I'm putting up this journal because I can't seem to find a single forum or place online that is dedicated to this topic.
So nearly everyone who is an artist on DA and also intends to make art their full time job has a Patron. But there's been something really nagging at the back of my mind lately whenever I check out their Patron pages and look at their set-ups and rewards.
Just about every artist who has been posting their hobby art for free for years, is now suddenly hiding it behind pay-walls. It seems like almost all their activity on other sites go dead in favour of Patreon. But from my perspective as a Patron who may want to do donate to my favourite artists, it's a massive disuassion from wanting to support them.
I might have enjoyed their art for years, but no longer being able to see what they're producing makes me question if it's still content I want to support. It could be radically different for all I know, or the quality might've started degrading. Speaking of which, quality drops seem to be a big issue with a lot of creators once they get the ball rolling.
I think the saddest thing I've seen is what appaears to be creators feeling like they're trapped in creating content they no longer enjoy just to get paid. That factor alone makes me wonder if it's responsible for all the quality drops. A lot of what they're offering for rewards make me cringe 3 different ways.
You'll see them offering "paid friendship". Y'know things like, pay me 50 bucks per month and you can hang out with me on Skype, Google Hangouts or private livestreams. This is incredibly disingenuous and manipulative. It not only tries to make out the creator as existing on some kind of god like pedestal, but creates a class divide among their fans.
You have your 1st class fans who pay for rewards and your personal attention, and then your 2nd class fans who pretty much don't exist to you because they don't throw money at you. Then there's my favourite, the non-discount-discount.
You can be donating to a creator $50 or more per month, and getting something like a 10% discount off of a commission or their personal store. Dude, if someone's paying you $50 or higher per month
, they should be getting a free commission token or items from your store
at least a third of the amount they're donating. This is such a massive rip off it amazes me that people will actually donate to these tiers.
And I can hear the rebuttal from a mile away. "But I work hard on other things my Patreon was made for I don't have time to be doing commissions every month!" Then don't offer it as a reward. Be creative, find better and fairer ways that don't interrupt your schedule to thank patrons.
Which brings me to my next point. The Overloaders. When I look at these rewards a lot of them look like massive time sinks. It leaves me wondering how these artists hope to not only meet deadlines for the insane amount of extra material they have to make for reward tiers, on top of main content for their Patreon, ontop of having a life and probably also having a job.
If you're doing main content plus a ton of extra content, one is going to have to be sacrificed for the sake of quality in the other. You're not an art robot, so people shouldn't up their tiers that treat themselves as though they have that magic "make art" button in photoshop.
In conclusion, I think Patreon is a fantastic idea and artists should be using it. I just think that artists need to understand that running a Patreon is running a business. You need to treat yourself and your fans fairly
in order to be succesful. That said, I personally think the only "good" way to use Patreon is as a tip jar.
It doesn't divide your fans. It doesn't set you up with a god complex. All fan interaction remains genuine. You can keep putting out content you personally enjoy for free, and fans can continue to enjoy it regardless of paying or not. More people can see your creations and decide to pay you.
I should point out, hiding all your content might seem like the smart thing to do on the surface but it really isn't from a business stand point. It not only creates a pay-wall for fans, it creates a pay-wall for yourself. Only the people who knew you and your art at the time are willing to pay. Because no one can see what you do, you no longer have any form of self advertising.
You lock yourself in to an extremely small audience that won't grow.
Thoughts and opinions encouraged.