Patreon shared some interesting news this week that’ll affect creators and supporters alike.
Update (January 3, 2018): Following a public outcry, Patreon has walked back this plan. They’ll be going back to the drawing more to figure out another way to deal with fees.
Original story (December 6, 2017): Beginning January 2018, Patreon will be sending creators a firm 95% of the money they generate from pledges. The previous take home amount was between 80 – 88%, Patreon says. This number varied based on a few factors.
While the higher payout is great news for creators, it’s also a bit scary. They’re accomplishing this by moving fees previously eaten by creators over to Patrons. Unfortunately, it’s supporters who are taking the hit.
Come mid-December, your Patrons will be asked to pay their current pledge amount + 2.9% of their pledge + a $0.35 fee.
Example: If one of your Patrons was previously being charged $4.99, they will now begin to be charged $5.48.
Patreon is encouraging creators to personally let their supporters know about the changes in order to lessen potential back lash. On December 7, a notice is going out to all supporters to notify them of the upcoming change.
It’ll be interesting to see how supporters respond to this higher charge. I’m cautiously optimistic that they’ll be okay with it. On one hand, a 50-cent increase for a monthly charge isn’t too bad. On the other, tacked on fees are never a good look.
For what it’s worth, Patreon says that their research shows supporters are willing to pay a little more. “We ran experiments to understand patrons’ potential reactions and we found that many patrons were happy knowing that this change will send more money to creators,” they said in an e-mail.
While I’m very excited to see Patreon putting more money in the hands of creators, this extra fee does take a bit away from the appeal of asking people to pledge for a flat rate. You can no longer tell potential supporters that you’re asking them to pledge $4.99 (or whatever you charge) per month. You now have to have an asterisk next to that amount.
It would’ve been admirable if Patreon had just lowered their previous fees. They’ve seen explosive growth this year — growth that would’ve been able to balance out a fee cut.
More can be read in this FAQ over on Patreon.