Patreon's Game-Changer: Free Membership Tier Launch and More

Patreon's new free membership tier and digital sales feature offer exciting possibilities for creators and fans alike, redefining the dynamics of content monetization

Patreon's Game-Changer: Free Membership Tier Launch and More

Thursday June 22, 2023,

3 min Read

Patreon, the well-known creator-centric subscription platform, has introduced a free membership tier for the very first time. This innovative update will empower creators to provide their fans with a preview of their content without the immediate hurdle of a paid subscription. Furthermore, Patreon is paving the way for creators to directly sell digital products to their subscribers.

Since its inception, Patreon has been committed to being a platform that prioritizes creators. It has enabled fans to financially contribute directly to the creators they admire, from writers and musicians to filmmakers and visual artists. The platform has been instrumental in helping creators earn meaningful revenue from their craft. The launch of a free membership tier will allow creators to broaden their audience reach, attracting those who are interested in their content but may not yet be prepared or able to pay.

Creators have the opportunity to share publicly accessible content such as text posts, videos, or podcasts using Patreon's comprehensive suite of tools, which encompasses native video hosting and analytics. The addition of a free tier enhances Patreon's attractiveness, transforming it into a comprehensive platform for creators to showcase their work and engage with fans without the necessity for a multitude of tools to distribute content and monetize it.

Alongside the free tier, creators will now have the capacity to sell unique digital products like videos, podcasts, or other downloadable files. This enhancement grants creators the versatility to monetize specific aspects of their work, even if the majority of their content remains freely accessible. Patreon will collect a 5 percent commission from all such transactions, generating an extra income stream for the platform.

Nevertheless, the introduction of a free membership doesn't spell the end for paid subscriptions. Creators who initiate with a free subscription can subsequently add a paid level. If they opt to do so, Patreon will extract an 8 percent commission, identical to the existing Pro plan. The formerly available Lite plan, which levied a 5 percent tax on earnings, has now been phased out, with current users being migrated to the Pro plan while retaining their 5 percent rate.

Patreon's strategic decision comes at a moment when dominant social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are progressively implementing paywalls and subscription features. Yet, Julian Gutman, Patreon's chief product officer, maintains that Patreon's intention is not to supersede these platforms, but rather to supplement them. He posits that while other platforms have debuted premium content features, their ability to cultivate deeper relationships between creators and fans is curtailed due to platform-specific guidelines and aesthetics.

According to Gutman, the Patreon user base has long sought the feature of digital purchases. Some creators had previously devised makeshift solutions, such as establishing "tiers" that included specific digital content for sale, which was subsequently removed post-sale. These creators will now be able to provide free memberships but also sell downloadable and streaming content, offer promotional codes, or distribute products for free to selected subscribers. Patreon creators can enlist for these novel features starting today, with comprehensive availability anticipated later this year.

Patreon's launch of a free membership tier and the capability for creators to sell digital products indicates a major transition in the realm of content creation and monetization. By lowering the entry barrier for prospective fans and providing creators with enhanced flexibility, Patreon is further cementing its position as a premier platform for creators and their fans.