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Passionfruit newsletter: An anti-algorithm manifesto

Will Patreon's anti-algorithm philosophy stand the test of time?


Grace Stanley


Posted on Oct 13, 2023   Updated on Oct 26, 2023, 3:10 pm CDT

Issue #175 | Oct. 10, 2023

Last Wednesday, Jack Conte, the founder and CEO of Patreon (and former co-creator of 2010s YouTube-viral band Pomplamoose), dropped a flashy, musical, vloggy video explaining his company’s new vision and platform updates. The 39-year-old-creator-turned-entreprenuer shows himself mixing beats on keyboards and drum machines, passionately explaining that the company was no longer going to be just for the monthly subscription services it’s known for. It’s changing, and in “big” ways.

Why? Conte claims the company is shifting gears to become a more all-encompassing social platform, as opposed to just being a monetization tool. He says the company is pivoting because creator communities are “under threat” — by the big, bad boogeyman known as the algorithm.

From now on, Patreon will grow its tool to be a total social experience for the New Age, harkening back to the early days of MySpace. As always, Patreon content feeds will continue to be completely curated by who we follow, not by an algorithm. But now, rather than only offering paid membership tiers, users will be able to browse creators’ feeds on free tiers, which will be curated by creators. Creators can then customize their followers’ feeds with unique colors, fonts, and logotypes.

What once could have appeared to be a default — that Patreon lacks the discoverability features and ease of audience growth provided by other platforms — now is being presented as a new “vision” backed by an anti-algorithm manifesto.

Conte specifically throws TikTok under the bus for introducing the AI-driven “For You” feed format, which really changed everything about how we engage on the internet…

Grace Stanley, Newsletter and Features Editor

In Today’s Newsletter

  • Musk’s Monetization Has Made Finding the Real News Impossible
  • Music Licensing for Content Creators: Navigating Copyrights and Royalties
  • Is a College Degree in Influencing a Good Thing?

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*First Published: Oct 13, 2023, 1:44 pm CDT