Patreon—as many of you SuperChillin readers who are also subscribers to popular content creators online might be knowing—is a crowdfunding membership platform. Read on to learn more about this revolutionary payment model and some of its alternatives.
What is Patreon?
Patreon—as we described briefly in the opening of this article—is a crowdfunding membership platform based in the United States that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or "patrons".
Patreon is popular among YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, adult content creators, and other categories of creators who post regularly online. It allows artists to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, on a recurring basis or per work of art. The company, started by musician Jack Conte and developer Sam Yam in 2013, is based in San Francisco.
In return for the service, Patreon charges a commission of 5/8/12% of monthly income (depending on plan) and transaction fees of 2.9% + $0.30 for payments over $3 or 5% + $0.10 for payments of $3 or less.
Patreon was co-founded in May 2013 by Sam Yam and musician Jack Conte, who was looking for a way to make a living from his popular YouTube videos. Together with Sam Yam he developed a platform that allows 'patrons' to pay a set amount of money every time an artist creates a work of art. The company raised $2.1 million in August 2013 from a group of venture capitalists and angel investors. In June 2014, Patreon raised a further $15 million in a series A round led by Danny Rimer of Index Ventures. In January 2016, the company closed on a fresh round of $30 million in a series B round, led by Thrive Capital, which put the total raised for Patreon at $47.1 million.
They signed up more than 125,000 "patrons" in their first 18 months. In late 2014, the website announced that patrons were sending over $1,000,000 per month to the site's content creators.
In March 2015, Patreon acquired Subbable, a similar voluntary subscription service created by the Green brothers, John and Hank Green, and brought over Subbable creators and contents, including CGP Grey, Destin Sandlin's Smarter Every Day, and the Green brothers' own CrashCourse and SciShow channels.
How much does Patreon cost?
Patreon users are grouped by content type, such as video/films, podcast, comedy, comics, games, and education. These content creators set up a page on the Patreon website, where patrons can choose to pay a fixed amount to a creator on a monthly basis.
Patrons can unlock monetary tiers that increase the content type they see from the user. A number of content creators on Patreon are also YouTubers. They are able to create content on multiple platforms, and while the YouTube videos may be available to the public, the patrons receive private content made exclusively for them in exchange for aiding the Patreon user’s goal. Patreon takes a 5% commission on pledges. As of May 2017, the average pledge per patron was around $12, and a new patron pledged to a creator every 5.5 seconds.
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What is Jordan Peterson’s opinion of Patreon?
Jordan Peterson—the popular Canadian clinical psychologist and a noted critic of the platform—has repeatedly stated that the platform’s silencing of content makers, especially conservative leaning ones.
Peterson had this to say about Patreon and its alternative he has been planning: "I've been working on a system to allow authors and other people who engage publicly on intellectual issues to interact more effectively with their readers and viewers and listeners," said Peterson. "What we're going to try and do as fast as we possibly can is to set this system up on a subscriber model that's analogous to Patreon. It will have a bunch of additional features, which I don't want to talk about right now, and I don't want to overpromise because the system is new."
What are some Patreon alternatives?
Kickstarter—Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding site that started in 2009. Like Patreon, there are plenty of Kickstarter competitors on the market, but it still boasts over 16.3 million backers and $4 billion in pledges.
Podia—Podia launched in 2014 as Coach and, in 2017, it rebranded to its current brand name. Though it doesn’t identify as a crowdfunding site, Podia allows thousands of creators to sell digital goods to customers. It markets itself as a creator-friendly alternative to Patreon.
Memberful—Memberful started in 2013 as a way to help independent creators sell memberships and build business. It continues to do just that even though Patreon acquired it in 2018. Instead of serving as a crowdfunding platform, Memberful is a plugin for your website that allows people to subscribe for exclusive content.
Indiegogo—Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform that ranks at the top of the list for Kickstarter and Patreon competitors. It was founded in 2008, and it operates on a reward-based system that allows people to raise funds for ideas, charities, startups, and products.
Hope you gained some insight into the number and the types of Patreon alternatives available, so you—the content creators of SuperChillin—can keep them funds flowing. Be sure to keep checking for more how-to guides and insightful articles.
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