Patreon’s novel idea of fans just directly paying the artists they love is having its hockey stick moment. Patreon tells TechCrunch that in a year, it’s doubled the number of monthly active paying patrons to 1 million, and the number of active creators to 50,000. It’s now on track to pay out $150 million to creators in 2017, which would make its 5 percent cut equal $7.5 million in revenue. That’s after paying out $100 million total since 2014.
Videographers, musicians, writers, illustrators, animators, podcasters, game developers and more artists are finding steady income through Patreon at a time when other platforms look shaky for creators.
After the PewDiePie scandal alerted advertisers that they were appearing alongside objectionable content, YouTube has started letting them filter out certain channels. The result has been a decrease in monetization for YouTube stars. Vine died. Snapchat has neglected creators, refused to offer them direct monetization options and now has seen view counts fall due to ditching auto-advance and competition from Instagram.
Meanwhile, Instagram doesn’t offer ad revenue splits with creators. Facebook has begun to give some video makers 55 percent of the revenue from ad breaks they insert in their clips, but the program has yet to scale. Ad-supported platforms often pay merely $0.10 to $0.0005 per view, so creators have to be broadly popular to earn a living.
Yet on Patreon, contributors frequently cough up $5 per month…