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Is Patreon Free? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding its Free Subscription Model

May 12, 2023
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Patreon

Introduction to Patreon

As a digital creative professional or a fan of independent creators, you may have heard about Patreon. It's the most well-known monetization platform for independent artists and Patreon is all they talk about.

In recent years, it has become essential for creators of all types, including artists, musicians, podcasters, writers, and more. Essentially, Patreon is a membership platform that allows creators to monetize their work through a subscription-based model. This way the artist can continue producing their art without going broke or relying on unsustainable ad revenue. Creators usually offer exclusive content and perks to their fans or "patrons," to make a living doing what they love.

In this article, we’ll find the answer to the question, "Is Patreon free?" We’ll discuss how to find and access free Patreon content and we will also do a Patreon vs other subscription-based platforms comparison. So, whether you're a creator looking to generate another income stream or a fan who wants to support their favorite artist, read on to learn more about the perks of “free” Patreon.

Understanding Patreon's Subscription Model

Patreon Membership level

The primary purpose of Patreon is to help creators turn their passion into a living. To achieve this, creators offer exclusive content to their patrons by setting up various subscription tiers. Patreon offers creators a number of ways to monetize their craft. Creators can offer $1/month tiers with access to behind-the-scenes content or $5/month tier with monthly live Q&As. This goes all the way up to the $20/month tier that offers exclusive rewards like personalized artwork, limited editions or even the chance to meet their favorite creator in person.

Goals on Patreon

Creators can also create donation goals on their page to raise even more finance. This gives audiences a clear picture and motivation to keep donating until the goal is hit. Goals also come with extra responsibility – for instance, creators usually promise some special type of content or treat for the audience for helping them achieve the goal.

Is Patreon Free? Debunking the Myth

birds on the loose

There’s no one answer to the question, "Is Patreon free? Where to find Patreon content for free?" Creators do charge fees for access to their premium content, making the answer both a yes and a no. While the gates of Patreon are open to all, most creators only give access to their exclusive content for a fee.

While not everything on Patreon is free, there are some creators who are still giving free access to their content through a “public’ tier. Offering free content is a great way for creators to attract potential subscribers by showcasing their work and giving a glimpse of what's to come. From time to time, creators offer free content to keep their communities engaged or to say ‘thank you’.

The Role of Patreon in Supporting Creators

A hand made of pixels

Patreon plays a crucial role in helping creators make a living from their work. By providing a platform for creators to offer exclusive content and perks to their patrons, Patreon allows artists, musicians, podcasters, and other creative professionals to monetize their work in a sustainable way.

For patrons, supporting creators on Patreon is a way to directly contribute to the success and growth of their favorite artists. By subscribing to a creator's Patreon page, patrons can not only gain access to exclusive content but also help ensure the creator can continue producing the work they love.

Here are some examples of creators who make a living on Patreon:

  • CrossHead Studios makes maps for games on Patreon and offers its base subscription for as low as $1.50 a month. The developer also gives away free maps on its Reddit and website to Patreon users.
  • Danny Wood offers real estate coaching content for $20 a month and is among the highest earners on the site.
  • Jason Lanier teaches photography and offers early access to his collections for $5.50 per month.

Exploring Free Alternatives to Patreon

Paper airplanes

If you're looking for free alternatives to Patreon, there are several options to consider:

Paysenger

Paysenger is a modern platform that integrates both social networking and subscription features in one place, allowing creators to offer exclusive content while at the same time growing their following. Unlike Patreon, Paysenger doesn't require you to offer free content elsewhere (for example, on YouTube) and lets you sell your subscription to a mass audience directly on the platform. It’s usually impractical for new creators to immediately start offering content on Patreon.

Gaining traction on YouTube is a full-time job in itself. Most new creators simply don’t have the resources to produce both free content and “exclusive premium content” on Patreon at the same time. On Paysenger, creators can sell their content in “microtransactions”, where they don’t need to commit to a subscription.

