Is Patreon worth it in 2023? Review (For Artists & Patrons)

Image: patreon.com/koansound

This article will discuss if Patreon is still worth it in 2023 for Artists and Patrons.  

Patreon is a crowdfunding platform for creators, influencers, artists, and public figures to raise money from their fans or followers in exchange for a subscription or membership that includes exclusive content, members-only or community privileges, and more. 

So we will discuss if Patreon is still relevant and if you can make money on it or get monetary support from your audience and supporters. We will discuss various pros and cons of using Patreon and see if there are better alternatives for crowdfunding or monetizing your audience. 

Is Patreon Worth It?

Patreon is a good way for artists, musicians, and content creators, to earn a recurring and steady income from fans & followers and has had quite some success with some creators, but it has also received a lot of criticism for its customer service, high platform fees or cut, and low success rates for small creators.

As of January 2023, as reported by backlinko, Patreon hosts 6 million patrons and has raised a total funding of $412.1 million. Producers, musicians, and artists, including KOAN, Pheonix Studio, Andrew Huang, Jacob Collier, and Amanda Palma, sell subscription-based memberships to their fans. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using Patreon. 

Pros:

  • Recurring Income
    Other crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstart, iFundWomen, IndieGoGo, etc., offer only a one-time payment campaign, whereas Patreon offers you repeated and periodic monetization opportunities. For example, you can sell monthly subscriptions or annual subscriptions.
    You can make your creative venture financially stable by using the monthly payout feature of Patreon.
  • Multiple Plans
    As compared to competitors, another advantage that Patreon has is that you can create three levels of subscriptions on it: Lite, Pro, and Premium. As a result, you can offer different types of subscriptions, price them differently, and sell different levels of privileges on them.
  • Communication & Analytics Tools
    Other than the analytics tools and statistics that Patreon gives you, you can also integrate Google Analytics into your Patreon page to track statistics like page visits, referrals, demographics, etc. Then there are also tools, like Graphtreon, for similar purposes.
  • Templatisation
    It’s easy to get started on Patreon, as there are templates you can follow and set up your account. In addition, there are themes and starter kits for video creators, podcasters, musicians, etc. That also makes it less time-consuming to set up your crowdfunding, as it saves you time on design, content & graphics.
  • Flexibility of services
    As a producer, you can sell exclusive sample packs, multitrack or stems of your songs, production tips & tricks, and a lot more. Similarly, as an artist, you can offer exclusive access to live online/offline meets or shows, early access to new music, demo tracks, and more.
    Moreover, Patreon has scope for all kinds of creators, whether you’re a podcaster, video creator, musician, writer, gamer, educator, etc.
  • Legitimacy
    There’s no doubt that Patreon is a legitimate and trustworthy platform and has helped many artists to raise money and monetize their passion for years. It’s also great for fans and creators to engage with each other and build a strong community

Cons:

  • High Fees
    Patreon charges 5-12% of the platform fee, an additional 2.9% payment processing fee, and $0.10-$0.30 of a fixed amount per pledge. This commission is quite a lot, given the engagement is between the fans and artists, and it’s the artist who does the work every time, but just for being the marketplace, the platform charges every time a payment is exchanged, which is unfair to the creators.
  • Low payouts
    Small creators with a small supporter or fan base find it hard to raise sufficient funds using the platform. Only 210,000 out of 6 million creators are supported by at least one Patron. The majority of creators on the platform have no Patron at all.
  • Once you cancel subscription, you are done
    Once  you cancel subscription from a certain Patreon, at that moment, you won’t have any access to the material from that person anymore even though you paid 2 hours ago. Yes, that’s right.
  • No built-in promotion/marketing tools
    Crowdfunding and selling subscription needs promotion and marketing, so the creator can reach out to as many people as possible, where they could find their potential client or Patron who would pay for what they offer. Even their fans may not be aware of it, so integrating Pixel or Google Ads with the platform could be good. 
  • Bad customer reviews
    Though, Patreon is legitimate, but as with any other platform, you will find negative reviews. Patreons (Artists) have complained about not receiving the correct amount, high fees, and getting unexpectedly banned from the platform without any notice or explanation. On the other hand, Patrons have complained about not getting the content they were promised, losing their accounts randomly, and not receiving any help from customer services.

