Patreon has crossed the seven-digit mark. According to an October post on the crowdfunding site’s official blog, it has now surpassed $1 million in monthly payouts to its creative partners.
Creators who use Patreon set up their own pages where their fans can become “patrons” by giving a monthly donation. Patrons receive perks in return, with different rewards scaled to specific donation levels. This system has attracted more than 125,000 creators to Patreon, many of whom make far more money from their backers than they make from YouTube ad revenue.
In the post, Patreon contended that its latest milestone is an example of shifting tides in the online media world. “This announcement is our happiest yet! But it’s more than just happy – it confirms a massive cultural shift that we all felt but had trouble describing,” reads the post. “It’s a restless movement, developing simultaneously right now in arts communities around the world: The public is demanding to pay creators.”
Patreon, which was co-founded by YouTuber Jack Conte of Pomplamoose, first launched in 2013, when it raised $2.1 million in venture capital. By February 2014, it had more than 30,000 users, and in June, it scooped up another $15 million in funding, which it has used to improve its services.
“One of the first questions people ask us is how we’ve grown so quickly,” Conte told Tubefilter after we asked him the same question given the aforementioned numbers. “We don’t have a marketing or PR team yet, so the short answer is that the old system of making money from digital media was entirely, utterly, painfully broken. Running ads in front of a video is one way to make money as a video creator, but it’s not the best. And it’s not even a good way. There are some Patreon creators that are making over 100x what they make through ad revenue on YouTube. I think that’s why it’s grown so quickly.”
Notable creators who raise thousands of dollars per month on Patreon include Pentatonix, CGP Grey, and Smooth McGroove. Given the company’s trajectory, expect to see some more names on that list in the near future.