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Businesses The Almighty Buck

No One Makes a Living on Crowdfunding Website Patreon (theoutline.com) 182

Brent Knepper, writing for The Outline (condensed): Patreon is basically a payments processor designed like a social network. Every creator sets up a profile where they fill out a prompt about what they're making: "Oliver Babish is creating cooking videos," or "Hannah Alexander is creating Art and Costume Designs inspired by pop culture and Art Nouveau." Patreon encourages creators to provide a description of themselves and their work and strongly suggests uploading a video. [...] Today, successful Patreon creators include Chapo Trap House, a lefty podcast with 19,837 patrons at the time of writing paying $88,074 a month; the new commentator and YouTuber Philip DeFranco (13,823 patrons paying an amount that is undisclosed, but is enough to put him in the top 20 creators on the site); and the gaming YouTuber Nerd (4,494 patrons, $8,003 per month). But despite the revolutionary rhetoric, the success stories, and the goodwill that Patreon has generated, the numbers tell a different story. Patreon now has 79,420 creators, according to Tom Boruta, a developer who tracks Patreon statistics under the name Graphtreon. Patreon lets creators hide the amount of money they are actually making, although the number of patrons is still public. Boruta's numbers are based on the roughly 80 percent of creators who publicly share what they earn. Of those creators, only 1,393 -- 2 percent -- make the equivalent of federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $1,160 a month, in October 2017. Worse, if we change it to $15 per hour, a minimum wage slowly being adopted by states, that's only .8 percent of all creators. In this small network designed to save struggling creatives, the money has still concentrated at the top.

No One Makes a Living on Crowdfunding Website Patreon

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  • Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:11PM (#55697527)

    The story blurb makes it sound like Patreon is a scam or scamish because only a few people using it are making bank. But I think this is a pretty normal distribution for folks involved in earning money this way, and any "creative" endeavor where margins are thin and success stories few. There are acres of people YouTubing and Podcasting, and only a few make any substantial part of their income from them. The same is true for selling products on eBay, Amazon, Listia, whomever. Individuals - people not companies - can make a living that way, and some do - but very few. Is Patreon "overselling" what you can do with their platform? Perhaps, but it's up to *YOU* to create something people want to give you money for, not Patreon.

    • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:17PM (#55697555) Homepage Journal
      Yep..and again....EVERY job is NOT a job one makes their sole livelihood from....

      And with stuff like Patreon, most all it takes is your extra time doing something you likely would be doing for free as that you like it.

      I am curious, however, how much the gun channels are making on Patreon. YouTube has apparently de-monetized most all of them (I guess YT has a political slant)...and it appears most of the larger ones are now using Patreon to try to regain some of that lost YT revenue.

      But really....most people doing stuff online are not making a living from it, it is a hobby that is generating some income.

      I'd rather get paid for doing what I like that I'd do anyway, than get no $$ at all, if given the choice.

      Who wouldn't?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Is another success story partially from patreon and partially from mail in donations.

        They are averaging 6k-7k/month now, which equates to 70-80k a year (up from 30-50k a few years ago.)

        But to get there they had to bust their ass for a number of years before it became a self sustaining development project. You have to not only do the development work, but also get enough of a cult of personality going to help with the funding.

        I would say that was an outlier but there are lots of other online media projects t

      • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:36PM (#55697705)

        YouTube has apparently de-monetized most all of them (I guess YT has a political slant).

        No, advertisers have a political slant. And most of them, especially with all the mass shootings going on, don't want their ads (or brands) associated with guns.

        Remember, advertisers have some of the thinnest skins in the world, and YouTube monetization relies on ads to pay both YouTube and the content creator. If the advertiser doesn't like the videos their ad gets attached to, then they pull their ads or force YouTube to never show their ads on those kind of videos.

        YouTube demonetized a lot of videos simply because there was no advertiser willing to pay to have their ads on those videos. And it doesn't seem like Google/Alphabet is wanting to pursue those kinds of ads either.

