Getting paid as a young creative is tough, to say the least. Most aspiring creators — whether they’re painters, writers, musicians — have experienced a day in the life of the archetypal starving artist.

Tipalink, a new website locally built and launched, hopes to provide a quick way for fans to pay creatives for their original work.

Created by Derek McKee, the service acts as a supplement to subscription and ad revenue for artists of all kinds.

“I ran a Charleston art shop for two years, some number of years ago,” says McKee. “Artists are generally trying to sell their work for more value, a higher price, so they can make a living doing it, if you’re really trying to make it.”

The way it works is easy enough: Fans send a tip amount of their choosing to artists. The tips accumulate in a tab, just like a bar or restaurant, and the fans pay the tab when they can. The money is then sent to the artist when the tab is paid.

“A solution like this could also help them monetize, at least accept tips on people that appreciate their work,” says McKee. “They follow them, they subscribe to them, but they maybe just don’t have the money to throw $500, $5,000 — maybe just throw $5.”

McKee developed the idea for Tipalink in May during a discussion at a tech forum.

“We were all brainstorming different ways of getting around that monetizing, the problem with monetizing content,” he says. “It started as a micropayment option… but it quickly morphed into this idea of tipping.”

Tipalink officially launched in August, shortly after the release of GroupE, an app used to tip musicians, exclusively.

Artists and fans who are interested can sign up for the service at

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