Imagine this. You’re a Youtube video creator that has over 200,000 subscribers. You record, edit and publish new videos every day. You’re spending more time producing content than many people spend at their job.
In terms of financial income, you’re at the mercy of YouTube (Google) with the ads that are running on your videos. You have a Paypal donation link, but that doesn’t bag you much.
This problem has plagued not only YouTube creators, but creators in many fields. Musicians, artists, designers, authors, and everyone in between. They simply had no real control over their income.
A solution was needed. Enter Patreon.
Patreon was created by Sam Yam (developer) and Jack Conte (musician) in 2013, having raised nearly 50 million dollars of investment.
It’s a platform that allows creators to accept ‘Pledges’, which can come in the form of either a monthly payment, or a payment when a new piece of work is created. These Pledges are submitted by fans, otherwise known on the platform as ‘Patrons’.
Ultimately, this empowers creators to monetise their audiences themselves without having to rely on the likes of YouTube (Google), or in the case of musicians, record labels.
The shift this has caused is monumental. Not only does this allow creators to have a somewhat safe and secure income, but it in-turn influences the type of content that they create.
For example, take a gaming based YouTube creator that has been uploading videos of a popular game purely for the sake of getting maximum views in order to generate the most ad revenue. They can now spend their time uploading videos of games that they are passionate about.
This rings true for musicians, artists, and everyone in a creative profession. Patreon gives stability, and stability allows them to pursue their real passions, thus increasing the overall quality of content.
We mentioned Seth Godin’s Book and Ted Talk on Tribes in a previous article about how social media has affected the music industry. Patreon facilitates this idea of small ‘Tribes’ following a particular person or niche, and makes it possible for creators, even with small audiences, to pursue their dreams.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows however.
In December 2017, Patreon announced that the platform’s fees would be switched from the creators to the Patrons.
This meant that a pledge of $1 per month would then become $1.38, and a pledge of $5 would have become $5.50. A 38% and 10% rise respectively. In response to this, many patrons withdrew their pledges, causing a backlash from many creators.
Shortly after said backlash, Patreon announced that the fee changes wouldn’t be rolled out, and they also apologised to their users.
Overall though, Patreon has been instrumental in correcting the balance of power between creators and big corporations. As the fan subscription model evolves, expect to see projects of increasing size and complexity utilising the platform to facilitate their monetary requirements.
If you’re a creator that has been utilising Patreon successfully, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or hit us up on our social media profiles.