        Effectively, the adpocalypse happened because before, advertisers were fairly blase about where their ads showed up. When the alt-right started becoming more "normalized" and expressing hate and all that was more common, advertisers started taking note and they started pulling out of YouTube ads. And then it happened a few more times - advertisers seeing their ads on videos they deemed inappropriate, and pulled even more of their ads from YouTube. So YouTube was forced to crack down because they were losing their revenue source. They could ban all those videos that caused problems, but that likely will have more problems in the end, so it was easier to demonetize the videos and keep them up.

        That way all those people could still post their videos just fine, they just had to contend with not getting paid for them (but that's how it all started anyhow - you posted videos on YouTube and didn't expect payment).

        • And there is the added benefit that while Google is not the government and thus them blocking your vid isn't a first amendment issue, that won't stop people from trying to say it is. By leaving the videos up and just demonetized no one can say "Google's trying to silence me man!".

          • By leaving the videos up and just demonetized no one can say "Google's trying to silence me man!".

            They can, and do. They just call it "soft censorship", saying that Google is silencing them by refusing to pay them.

        • Remember, advertisers have some of the thinnest skins in the world, and YouTube monetization relies on ads to pay both YouTube and the content creator. If the advertiser doesn't like the videos their ad gets attached to, then they pull their ads or force YouTube to never show their ads on those kind of videos.

          I think advertisers have been very responsive to small but loud SJW campaigns. I expect that eventually you will see campaigns in the other direction, not unlike what happen to Target. Certainly Target shot itself in the foot because despite all the claims how the bathroom controversy had no impact their stock price peaked in April 2016 at ~$82 when the issue broke and they are now at $61. Sounds like an impact to me.

          • If that's a reaction, it sounds like a rather drastic one for a company that wanted people to be able to take a leak in comfort.

            • If that's a reaction, it sounds like a rather drastic one for a company that wanted people to be able to take a leak in comfort.

              It prioritized the 0.3 percent's comfort (actual number,citation below) at the expense of the remaining 99.7%. That trade off is bad math. Moreover they doubled down when called on it and thus became a symbol of political correctness. They chose their customer base and I'm not part of it.

              Citation:

              http://williamsinstitute.law.u... [ucla.edu]

      • Yep..and again....EVERY job is NOT a job one makes their sole livelihood from....

        And with stuff like Patreon, most all it takes is your extra time doing something you likely would be doing for free as that you like it.

        And more importantly, the Internet is global, "Federal minimum wage" only applies to one country which also happens to be the wealthiest nation on earth.
        So for the other 200 odd countries that also have Internet, maybe those economics don't apply.
        One guy I follow on Patreon lives in Brazil and said in one of his videos that he now makes enough to make a living from it. $7.25 USD an hour is a lot when your country's minimum wage $10/day.

      • I am curious, however, how much the gun channels are making on Patreon. YouTube has apparently de-monetized most all of them (I guess YT has a political slant)...and it appears most of the larger ones are now using Patreon to try to regain some of that lost YT revenue.

        Fox News started off as a conservative alternative to the very liberal news options. I think that same play could be made in just about every other area of entertainment other than music, which has always been pretty diverse. Certainly comedies, movies, TV series and kids content would all be options.

        • Which very liberal news options would that be? As a leftist, I didn't notice them. They all seemed right-wing to centrist to me.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      One group that has figured out a profitable business model are the "I sold everything, bought a sailboat and am living my dream...please support me" crowd.

      This apparently started with a boat called S/V Delos, he learned quickly that showing blurred out videos of the topless babes on his boat gets him lots and lots of followers on YouTube. Several other boats are now offering similar vlogs and begging for patrons, always featuring a young woman who looks very good in a bikini. Sex sells.

    • While artists like to seem to be all about the art, many of them fail to be strict on their money. That picture they made took them an hour to draw, then that picture should be charged $100. Professional Artists who do their work for a living know this, and don't give freebees, exposure isn't payment, and if you are going to distribute it for profit, then they want royalties.

      They may sound like they are a sell out, became a corporate shill... However they are able to make a living doing a job they love. W

    • Thinking the same thing. Non-news. Who approved this? Of course they are a payment processor! It's so people don't need to give their credit cards numbers to a dozen people...

      Second there is a high noise ratio between the number of people that sign up for an account and the number that actually need the service for the intended purpose.

      Of those that actively use the service few are going to get money because they are new or simple don't have the content or viewer following. People that can make a living spe

      • It's so people don't need to give their credit cards numbers to a dozen people...

