Patreon announced that it has acquired Memberful. It is a service for independent creators, educators, and publishers who prefer to have complete control over their membership program, including building their own website, providing customer service, and integrating with best in class third-party tools like WordPress and MailChimp.
Memberful made an announcement about the acquisition:
“Today, we’re announcing we’ve been acquired by Patreon. In Patreon, we found a team that cares deeply about the many of the same things we do. We both see a future where creators work for their audience, not for massive advertising companies as underpaid content suppliers. We both see a future where creators are free to maintain direct relationships with their audience on their terms, unencumbered by the whims of the latest social platform. We both see a future where creators can do what they love while being supported financially by their biggest fans through memberships. Patreon asked if we’d join them in building this future, and we said yes.”
What’s happening to the Memberful product? Memberful says they are now a wholly owned subsidiary of Patreon, but they are still running Memberful the same way. Patreon says the Memberful platform and brand will remain independent, the current roadmap will continue at a faster pace, and existing creators using Memberful will not experience any immediate change to the service.
Patreon states that Memberful will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Patreon, and that Memberful currently has a different pricing model than Patreon which is built around three tiers which will remain unchanged for existing customers.
The Patreon website has information that can help people figure out if Patreon or Memberful is the best choice for them.
Patreon has apologized for an unexpected issue that caused patron’s payments to be declined. If your podcast has a Patreon, you may have gotten an email about this issue from Patreon. If you are a patron, you may have gotten an email to inform you that your payment was declined.
On August 2, 2018, Patreon posted a tweet on their verified Twitter account. It included a screenshot that said:
Hi everyone. As you know we’re noticing an unexpectedly high number of payment declines. We’re sorry for the frustration this has caused and we’re doing all we can to help creators get paid by working with our payment partners and continuing to retry payments. Some of these issues were caused by external forces, and others by our efforts to create a stable and global platform as we grow and invest in our capabilities.
To ensure payment goes through this month, you can let your patrons know they can update their payment method to a new card, PayPal, or call their bank to confirm the charge as non-fraud.
In its next two tweets, Patreon linked to articles. The first was to an article titled “How do I update my payment information”. The next tweet included a link to an article titled: “I have declined patrons! Will you charge them again?”
As you may have guessed, there were plenty of tweets posted by angry Patreon creators in response to this problem. Some pointed out that they lost patrons as a result of this issue – which means that they are literally losing money from a problem they did not cause. One person wanted to know what Patreon will do about the creator fees taken out of declined pledges.
Other Patreon users felt it was unfair of Patreon to expect creators to ask their patrons to update their payment information. In December of 2017, Patreon announced it was adding a service fee to Patreon’s pledges, and expected creators to explain the new service fees to their patrons. (Later, Patreon announced they would not institute an automatic service fee after all.)
There is another issue that people have been commenting about on Twitter. Some patrons think they have been charged by Patreon twice, as a result of Patreon retrying payments. Others have concerns that Pateon’s effort to retry payments could result in banks and credit card companies locking accounts for fear of fraud.
Patreon announced a new way to manage and track what you deliver to your patrons. It allows creators to say goodbye to spreadsheets, and puts tools into Patreon that can help them keep track of fulfilling what they promised to their patrons.
Patreon asked creators how they define “success”. The answer was that many creators felt that success include three key ingredients: more time to create, deeper connections with their fans, and reliable monthly paychecks.
Now, the benefits you owe to patrons will automatically appear in a digital to-do list so you can easily keep track of all your deliverables. This will help win back the hours you used to spend in spreadsheets so you can get back to creating.
Those who use Patreon can set up the digital to-do list in minutes. The Patreon blog walks you through how to do it. In short, you start by selecting which benefits to track. Then, the next time one of your patrons qualifies for something you’re offering, a new to-do list will appear in the “Benefits” area of your sidebar.
Patreon says that the new streamlined workflow will help ensure that you delight your patrons and never keep them waiting. Running a more dependable membership business will help retain long-term patrons who trust you and look forward to the special things that you deliver them each month.
