Patreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows “artists” to receive a fixed amount of money on a regular, monthly basis, directly from the people, the patrons, who consume their work. There’s also an alternate method that collects money every time the artist creates a new piece of work, for instance, a new podcast episode or a new YouTube video.
Patrons who give to people on Patreon show up on the recipient’s Patreon page with a link to the other people they’ve given to.
Patreon was created by Jack Conte and Sam Yam. Conte is a musician who wanted an alternate method of generating revenue from his YouTube videos. The normal method of revenue from YouTube is Google Adsense.
Patreon sounds great!
In theory, Patron is a good idea. I listen to a lot of free podcasts. Though I wouldn’t mind the idea of contributing a few bucks a month through Patreon to each podcast I listen to, none of the podcasts I listen to take part in Patreon. They generate revenue in more traditional ways. By that, I mean advertisements.
If there’s a problem with Patreon, it’s that it allows people to receive money from strangers without really doing anything for it in return. Some e-celebrities use Patreon as their primary source of income.
What’s wrong with free money?
The problem with people getting handouts, is that sometimes they grow too accustomed to it.
The way things normally work in our society, is that if you want to be a professional artist, yet you’re creating art that people don’t want to pay for, you need to learn to create art that people are willing to pay for. With Patreon, that natural dynamic no longer exists. Artists don’t have to evolve or adapt to the marketplace, as long as people are willing to just give them free money. They can just plow along creating art that holds no value in the marketplace.
Personally, I’d rather snort liquid drain cleaner than set up a Patreon page and ask strangers for monthly donations, but to each his own. When I look at what I have to go through to earn a paycheck, I’m clearly in no place to judge how someone else makes a living.