Even though Patreon has been gaining popularity as a platform, many independent artists still feel uncomfortable with setting up a profile and tapping their fans for cash in exchange for exclusive content.
We get it. It is an uncomfortable position to put yourself in, especially if your social media posts announcing your profile result in tumbleweed and you are conscious of the economic times we are all trying to navigate. Knowing disposable income is dissolving, Patreon has moved with the times and finally added free fan membership tiers. But that isn’t the only innovation from the platform, which can now facilitate Direct-to-Fan digital sales; in a similar way to Bandcamp.
While Bandcamp probably isn’t quaking in its metaphorical boots quite yet after the change was announced on the 21st of June, it is a major milestone for the subscription-based platform. Going forward, the platform will enable creators, including musicians, to hawk their digital wares to fans on the platform. In a press release, a spokesperson for Patreon dubbed the new changes as a mark of a new era of creative control.
Obviously, the platform will make its own gains from becoming a new form of e-commerce platform; however, they chose to market it as a new way for their creators to strengthen their relationships with their communities and build sustainable businesses.
Patreon is quickly becoming the antithesis of platforms such as TikTok, which makes it easy to become a viral sensation overnight and impossible to create long-lasting and meaningful connections with their communities.
How Do Patreon’s Free Membership Tiers Work?
The new membership tiers are free-to-use for fans and creators alike; the platform created the tiers to build a ‘freemium gateway’, for new artists and creators to bolster their fanbase on the site.
Creators already established on the platform will also benefit, as they can add more casual fans and diehard fans who don’t have the cash to burn on memberships to their community.
There are two main benefits for artists and creators:
- Once fans are on the platform, they will get a feel of it and potentially be more likely to pay for a paid membership to their favourite artists’ exclusive content.
- Artists can send updates to their community through the Patreon mobile app and via the web without needing to pay for sponsored posts or having to negate algorithms that will diminish the reach of posts.
How to Sell Digital Products via Patreon
Getting your music and other digital products in as many places as possible is important for independent artists looking to expand their reach by casting their nets as wide as possible.
Now, along with ensuring that your music is on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Tidal and Apple Music, you will also want to publish it on Patreon.
As of June 2023, musicians can sell the usual digital wares, such as songs, albums, and EPs, via the platform and any other form of digital content, including artwork, music videos, live performances and podcast episodes. The site now facilitates global payment processing, which will make downloadable files accessible to the general public and fans with memberships alike.
To sell your music or other downloadables via Patreon, create a product page and set a price for your content. Once your browsable shop is open for trade, you can publicly share the shop on social media platforms, your official website and other streaming services which make it harder to see any revenue from your audience’s interest in your music – we’re obviously talking about Spotify here!
For commerce sales, Patreon will keep a 5% percentage of all sales, plus fees for payment processing, applicable taxes, currency conversion and payouts. For paid membership fees, the percentage is slightly higher at 8%.
How Popular is Patreon in 2023?
In the last decade since Patreon’s inception in 2013, the platform has become one of the most successful ones of its kind. As of February 2023, Patreon:
- Has over 8 million active Patrons.
- Allows its creators to collectively make over $100 million each month.
- Has over 250,00 active creators, with over 220,00 having at least one patron.
- Has paid $3.5 billion to its creators.
A few months ago, we wondered what has the potential to replace Spotify and considered Patetron as an option. With these two new major shakeups, the platform has become a frontrunner in the race, at least for artists and creators with hardcore fanbases willing to part with cash to support them. It may not be able to boast the same seamless and effortless streaming capacity yet, but who knows what the future holds for the platform.
Article by Amelia Vandergast