Patreon is giving creators more tools to attract free subscribers

The company wants to help creators become less reliant on algorithmic platforms.


Patreon is continuing its push to expand beyond its roots as a paid membership platform. The company, which added new chat features and free membership options last year, is giving creators more ways to interact with their fans even if they aren’t paying subscribers.

The company says its creators have already seen more than 30 million sign-ups for free memberships, which allow fans to get updates and follow the work of creators and artists they like without committing to a monthly subscription. Now, creators will also be able to add non-paying members to Patreon’s Discord-like chats. Additionally, creators will be able to offer a live chat and custom countdown timer to tease new work.

For fans who aren’t yet paying for a membership, Patreon will add the ability for creators to sell access to past posts and collections so people will have a way to access previously paywalled content without committing to a recurring subscription. (The company added one-time purchases for digital products like podcast episodes last year.) Creators will also have the ability to offer limited-time gift subscriptions to fans.

patreon countdowns
patreon countdowns (Patreon)

For Patreon, the changes are meant to help creators become less reliant on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok where engagement and views are often dependent on another company’s algorithm. At a time when platforms’ payouts to creators are reportedly dwindling — The Wall Street Journal reported last week that making a living as a creator has gotten significantly harder over the last year as dedicated creator funds shrink — Patreon is spinning its platform as place where creators can connect with their “real fans” and actually make money.

“Creators want a place where people can sign up to see their future work… and then actually see it,” the company explains in a blog post. “They don’t want to keep chasing likes or follower counts in a constantly changing system they have no control over.”