What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works (2024)

YouTubers, TikTokkers, podcasters, verified Twitter users, Twitch streamers, and other content creators have one thing in common: many of them use Patreon to supplement their income.

In a world where content is king and digital creators reign supreme, monetizing creative work remains a challenge for many. Enter Patreon, a game-changing membership platform that bridges the gap between creators and their most dedicated fans. Offering a unique blend of crowdfunding and subscription services, Patreon is revolutionizing the way creators get paid and how fans interact with the content they love. Whether you're a YouTuber, podcaster, artist, or a fan looking to support your favorite internet personality, understanding how Patreon works can unlock a world of possibilities. We've been Patreon users for years. Here's how the platform works and how it's reshaping online content creation and consumption.

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What is Patreon?

Patreon is basically a crowdfunding site for content creators. But it describes itself as a "membership platform that makes it easy for creators to get paid."

Online personalities as well as traditional creators such as musicians and writers have been flocking Patreon as a quick and easy way to let their fans, or patrons, pay them. Patrons are essentially Patreon subscribers, as they send a set amount every month to their favorite creators through Patreon. Creators can offer their patrons different tiers of access for different monthly prices, too, again all through the Patreon platform.

We've all heard about the starving artist whose paintings, sheets of music, and sculptures have gone for millions only after they've died. That's a thing of the past. The web has given many creators not only a platform to share their work, but also a way to crowdfund revenue. For example, they can charge $5 a month through Patreon, and if you pay, you'll become a patron and will get early access to their content and works.

Patreon was co-founded in 2013 by Sam Yam and Jack Cont. It's based in San Francisco and has about 8 million active users

How does Patreon work?

You can access Patreon on the web or from its mobile apps.

Creators

Are you an online content creator or an artist looking for supplemental income? Patreon can help you generate revenue for some of your creations, whether it's a podcast, video, song, webcomic, or whatever. Your fans, or patrons, can pay as little as a few dollars/pounds per month or per post for access to your work. You will get paid every month, or every time you release something new. You can even manage rewards for each tier, especially if there are higher rewards that involve meeting patrons or custom work.

The number of people currently supporting you is always visible on your page to other patrons of the Patreon platform. Also, the primary way that you communicate with your supporters is via the feed on their page. You can post text, images, videos, and polls. Patreon also lets you block off certain posts to specific tiers. For instance, you can make it so that only new posts are shown to those contributing at least $1.

Patreon has custom RSS feed support, too, plus integration with Discord.

Patrons

You likely heard your favorite internet celebrity recently mention Patreon. Well, Patreon is a way for you to pay them for the content they create. Through Patreon, you can now pay creators (also called Patreon members) per month or per post. For example, you could pay $5 a month through Patreon to get special access to a YouTuber's videos, which are private to everyone else, or you could give them $1 for every new video they post. Either way, if you become a Patreon patron and choose to support a creator, then Patreon said you're a "bonafide, real-life patron of the arts."

Think of it this way: In exchange for supporting creators, you can receive certain perks, access to exclusive uploads or new work, ad-free content, and more.

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Is Patreon free to join?

Yes, joining Patreon is free for both creators and patrons to join. However, creators can choose to generate revenue from patrons on the platform either per creation or via monthly subscriptions from patrons.

What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works (3)

How much does Patreon cost for patrons to use?

Patreon creators typically display monetary goals on their page and may offer multiple tiers for patrons to join, with each tier corresponding to a specific monetary amount.

These tiers can range. The most common is subscription billing, typically paying anywhere from $1 to $100 a month. The more a patron contributes, the more perks they may receive. Some of the highest tier rewards usually include the ability to directly communicate with the creator, though those tiers may have a maximum number of "slots" that can be filled.

Billing options

There are currently four payment models that a creator may offer, according to Patreon. Their exact descriptions are below. Each model may unlock different content for different creators.

