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Patreon is a crowd-funding platform popular with YouTube content creators, musicians, and webcomic artists. It allows artists to obtain funding from their fans or patrons, on a recurring basis, or per work of art. This San Francisco based company was started by musician Jack Conte and developer Sam Yam in 2013. Patreon has been featured in Forbes, Billboard, and Time magazine.  

History

Patreon was founded in May 2013 by artist Jack Conte, who was looking for a way to make a living from his popular YouTube videos. Together with Sam Yam he developed a platform that allows patrons to donate a set amount of money every time an artist creates a work of art. The company raised 2.1 million dollars in August 2013 from a group of venture capitalists and angel investors. In June 2014 the company raised a further $15,000,000 in a series A round led by Danny Rimer of Index Ventures. In January 2016, the company closed on a fresh round of $30 million in a series B round, led by Thrive Capital which puts the total raised for Patreon at $47.1 million.

The company has signed up more than 125,000 "patrons" in its first 18 months. In late 2014, the website announced that patrons were sending over $1,000,000 per month to the site's content creators.

In March 2015, Patreon acquired Subbable, a similar voluntary subscription service created by the Green brothers, John and Hank, and brings over Subbable creators and contents including CGP Grey, Destin Sandlin's Smarter Every Day and the Green brothers' own CrashCourse and SciShow channels. The merger was consequent of an expected migration of payment systems with Amazon Payments that Subbable used.

In October 2015, the site was the target of a massive hacking attack with almost fifteen gigabytes' worth of password data, donation records, and source code taken and published. The breach exposed more than 2.3 million unique e-mail addresses and millions of private messages.

Model

Artists set up a page on the Patreon website, where patrons can pledge to donate a given amount of money to an artist every time they create a piece of art, optionally setting a monthly maximum. Alternatively a fixed monthly amount can be pledged. This is different from other crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter, where artists obtain a single sum after a successful campaign and typically have to start over for every new piece. Similar to other platforms however, artists will often provide rewards for their patrons. Patreon takes a 5% commission on pledges.

Participating Artists

As of February 2014, almost half of the artists produce YouTube videos, while the rest are writers, webcomics artists, or podcasters. On average, patrons donate $7 per creation. Patreon is growing rapidly both in patrons and creators, with 10,000 artists expected to use Patreon by the end of February 2014. While the website initially targeted musicians (musician and performer Amanda Palmer uses Patreon and operates independently from a music label), established webcomic artists such as Jonathan Rosenberg, Zach Weinersmith and Paul Taylor are successfully using it. Any content creation that may be deemed pornographic photography is prohibited since a December 2014 policy change. Non-photographic sexual imagery (drawn, sculpted, or computer generated, for example) is allowed.

References

  1.  The California Report.org: "Creating Patrons of the Arts Through Crowdfunding" July 11–13, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Patreon.org: Intro Accessed 14.7.1014
  3. Jump up to:a b Levitz, Dena (9 September 2013). "Donation, Patron Services Help Fans Support Their Favorite Authors". PBS. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  4. Jump up^ Tate, Ryan (22 October 2013). "The Next Big Thing You Missed: 'Eternal Kickstarter' Reinvents Indie Art". Wired. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  5. Jump up^ Luckerson, Victor (4 December 2013). "Top 10 Exciting Startups". Time. Retrieved1 March 2014.
  6. Jump up^ Buhr, Sarah (23 June 2014). "Patreon Raises $15 Million Series A, Revamps Site To Focus More On Content". TechCrunch. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  7. Jump up^ "Patreon Raised $15 Million". YouTube. Jun 23, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  8. Jump up^ Buhr, Sarah (19 Jan 2016). "Patreon Gains $30 Million Series B Funding To Support Growth". TechCrunch. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  9. Jump up^ Dredge, Stuart. "Amanda Palmer races to $13,000 per release in Patreon crowdfunding"the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  10. Jump up^ "Creators on Patreon Receive Over 1,000,000 per Month From Patrons". October 10, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  11. Jump up^ "Patreon Acquires Subbable, Aligning the YouTube Stars"Forbes. Retrieved 17 March2015.
  12. Jump up^ Hunt, Troy. "Pwned websites - Patreon"Have I been pwned?. Retrieved 7 October2015.
  13. Jump up^ Goodin, Dan (2 October 2015). "Gigabytes of user data from hack of Patreon donations site dumped online"ars technica. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  14. Jump up^ Pham, Alex (10 May 2013). "Jack Conte's Patreon: Anyone Can Be a Patron of the Arts"Billboard Biz. Los Angeles. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Henriksen, Erik (7 February 2014). "Portland Cartoonist Erika Moen Launches a Patreon (Also, Patreon Sounds Pretty Brilliant)"The Portland Mercury. Portland, OR. Retrieved1 March 2014.
  16. Jump up^ "Patreon Help Center". Patreon. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  17. Jump up^ Patreon.com: Projects Roll
  18. Jump up^ Wolf, Michael (19 February 2014). "Analysis: Patreon seeing strong growth in creators, pledges, pageviews". Gigaom Research. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  19. Jump up^ Allen, Todd (24 February 2014). "Patreon Raises $2.1 Million"Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

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