Verge Meets: Gee Linford Grayson/ Patreon

We speak with Gee Linford Grayson, UK & Ireland Creator Partnerships at Patreon about the rise of the membership platform and how it’s supporting creators during a challenging year.

Hey Gee, how you doing? Things have been pretty busy for Patreon this year, can you tell us a bit about the platform?

Sure, essentially Patreon is a creator-founded membership platform that makes it much easier for creators and artists to earn a predictable, recurring income. We support thousands of artists to connect directly with their most passionate fans, build strong communities, and fund what they love to do.

The platform was founded in 2013 by musician and video creator Jack Conte and his college roommate Sam Yam and has since become a top income-generating solution for over 200,000 creators. To date creators have earned over £1.5 billion through Patreon’s subscription-style payment model.

 

It’s a difficult time for the creative industry, what challenges are they facing?

Yes, as you can imagine, this year has not been easy on the creative industry. Many have suffered from the closure of venues, being confined to their home or not having the equipment they need to create content. The impact of the pandemic has been huge, but even before this, artists in particular were suffering as a result of inequalities in music streaming services.

Our CEO and co-founder Jack is an independent musician who personally experienced the impact of the changes. When digital streaming platforms really took off, Jack’s band went from earning $58k/year from iTunes download revenue, to a mere $6k/year in streaming revenue. That’s a huge hit on earnings but his story is just one amongst many other artists across the globe. So, we made it our mission to be the platform that allows creators to have predictable, recurring revenue whilst providing them with a platform to cultivate their communities and keep on creating.

 

So, how can anyone support their favourite artist?

As long as they are on Patreon, it is incredibly easy to subscribe and start supporting your favourite artists and creators. We understand how important the relationship between fans and artists is so we allow artists to provide different levels of subscription depending on the sort of relationship they have with their fans – or patrons as we like to call them. Fans can choose a membership that’s right for them and artists can offer different levels of access to the content that they create, while earning a consistent monthly income that allows them to continue to do what they do.

 

What kind of creators are using the platform? Any success stories this year?

You name it, we’ve got it. There are so many different kinds of creators using Patreon to connect with their community. From video creators educating on philosophy, to podcasters solving true crimes, to popular musicians who’ve had number one hits. People are creative in how they use the platform too and that’s what’s so great about it – anyone who has a flare for something unique and has a fan base, can be a Patreon creator.

 

My personal stand-out favourites from this year are:

SUAT is a DJ creating musical comedy music, with light-hearted and high production videos aiming to help us through these challenging times. He actually took up DJing after dropping out of his Bioengineering course at Imperial College. Clubs used to be his source of income, but now he’s sourcing this from support from his fans.

Musician GIRLI is another one whose Patreon has been a really valuable space to connect with her fans during Covid. Earlier this year she was dropped from a major record label and turned to her community for support. She offers monthly home-crafted zines, home cover recordings, and access to a Patron-only feed. Once she reaches her Patron goal she will play a gig from a fan’s house – pretty cool!

Dalston Superstore is a popular venue in London which uses the platform for funding following its forced closure – it just goes to show that anyone or anything can be a Patreon.

 

What does 2021 hold?

2021 is looking very exciting! This year, creators have really taken to the platform in new and innovative ways, it has been amazing to see. But, it’s also warming that so many fans, communities and individuals are supporting creators during some of their most difficult times. Despite a year which nobody could have anticipated, there is a strong willingness to support one another and be part of a community. We are actively investing in areas like expanding into more regions globally, enhancing patrons’ experience on the platform, and building a discovery function so that creators can acquire even more patrons. We’re evolving to encourage more connections amongst creators and patrons, and we are looking forward to it!

 

Thanks Gee, it’s been great speaking.

If you’d like to learn more about supporting a creator or becoming one on the platform visit https://www.patreon.com/

 

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