Here’s how monetization on Paysenger works:

  • On-demand content: Audiences send requests to creators to produce personalized content. Creators get paid each time they fulfill such requests.
  • Collaborations with sponsors: Sponsors can easily look creators up and order content from them, such as video shoutouts, social posts, cameos and so on.
  • By taking direct messages: Every interaction on Paysenger is paid, including DMs. You receive so many DMs as a creator but most of them are low-value contacts. On Paysenger, people who need to reach out to you urgently, can simply send a paid direct message to get your attention.

OnlyFans

OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform that allows creators to share exclusive content with their fans. While it's often associated with adult content, the platform also hosts creators in various other fields, such as fitness, cooking, and more. OnlyFans differs from Patreon in that it allows creators to set their own subscription prices, as well as offer pay-per-view content.

Ko-fi

Ko-fi is a platform that allows creators to receive one-time "coffee" donations from their fans. While it doesn't offer the same subscription-based model as Patreon, it can be a great way for creators to earn income without requiring a monthly commitment from their supporters.

Buy Me a Coffee

Similar to Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee allows creators to receive one-time donations from their fans. However, it also offers a membership option, allowing creators to provide exclusive content and perks to their supporters.

Bandcamp

For musicians, Bandcamp is an excellent platform for sharing and selling music. While it doesn't offer the same subscription-based model as Patreon, it allows artists to sell individual tracks or albums and receive direct support from their fans.

Substack

Substack is a platform primarily focused on writers and newsletters. Like Patreon, it offers a subscription-based model, allowing creators to monetize their work through exclusive content and perks. However, it's less suited for creators in other fields, such as visual artists or musicians.

How to Find and Access Free Patreon Content

If you're interested in exploring Patreon without committing to a subscription, you can find free content using the following methods:

  • Browse creators' pages. Many creators offer free content in the form of public posts, which are accessible without a subscription. Simply visit a creator's Patreon page and scroll through their posts to find any public content they have shared.
  • Search for free content. Using the search bar on Patreon, you can search for specific types of content and filter the results to show only free content. This can help you discover new creators and get a taste of what they offer before committing to a subscription.
  • Follow creators on social media. Many creators promote their Patreon-exclusive content on their social media platforms, sometimes offering free access to select content. By following your favorite creators, you can stay updated on their latest releases and potentially access free content they share.

Pros and Cons of Offering Free Content on Patreon

The purpose of Patreon is not to offer free content. However, if you’re still starting out, offering public tiers might be your only option to find subscribers.

Here are the Pros and Cons of this approach:

Pros:

  • Allows potential patrons to find you and get to know your content first before committing to a subscription.
  • If you’re already an established creator, you can grow your subscribers by showcasing your work for free as a portfolio.
  • Offers a risk-free way for future patrons to figure out whether the subscription is worth it or not.

Cons:

  • If you thought of it, others did too. There’s an entire sea of creators offering public tiers to attract followers on Patreon. Your offering might get lost.
  • Some people might stay for free content without subscribing. This makes it harder for you to decide what’s working and what’s not.

If you’re a new creator it’s always better to start on a platform that’s in its growth phase – such as Paysenger. Becoming an early adopter gives you more exposure and access to a bigger audience. It’s similar to how people who joined Patreon or TikTok earlier are doing a lot better now than those who are just starting.

Conclusion: Making the Most of Patreon's Free Offerings

Piggy bank

In conclusion, while Patreon is not entirely free, there are many ways to have fun on the platform without paying a dime. If you’re just looking to watch some videos, you can explore content offered in Public tiers or free introductory content that creators use to attract new subscribers.

If you like what you see in the free content, you might as well go ahead and subscribe! The paid exclusive content is bound to be even better (because creators actually get the monetary support to produce such content). It’s a win-win for both! And if you're a creator – try using Paysenger instead! Offer exclusive videos, photos and other content as a premium content creator!

Become an Early Adopter to achieve your monetization goals faster (no competition like Patreon). Start building a community of long-term followers and create digital assets such as NFTs that turn your work into long-term sources of revenue. Download the app and get started immediately!

Try Paysenger on iOS | Android | Web

Jun 25, 2024
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