What is Patreon and how does it work?
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(Pocket-lint) – YouTubers, TikTokkers, podcasters, verified Twitter users, Twitch streamers and other content creators have one thing in common: many of them use Patreon to supplement their income. In this guide, we explain how Patreon works and why you should use it to support your favorite internet celebrity.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is actually a crowdfunding site for content creators. But it describes itself as a “membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid.”
Online personalities as well as traditional creators, such as musicians and writers, have flocked to Patreon as a quick and easy way to get paid by their fans, or patrons. Patrons are essentially Patreon subscribers, as they send a set amount each month to their favorite creators through Patreon. Creators can also offer their patrons different levels of access for different monthly prices, again through the Patreon platform.
We’ve all heard of the starving artist whose paintings, sheet music and sculptures sold for millions of dollars only after his death. It’s a thing of the past. The web has given many creators not only a platform to share their work, but also a way to fund their income. For example, they may charge $5 per month through Patreon, and if you pay, you will become a patron and get early access to their content and works.
Patreon was co-founded in 2013 by Sam Yam and Jack Cont. It is based in San Francisco and has around three million active users.
How does Patreon work?
You can access Patreon on the web or from its mobile apps.
Are you an online content creator or artist looking for extra income?
Patreon can help you generate revenue for some of your creations, whether it’s a podcast, video, song, webcomic, or something else. Your fans, or patrons, can pay as little as a few dollars/pounds per month or per article to gain access to your work. You’ll get paid monthly, or whenever you post something new. You can even manage the rewards for each level, especially if there are higher rewards that involve meeting patrons or custom work.
The number of people who currently support you is always visible on your page for other users of the Patreon platform. Also, the main way to communicate with your supporters is through their page feed. You can post texts, images, videos and polls. Patreon also lets you block certain posts at specific levels. For example, you can make only new posts shown to those who contribute at least $1.
Patreon also supports custom RSS feeds and integrates with Discord.
We’ve probably heard your favorite internet celebrity mention Patreon recently. Patreon is a way for you to pay them for the content they create.
Thanks to Patreon, you can now pay creators (also known as Patreon members) per month or per message. For example, you can pay $5 a month for special access to a YouTuber’s videos, which are private to everyone, or you can give them $1 for each new video they post. Either way, if you become a Patreon patron and choose to support a creator, you become, according to Patreon, a “genuine and real patron of the arts.”
Think of it this way: In exchange for supporting creators, you can get certain perks, access to exclusive downloads or new works, ad-free content, and more.
How much does Patreon cost for patrons?
Patreon creators typically post monetary goals on their page and may offer multiple levels of patronage participation, with each level corresponding to a specific amount.
These levels may vary. The most common is subscription-based billing, with payments ranging from $1 to $100 per month. The more a patron contributes, the more benefits they can receive. Some of the highest rewards usually include the ability to communicate directly with the creator, although these tiers may have a maximum number of “slots” to fill.
There are currently four payment models a creator can offer, according to Patreon. Their exact descriptions are listed below. Each template can unlock different content for different creators.
- Billing by subscription: With subscription billing, customers pay when they join a creator and renew their membership monthly on the same date on UTC.
- Monthly billing in advance: With upfront billing, customers pay upfront to sign up on the creator’s page, which gives them access to all of the creator’s content on Patreon. After the first payment, customers pay the first of each month on PT for the access month again.
- Monthly billing (no upfront fees): With monthly payment (no upfront cost), no payment is needed to join and unlock access. Users pay on the first of every month on PT for any access they had the previous month.
- Invoicing at creation: With the pay-per-creation model, patrons pay the amount they pledged for each paid post the creator posts after they sign up. Patrons can set a monthly maximum number of posts they will pay for, but they will have access to all paid posts above this maximum. Patrons pay on the first of every month on PT for paid posts posted the previous month.
How much does Patreon for creators cost?
There are four different rates on Patreon. You can check the Patreon FAQ page for the full description of each fee, but we’ve summarized them below:
- Platform fees: Percentage of membership payments processed
- Payment processing fees: Cost of transferring funds from your patrons to your creator balance.
- Repayment fees: Fees for transferring funds from your Creator Balance to your bank, PayPal, or Payoneer account.
- Conversion fees: Customers have the option of paying in the currency of their choice.
Plans for Creators
Patreon now offers three plans for creators: Lite, Pro, and Premium. Not every creator who joins Patreon wants or is ready to use all of its features. But if you’re interested in Patreon’s other tools and features, like different membership tiers, special offers, and detailed donor analytics, you can always upgrade. Check out the Patreon Creation Plans section to learn more about the pricing for each plan.
How to Become a Patreon Creator
First, to find out if Patreon is right for you and if you should seek support from others, check to see if any of these areas apply to you:
This awesome system will save you time and effort every time you pay.
- Video creators
- Visual artists
- Writers and Journalists
- Video game creators
- Non-profit organizations
- Tutorials and Education
- Creators of all types
Then sign up for Patreon! It’s free.
- Go to the Patreon registration page.
- Add your information or register through a third party like Facebook.
- Set your creator details, like your page name and what you’re creating.
- Follow the on-screen steps to complete your Patreon Creator Account.
How to Become a Patreon Patron
- Click here to learn more about supporting creators.
If you want to support a creator, visit their Patreon page and select one of their tiers. The tier you choose unlocks certain perks that are only available in that tier. The price of the level corresponds to the minimum payment option to unlock this level. If your creator doesn’t have a level, just click the “Become a Patron” button on their page.
New patrons will need to add their payment method and confirm their details to become an official patron of a Patreon creator. On the confirmation page, you can check your payment details, set the amount or monthly limit, and confirm.
Still not sure how or why to use Patreon? Here’s a simple example: Molly Burke (below) is a YouTuber who is blind. She creates videos to educate others and raise awareness. She sometimes offers exclusive access to her personal life if you support her through Patreon. For example, in 2020, she started dating someone new and introduced him to patrons first. Non-paying YouTube viewers have to wait to meet his new companion.
You want to know more ?
Visit the Patreon Support Center to learn more about Patreon memberships, taxes, fees, FAQ levels, and more.
Written by Maggie Tillman.