A few years ago there were a few on-going, crowdfunding platforms that all had promise. Namely Flattr, Gittip, CentUp and Subbable. But only one has arisen victorious. Call it the vision. Call it the CEO. Call it the name. Whatever it was, Patreon has dwarfed the other crowd-funding services and is onto something big.
It was announced today that the on-going crowd funding platform, Patreon, is acquiring it’s direct competitor Subbable. Patreon, which now has 250,000 patrons who directly support 12,000 (active) creators on an ongoing basis, was founded in 2013 by YouTuber Jack Conte. Conte and his band Pomplamoose, who were featured in a few Christmas Hyundai commercials back in 2010, have amassed over 135 MILLION views on YouTube. He created Patreon initially to help them (and other YouTubers) sustain an income. YouTube’s ad revenue is notoriously low, so Conte made a direct appeal to the fans. So far podcasters, bloggers, comic strip(pers?), meditation instructors, web series creators and musicians are being supported by their fans for content that is mostly free and available to the general public. Amanda Palmer broke yet another crowd funding record when she launched her Patreon last week. She now has over 3,700 people giving her over $28,000 per piece of content she releases. Be it a song, video, blog post, painting, anything.
Subbable was also started in 2013 by brother YouTubers Hank and John Green, who collectively have over 451 million views and 5 million subscribers for their YouTube channels SciShow and Crash Course. Started with a similar vision in mind, it remained closed to an inner circle and never gained the traction that Patreon has. Subbable currently has 24 creators with 12,000 subscribers (patrons) who give over $1,000,000 annually. Not too shabby.
Because all 12,000 Subbable subscribers might not make their way over to Patreon initially, part of the deal is that Patreon will match every pledge for a transitioning Subabble creator for the first month to ease the transition.
The brilliant, one man jazz
a-cappella band, Jacob Collier, summed up what Patreon is pretty aptly in his welcome video:
If you pledge to a creator, “in return [you] get access to the indoor community space which is the Patreon page. It’s like a hub of activity, conversation, ideas, content, exciting stuff. By becoming a patron of what I do, you are supporting me in these adventures and providing me with enough resources to keep going. “
Managers are always wondering how to make more money for their bands – of ANY level. Patreon should be part of the equation.
This isn’t instead of. It’s in addition to. Modern day musicians need multiple streams of revenue. It’s not just about tour revenue or record sales or sponsorships anymore. Today, musicians, especially independents, need to explore every revenue generating possibility.
A Nielsen study from 2013 revealed that fans would spend up to $2.6 billion MORE a year for exclusive content and behind the scenes access. This means that managers are failing at providing enough monetization opportunities for fans. And in effect, not doing their job of making the most amount of money for their artists as possible.
You think Kickstarter won the crowd funding vertical? Patreon is Crowdfunding 2.0 and will break mainstream in the next few years. It is the new artist economy.
Read more about the acquisition here.