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In eevee, I would like a number of text labels to fade in and out of the scene at different times during the animation.

I know that after setting the material's blend mode to "Alpha Blend", I can keyframe the alpha level in the "principled" BSDF shader, but unless I am missing something, each object would need its own material for this solution to work.

Is there a clever way to have all objects share the same material while still being able to fade them in and out at arbitrary, independent time points?

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You can animate the object color (from its properties panel).

I've pluged it in the color in the example below, but of course, you can use it for alpha too.

enter image description here

That provides three channels (RGB) useable in the shader node tree that can be keyframed in RGB color mode (as indicated by @Gorgious).

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    $\begingroup$ You can keyframe each channel independently but only when you set the color wheel to RGB. Also you can't access the alpha channel in the shader editor with this method but you can use one of the other channels into a separate RGB and use that as the alpha channel. Note that in the 2.92 version the alpha channel is available in the attribute node see developer.blender.org/rB6fdcca8de6 and developer.blender.org/rB9bc177d8de $\endgroup$ – Gorgious Nov 23 '20 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Gorgious, thanks. I'll update that. $\endgroup$ – lemon Nov 23 '20 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ Just tested it in 2.92 Alpha, this will be the way to access the object color alpha in newer versions : i.stack.imgur.com/yVjM1.png Although custom properties will be accessed directly by the attribute node (Yay !) i.stack.imgur.com/pTeSA.png $\endgroup$ – Gorgious Nov 23 '20 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Gorgious 2.92 will be a big one : ) $\endgroup$ – lemon Nov 23 '20 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ @lemon, thank you, clever indeed. Looking forward to being able to access custom properties from the node! $\endgroup$ – Giuseppe Nov 24 '20 at 8:18

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