        Not so much that, but helping solve the two problems of producers needing to process donations themselves, and making it easier for donors to donate on a regular basis. It's the automatic recurring donation meme that is important, not just the "giving credit card numbers".

        It's also not news that most people don't make minimum wage through this system. It wasn't intended to do that, and the product being donated to in most cases doesn't warrant it. The only podcast I know that uses it, Uncontrolled Airspac

    • It also seems like the calculation is assuming a full-time job. A blogger who spend a couple of hours a week writing articles, or someone who spends half an hour a week recording a YouTube video as a hobby may be getting a hundred or so dollars per hour of work that they put in, which is pretty good, but this calculation might show them making $200/month and sound very bad.

      Perhaps the headline should read 'people being paid for their part-time hobby make less money than at their full-time job', at which

  • by Jack Zombie ( 637548 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:19PM (#55697571)

    Most people on Patreon have multiple things going on at the same time, and that adds up to a full wage.

    Plus, they can monetize in other ways the stuff they create with the Patreon money; for example, a musician can get funded to create a music album, and then use the songs they created to tour and sell merchandise.

    Article is knowingly deceptive.

  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:20PM (#55697585) Homepage Journal

    They just slid the knofe in between the ribs of Jeph Jacques, the cartoonist who does "Questionable Content", http://questionablecontent.net... [questionablecontent.net]

    See his article at https://www.patreon.com/posts/... [patreon.com]
    Assuming it stays up!

  • hardly surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lorinc ( 2470890 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:23PM (#55697603) Homepage Journal

    It's the same for music, painting, sculpture, film, etc. The art creation economy has always been that way, because it comes from an intrinsic property: When you need 100 000 people to give you money in exchange of something in order to survive, there is absolutely zero chance that more than a handful can live that way.

    Why should it be different on the internet?

  • An artist who has monthly revenue from Patreon is most likely being paid to produce art that can be sold and sometimes resold over and over again. It's a means to support your local artist to produce more of the material that you like.

  • Just got an email from Patreon today saying they are adding a service fee every month now. I guess they have to pay for whoever designed their new shitty logo. Plus their app gets more terrible with every update. Going the Snapchat route of meaningless buttons.

    • I guess we're paying a fee and the recipient is paying a fee too now.

      Dear patron,

      Your support is truly changing the lives of creators around the world. You give creators a reliable paycheck that enables them to do their best work. Thank you thank you thank you.

      In order to continue our mission of funding the creative class, we’re always looking for ways to do what’s best for our creators. With that, we’re writing to tell you of a change we’re making so that all Patreon creators take home exactly 95% of every pledge, with no additional fees.

      Aside from Patreon’s existing 5% fee, a creator’s income on Patreon varies because of processing fees every month. They can lose anywhere from 7-15% of their earnings to these fees. This means creators actually take home a lower percentage of your pledge than you may realize. Our goal is to make creators’ paychecks as predictable as possible, so we’re restructuring how these fees are paid.

      Starting December 18th, we will apply a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 that patrons will pay for each individual pledge. This service fee helps keep Patreon up and running.

      We want you to know that we approach every change with thoughtfulness for creators and patrons. By standardizing Patreon’s fees, we’re ensuring that creators get paid to continue creating high quality content. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please visit our FAQ here.

      Sincerely,
      The Patreon team

      • That's really not a bad transaction fee for the size of the stuff they work with. If you want to give someone $5 a month, 2.9% plus $0.35 is around fifty cents. If, instead, you just mailed them some cash, that's barely more expensive than a first-class stamp - ignoring the cost of the envelope and having to get stamps, take it to a mailbox or post office, etc.
        • Re:Raising prices (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @04:31PM (#55698073)

          Except $1 pledges are apparently quite common - Patreon is basically increasing the price to those people by 37.9%.

          Odds are someone who currently makes a bunch of $1 pledges will simply end 40% of them now.

          • That was my point: transaction costs are a real thing. They have not magically found their way around them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kierthos ( 225954 )

          Except that if you do a bunch of small pledges, you're being hit repeatedly with this.

