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Patreon for Artists: Building a Recurring Revenue Stream

by | Master Your Craft, Musician Marketing

Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the digital age, creatives have had to innovate various ways to ensure their work produces some consistent return. Fortunately, the online world is filled with platforms and initiatives that encourage the fair trade of artistic works. Patreon is one of the most widely used examples of initiatives like these. In today’s article, we’ll cover the basics of Patreon and show you how to set up your own Artist account, so you can start reaping more benefits from your creativity. 

What is Patreon? 

Patreon is a membership platform that lets creatives build a community of followers that pay a subscription to receive various content from you. Unlike streaming services, all content on Patreon is exclusive to the subscribers that pay for them. The service is available in several creative fields, from film and graphic art to industrial design and self-help. Creatives can create a monthly subscription package for their followers or release individual pieces of content with relative price points. By implementing a monthly subscription plan, you’re essentially securing yourself a salary and financial security that will incentivize your creative output. 

Key Patreon Features 

● Benefits – Benefits are the primary currency of the Patreon Artist infrastructure. Your followers pay for a subscription to your account, and you reward them with benefits. These benefits could be anything from exclusive recordings, digital album artwork, lyrics, or even privately streamed shows for your biggest contributors. 

● Video and Audio Hosting – There are several third-party services that you can integrate into your Patreon profile to enhance your follower’s online experience with your content. Services like Vimeo let you embed links from your videos on their site onto your Patreon artist profile. Vimeo is well known for its lossless video display, so your followers will be able to watch your video content in the highest possible quality. 

● Direct Follower Communication – Patreon lets you use mass mail and messaging apps like Mailchimp to send out mass notifications to your users. Receiving a monthly newsletter or personalized email from an artist brings them closer to their followers and will encourage your fanbase to continue supporting your Patreon endeavors.

● Interactive Fan Sessions – With services like Streamlab or Crowdcast, you can host highly interactive video streaming sessions with your fanbase. Creators use streams like these to give their top contributors private performances, Q&A sessions, or even let them interact with behind-the-scenes elements like studio sessions or lyric writing sessions. 

● Exclusive Fan Access – Patreon lets you create content reserved for your best, most loyal followers. With automated early access, you can release benefits to your patrons before releasing them anywhere else online. This kind of exclusivity goes a long way in making your followers feel like you’re building a sincere relationship with them.

● Shop Portal – You can link your followers to external shop links and offer them discount codes through your Patreon subscription packages. For example, you could offer a 20% percent discount code on a band t-shirt that you sell on your Shopify portal. 

● Private Communities – Online forums and conversations are frequented as widely as regular bars and coffee shops. You can integrate services like Discourse or Dischord to initiate and grow a personalized online community that maintains activity from your account. For instance, if you’re a producer or beatmaker, you could start an online forum that shares samples, audio advice or even collaborate with your patrons for maximum user engagement. 

How to Set Up Your Patreon Account 

We’ve provided a basic step-by-step guide to setting up your Patreon account. Membership is free for creators, and verification takes a few minutes to process. 

1. On the Patreon website, select the Create On Patreon button to open up an artist account. You can use your Facebook or Google details to sign up for an account. 

2. You’ll be taken to the Start My Page tab to begin designing your Artist Profile. Patreon will ask you what type of service you’re providing, i.e., music, film, graphic art, etc. Patreon will also ask you if your content is child-friendly. 

3. Once your profile type has been set, you can select a few online payment options to receive your monthly turnover. 

4. Your user profile should be verified within a few minutes, and you can then begin customizing your page with cover photos, color themes, personalized messages, etc. The more effort you put into your Creator profile, the more value you offer your followers for their contributions .

5. Set goals to incentivize your fans to grow your following and revenue alongside you. For example, set a 100-fan goal over a 3-month time-span to encourage them to share your profile and reward them with a new song release once the milestone has been reached. 

6. You can set three different membership tiers with relative benefits for each one. Patreon does not charge Creators for a membership, but it does take a commission from each of the three subscription tiers offered to users: 

● Lite (5%) 

● Pro (8%) 

● Premium (12%)

You’ll want to set competitive pricing for each subscription package to your patrons to help keep them incentivized to continue contributing to your page. 

Patreon Artist Tips

While Patreon may seem like it offers the fast-track to financial security, most creators will require smart strategy and earnest effort to grow and maintain a lucrative following. We’ve listed a few tips below to help you create a strong artist presence on Patreon. 

● Go direct – Asking someone to contribute a monthly subscription to your services requests more loyalty from them than streaming a song or sharing your art online. Try to find as many followers as possible with direct communication. This could be from direct messaging or calling your most trusted supporters to send out focused campaigns from your social channels directing fans to your Patreon account. 

● Create exclusivity – Followers are less likely to contribute to your account if they can find your benefits or rewards elsewhere online. Use your Patreon to host exclusive content to add value to your subscription packages. If you wish to release some of your Patreon content elsewhere, try to release that content to your patrons first to make them feel special.

● Be careful with physical rewards – Fans love the novelty and sincerity of merchandise or artist souvenirs. However, shipping and packaging do not come without their own set of headaches and obstacles, so ensure that you’ve got a steady following and a solid shipping process before creating incentives for physical benefits. 

● Fan Feedback – The concept of Patreon centers around the community rather than consumerism. Use video streaming or Dischord sessions to interact with your patrons to get real-time feedback on your music. Your followers will appreciate the intimacy of sessions like these as it helps to build sincere relationships with artists whose works inspire them. 

Final Thoughts

Patreon has been changing the way that many musicians approach monetizing their art. Because of the profound and immediate interaction creators get with their fans through Patreon, they can remain inspired and motivated to keep creating and releasing content. If utilized correctly, Patreon can be a convenient tool for musicians looking to grow a loyal and profitable fan following. Thanks for reading our article on Patreon. Hopefully, reading this leaves you inspired and motivated to get started on your next creation.

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