Image: patreon.com/koansound

What percentage does Patron take in 2023?

The platform fee for the Lite plan is 5%, which is the market standard and is what other crowdfunding platforms charge. However, Patreon charges an 8% platform fee on the Pro plan and 12% of the same on the Premium plan.

On top of that, the payment processing fee is 2.9%, with an additional amount of $0.30 per pledge and $0.10 per pledge, for pledges below $3. So, for example, if you earn $100 monthly on a Premium Plan, you’d be entitled to receive roughly $84 from it. 

How much does the average person make on Patreon?

How much you can earn from the platform depends on the size of your fanbase and the proportion of a dedicated fanbase. For example, if you’re a piano teacher with a 10,000 subscriber base on YouTube, 100 out of them will buy anything you sell. So you can easily sell them your Patreon subscription. 

Further, there are funnels. If you offer something valuable on your Patreon membership, you need not have a huge fan base. If it adds value, you need to find the people it adds value to, and you can do that in various ways, one of which is targeting them through funnel ads on Facebook, Instagram, etc

Successful artists on Patreon

Some musical artists, engineers, and producers that are doing great on Patreon are BERNTH, Amanda Palmer, Andrew Huang, Jacob Collier, Cynthia Lin, Home Free, Loopop, The Needle Drop, Andy & Alex, Scary Pockets, Look Mum No Computer, KOAN Sound, Wintergatan, and many more. 

BERNTH has more than 8,000 patrons, and Amanda Palmer has more than 12,000 patrons. Jacob Collier offers two plans, one for $9 and the other for $5 per month, in which he offers exclusive Zoom hangs, monthly album recommendations, exclusive access to the JC Patreon Archive (voice memos, exclusive performances, demos, experiments, performances, ideas), and more.  

Do People still use Patreon?

Patreon, as a company, has been consistently growing, expanding, and improving its services. However, many startups have devised alternate ways to monetize and empower the growing creator economy. For example, brand deals prove to be more profitable for creators. 

However, Patreon remains relevant, as more creators are joining it regularly, but that may not be the case if they don’t keep up with the competition, improve their services, and lower their fees. In addition, as platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc., have become easily monetizable, Patreon needs to up its game to remain relevant. 

The good thing about Patreon is that it serves all kinds of creators and is more democratic. But suppose you compare it with a competitor like Ko-fi. In that case, ko-fi has a lower platform fee of o-5%, more flexibility in the timeline, one-off donations, products & merchandise marketplace, commissions and requests, and crowdfunding options.

In addition, in Ko-fi, creators get paid instantly compared to Patreon, which has monthly payouts. With Patreon, there’s also the added pressure of keeping your patrons engaged, which could be time-consuming. In addition, supporters pay the creators directly on ko-fi, compared to Patreon, where the company is responsible for that transaction. 

Conclusion

There are lots of artists that take Patreon seriously, and adding new stuff on daily basis, while some of them are not really active at all. The best advice we could give you is to look at the date, how often the new stuff is added from a specific artist. Some of them adding stuff once per day, some of them once per week or even less.

With that said, KOAN Sound is a good example of serious artists. They contribute regularly, with all sorts of stuff including stems, Ableton production tutorials, analog samples and so much more. They offer stems of their greatest tunes like  SENTIENT, COBALT and CHRONOS, tune released on legendary VISION Recordings and promoted on UKF. 

To find such artists on Patreon, make sure you see their activity for the last 30 days, that would be our recommendation.

We have seen the pros and cons of Patreon and its competitors and also discussed its relevancy in 2023 and the future. No doubt, Patreon and other such platforms are a great way to monetize creative ventures. But, unfortunately, a lot of these options weren’t available ten years ago. 

With growing technology, Web3, the NFT space, and the new-age social media revolution, there are many innovative ways to earn from your music or artistic career. Patreon is just one of the many ways it is evolving and improving with time.

So, in conclusion, Patreon is worth it in 2023, but other options are also worth considering

Hope the article was of help; thank you for reading. 

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