UPDATE: In the time since this article was originally published, new data has shown that the $2B mark was reached in November 2020, not September 2020.
I’ve been a professional creator for 12+ years, making music and videos with my bands Pomplamoose and Scary Pockets. In 2019 alone, we published over a 100 videos! Before Patreon, despite millions of video views, my monthly earnings paled in comparison to the reach and impact of our work. It feels like yesterday that I maxed out credit cards and obliterated my savings account while building a replica of the Millennium Falcon for a music video. Ingrained in my brain is the moment I opened my earnings dashboard, and the graphs before me revealed 1M+ views and… what!? That can’t be right. Ad revenue earnings of $166.10.
Do the math and you’re looking at $.0002 per view. Long nights, hard labor, and love produced a piece of content folks celebrated and in turn, I took home pennies. The system was clearly broken. It valued advertisers, not artists, and creators were getting screwed.
There had to be a better way.
In 2013, Patreon was born. I am so proud to say after a mere seven years, there are now more than 200,000 creators on the platform that have collectively earned $2 billion dollars to date directly from their fans! No advertisers. No gatekeepers. No black box. Even more exciting, it took six years for creators to earn $1 billion through Patreon and just 15 months to earn their second. Moving forward, creators from all over the world will be earning at least $1 billion a year on Patreon. $1 billion!
Over the years, I’ve had the honor of listening to thousands of stories. These are no longer the stories of creators getting screwed by a broken system. These are the stories of thriving creative businesses. They have evolved from kitchen table recordings to high-end studios. From coffee houses to large concert halls. From flying solo to employing large teams. By building your content and community on Patreon YOU proved the power of creative independence.
Together, we are changing the creative economy.
We’ll continue to drive this critical movement forward, and I’m excited to inform you that we have raised another $90 million in funding to help us do so. Because of so many conversations with so many of you, we know the best way to continue to fund the creative class is to build a global network, on creator-friendly terms, where exclusive content and community can grow and develop. As such, we are going to focus on three key areas:
International, enhancing the patron experience, and helping you expand your audience with discovery tools.
With the majority of creators and patrons residing outside of the U.S., we have taken multiple steps to support the creative class worldwide. In February, we opened offices in Berlin and Dublin along with adding Euros and Pounds as currencies. The platform is now available in German with localized French, Spanish and Italian versions coming soon! The impact thus far has been incredible. When fans can pay in their local currency, their likelihood of becoming a patron is 30% to 60% higher. We’ll continue to add more currencies this year to make it even easier for fans all over the world to support the creators they love.
Nearly half of all patrons have told us they are seeking greater connection and community with creators and one another. Relationships have formed and friendships are being built based on similar interests, hobbies, and appreciation. We will be enhancing that experience – from updating messaging features, to patrons being able to engage with each other, along with providing more opportunities to physically show support for a creator in the form of more merchandise. We currently deliver to 231 regions and we’ll be adding more custom products and currencies by year’s end. Don’t lift a finger as we’ll do all the work in delivering hoodies, mugs, stickers, and the like to your patrons!
Also, all of this is happening with a focus on improving our content consumption and mobile experiences, because creators and patrons should be able to engage with each other however, whenever and wherever they are.
We’ve also heard from creators that they want our help with audience expansion on Patreon to complement their off-platform acquisition efforts. In response, we will be making it much easier for the 6 million patrons on Patreon to discover creators. By investing in search and discovery, we will be helping you to acquire more patrons! Search results will be based on factors such as the Patreon communities that patrons are already a part of, what type of content they support, or where they are located.
This moment is a big deal because it proves that the world is changing. Being a professional artist is no longer a dream but a reality for more people than ever before. The second renaissance has arrived and the creative class is crushing it.
I would like to welcome the following investors to the Patreon family and thank them for helping us drive this creative economy forward: New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Wellington Management and Lone Pine. A special thanks to our current investors who also participated in this round, which include Glade Brook Capital, Thrive Capital, DFJ Growth, and Index Ventures.