  • Subscription billing: With subscription billing, patrons pay when they join a creator's membership and renew monthly on that same date on UTC.
  • Monthly charge upfront billing: With charge upfront, billing patrons pay upfront to join the creator's page, granting access to the creator's backlog of content on Patreon. After the first payment, patrons pay on the first of each month on PT for the month of access again.
  • Monthly (non-charge upfront) billing: With monthly (non-charge upfront), there's no payment needed to join and unlock membership access. Patrons pay on the first of each month on PT for any access they had the previous month.
  • Per creation billing: With the per creation billing model, patrons pay their pledged amount per paid post the creator makes after they sign up. Patrons can set a monthly maximum number of posts they'll pay for, but they'll get access to any paid post made beyond their maximum. Patrons pay on the first of each month on PT for paid posts published the previous month.
What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works (4)

Patreon

How much does Patreon cost for creators

Fees

There are four different fees on Patreon. You can read Patreon's FAQ page to see the full description for each fee, but they are summarized below:

  • Platform fee: Percentage of processed membership payments
  • Payment processing fees: Cost of moving funds from your patrons to your creator balance
  • Payout fees: Charge for moving funds from your creator balance to your bank, PayPal, or Payoneer account
  • Conversion fees: Patrons have the option to pay in the currency they prefer

Creator plans

Patreon now has three creator plans: Lite, Pro, and Premium. Not every creator who joins Patreon wants or is ready for its full suite of features. But if you become interested in Patreon's other tools and product features, like multiple membership tiers, special offers, and detailed patron analytics, you can always upgrade. Go to Patreon Creator Plans to learn more about the price for each plan.

How to become a Patreon creator

First, to see if Patreon is right for you and whether you should ask others for support, check to see if one of these fields apply to you:

  • Podcasters
  • Video Creators
  • Musicians
  • Visual Artists
  • Communities
  • Writers and Journalists
  • Gaming Creators
  • Nonprofits
  • Tutorials and Education
  • Creators-of-all-kinds

Next, actually sign up for Patreon! It's free.

  1. Go to Patreon's sign up page.
  2. Add your information or sign up through a third party like Facebook.
  3. Set your creator details, like the name of your page and what you are creating.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps to complete your Patreon creator account.

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Can anyone become a Patreon creator?

Yes, anyone can become a Patreon creator. It's popular among artists, musicians, podcasters, YouTubers, and various online content creators.

What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works (6)

How to become a Patreon patron

  • Go here to learn more about supporting creators.

If you want to support a creator, visit their Patreon page and select one of their tiers. The tier you choose will unlock certain benefits offered only in that tier. The tier price is the minimum payment option to unlock that tier. If your creator doesn't have tiers, simply click the Become a Patron button on their page.

First-time patrons will need to add their payment method and confirm their details to become an official patron of a Patreon creator. On the confirmation page, you can review your payment details, set the amount or monthly limit, and confirm.

Patreon examples

Still confused about how or why you'd use Patreon? Here is a simple example: Molly Burke (below) is a YouTuber who is blind. She creates videos to educate others and to bring awareness. She sometimes offers exclusive access to her personal life if you support her through Patreon. For instance, in 2020, she started dating someone new and introduced him first to patrons. Non-paying YouTube viewers must wait to meet her new beau.

More Patreons to follow

The table below showcases the top 10 Patreon creators, highlighting who they are, what they create, and how many paid members they have as of January 2024. This snapshot of the most popular creators is sourced from Graphtreon's ranking of the platform's top-growing accounts.

Rank

Creator name

Patreon page description

# of paid members

1

Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast

Creating Hot Casts

80,989

2

Ilja Jusupov aka x4fab

Creating mods for Assetto Corsa racing simulator

52,244

3

Chapo Trap House

Creating Chapo Trap House Podcast

42,601

4

If Books Could Kill

Those shoes look really comfortable

41,468

5

Peter Boese

Creating Pure, a weather and graphics mod for Assetto Corsa/CSP

39,021

6

Dungeons and Daddies

Creating premium dad audio content

35,208

7

the yard

Creating a podcast

32,908

8

Not Another D&D Podcast

Creating Audio Adventures

32,022

9

DarkCookie

Creating Summertime Saga

30,766

10

Worlds Beyond Number

We play games to make stories out of sound

29,047

Want to know more?

Check out Patreon's support hub to learn more about Patreon memberships, taxes, fees, FAQ tiers, etc.

What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works (2024)

FAQs

What is Patreon? How the creator monetization platform works? ›

Patreon allows creators to monetize their content by creating a paywall and charging patrons a subscription fee to access their work. This transparent business model is great for both creators and patrons. Creators know when their monthly earnings will be paid out and can rely on this income to support their work.

What is Patreon and how does it work? ›

Patreon is a donation-based service for content creators.

