So you might be any kind of creative guru. A Travel vlogger, an innovative podcast creator, you might be making beats in your bedroom or a blogger who publishes regularly online.
As any inventive artist knows, designing, uploading, and more importantly, being seen by a responsive audience can take its toll in terms of finance and many hours of hard slog.
With a wealth of platforms out there to add your latest work to, you might be wondering how legitimate they are.
With the golden age of YouTube coming into maturity, many entrepreneurs are looking to find engaged fans throughout other avenues such as Patreon.
But can Patreon be trusted?
Before we drill down into the details, let’s start with the takeaway so you can get started on your next masterpiece.
Can Patreon be trusted? Patreon is a way for those in creative industries such as bloggers, musicians, artists, and more to build on the direct relationship they have with their loyal fan base. Before you part with any money, read reviews on sites such as Trustpilot and exercise due diligence before parting with any money.
So now that’s the mini answer out there, we first need to better understand what Patreon is before we make a judgment on whether it’s a platform we can trust, so let’s look into exactly what it is.
What is Patreon?
In a nutshell, Patreon is an American based membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service.
- It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers and fans.
- A way of crowdfunding artists content, at the time of writing, Patreon currently has 3 million active users.
According to one of its founders, Jack Conte, who is a keyboardist and member of a funk band, “The Scary Pockets”, Patreon is:
Patreon began entirely due to Conte’s own experiences building a Youtube channel.
Between himself and his hard-working partner, they burned the midnight oil arranging, filming, and editing.
This lengthy process could see each video taking at least a week to complete.
However, the results were pretty encouraging! They soon built up an impressive online following, mostly on the strength of their innovative pop covers, such as Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ which featured a xylophone, toy piano, and a resounding eight-part harmony which pulled in over 9.5 million youtube views.
So you might be wondering with that enormous amount of success, why Patreon was born, and whether Patreon is a platform that can be trusted Let’s find out.
According to Conte’s partner Dawn, the way YouTube worked was an exhausting process given that its algorithms work crucially with constant additions of content.
From an interview Conte’s partner Dawn gave Wired back in August 2019, she explains this in her own words.
So unless you’re churning out content after content, YouTube won’t necessarily promote your channel.
This along with the constant rehashing of the way YouTube promotes its channels, with almost unfathomable and changing algorithms it can be difficult to make any kind of sustainable income from fan’s loyalty.
So it seems that the quest to develop a platform where artists of all kinds could convert their digital work into some kind of reliable paycheck is the background behind the inception of Patreon.
This sounds pretty legitimate to us, right?
Conte’s own experience turning views into cash began between 2006 and 2013 on YouTube.
However, rather than those fan bases turning into great artist financial rewards, the actuality was a mini period of financial success, followed swiftly by depressing and dwindling ad revenue.
For any artist being seen regularly on YouTube, this was the equivalent of a smash around the head with a stick as the long hours and dedication required in order to grow a fan base on YouTube is not the simplest thing to achieve, as any content creator with a modicum of success will eagerly testify!
What is Patreon all About?
It seems that Conte and his partner realized the power that lay directly between the artistic originator and the special relationship they have with their loyal and most devoted fan base.
So you might be wondering what other reasons there might be to trust your hard-won YouTube fans to Patreon. Let’s find out more below.
Why should I trust my fans to Patreon?
- Trusted feedback – You have trusted voices that you can approach to ask for feedback, getting opinions. As your subscribers are financially invested, people who will share their thoughts with you because they will genuinely want to help you succeed
- Creates more time – Rather than throwing hours upon hours advertising your wares on other platforms, your Patreon subscribers are helping to support your project financially. That way you can continue to do what you love and give your loyal fans your best content.
- Your fans are the boss – With Patreon you will report directly to your audience and have no tedious targets or content limitations. With Patreon, you report directly to your viewers.
- Build stronger relationships – Using Patreon as a partner you will be able to get really up close and personal with your fans and allows you to share not only your specific projects but also challenges and successes.
Ok, so that’s some great reasons to trust Patreon with your hard-earned fans, but can they be trusted to make the big bucks, and can the way they handle their customers’ finances be trusted?
Let’s find out.
Can Patreon be Trusted to Make Artists any Money?
Although some users of Patreon are making good revenue such as Last Podcast On The Left, with an estimated monthly revenue of around $25k, others aren’t faring so well using Patreon as a revenue stream.
However, according to some artists, although Patreon talks the talk, it’s not bringing in desired revenue, and not only that, it has some major issues with how it deals with accounts, finances, and customer complaints.
There are many first-hand accounts you can seek with a Google search, to help you make your mind up whether Patreon is working for them, but like any kind of reviews, there will always be those who may have had bad experiences.
Low Trustpilot rating
According to 149 users who’ve rated Patreon, many of them are citing one of the main issues with the platform is lack of transparency concerning financials.
For example, one reviewer who gave Patreon one star has this to say.
However, it appears that the 149 negative views received a timely response from Patreon.
So what we might be seeing here could be user error, such as setting up duplicate accounts, or simply the case that Patreon may be a victim of its own success due to the fact that it’s growing too quickly and is struggling to keep up.
The other reason for such negative reviews could also be down to the type of content added or indeed some trying to “play the system”.
Can Patreon be trusted not to remove content?
It does seem to be that Patreon does have a history of removing content, however with over 3 million users, there are always going to be some issues with service or the way a platform such as Patreon does business.
It’s wise to remember that they’re effectively the middlemen who are benefiting from your creative work, by taking a cut from both you and your audience.
According to other experts, the pros and cons of using Patreon are listed below.
- Creators get consistent crowdfunding
- Fewer content restrictions than some other crowdfunders
- Subscriptions plans available to suit the individual
- Limited help section
- No built-in promotional tools
- Some creators report issues when attempting to collect funds
So it seems that Patreon does indeed have issues in its collection of funds according to some.
Can Patreons' Customer Service be Trusted?
This is also alongside the already reported fact that Patreon’s response and help sections may be lacking.
According to one verified reviewer of Consumer Affairs,
We hope that’s given you some food for thought as to whether platforms such as Patreon can be trusted to deliver everything they claim for those creative content creators.
With any platform, it’s always going to be understood that they need to make money and any kind of subscription service will always have associates risks involved. And at the moment, there isn’t much around to replace them, so they do have something of a monopoly!
Patreon appears to have credible beginnings and also with over 3 million users, it could be the numbers speak for themselves, however always thoroughly research any platform before parting with any cash.