I’ve long supported a bunch of people on Patreon, from artists like Amanda Palmer, writers like Laurie Penny and activists like Asher Wolf along with podcasters, cartoonists, technologists etc. Since there is a ton of worthy causes and interesting talent out there, I have followed the common practice of give $1 pledges to a whole lot of people, and slightly more to specific people I value in particular. While Patron says the mean pledge is around $12, they won’t say what the median value is and I highly suspect that it’s much closer to $1 or $2.
Under their newly announce fee restructure, each individual pledge now attracts a fee of $0.35 and a percentage charge of 2.9% levied on the patron rather than the creator, which means that each $1 we now want to give now costs us almost $1.40. My total in 10 pledges was attracting an overall administrative charge of 15% which is outrageous. With some calculations, I consolidated to 5 pledges; by paying $1 more in total pledges with no pledge less than $5, I now pay 8.9% in fees and around $1 less in total including fees! If I consolidated even further and gave the amount to 1 creator, I would pay less than 5% in fees and about $3 less in total.
That’s 5 creators now not being paid by me and who knows how many others. Rather than a large amount of people making a decent living from their art/writing etc., only a very few will make more than previously, and lots will not be able to afford to create at all any more. I wonder if Patreon will be transparent about the outcomes of this change. Will they tell us how many creators are worse off? I expect not.