So, Patreon has been the nexus for people to gain a little bit extra cash so they can continue what they do and actually get paid for it on a monthly basis including artists, writers, cosplayers, and bloggers. It's helped many gain traction and spread their wings to greater heights in achieving more attention.
Well, that looks to change on December 18th, as Patreon announced yesterday (but really was in the pipeline since two days ago) a new policy. Starting said day, they will be charging all donators an additional fee depending on how much they pledged their chosen Patreon creator. Here's the official release:
In order to continue our mission of funding the creative class, we're always looking for ways we can help creators continue to grow their creative careers. We're committed to building tools that transform communities into thriving, long-term membership businesses. A large piece of that puzzle is predictability and consistency around your finances, which is why we're introducing a change that allows Patreon creators to take home exactly 95% of every pledge, with no additional fees.
Aside from Patreon's existing 5% fee, a creator's income on Patreon often varied from month to month because of third-party processing fees. And, patrons may not have been aware that creators actually take home a lower percentage of their intended pledges because of those fees. Our goal is to make these paychecks as predictable as possible, so we're restructuring how these fees are paid.
Starting on December 18th, a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 will be paid by patrons for each individual pledge. (To get into the details, existing per-creation pledges for posts made on/after Dec. 18th will be charged the new service fee; existing per-month pledges will first be charged a service fee on January 1.) Streamlining these fees for creators and patrons ensures that creators take home as much of their earnings as possible.
We want you to know that we approach every change with a creator-first mindset, aiming to help creators grow their businesses. In preparation for this change, we ran experiments and months and months of research to understand patrons' potential reactions and we found that many patrons were happy knowing that this change will send more money to creators. While some patrons may leave in the short-term, we know this will help creators earn more money in the long term.
Every decision we make — including this one — is a part of our goal to help creators establish memberships, earn salaries, and build careers.Standardizing third-party fees in this way helps ensure that creators can continue to get paid making content their fans love. If any patrons have questions, we have a robust Q+A here where they can learn more.
We're building Patreon so that creators can have a stable, long-lasting career. And we're making progress on that: this year alone, we're on track to pay $150 million to creators. We can't wait to see what we accomplish together next year.
The Payments Team at Patreon
And here's the additional information they've posted about it:
We know creators and patrons want more information about our fee decision today — we’ve updated this article, going one level deeper for those interested:https://t.co/sBuCd5gcj9pic.twitter.com/xhppTQO5aU— Patreon (@Patreon) December 7, 2017
Thing is though, creators who've been on it are beginning to rethink their tiers on the site or have been hit by Patrons leaving or have been replying to it via their Twitter post on the intro above. The closest Patreon itself has responded to the criticism over the new fees has been simply just this (so far):
Someone from @Patreon answered: they're basically not going to let us use our Patreon income for our pledges anymore, ensuring that we have to pay more fees and therefore keep less of our earnings. Which is silly (it's money they already have) and feels like a cash grab. pic.twitter.com/ESyYHLGPnL— Alex Zandra ???? turned into a light novel author?! (@zandravandra) December 7, 2017
Also here's the breakdown as to how much Patreon itself will be gaining with this new fee:
Yep. And their messaging is sloppy. I decided to redo their explanatory figure to show the actual impact. pic.twitter.com/wWwP1P8uuH— Ben Wolfe (@wombatoverlord) December 7, 2017
Along with another putting together on the why the new fee has been added (with additional math):
Patreon posted an update post, so I updated my math— B̢̪̝u̶̠ͅr̩̹̘̙̞r͝i̜̥͓t̵̥̠̞o͢ T̤͍̥̰̺i͚̠͍̜̭m̻̞ (@Burrito_Tim) December 8, 2017
It turns out @Patreon aren't skimming way more off our pledges. I owe them an apology
All that extra money they're taking now? STRAIGHT TO PAYPAL pic.twitter.com/LqM8DuTtD6
Obviously, the reaction to all of this has been largely negative. As you can see some have already spoken about it via Twitter or have posted it on their Patreons to discuss the next course of action (sadly I cannot link to the latter but I can post these Tweets):
We are absolutely against the changes to @Patreon fees, which we strongly hope that they will reconsider.— Cultaholic (@Cultaholic) December 7, 2017
Thank you to all of our existing Patreon supporters for your ongoing support. We couldn't do this without you.
Again, really, from the bottom of my heart. Thanks a lot. pic.twitter.com/BvcMKAKA72— ????Brian Clevinger (@bclevinger) December 7, 2017
I am 100% AGAINST #Patreon@Patreon@PatreonSupport and their new changes made to the site. They're dooming artists and making the site seem like a trash heap. I do NOT support the additional charges for my Patrons and never will.— Hellhound Queen (@Lilythekitsune) December 7, 2017
Hi Everyone -- I know folks are super concerned right now about the fees. Working on a post with more information. Hang on, more coming soon.— Jack Conte (@jackconte) December 7, 2017
So what are your thoughts on the issue? Fair to creators/donators? Unfair? Please let us and of course Patreon itself know via right here. Or you can donate to our Patreon cause you know. We need the money too. Besides Patreon. But we really do. I have a large drinking habit to maintain.