Yesterday news hit that Patreon, Jack Conte's innovative and highly successful patronage platform, received a funding round of $2.1 million. It's another level of validation for the recently launched site that is already making money for a bunch of artists including musicians. But an important question remains: What's Patreon going to do with all that money?
I initially resisted using the term crowdfunding for Jack Conte's patronage platform Patreon. But it's a valid use of the term, fan funding would also fit, even though it's a bit different from Kickstarter-style crowdfunding.
People pledge to give a certain amount of money for each song or video the musician or other artist intends to create. Additional rewards are given for different tiers of support.
It's also an excellent example of why telling musicians to stop selling music is ridiculous. It's become quite obvious from crowdfunding that people want to support artists they care about. Platforms like the newly relaunched Loudr, with its sliding scale approach to selling music, shows that music sales themselves can be an opportunity to create a patronage moment of sorts.
Patreon Already a Big Success
Patreon's certainly working for Jack Conte, who's currently being supported by 839 patrons at $6182 per video. Peter Hollens, who I talked to this week about his use of Loudr and earlier offerings from Re:Discover, currently has 284 patrons at $2267 per a cappella music video.
That alone would be impressive but Patreon is making this happen for a bunch of people. According to Liz Gannes at All Things D, Patreon now has around 2300 creators using the platform.
As if that wasn't validation enough, Gannes reports that Patreon has just raised a funding round of "$2.1 million from tech investors SV Angel, Charles River Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Atlas Ventures, Rothenberg Ventures and Tyler Willis."
Although Gannes compares Patreon's approach to an "automatic tip jar," Patreon is clearly operating at a higher level than that.
What Business Writers Forgot to Ask
But here's what business writers who spoke with Conte aren't explaining and apparently didn't ask: What's Patreon going to do with that big pile of cash?
- Jack Conte's Patreon Unlocks SuperFan Revenue Streams For Web Stars
- Loudr's Cover Song Licensing and Sales Platform Opens To New Signups For VidCon Relaunch
- Amanda Palmer at TED: The Art of Asking
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.