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R.I.P The Hard Times 2014-2024… Unless?


When we started Hard Times and Hard Drive almost 10 years ago things were a bit easier for us. Facebook and others allowed our comedy to spread organically. Now, whenever we mention a political name or term, we see the reach of that post plummet. If we reference s*x or anything risque, we sometimes see our reach punished for a month or more. When we use swear words in an article, advertisers put us on a blacklist. When we put a link on a merch post, algorithms decide it’s better readers don’t see that post and just stay on social media.

We don’t want to complain. We just want to keep making jokes. But it’s becoming harder and harder to keep the lights on in this new environment. Our sites can no longer survive without some help.

So we’re launching a Patreon.

We’re completely owned and operated by our original founding team, which started as a punk zine almost a decade ago before also expanding to video games and nerd culture. During the pandemic, we actually sold Hard Times (not Hard Drive) in a bid to safeguard editor salaries, but after some disagreements with management, we decided it was best for the site if we bought it back and went completely independent and DIY again, just like how we started. So that’s where we are now.

We love the sites too much to see them go the route of so many other publications. We know you’ve seen many publications die and fade away. You’ve seen social media algorithms restrict content and what you see. So you get it.

We don’t want to be dramatic, but your support via Patreon is the only way to keep Hard Times and Hard Drive alive. Behind the scenes we’ve tried every other option we could think of (you’ve probably seen some). We’ve always resisted asking our audience for financial support and used as much personal money as we could to keep things afloat, but transitioning into a partially community-funded thing is our last real option.

If you’d like to see The Hard Times and Hard Drive continue in 2024 and beyond, please consider becoming a patron (click here). We’re hopeful there are enough of you out there so we can keep the lights on, focus on creating content people enjoy, and spend more time creating exclusive NSFA (not safe for algorithms) content for patrons.

We’d like to have fun with this and consider it a new era of our comedy project. We’ll be doing things like creating exclusive articles every day for patrons, early access to ad-free versions of our articles, letting patrons vote on coverage/topics for future content, making playlists and articles about supporter’s bands or indie video games, giving merch discounts, and creating a Discord where readers can talk with our founders, writers, and editors. We want our community to be able to see behind the scenes, pitch ideas, pose for images that go with headlines, and a lot more.

We’re excited to experiment with some new community projects, like creating a Hard Times and Hard Drive dating service where our editors will help satirically exaggerate facts about patrons, hype you up, and post what looks like screencaps from this made-up satirical Hard Times/Hard Drive dating profile to our social media and tag you. We also want to create a “Scene Legends” version of this for people who don’t want the dating angle and just want to have us write jokes about them or their band/indie game/project.

We’d love it if The Hard Times and Hard Drive could become more of a community project instead of beholden to social media algorithms and advertisers. And we don’t want to see it owned by anyone who loves it less than us. But we can’t do it without you.

If you’re out there and enjoy our stuff, it’d mean the world to us to see your support via our Patreon. If you can’t support us financially, we understand. Reposting or telling a friend who enjoys our stuff would be terrific.

If we are unable to get enough patrons to keep the lights on, we’ll refund everyone who subscribed and shut the Patreon down.

Thanks for reading and the years of laughs, comments, and energy either way.

-The Hard Times and Hard Drive

P.S. We thought about making this funny but decided creating funny content online is what got us into this mess in the first place.