Jack Conte’s Patreon Unlocks SuperFan Revenue Streams For Web Stars

Patreon-logoJack Conte, known in part for his role in Pomplamoose, yesterday launched a patronage platform called Patreon that's designed to connect content creators with patrons. It's an interesting hybrid that combines elements of subscriptions, pledging and tipping and reconciles them with the sometimes erratic creative schedule of any working artist.

Patreon is Jack Conte's effort to help creators with web followings get paid. He told Brenna Ehrlich, writing for O Music Awards, that ad revenue on YouTube is inadequate for smaller acts and that crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter don't support ongoing creation:

“I just feel like there’s something broken there and there should be a way that someone with 10,000 readers or viewers can be making more money and make a living on what they’re doing."


What Is Patreon?

Conte came up with an odd hybrid solution described in the above video. It includes:

The concept of pledging a certain amount of money for each creative product with a monthly cap on spending. Neither a subscription nor a project-specific pledge.

Artists create content that's available freely for all to view. Patrons receive special rewards similar to the rewards from a crowdfunding campaign.

Patreon launches featuring three musicians but is designed to be open for all serial content creators. Patreon reveals the amount raised per estimated creation. I'm assuming that's a monthly average of the capped amount but it's a revealing bit of data.

Currently each launch artist on Patreon is pledged to receive:

Jack Conte – $1,485 per video

Lauren O'Connell – $311 per song

Nataly Dawn – $344 per demo

For YouTube stars, it looks like Conte has debuted a potentially powerful new revenue stream.

Previous efforts at patronage platforms are showing little progress. But my concern here is with the new pricing model which is rather unique.

The ideal is that it becomes a disruptive pricing model while the danger is in confusing consumers. But YouTube stars and other entities often build fanbases that go beyond consumer status and are willing to try new things in support of artists whose work they get for free (though they may also buy it via iTunes).

Patreon seems ideal for artists with well-developed fanbases who strongly anticipate new releases.

That can include artists with a limited number of highly enthusiastic fans.

Patreon's about page welcomes all creative types:

Youtube Vloggers
Online Comics
Video Producers

So, though Patreon's starting with musicians, it's designed for serial content creators. Such creators existed before the web but video and self-publishing platforms from podcasts to blogs to Tweet have opened up a whole new world of serial content creation.

To be perfectly frank, I was initially skeptical due to the new pricing scheme, but was ultimately won over by the fact that Patreon is already showing strong results.

Patreon is a rare solution for content creators that want to give it away for free while still getting paid.

More: Patronism: Reinventing Musical Patronage

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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