It’s tough being a creator, whether it is videos on YouTube or awesome photography, trying to make a living while developing art is not the most lucrative proposition.
The advent of social media platforms has helped many people and photographers find new streams of income they would have never had before, and some services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide that necessary boost to a nascent project looking to grow.
But services like Patreon serve an even more integral purpose for some creators, providing literally the lifeblood of an operation and the framework with which to build up a community of enthusiastic patrons.
These patrons are people who love what a creator does, so much so they are willing to pay a monthly subscription to support its continuation. In other words, these are a creators most valuable asset.
And in the past week, Patreon literally shot itself in the foot with these people, leading to the cancellation of support for creators and general chaos all around.
This just adds to a tough year for many creators, especially video entrepreneurs who have suffered mightily since YouTube’s “Adpocalypse” demonetized vast swaths of videos from prominent and obscure creators alike.
In a program change that was interpreted as a cash grub by the company, Patreon tacked a fee on top of the patron’s monthly contribution, a fee that led to virtual rioting among the members of the patron community.
The fee would have largely impacted small donors, who are the bread and butter of many operations currently funded through Patreon.
In a change of course, Patreon has heard everyone’s outcry and has decided to drop the planned fee implementation, but the damage is already done for some creators.
While providing a valuable platform for creators, Patreon also has to remember it is becoming part custodian of someone’s fanbase and, vocal or not, this can be a situation fraught with hazards for both sides.