by. Patrick Longhitano
If you have spent any significant amount of time listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube channel, the chances are that you have heard the phrase “Sign up for the Patreon with the link in the description”. Founded in 2013, Patreon has given online creators with smaller, but loyal followings the ability to earn more money while also providing additional content to their fans and followers. With oversaturation becoming more and more prevalent in the online space; Podcasters, YouTubers, Musicians, and bloggers have now turned to this popular paywall service as a source of additional income.
The concept behind Patreon is simple: users, or Patrons, pay a small monthly subscription fee, and are then granted access to additional content from the creator they are subscribed to. This additional content ranges from anything from bonus podcast episodes, songs from an artist, photography, or even blog posts. Many Patreon creators also offer different tiers to their Patrons. Each tier has a different fee that is charged each month, with the most expensive option offering the most amount of bonus and premium content.
The most popular and profitable creators on Patreon are podcasters, which account for 7 of the top 10 creators in number of Patrons. As the Podcast industry has gotten more popular over the last 5 years, so has Patreon. Creator earnings have gone from $150 million in 2017, all the way to $2 billion in 2021. Over that same timeframe, users on Patreon have increased from 2 million to 8 million. Podcasts such as True Crime Obsessed and The Tim Dillon Show both bring in over $185K each month from their Patrons. One thing to note is that in order to keep Patrons subscribed and loyal each month, creators have to consistently deliver quality content. Patrons have the option to cancel their subscription at any time if expectations are not met.
The origin story and creation of Patreon is very relatable to any struggling online creator. In 2013, Jack Conte had amassed 100K subscribers on his YouTube channel, where he would post his original music and music videos. Due to his own financial situation and lack of ad money he was earning from viewership, he decided to create patreon.com with his programing partner, Sam Yam. His initial concept for the site was to encourage his followers to support him in the form of optional donations, and he immediately saw positive results and feedback from the concept. Patreon eventually gained more popularity and transitioned into the paywall subscription service that it is today.
With the vast majority of online creators struggling to financially support their dreams, Patreon offers a positive opportunity. The reality is that not all creators have millions of followers. If they truly believe in the quality of their work and loyalty of their fan base, Patreon could single-handedly change the trajectory of their careers. Jack Conte was once a struggling creator online, and he has now impacted the careers of over 222K creators who were in his exact situation.