I wasn’t sure when I first heard about Patreon, but a recent NPR piece about it that interviews its founders Jack Conte and Sam Yam mentions their launch year of 2013. So, this was during the time in the early 2010s that I’d been researching what people in the music business had been doing to earn money once the bottom fell out of the wonderful world of album sales royalties, thanks to iTunes and streaming.
The shift, as I learned, went to an emphasis on touring, or performing more, and through using social media and email lists to connect with fans directly, and selling directly to fans. It wasn’t just singer-songwriters and rock bands. It was around this time that comedian Louis C.K. produced a standup concert video and sold it to fans over his website and made back his production costs over a weekend.
One of the webinars I’d watched that were being done by Dave Kusek was an interview with Jack Conte, one of the founders of Patreon. I found the idea behind the platform fascinating, as I had with Kickstarter. Both were ways of connecting directly with people who knew and liked the art you were making.
While most people know what Kickstarter is and how it works, and that GoFundMe and IndieGoGo basically function the same way, it’s occurred to me that how Patreon functions is not as well known. I’m writing this to explain it in a nutshell for anyone who subscribes to my blog, emails and social stuff.
Patreon is a way for you to toss a buck in my hat every time I post something. You register on my Patreon page (free!) and enter your credit card info, and choose an amount you’d like to toss in. Even if it’s one dollar.
The Silent Comedy Watch Party is not funded. We’re just doing the shows, on our own, voluntarily, and have been ever since we started back in March 2020. We don’t put the show behind a paywall or sell tickets to it. That’s not why we’re doing this — the idea behind the show is to help spread laughs to folks who need them right now.
But if you would like to show your support or thanks with a buck (or two), automatically every time we stream an episode, signing up on my Patreon page takes care of that. Each week I send out a little note of thanks, with some behind the scenes info or reflection about that week’s show.
My Patreon page is here.
You can listen to the fascinating story about how the idea of Patreon came about, conjured up by a musician who saw song sales revenue quickly plummet with the advent of streaming services like Spotify, in the NPR podcast episode of How I Built This, embedded below.