Sunday, February 15, 2015

Patreon - Patronship Empowering Creators to Do What They Do, But Better

I really struggled with the title of this blog post because it falls far short of what Patreon and the concept of patronship really means.

Here, let's start with a simple comparison to Kickstarter and where the two are diametrically opposed (which might be a stronger term than needed, but whatever.)

Kickstarter allows folks to fund a promise. Remember Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons? "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." It's a bit like that, except you are paying for the hamburger today with a promise that you'll get the hamburger on Tuesday. Perhaps with a side of fries if certain stretch goals are met, but maybe you won't get that burger for 2 more weeks - or ever. That promise you are funding is only as good as the one giving it and even then, the best of intentions often become crowdfunded nightmares. Feel free to read some of the Kickstarter posts here at The Tavern. I've covered all types - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Patreon allows you to support something that was already being done and offered to the masses for free. It's a crowdfunded "tip jar" if you will, and the power of crowdfunding can be pretty amazing. It can allow bands and music producers to up the quality of their videos (Scott Bradley and his Post Modern Jukebox Band has pledges of over $3,400 per video) and podcasters to cover hosting and production costs (Wild Games Productions is getting a hair over $50 a month to cover costs of hosting a whole bunch of podcasts, The Brainstorm included.) +Dyson Logos (here) and +matt jackson (here) were posting maps and adventures to their blogs before Patreon was "a thing."

Few if any of us can be a "patron of the arts" like in the Renaissance Period. We can, however, put aside a buck or two a month to support those that bring some joy to our lives (and if you have more than a buck or two to tip with, many creators offering little extras. WGP offers a monthly hangout with an assortment of podcasts hosts for those that put a bit more in the tip jar.)

I personally support 11 different creators on Patreon, three of which are music creators. The other eight are in the RPG hobby.

As I cut back on backing Kickstarter material, I see myself putting a few more pieces of gold into various projects on the Patreon side of things. I see the results. I can get feedback from project creators when I want and give them feedback when they want it. It is much more of a community than Kickstarter could ever be.

Do I see The Tavern putting a Patreon tip jar on the bar in the near future? Probably. More contests. More prizes. More fun ;)

Blogging has always been something I've enjoyed and my family has been very accommodating and understanding of the time and funds I put into it. It will need to pay for itself when I retire shortly.

So, this was going to be a post about which Patreon projects were worth backing and has become more of a post about what Patreon actually is.

I'll link to some worthy Patreon projects during the  forthcoming week.


  1. "Patronship Empowering Creators to Do What They Do, But Better"
    Like waste money, fail all expectations, disregard any responsibilities, and produce bullshit at extremely high price. I can't wait to see some of these "worthy" patreon projects lmao.

    1. there is no "high price", and you give what you want when you want it. You are supporting continuous creation. When it fails to meet your expectations, put the dollar bill back in your pocket.

    2. You *really* don't like my work, do you Nano Shinonome?

    3. I like your work, Dyson. And I think what you, Matt and Tim do is inspiring and very, very cool.

    4. Wut?

      I literally cannot parse what Nano is saying. It very much seems like a troll. If not, I'd love an example of what he's taking about.

  2. Patreon and Kickstarter support different types of endeavor.

    If you have a thing that you want to produce, but need the help of backers to see it produced, then kickstarter is the the platform to fund that project.

    If you have a concept to produce ongoing things, bit by bit, and you are asking people if they want to support you into keeping on doing that thing, whether on a monthly basis, if your output is very regular and very high, of several things per week, say, or on a per thing basis, if these are fewer and farther between, then Patreon is the way to go.

    I think these are useful to creators and entrepreneurs, but they are meant for different things, fundamentally.

  3. Thanks for this post; I've only recent heard of Patreon and was having trouble understanding how it was different from Kickstarter.

  4. Just another way of asking for handouts. Nothing wrong with giving if you want to; just shouldn't expect quid pro quo it sounds like.

    1. Not really. If you need funds in advance to produce something, particularly with an exact grasp of the demand out there, then kickstarter is extremely useful from a pure business standpoint. It's not a handout because you get something out of it. Unless of you're intimating that no kickstarter ever delivers, and that'd just be silly talk.

      If you are setting up a Patreon and either produce lots of stuff you get paid for per month, or less stuff you get paid for per unit, this isn't a handout either, because something gets produced for you in the exchange. Again, assuming we are talking of Patreons that actually deliver something, and most certainly do.

      If you want a platform for actual handouts, i.e. something given entirely for free without reward to a needy person, that exists too, and that's called gofundme.com. That's a platform that is useful too, albeit not for the same sort of thing at all.

  5. As with any Gold Rush or Tech Bubble, there seems to be a (business/commercial) evolutionary structure at work. The sweet spot appears to be after-the-novelty and before-the-abuse. The enhancement of having an actual dialogue with creators is awesome (in some small part the dialogue is part of the branding and benefit the creators bestow on us huddled consumers) and for all the apparent waste of the Internet that is a big proton-plus.

    Stupid people complain. Smart people adapt.


  6. Clearly it shows an upward trend in intelligence (okay, maybe Wisdom) and has a positive bearing on rev-gen and profits.


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