Musicians, YouTubers and other creators are now earning more than $1m a month from crowdfunding website Patreon, according to the US company.
The site enables fans to sign up to donate small amounts of money whenever a creator produces a new piece of work, from songs and videos to comic strips and journalism articles.
“In less than a year and half, over a 125,000 people have become patrons of creators on Patreon, paying them over $1m every month,” explained Patreon in a blog post.
It highlighted two creators – illustrator Chris Ryniak, who draws a daily “friendly monster” for his patrons, and singer/songwriter Danielle Ate the Sandwich – as examples. Ryniak currently earns $867 a month from 90 patrons, while Danielle earns $857 per video from her 145 supporters.
Patreon was founded in 2013 by Jack Conte, one half of YouTube music stars Pomplamoose, who saw it as a way for artists to earn regular income from their fans, rather than separate crowdfunding campaigns for individual projects.
The company signed up 15,000 creators in its first year and paid out $1m to them– a sum it’s now distributing every month. Patreon takes a 5% cut of pledges, while payment transaction fees come out of creators’ share.
Patreon itself has raised money from more conventional sources: venture capital firms and talent agencies, with a $2.1m round in August 2013 followed by a $15m round in June 2014.
Its investors include VC firms Index Ventures and Charles River Ventures; talent agencies UTA and CAA; and individuals including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Facebook’s messaging boss David Marcus.
In the new blogpost, Patreon suggested that its growth is a positive sign for anyone worried about creative industries: “It confirms a massive cultural shift that we all felt but had trouble describing. It’s a restless movement, developing simultaneously right now in arts communities around the world.”
Patreon’s growth is part of a wider trend. Fellow US firm Bandcamp has paid out more than $87m to musicians selling their work through its site, and is now letting letting them sell subscriptions to their keenest fans.“The public is demanding to pay creators. As the cost of consuming digital media drops to zero, the masses are beginning to visualise the peril on the road ahead for creatives, and now they’re doing something about it.”
The largest crowdfunding service, Kickstarter, has processed $1.2bn in pledgesfor successful projects on its site, including $250.8m for games, $206.4m for films and videos, and $117m for music projects.
YouTube is also getting in on the crowdfunding action, revealing plans in June tolaunch a tip-jar style feature so that “fans will be able to contribute money to support your channel at any time, for any reason”. The feature went live in the US, Australia, Japan and Mexico in September.
Posted from : http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/19/crowdfunding-patreon-creators-musicians-youtube