Podcasters can use the new tools on Patreon to keep track of which patron gets what and at what time. For example, if you offer a benefit to patrons that allows them to receive your podcast earlier than non-patrons, the in-Patreon spreadsheet will help you sort out which patrons to make that available to.
Patreon powers membership businesses for creators of all kinds. Kit is a community to discover, discuss, and get interesting products – grouped into kits – for activities like traveling, Djing, cooking, cycling and more. Patron has announced that they have acquired Kit.
It appears that the acquisition could result in something on Patreon that would make it easier for creators to sell physical merchandise. Exact details have yet to be revealed.
One of the most effective ways creators build a growing and sustainable membership is by selling merch. Patrons want something personalized, a physical artifact to connect them to the creator – and the more unique the better. But today, merch is unnecessarily painful for creators; we’ve talked to heaps of creators who spend time stuffing envelopes, researching the lowest prices on shipping, and take endless trips to the post office. We want to make merch easy. A simple solution empowering creators to easily add merch to their membership business, and connect deeply with their biggest fans.
Kit launched a little over two years ago with a simple idea: to help people discover the products worth getting – and create a new kind of experience where your creativity and expertise actually earn you money. Patreon says that the creators of Kit have “built a beautiful product in Kit.com”.
Kit posted a blog about the acquisition, in which they state they are going to work on Merchandise, creating features that give creators a simple way to deliver their products to their members. Kit says it will continue to be available to Kit users while they transition over to Patreon.
What does this mean for podcasters who use Patreon? That’s not entirely clear, yet. The Patreon blog about the acquisition ends with: “Together with Kit, we’re going to make it simple by inventing a way to fulfill automated “merch for membership” that will help creators stop stuffing envelopes and get back to full time creation.”
Patreon introduced Lens, a new feature in the Patreon mobile app that creators can use to “bring patrons behind the scenes”. The purpose is to easily enable creators to share exclusive, behind-the-scenes content with their patrons.
Every creator has a behind the scenes. Behind each song, novel, video, comic, or painting lies a magical and creative journey. Patrons love to see this process – the unpolished work, the messy studios, the spur-of-the-moment inspiration. While creators regularly share this journey on Patreon, we wanted to make it easier than ever to do it on the go.
The Lens feature is only accessible via the Patreon mobile app – not on the website. It was intended to be used quickly and easily so you can show a work in progress without disrupting your creative flow. Use Lens to capture photos and videos to share with your patrons. Photos and videos are displayed in a series so creators can show progress.
The interesting thing about Lens is that all content disappears after 24 hours. Patreon says this allows creators to “deliver authentic unedited content without worrying about taking the perfect shot.” I can see where this kind of content – that can only be viewed within a set time limit – would be attractive to patrons.
Podcasters could potentially post photos of their microphone, mixer, and/or studio. Or, they could record a short video of themselves talking while recording an episode. If you edit your own podcast, you could make a Lens photo or video of the waves in your recording software.
Your patrons who have the Patreon mobile app will receive notifications of the new content and can view your Lens anytime by clicking on the circular image at the top of your page in the Patreon app. Patreon points out that not all of your patrons will use the Patron mobile app, and suggests that you make a post to let your patrons know about your plans to use Lens.
Last week, Patreon announced that it would be applying a new service fee to patron’s individual pledges. Today, after receiving plenty of feedback from creators and patrons who strongly disliked the fee change, Patreon apologized and decided not to roll out its fee change.
CEO and cofounder of Patreon, Jack Conte, wrote a post titled “We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change.” If you are on Patreon, you probably received this post in your email.
We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we’re going to fix them in a different way, and we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry. It is our core belief that you should own the relationship with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.
Jack Conte pointed out that “Your feedback has been crystal clear.”
- The new payments system disproportionately impacted $1 – $2 patrons. We have to build a better system for them.
- Aggregation is highly-valued, and we understand that.
- Fundamentally, creators should own the business decisions with their fans, not Patreon. We overstepped our bounds and injected ourselves into that relationship, against our core belief as a business.