Fans of your work can then sign up to become “patrons.” Patrons support creators by paying a monthly subscription fee or pledging a set amount of money per post.

How does getting money from Patreon work? ›

When you add a payout method for the first time or when you edit your payout method, an automatic 5-day payout hold is placed on your balance. After the 5-day payout hold, you'll be able to withdraw your balance.

How does per creation work on Patreon? ›

Per creation

This means that any paid post you create after they upgrade will be billed at their new membership amount up to their monthly max. Their downgrade takes effect immediately. If you make paid posts after they downgrade, the patron will be billed the new, lower amount up to their monthly max.

How does Patreon payment work? ›

If a creator has subscription billing enabled, members are billed when they join a creator's membership and then on the same day of each month thereafter. For example, if a member joins on the 5th of a month, they'll be billed on the 5th of each month thereafter.

Why do people use Patreon? ›

Offer exclusive benefits One of the top reasons that people follow creators on Patreon is to access exclusive content. Offer perks like early access to your work, behind-the-scenes content, personalized messages, and exclusive merchandise. The more value you bring to the table, the more likely people are to follow you!

Do Patreon creators get all the money? ›

With the Pro Plan, the most popular plan, Patreon will take 8% of your total earnings plus additional fees, such as payout fees and applicable taxes, which we will discuss later on. For example, if a fan pledges $100 to a creator, Patreon takes $8 as its service fee. The remaining $92 goes to the creator's account.

How much does it cost to join Patreon? ›

It's free to get started on Patreon. When you sign up, you'll have immediate access to powerful features to share content directly with your audience, connect with your most valuable fans, and build your community. There is no cost to use any of these features.

Can you withdraw money from Patreon? ›

Funds from membership payments may also appear as pending until they are successfully processed. Once funds are no longer pending and appear as available to withdraw, you can pay out your balance. Once a payout is initiated, it typically takes 1-5 days for the funds to appear in your personal account.

Is Patreon worth it for creators? ›

Patreon is a great way to give content to people that want to support you. It's a win-win-win, since people get to support their favourite creators, the creators get money for their work and Patreon also makes money from that.

What is the average Patreon income? ›

According to the statistics that Patreon Blog provides, an average creator can earn $315 – $1575 per month but there are other platforms that allow both creators and their agents to get so much more.

What is the highest earning Patreon account? ›

Top Patreon earners:
#Creator
1the yard (Creating a podcast)
2Chapo Trap House (Creating Chapo Trap House Podcast)
3The Adam Friedland Show (Creating The Adam Friedland Show)
4TrueAnon Podcast (The ONLY Anti-Pedophile Podcast fighting the Sicko Elite)
46 more rows
Dec 20, 2023

How do people get paid on Patreon? ›

Depending on how you've set up currency and location, you may have the choice to pay out your balance to a bank account, Payoneer, or PayPal. Let's get your payout method set up so you can start getting paid!

Can you follow creators on Patreon without paying? ›

All fans can join for free if their creator has a free offering listed on their page. Some creators may only show their paid options prominently on their Patreon.

Is being a creator on Patreon free? ›

Creating a Patreon account is free for creators, but fees apply after creators start earning money on Patreon. Creators can expect to pay between 5-12% of the monthly income they earn on Patreon, depending on their plan type. Patreon currently has three plans available: Lite, Pro, and Premium.

How much does it cost to use Patreon? ›

It's free to get started on Patreon. When you sign up, you'll have immediate access to powerful features to share content directly with your audience, connect with your most valuable fans, and build your community. There is no cost to use any of these features.

What are the pros and cons of Patreon? ›

Patreon is fairly easy to use and allows creators an easy way of getting content out to those who are willing to support them. The fees that Patreon charges are the highest among their peers and aren't nearly as flexible as when it comes to customization.

Can I use Patreon for free? ›

Who can join for free? All fans can join for free if their creator has a free offering listed on their page. Some creators may only show their paid options prominently on their Patreon. You'll know a creator offers this option if you see a Join for free button on their page.

Who is the highest paid Patreon? ›

Top Patreon earners:
#Creator
1the yard (Creating a podcast)
2Chapo Trap House (Creating Chapo Trap House Podcast)
3The Adam Friedland Show (Creating The Adam Friedland Show)
4TrueAnon Podcast (The ONLY Anti-Pedophile Podcast fighting the Sicko Elite)
46 more rows
Dec 20, 2023

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