Using Patreon as a Performing Artist

Imagine you are a circus performer, offering aerial dance, acrobatics and fire eating.  

You’re great at self-promotion and have a growing following on social media.  Your videos get shared extensively, people definitely LIKE your content!  

You post incredible performance videos on your preferred social media platform with a link to your Patreon; you get tons of likes, comments and views. You get minimal Patrons.

Sound familiar?

For a real-life example of just this scenario, we looked closely at the support for a NY/FL artist (who will remain anonymous) with SUPERB aerial dance content.  Honestly, we loved the images and videos we saw posted and checked out every link for this performer.  

With nearly 8k followers on Instagram, and a wealth of gorgeous uploads to Patreon, this worthy artist was listed as having only 4 patrons. 

If you can have thousands of followers and end up with only 4 paying supporters monthly on Patreon, how well is your that platform working for you?  

Why don’t a greater number of those followers convert to patrons?

The platform you are using to monetize and sell your brand…. It wasn’t created with users like you in mind.

Patreon for Performers

Patreon is awesome, and it works really well for tutorials or virtual classes.  But, if the bulk of your audience is not other artists and budding performers who want to learn from you, Patreon might not be the best fit. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t use the platform. If you have the right audience to monetize instructional content, Patreon is probably the best place for it.

Patreon is a perfect companion, or an extension, of service you already offer.

If you’re a very well-known aerialist and instructor, for example, you can expect a percentage of your followers to be aerial students who wish they could access your local workshops.

So with Patreon, you may only be targeting a small segment of your following, other performers (read: other performers with income enough to support a fellow performer).

Patreon advises, in their sign-up process, that without a large following of your own to start with, you may not do well on their platform. As a performer, I know that I actually don’t have to have a ton of followers to earn a living. I just have to have a loyal, paying client base.

With this mentality, it is clear that Patreon is not counting on quality conversion, but by capturing a small percentage of your huge audience. This huge audience, as we have made clear – does not directly translate into income.

What’s more – your Patrons are only part of YOUR own audience on Patreon. Other artists utilizing the platform alongside you do not add value to the patronage of any one supporter, so the size of the platform itself is meaningless to your Patrons.

Censorship

Content can be deemed too risqué, and if the team at Patreon just… decides to flag your content, there is little you can do about it.

Patreon has also begun to scrutinize what other content their members provide elsewhere.  Meaning, an artist following Patreon’s community rules on their platform may be shut down for what content they are providing on a completely separate website.  

That’s some SERIOUSLY invasive censorship!  Let’s come up with a hypothetical scenario in which this does a disservice to the artist, shall we?

You’re a burlesque performer and stripper with a passion for pole dance, who has expanded into making porn clips and pole tutorials for extra income. You’re perfectly respectful of your online communities – and don’t want to break any rules, so you carefully upload your content to a variety of platforms where they belong. You start to gain Patrons who are watching your tutorials, and gain some attention to your account. Patreon looks into you. They quickly find your racier content links and….

BAM! Account: Suspended. Good luck convincing Patreon they should side with you, or even have to deal with the issue at all. After all, Patreon casts a wide net and has illustrators, writers, filmmakers, and loads of other creatives who present less ‘conflict’ than performers.

BUT WAIT! We said earlier that other artists don’t effect the value or draw of your own work on a big platform like Patreon…. So, how could content (on an alternate site) negatively impact the platform and warrant these oppressive policies?

As it turns out, the size of the platform is NOT meaningless, after all. The more massive the site, the bigger the corporation, the more performers report experiences of needless policing.

The true reason for this is payment processing. Patreon is concerned that you will somehow use their platform to give extra “outside perks” to someone who becomes a Patron. It is an uncomfortable amount of suspicion when you are spreading out your artistic content to meet community standards.

Patron Limits

Okay, so now that we have discussed conversion and value and corporate censorship…. let’s get back to the ART part of our work. Let’s talk about our awesome clients and Patrons.

On Patreon, your Patrons are only able to see your content. That means there is no additional draw to being on a large platform for the Patrons. You could sell access to your work through any website, with varying community rules or censorship policies. Your Patrons are drawn there by you alone, and you could potentially draw them anywhere.

How many Artists can a Patron really support this way? A Patron who is committed to monthly support of numerous Artists may not be able to afford additional online experiences, or to engage extensively with an art-form they truly admire. Our clients miss the experience of seeing us perform!

Let’s also remember, that many people are out of work at this strange economic time. A Patron may have a desire to see, engage, and share more… but with Patreon, it’s not likely they can show up for a large number of their favorite performers.

How many of your followers never click your Patreon link? Is it because they wish they could support SO MANY artists, that they end up in a moral dilemma, and choose none?

Why Monetizing Your Content With the Right Platform Matters

Think about it…. 

If the platform you posted your artistic content on was actually focused on attracting subscribers who LOVE live performances like yours, with a brand culture that promotes artist appreciation, you’d have a lot more REAL supporters.  And even better: on that platform you would ONLY have a captive audience for your kind of content.

Add to that, you’ll have better success on a platform that aligns with your personal brand, your image, and the work you produce.

You’ll want the kind of user features that work for you as a performing artist.

If the company isn’t catering to you, you may never get to influence how the platform works.  Perhaps you’d like a platform that helps promote your best work, and expands your audience. 

At Velvet Revue, we believe performers deserve as many avenues as possible to support themselves and their work.  Until we can all safely return to our beloved stages, you should choose online communities that will make the most of the content you post, so you can keep creating and earning.

Events and entertainment will never be the same.  Join our platform, and help shape the way arts and entertainment is viewed online!

Velvet Revue is an independent platform for performing artists, built by artists!

 

Join a collective of similar artists to expand your audience, upload your videos & go live!

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