Patreon’s entrance onto the main stage, via Amanda Palmer

4 Mar 2015

Artist Amanda Palmer. Image via Dustin Diaz, Flickr

Almost two years after its creation, innovative artist crowdfunding service Patreon has delivered its standout success, with Amanda Palmer set to earn US$13,500 per ‘thing’.

A way for artists to gain ‘patrons’ for their work, Patreon basically has fans sign up to pay artists that they choose a set rate per ‘release’. This could be as little as US$1 a pop, and the ‘things’ released could be anything from poems to songs, videos to meet-ups.

Palmer, who famously raised US$1.2m on Kickstarter a few years back to fund an album – the highest amount raised by an artist to record music yet – has a loyal fanbase, one that has seen her garner over 1,500 ‘Patreons’. Having only set up her account yesterday, it’s a stunning success.

From Kickstarter to Patreon

“My Kickstarter was a one-time all-in deal, this is more of an ongoing commitment to me and my music and spontaneous art-making,” she posted when her account went live last night.

“Kickstarter was like a serious date, this is like… going steady. It’s not exactly like getting married, because… yeah. It’s not that hardcore (maybe someday I’ll start and make a killing).

“If you’re a fan of mine, and really want to support me in the creation of new songs, film-clips/music-videos, long-form writing and more random, unpredictable art-things (Comics? Podcasts? Who knows?)… this is your chance.

“I’ve been struggling since I got off my label in 2008 to find the right platform for ongoing support, through which I can release constant material (and get paid). I think this is it.”

Projects galore

Palmer claims she wants to head to Germany to record an all-German album, do something similar in French in Paris and also record songs with her father. With a platform such as this, it’s conceivable she can now do all this and more.

Interestingly Palmer will release all her content for free, too, via mediums like YouTube, but is seeking patronage nonetheless. It’s clear that, with a loyal fanbase, this is possible and, if anything, desirable.

“I really believe that putting content up for free on the internet is fundamentally good: It means everybody can share but I honestly don’t make enough through that method alone to support a recording studio and video-making habit.”

Those who pledged US$5 a thing get into a “random surprise group” US$10 per thing will grant them to a monthly webcast by the musician,  US$100 per thing joins her “inner circle” while US$1,000 per thing gains something Palmer has yet to fully explain.

“I’ll call. We’ll talk. We’ll have dinner. All the things, pretty much. Thank you (holy s***),” she said, with two people having already signed up to the deal.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic