×

Patreon May Start Providing Loans to Creators, Among Other New Services

Patreon, the subscription-based fan platform, is eyeing a range of new services to support creators — including potentially providing loans at some point, CEO Jack Conte said.

Conte, speaking at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit in L.A., said Patreon is considering ways to provide capital funding and other financial services to artists, as well as services like health insurance and HR support.

“Nobody’s building for creators right now,” Conte said. “Even [platforms] that say they’re building for creators aren’t — advertisers are their customers.”

“It’s so hard for creators to get a loan,” said Conte. He talked about his difficulty getting a home loan when he was an indie musician in the band Pomplamoose with his wife, Nataly Dawn. The lender wanted to see Conte’s pay stubs; “I sent my iTunes sales reports to the bank,” he said.

In 2019, Patreon expects to distribute over $500 million in funds to creators around the world. Creators can make 50-100 times the money on Patreon compared with what they generate via ad-supported services, Conte claimed. “Artists should be compensated fairly for their work,” he said. “It’s a much better economic system to fund people who are making the internet lively and interesting.”

Also on the panel, Baratunde Thurston, the comedian-host-author who helped launch “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Comedy Central, discussed why he launched a membership page on Patreon in May 2019.

Thurston is soliciting donations ranging from $5 to $500 per month. Perks he’s offering include exclusive content including media recommendations as well as “semi-secret past creations”; the biggest donors are promised autographed copies of his book “How to Be Black” and one-on-one phone calls or even an in-person meeting. So far, Thurston said, he’s making about $1,000 per month via the site.

“I wanted to have a more consistent relationship with my fan community,” Thurston explained. He also wanted to have a source of financial support so he didn’t have to rely on “permission from other gatekeepers” to move forward on various projects. “If you make it easy for people to support you, many will,” he said.

For now, Thurston said he doesn’t see Patreon as providing his sole source of income. One of his big goals is to provide a way to preview his work to a small, highly engaged group of people and get feedback on it. “I wanted a laboratory to experiment,” he said.

The session was moderated by Janko Roettgers, Variety senior Silicon Valley correspondent.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Raises Bar for Channel Verification, Stripping Some Creators of Verified Status

    YouTube is making it harder for channels to receive a verification badge indicating their authenticity — and the program’s new requirements mean that some channels won’t be eligible for verification. Like other internet platforms, YouTube indicates to viewers that specific channels are officially run by the creator, artist, celebrity or company they represent with an [...]

  • BuzzFeed - Katie Sitter

    BuzzFeed Taps Activision Blizzard's Katie Sitter as Head of HR (EXCLUSIVE)

    BuzzFeed hired Katie Sitter, most recently an HR exec at Activision Blizzard, as senior VP of people. Sitter, who starts at the company Sept. 30, will lead the BuzzFeed HR organization and oversee strategic initiatives related to organizational planning, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, labor relations, and diversity, equity, and [...]

  • Kano

    Kano Tipped to Launch ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Frozen’ Coding Kits

    Educational consumer electronics startup Kano is getting ready to release “Star Wars” and “Frozen” coding kits, according to regulatory filings. Recent FCC filings made by the company reveal plans to release a product called “The Force Coding Kit” as well as one called “The Disney Frozen Coding Kit.” Kano representatives didn’t respond to multiple requests [...]

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content