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Patreon expert review by Rose Spinelli
Patreon, headquartered in San Francisco, was launched in 2013 by musician and Patreon CEO Jack Conte after he struggled to turn a profit for his musical content. The platform is a unique crowdfunding model for artists and content creators of all stripes. Rather than a one-time contribution YouTubers, musicians, and all types of artists obtain funding from their fans or patrons, on a recurring basis, or per work of art.
Unique Model: Artists set up a page on the Patreon website. There patrons can pledge to give a certain amount of money to an artist every time they create a piece of art, setting a monthly maximum if desired. A fixed monthly amount can also be pledged. The recurring funding service connects creators and their fans in a modern take on the patronage system while creators benefit from guaranteed payments for each creation.
Easy crowdfunding for creators: Many talented artists remain anonymous because of their lack the business and self-promotional acumen. Even for those skilled in marketing, it’s often a burden to take the time away from their passion to do so. Patreon removes those responsibilities by featuring new and popular creators on their blog, front page and email newsletters, handling payment processing and recurring billing so creators can focus on their creations.
Multiple creator categories: There are a total of 14 artist categories from which to choose, making the likelihood of attracting relevant patrons, and for patrons to discover new creators, much easier.
Have the freedom to create more: With less focus on the dollars, artists are able to spend more time doing what they do best: making art.
Marketing strategy: Patreon allows creators to post private, patron-only content exclusively for the eyes and ears of patrons in order to encourage more monthly pledges. Private content may include early access to new material, behind the scenes information and private chats with the creators. To date Patreon fans have given creators $50 million in support.
Best for: Patreon is best for creative people looking for alternative income streams, patrons and fans interested in supporting their favorite creators while gaining access to exclusive content.
Crowdfunding Contributing Editor
Rose Spinelli, founder of The CrowdFundamentals, is an internationally recognized crowdfunding specialist, mentor, trainer and writer. In 2014, she was voted one of the 100 Most Influential Thoughtful Leaders in Crowdfunding. Rose is the author of one of the first online crowdfunding courses called “Working the Crowd: Know the Fundamentals,” and she has served on a board of directors for the CrowdFunding Professional Association.
Patreon questions and answers
- What problem is Patreon trying to solve?
- Certain forms of high-quality art and creations are becoming increasingly difficult to monetize online. Patreon allows fans to directly support their favorite online creators through reoccurring pledges so they can increase production value, make more content, cut out ads and sponsors and most importantly, ensure they can keep producing the art they love.
- What sets Patreon apart from the competition?
- Most crowdfunding is devoted towards funding a single project. So it is more transaction based. Patreon is more about funding the artist, so it is much more relationship based. Patreon is built with this in mind. Rather than serving primarily as a payments provider, it offers a variety of different ways to enhance the relationship with the people supporting you directly and to help maintain and grow your patron base.
- What needs do your products or services fulfill, and how do you fulfill those needs better than your competition?
- We allow creators not only to collect money on an ongoing basis, but also provide the tools to manage that relationship with the fan who is contributing. We handle the associated international tax and accounting. We are continuing to add features that enhance distribution of rewards and features to help artists attract new patrons.
- How does Patreon measure success?
- Patreon was created to support the growing middle class of artists and creators. The more creators we can empower to make a living through their art, the more we consider that a success.
- What’s the most common misconception consumers have about your industry and your company?
- Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept to many people and is often perceived as a method of raising money used by amateurs. But Patreon and crowdfunding in general are increasingly being used by professionals. Many artists prefer to avoid getting bogged down with labels, production companies, managers, agents and can now go directly to their fans and choose how they earn their money.
- How has your industry changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
- Patreon serves a variety of online creators, but one thing is true across all of these industries, the accessibility of professional tools and distribution techniques has dramatically closed the gap between independent artists and professional production companies. You can start a podcast and reach an audience of over a million people for less a couple grand. Someone on an average budget can record a song in a home studio and distribute it to millions of people via social media. High quality art creation is now within reach for more people than any time in history. And quality and accessibility will continue to grow over time.
- What is something you wish every consumer knew about Patreon?
- Not everyone wants to get your art for as cheap as possible! Many of them genuinely care about your well-being as an artist and don’t take you for granted. They go out of their way to support the creators of the things they love and it is so inspiring to see. This is something that is often hard to see (or even believe) before you experience it through something like Patreon.
- Has Patreon received any awards or recognition your customers would like to know about?
- Patreon was listed as “a company to watch” in the Atlantics Silicon Valley Insiders Poll, when top execs were asked about which startups they see as having the potential to change the world. We considered that a great honor and hope to be able to continue to change the lives of artists for the better.
- How has Patreon grown or evolved?
- We have and will continue to strive to serve creators. We will continue to put the creator first and provide tools and resources for them to better serve their fans and empower them to make a living doing what they love.
Patreon Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- San Francisco
- United States