- The chicken sandwich war is in full throttle on Twitter 4 Years Ago
- Netflix’s ‘Sextuplets’ proves Marlon Wayans is no Eddie Murphy—or even Mike Myers 4 Years Ago
- Facebook is finally rolling out its clear history tool 4 Years Ago
- ‘Theater etiquette’ tweets surge after YouTuber cast in ‘Waitress’ Today 12:55 PM
- A GoFundMe for Eric Garner’s killer has raised more than $70,000 Today 12:49 PM
- YouTuber finds GoPro footage of man who drowned in 2017 Today 12:20 PM
- Netflix’s ’45 rpm’ is as tired as the boomer rock era it tries to honor Today 11:38 AM
- Teen arrested for threatening to ‘slaughter’ abortion clinic on iFunny Today 11:29 AM
- How to stream the LA Galaxy vs. Cruz Azul Leagues Cup semifinal match Today 11:10 AM
- Going broke over the App Store? Here’s how to turn off in-app purchases Today 10:49 AM
- Jill Biden says even if you don’t like Joe Biden, you need to vote for Joe Biden Today 10:43 AM
- Report on ideal thermostat temperature brings out the dad jokes Today 10:28 AM
- Edited videos of Portland protests are telling half-truths Today 10:20 AM
- Netflix debuts upcoming releases section on the Netflix TV app Today 9:29 AM
- Marianne Williams announces plan for a Department of Peace Today 8:53 AM
Patreon just bought John Green’s YouTube crowdfunding platform
The way creative people make a living online is changing drastically.
Patreon goes beyond Kickstarter’s limited donation system to let people support projects, from podcasts to fiction blogs, on a recurring basis. Small but recurring payments encourage creators to keep picking up their microphone, pencil, or laptop. As their Patreon pages grow over time, some creators have found that the increasing financial support can easily support a full lifestyle.
Today, Patreon announced that it was acquiring Subbable, a similar creative support platform from the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green.
The brothers described Subbable as a platform that encouraged meaningful content, not just marketable videos.
“Subbable exists to reward content creators who provide real value to their communities,” the company says. “We hope it will allow creators to focus not on getting the most viewers but on providing the most valuable stuff to viewers. And we hope, in turn, that viewers will choose to support that content even though it’s free to watch and enjoy.”
After Amazon changed how it processed Subbable’s payments, brothers realized that they would have to rebuild their payment infrastructure, then ask all their users to come back and re-authorize future payments. That’s a lot to ask any user base, but it’s especially tough for a small, young company with a still-growing population of users.
Seeing no real solution to the problem, Subbable sold to Patreon. On Monday, Green joined Conte in a Google Hangout to discuss the sale.
“Patreon experiencing astronomical growth recently,” said co-founder Jack Conte. “This is because of several key launches and so many amazing podcasts like Tom Merritt and Comedy Button. Some projects are bringing in $30-$40,000 per month on Patreon. We are becoming a serious revenue stream for people putting digital stuff on the Internet.”
Creative people trying to sell things online face a combination blessing and curse: It’s never been so easy to get your work in front of so many eyeballs at once, but it’s very difficult to convince enough people to pay for your product to make it economically viable.
“It’s so fucked up, it makes me angry when I think about it,” said Conte. “How has the tech community gone this long without solving this problem? Creative people are supposed to earn a living by making beautiful things on a regular basis, not because they put a logo on some hat.”
In 2013, Patreon paid out $259,000 to creators. In 2014, it paid out $10 million. These days, the company pays out around $2 million each month.
Illustration by Jason Reed
Dylan Love is an editorial consultant and journalist whose reporting interests include emergent technology, digital media, and Russian language and culture. He is a former staff writer for the Daily Dot, and his work has been published by Business Insider, International Business Times, Men's Journal, and the Next Web.