Have you ever felt that you wasted those 10 euros watching that crappy movie in the cinema? We all did, especially lately, if you are a DC universe fan. Or, on the opposite, you watched online something so good, so incredibly awesome that you wished you could have paid for it? Or that at least you could have paid for being able to get more of it. Here the Patreon comes in.
As this quite aesthetically pleasing promotional video informs, Patreon is a platform which allows fans to support their favourite online creators in their everyday work, by becoming a ‘patron’. It works in a form of subscriptions: you contribute a small amount of money periodically or every time your favourite artist posts a piece of their work. Actually, the amount of money doesn’t have to be that small as you are the one who sets the limit and the limit is the sky. Or the bottom of your wallet.
I am a huge fan of the Patreon idea for a few reasons. From an artist’s point of view it is the biggest verification of the quality of their work, if somebody is looking forward to paying them for it already AFTER obtaining it. Moreover, making a living from your content and, therefore, being able to focus on creating instead of having to worry how to support yourself, is a dream come true. From a fan’s perspective it is also a pretty decent way to make sure you pay specifically for a subscribtion that you will appreciate, instead of what conventional media offers – a bundle of programmes, among which you are supposed to look for something you like. Especially that this search is not always successful. What’s more, you can easily withdraw from the contribution, if it does not live up to your expectations and you can suggest and influence the content and subject of the new creations.
There is a huge dose of trust in human nature in assuming that we will be willing to pay for stuff we don’t have to pay for. At the same time, it is a decent, well-thought-through economic construction. You cannot deem a creator naïve as they designed a clear set of incentives, which were proven to function better than satisfactorily. Additional sets of patrons’ gifts are distributed according to two determinants: the amount of your donation and the full amount of money that the artist collects perodically. For example, on the Polish version of Patreon called Patronite, my favourite vlogger based in Japan offers handwritten postcards if you contribute 10 euro every month. And if he gains 3500 euros monthly, he will come to Poland to meet his fans. As he has just crossed the threshold of 6000 euros monthly, I may soon be heading to Poland for the meeting. Just saying – it can be really worth it to become a patron!
In the times when creativity is cherished and the entertainment expectations become more and more individual, diversified and demanding, there is no longer trust or even possibility that the broad range of centralised institutions can ensure the exchange of value between the creator and the recipients. Therefore, if we do not want the content we consume to decrease in value and if we want the artists, entertainers and influencers to create content that is not commercial and funded by adverts and cooperation with brands, new solutions have to emerge. And I believe that the Patreon is a nice step towards that direction. Check it out – maybe your favourite YouTuber is already there and you can help him out to launch that funny Sunday video to come out every afternoon and feel like a medieval duke patroning the arts. I am, of course, not saying, that you should procrastinate with YouTube every day, but let’s be honest – you do it anyway, just with a poorer content.