a member?

Nope! (I mean, unless you’re reading this a week or two before the MaxFunDrive–in which case, yes, probably). The MaxFunDrive IS the two weeks of the year that we directly ask listeners to support us, but you can start a new monthly membership, or boost or upgrade your current membership at any time! You’ll gain access to all of the bonus content available if you contribute at the $5 monthly level or above, and you’ll get a physical gift if you join at the $10 monthly level or above, though it will be different from the gifts we give out during the MaxFunDrive.

Our shows and hosts rely on listeners for support every month, so the sooner you are ready to support, the sooner they will see the impact of your contributions!

How do I become a member?

Just go to maximumfun.org/join and select the level that works for you to get started. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll get an email confirmation that also includes the password to that treasure trove of bonus content we mentioned!