          Let's say, under this new plan, I make a $1 pledge a month to an artist whose work I like. Well, I don't get charged $1. I get charged $1 + ($1 * 0.029) + $0.35, for a total of $1.379 (rounded up to $1.38).

          Now, let's expand on that. Let's say that there's 20 artists on Patreon I like. I do the same $1 a month pledge to each of them. That's that $1.38 times 20, or $27.60.

          Before this change to the fee scale goes live (I don'

        • Re:Raising prices (Score:5, Informative)

          by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @04:42PM (#55698137) Homepage

          The part that is causing outrage is "patrons will pay for each individual pledge". If you pledge $40/mo. to one artist you'll pay $1.50/mo. in fees (not unreasonable), but if you make 40 $1 pledges then you'll pay $15.16/mo in fees. In the latter case, combined with their 5% cut on the recipient's side, Patreon is keeping almost 40% of the amount payed by donors. This change effectively makes small pledges unworkable, which is a problem for those Patreon users who rely on small pledges from many different patrons. As for the costs, Patreon doesn't do a separate transaction per pledge; they combine all the pledges together into a single transaction. Their processing costs are thus the same whether the donations go to one pledge or many.

          • I'd been considering joining, but I was going to give $1 each to a bunch of people, so no chance now.

            It is totally dishonest and fraudulent because they're calling it a "transaction fee" and making it appear to be a CC fee, but they actually only charge the CC one time, even if you're giving 40 $1 pledges. So just, blatant fraud.

            • How can it be fraud if they tell people up front what they're charging? It may be a bad idea or stupid or something, but it isn't fraudulent. As for calling it a transaction fee, it's the fee Patreon intends to charge per transaction.

              • Because they're saying it is for a purpose that it isn't, and they're listing their own cut of the money as a smaller amount. Those together make it sound like it money that is charged by the credit card processor, but it isn't; it is extra money they're charging that has nothing to do with credit cards!

          • by jwdb ( 526327 )

            So, this leaves me really conflicted.

            On the one hand, "STFU Patreon, no more money for you!" But on the other, Patreon could probably survive everything except a broad boycott so the person hurt most by me leaving would be the artist I want to support. I can't tolerate that, so I'm really tempted up my pledge somewhat, to re-balance things towards the artists again and to try and compensate for some of the people leaving.

            Has Patreon chimed in on the controversy at all, apart from their FAQ that reads like i

            • by j-beda ( 85386 )

              I just posted the following to all of the comment sections of each of the creators I was supporting. Maybe I'll be back but I want to send Patreon.com a strong message by cancelling everything.

              I just got a note from Patreon.com about the new fee changes. I'm so sorry that you are going to get hurt by this. I have sent a note to Patreon.com that I won't be able to justify paying so much for all of my large number of $1 pledges, where they will tack on a 37.9% charge for each pledge, so I'm going to cancel al

          • by e r ( 2847683 )

            If you pledge $40/mo. to one artist you'll pay $1.50/mo. in fees (not unreasonable), but if you make 40 $1 pledges then you'll pay $15.16/mo in fees.

            So the fees depends on the number of transactions. Is Patreon being charged a flat rate per transaction by a bank or something?

            • So the fees depends on the number of transactions.

              No, that would be reasonable. The fees depend on the number of pledges, not the number of transactions. Whether you have one $40 pledge or 40 $1 pledges, there is only one $40 transaction. The division of the total among the pledges is nothing more than a series of entries in a database managed by Patreon.

              Patreon's role in the process lies precisely in batching together small payments to multiple recipients into a single deposit, and small donations from multiple donors into a single withdrawal. The additio

  • by silverkniveshotmail. ( 713965 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:26PM (#55697625) Journal
    Who thinks these people are making a bunch of money? This isn't Uber.

    I pitch in $2 per episode for Philosophize This! and I know the guy isn't getting rich, I just feel better about it this way and I enjoy the lack of ads.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's surprising how much some of these relatively niche people make. Sargon, aka Carl Benjamin, makes $9000/month just from Patreon, plus YouTube ad revenue when he can get it.

      Some of the people playing video games for a living on twitch make a good living too. I'd love to see some real stats but I doubt they are available.

