Patreon Backtracks On Service Fees Following Critical Feedback


After a lot of backlash from creators and patrons, Patreon has announced that it will no longer be implementing its new fee structure. "We recognize that we need to be better at involving you more deeply and earlier in these kinds of decisions and product changes". It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans.

We've heard you loud and clear. "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". They've been screwed over and over, and that makes me so mad at myself and upset. "But we are utterly devoted to your success and to getting you sustainable, reliable income for being a creator". The original proposal, which would have gone into effect on December 18, would have had creators pay a five percent processing fee (as opposed to the 7-to-15 percent they now pay), but in return patrons would have to pay 2.9 percent, plus 35 cents for each pledge to cover costs. For that same $1/month pledge, you'd now pay $1.38; Patreon still gets five cents, the artist gets a consistent 95 cents, and the rest goes to cover transaction costs. With $107 million in funding, many assumed Patreon was on stable enough financial footing to avoid having to change from its existing fee structure where it takes a mere 5% rake - compared to typical 30% charged by platforms like Apple and Google's App Stores and 45% charged by Facebook and YouTube for ad revenue shares. "I agree, we messed that up". Webcomic creator Jeph Jacques previously quoted Conte as saying Patreon "absolutely fucked up that rollout". Conte maintains that on paper, the fee would give creators more money than in the current setup, where they pay a variable processing fee each month.

Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte said on Wednesday that his company will not be adopting the new service fee structure. "It's a good thing for creators in the long term. And we have to respect that". That doesn't sound like much but for backers that prefer to spread out their support via several small pledges (a hundred $1 pledges versus donating $100 to just one creator, for example), the fees would have quickly become prohibitive.

The payment system will still change, Conte says, because it's too confusing and hard to scale right now - something that's of particular concern after Patreon closed a $60 million funding round earlier this year.