Jack Conte also acknowledged that it will take a long time to earn back the trust of creators and patrons. He states that Patreon is “utterly devoted to your success and to getting you sustainable, reliable income for being a creator.” It remains to be seen whether or not this apology will bring back the creators and patrons who left Patreon specifically because of the fee change.
Patreon announced that they will be applying a new service fee to patron’s individual pledges. The fee will be automatically added. This change will have an effect on patrons and creators.
A new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 will be paid by patrons for each individual pledge starting on December 18, 2017. Once this change takes effect, the service fee will be applied to all pending retries and existing pledges. Patrons will see their first payment with the fee included on January 1, 2018.
Patreon put together an FAQ that gives more details. In it, it says that patrons who no longer wish to continue their membership with the updated service fee can cancel their pledge before December 31, 2017. Patrons who are pledging to a per-creation creator, who makes a post between December 18th and December 31st will see a service fee added to those posts.
There are two purposes of the new service fee. One is to help keep Patreon going. In the FAQ, Patreon says some of the service fee will go to Patreon’s employee’s salaries, and to pay for office space and to keep their lights on and servers running.
The other purpose is to give creators a higher percentage of the income that comes from pledges. The service fee allows creators to take home exactly 95% of every pledge with no additional fees. Creators will no longer see fluctuations in their Patreon derived income due to varying processing fees.
Patreon has provided a helpful statement that creators can use to explain the new service fees to their patrons. That might be useful to podcasters who have a Patreon for their podcast. Creators are not allowed to “take the hit” for their patrons and pay the new service fee themselves. Patrons are going to have to pay this new service fee, no matter if they are using a credit card or Paypal for their memberships.
Patreon has launched an App Directory. The App Directory makes it easy for creators to connect tools that help them grown their membership businesses and to energize patrons.
The App Directory is the go-to resource for discovering integrations that you can connect with your Patreon page.
Patreon is used by many creators, including podcasters. Patreon pointed out a few examples of how to use the App Directory. The Sanspants Radio podcast is using Patreon’s WordPress plugin to give their fans the benefits of paid membership. Fans can choose from various Patreon-powered membership tiers to receive access to patron-only content. The plugin can also provide patrons with an ad-free experience.
Patreon users can use Zapier to automatically add new patrons to their email list service. Zapier also helps you automatically segment your email list into various patron pledge levers, which makes it easier to send patrons their special rewards. Podcasters who are on Patreon can use the Sonix app (which is in the App Directory) to upload their audio or video files to Sonix and have them automatically transcribed and timestamped.
Patreon announced that it has raised $60M in new funding. CEO of Patreon, Jack Conte stated on Medium that Patreon will use that funding to scale their team, to build faster, and to build more. In other words, the money be used to help Patron’s product evolve.
Many podcasters use Patreon as a way to raise money so they can continue to podcast. It costs money to keep your website hosting going. Patreon is also a good way to deliver special content to your superfans.
TechCrunch reported that Patreon raised $60 million led by Chris Paik at Thrive Capital, which also led Patreon’s Series B funding. According to TechCrunch:
The new capital will go towards hiring to expand its 80 person team and scaling up growth by recruiting more creators including videographers, political pundits, game developers, illustrators, musicians, and comedians.
Here’s what Jack Conte says you can expect as a creator on Patreon:
- Analytics for understanding your patrons, your rewards, and your income
- Dashboards that summarize the performance of your membership business and give you clear and helpful suggestions
- Rock solid and simple financials
- Rewards management, automation, and delivery
- Patron management (Who are my patrons? What are their Twitter handles? How much have they spent on me?)
In addition, there will be changes that will give creators everything they need to entice and keep their patrons. The idea is to make offering and fulfilling rewards or benefits to be seamless. In the Medium post, it says “We segment rewards into three main categories.” Those categories are:
- Creator-patron intimacy, like live interactions and patron-only polls
- Ongoing exclusivity, like access to a patron-only Discord server or early-access to content
- Actual goods, whether digital or physical, like a signed poster or an extra episode