  • Definitions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:26PM (#55697627)

    Hey everyone, what does "No-One" mean to you. Would it mean a number that is zero instead of non-zero? Because the headline says "no-one" but the summary even says something like 0.8% of some non-zero number.

    The reality is that there are also a lot of people who just want extra cash for something they work on part time or some base of fixed revenue they can work on top of through other funding means. Even just $1500 a month is enough to live in a lot of places and it would let you have plenty of time to work on other revenue streams, so you cannot really say who is or is not making minimum wage from what they do.

    • In this comment [slashdot.org], FunkSoulBrother wrote that PC games aren't designed for a living room experience "Because no one does that. [...] I'd be shocked if there were 150,000 Home Theater PCs properly installed and powerful enough for gaming on the continent."

      In this comment [slashdot.org], kamapuaa wrote: "1) Nobody wants to attach their PC to their TV"

      Obviously, home theater PCs exist, as FunkSoulBrother admitted. So these users must have been using hyperbole [wikipedia.org], or exaggeration as a figure of speech, as was the writer of the hea

    • I'm a patron to a couple of authors, both of which just won Hugos. Sometimes writing just doesn't pay the bills (although having a Hugo on your shelf helps), and a professional can wind up short of money.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:27PM (#55697635)

    Many of these people are using Patreon to SUPPLEMENT what they make from another platform like Twitch or Youtube.

    Also, a lot of people bringing in the truly large amounts are hiding the total amount of their pledges out of the belief that if potential donors saw what they were already making they'd be less likely to donate thinking that already had "enough" support (ie, why should I "donate" to someone already bringing in $15k+ per month?).

    • no.

      artist have real day jobs and put hobby art on patreon.

      so they get a tip for their efforts.

      making a living from it, ha. nope most do not

  • ...a decent living from Patreon, how is average artist Joe supposed to do so?
  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:28PM (#55697655) Journal
    It may not just be about the money. The rules for posting on Patreon are more relaxed than other platforms. Some posters find that appealing. I know that's true for AvE, [youtube.com] and Cody's Lab. [youtube.com]
  • I've often looked at the amount of money folks are charging for commissions on artwork on DeviantArt and considering the quality of work for the very little they can sometimes charge, it's amazing. When you work out the amount of time some artists spend to perfect their work, it doesn't usually work out to be a decent pay so the fact that so many of these artists are also on Pateron, maybe it shouldn't be surprising.

  • 0.8% making $15/hr.... assuming they're spending 40 hours a week doing what they're on Patreon for.
    Assuming this is also their only source of income for what they do.
    Video bloggers on Patreon also make a bunch of money from the videos they put on YouTube, which is money not counted here.
    Their own websites are bound to have ads on them too.
    It's supplemental income for things people are doing anyway, where their customers who want to provide extra support can choose to do so.

    • That's also assuming that all of those accounts are very active and designed as a primary revenue source. A lot just get some extra spending money when they're got the free time, and aren't putting in X hours per week making stuff. By not constraining this to users who make even just 1-2 posts per month, they're capturing a lot of occasional and potentially currently inactive users.

      When you're not a consistent producer, I'd be shocked if people were willing to give you regular payments. I contribute to a co

  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:43PM (#55697745)
    how do they know how much time anyone put into making a podcast or whatever. Maybe they put in half an hour and it generates $4 each month - it's all gravy beyond minimum wage after the first month.
  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:44PM (#55697753)

    I'll echo what Slashdot user Frosty Piss said above, that's actually a pretty normal distribution of money for these types of endeavors, and Patreon is not going to magically change those numbers. It is simply another tool that works well for some people and not so well for others. Frankly, their fees are far better than any other site, even with the recent changes. You keep 95%? that's the fairest site of them all.

    On YouTube for example your share of the ad revenue is about 45%, or $1 per 1000 views on average. And that's way better than if you are a musician signed to a label. RIck Astley says he's made $12 total off of YouTube through his label. Someone has kept tens of thousands of dollars of revenue from the videos claimed by his copyright assigns. (the video used in Rickrolling memes has probably generated about $75,000, looking at the 75 million hits on it.)

    Patreon, if you can make it work, has done a very good job of putting all the revenue you do make in your pocket. It's all up to you.

    In the article there is a quote: Indeed, the creators Patreon seems to value most are those who not only make stuff people like, but are also good at marketing their stuff and themselves.

    That's the definition of most successful artists. Even if you're good you still have to elevate yourself above the noise with self promotion, until it hits a snowball effect. There are a few exceptional artists, who are so good that they attract the attention of movers and shakers right away, but most people have to work for it.

    This is a timely article as I have been looking into it as a way of augmenting and feeding off of my YouTube channel, which has actually been quite successful. I've been evaluating if it can be done without taking up so much time that the added income is not proportionate, as the author of the article intimated is often the case. It's either going to be a net positive or a net negative. If it doesn't work out, no one is forcing me to continue with it.

    FTA:
    YouTuber Amanda Lee, who makes over $4,000 a month, said, âoeChannel your creativity into something youâ(TM)re passionate about â" donâ(TM)t just create something to please others or to gain views.â

    Sometimes that can work, but often you are tailoring what you make to what works and what people want. If that happens to be what you like to make, then it's all good. If not, there is a creative balance in there somewhere. For example, I know that if I post a certain kinds of videos, it gets crazy hits. So I focus on that to make money, while still making other videos that I also like to make but I know won't get those hits. YouTube is a numbers game. The cumulative total of a lot of videos, some successful, some less successful, are what provide a good income. But once you have that content there, the income is passive. It's great. With Patreon, it's never really passive except in the sense that when new patrons sign up for your thing, they tyically get access to all your past content. Which makes early adopters receive less value, so there's that to overcome as well on Patreon.

    FTA:
    I posted a gif of my dog and included a $69 tier to pay for his food. No one has done it yet. When I first signed up, I thought I was the perfect match for Patreonâ(TM)s model. But now Iâ(TM)m realizing that as a struggling photographer without a massive social media following, Iâ(TM)m probably not Patreonâ(TM)s Target Creator.

    Now that's just stupid. Just like GoFundMe, don't ask for people to directly pay for your basic living expenses or your "I need to find myself" trip around the world. No one's going to do it. You have to focus on what you're creating and not your basic living needs when marketing to people.

    Also, I don't know why the author of the article expects that most people should be able to make a living solely on Patreon, he seems dissapointed that it's not the case, and expects it should be the case.

    • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @05:07PM (#55698263) Homepage

      Frankly, their fees are far better than any other site, even with the recent changes. You keep 95%? that's the fairest site of them all.

      With the new 2.9% + $0.35 per pledge fees they're rolling out for donors, it's more like you keep ~69% of each nominally-$1 pledge. (Actual cost payed by donor $1.37, of which you receive $0.95.) Larger pledges result in a better ratio, naturally, up to about 92.3% in the best case.

      Those fees might be reasonable on a per-transfer basis, where a transfer is $15 or more and can be used to fund multiple pledges, but not for each individual pledge. Especially since the only difference in the cost to Patreon between one $40 pledge and 40 $1 pledges is some entries in a database.

  • It's a tip jar (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @03:57PM (#55697839)
    Patreon is a tip jar, not a replacement for a living wage. Sounds like maybe people are misinformed. Ah well, maybe not everyone can make a living through online media. Big surprise there...
  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @04:06PM (#55697903)

    There are extremely few people who make a living as independent artists. The few who manage to do so -- like my daughter -- make most of their money from commissions, do so full time, and still don't make anything close to a middle class living from it. Almost no one is getting paid to just follow their bliss. In any case, there are three reasons why this is unlikely to change, and Patreon can't do much about either of them.

    First, there are vastly more excellent artists than there are people willing to pay for their art. The few who manage to be picked up by one of the marketing behemoths of the entertainment industry and maintain a following are mainly just lucky. Anyone who follows independent artists in any medium knows that there are more fantastic artists out there working shitty day jobs right now than there are in all the world's museums. Even if the general public routinely sought out and supported unknown artists, the balance wouldn't change significantly.

    Second, the general public isn't routinely seeking out unknown artists. Most of them are simply adopting the preferences of their peer groups. As a result, most of the money flows to an infinitesimal fraction of the working artists in the world, often without regard to actual quality. See also, television and pop music.

    Third, artists who are getting by do so through a large number of venues. They end up selling in a bunch of online outlets, as well as local venues -- clubs, art galleries, etc., in addition to conventions, regional shows, and every last commissioned private sale they can get. And they're always networking and on the lookout for new markets. It's hard, but it can be done, and even then, you'll probably still have a day job.

    Patreon can't change the economic fundamentals or human nature. I don't know if there's anything that can, but if there is, it's probably not a retail website.

  • Just because someone is a "creative" doesn't mean they're good or good at convincing others to cough up money for them, so the thousands of creatives is irrelevant. I can go create a page too and lower the success rate (albeit small) as well...

    And the money will always "concentrate at the top", how retarded is this author? There's always going to be people who are better than others at anything.

    Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of baseball players in the world and the big money is in the MLB, look, weal

  • Patreon is the tip jar of the internet.

  • I support a couple unique vocal artists on Patreon.

    But I pay by the song. If they only publish one qualifying work per month, then the earnings might seem low.

    But they have many other revenue streams and not all of their work qualifies for an automatic payment.

    I thought shows like PBS Space Time were getting decent revenue.... is that not true ?

  • ... that breaks the rule?

    Sailing SV Delos is an adventure/sailing/diving channel that follows the antics of two brothers (Brian and Brady Trautman), Brian's girlfriend Karin, plus an assortment of [very!] colourful characters as they make their way around the world aboard Delos, a 53' Amel Super Maramu.

    Delos currently has Patreon sponsorship to the tune of $13,433 *per video*, and they have uploaded 5 videos in the last 3 weeks. So that's what, $67,000 in 3 weeks?

    Does that count as not making money
    • That's really interesting. I skimmed through one of the videos. A good learning lesson there would be to see how they started it in the first place, how they got traction. My guess is that if you had some money up front, got the boat and the babes and started posting on a small scale by taking short trips, you'd attract interest quickly. vs. starting out with "I want to buy a boat, give me some money and I'll start making videos."

      Their YouTube numbers alone definitely would not support them. Seems

      • by ytene ( 4376651 )
        I stumbled across their channel whilst looking for information on how to set up for a DIY circumnavigation. I would be the first to admit that their content can be a bit erratic - you might get a mostly-serious video showing some amazing underwater scenery and fabulous diving... or you might get a recording of a beach party with the crew literally running around naked [and the use of a great deal of per-frame "fuzzing" to get past the YouTube censors.

        But over the course of the last few years I've watched
  • One thing that Patreon do not make clear is whether Patreon will still take the same amount from the patron and deduct the 2.9% + $0.35 from the existing pledge amount or, as they do with VAT for European patrons, add the 2.9% + $0.35 to the amount charged to the patron. So, for a $10 pledge will the creator receive $9.50 (and the patron charged $11.64) or $8.89 (and the patron still charged $10, plus VAT if appropriate)?

    • by ytene ( 4376651 )
      As you say this isn't clear - but, having read around what they are attempting to do in this case, I think the answer will be, "They are attempting whichever version of this will give them the most income".
  • No one is being followed on Twitter.

    No one gets upvoted on Reddit.

    And no one on Slashdot reads the article.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @01:24AM (#55700063)
    So I have 30k subs on youtube, 12 million views, and also a Patreon that hovers around $500/mo. Youtube has come in around $1000-1500 per month in ad revenues lately. That's just barely enough to get by after I also make a not so predictable amount of money on T-shirt sales and also why I started a fairly successful 2nd channel. You need to diversify and Patreon wasn't meant to 100% prop up someone's income. I've heard of cosplayers and artists and web comic creators use it almost exclusively but even they sell shirts and have adsense ads on their websites. I don't think anyone legitimately intends to use it as their sole income in the first place.
    • You're about exactly in the same boat I'm in, I just hit 50k subs and about the same income. Will be interesting to see what I can get from Patreon.

  • I support one Patreon member at $2/mo. The member offers genuine value to me (electronics repair, troubleshooting, and DIY test equipment designs that, if I were to purchase them at retail, would cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars). So, for the $24/year (or whatever it works out to with the new fees) is genuine value to me. He makes about $US 4400/mo from people like myself, so apparently he is one of the better paid members.

    Perhaps the problem is so many Patreon members don't actually offer anythin

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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